Last night, I was thinking about this art show coming up at Hibbleton in July, and I decided to write a love letter to my hometown of Fullerton, CA:
I know we have had our disagreements. For a long time, I hated you. I hated your 30 bars in 5 blocks. I hated your fighting. I hated your jay walking tickets. I hated the vomit on your sidewalks.
I hated your segregation: whites north of Chapman, Mexicans south of Valencia, Koreans west of Euclid, blacks almost nowhere.
I hated your politicians bankrolled by corporations like Chevron, your conservative political action committees, your cushy pensions, your short-sighted bureaucratic buffoonery, your closed sessions.
Yes, my dear Fullerton, we have had our disagreements. I'll admit, sometimes I wanted to walk out on you--move to Long Beach, San Francisco, Portland, even LA. Somewhere more beautiful.
But I stuck around. I stayed because, despite your ugliness, I see potential beauty. Despite your stubbornness, I see change. Fullerton, I stuck around because, in my heart, I love you. I love you for the city that you are and for the city you might become.
I love your artists, your writers, your teachers, your volunteers, your non-profit arts and education programs. I love your arboretum. I love your open spaces, your trails and hills.
I love your architecture, your WPA buildings, your El Camino Real, even the Fox Theater, though I wish they would hurry up and open the damn thing.
I love that, every day, walking downtown through my neiborhood, I see people I know, I see my friends.
I love that you accept the homeless and don't bus them away like they do in that soulless corporation town of Irvine.
I love your mom and pop shops, your delis and restaurants. I love Taqueria de Anda late on a Friday night.
I love your music--Burger Records, The Continental Room, Troy Bootow, Casey Melton, Adrian Rodriguez, The Audacity, Sean Starling, Becky Holt, and all the people making music for love. I love your punks and angel-headed hipsters and all the lovely sounds they make.
I love your schools--Fullerton Union High School, Mr. Kopacki who showed me I have a voice, Fullerton College, Deborah Davidson, who showed me I can be an artist, Cal State Fullerton, Cornel Bonca, who showed me writers can be badasses too.
I love your galleries, your downtown Fullerton Art Walk, The Magoski Arts Colony, Out of Vogue, Max Bloom's Cafe Noir, and all the other venues. You are the faces of Fullerton's bright future.
Fullerton, if at times I seem angry, know that it is only because I care. Oh Fullerton, one day you will be glorious.
Jesse La Tour