I didn’t leave home until my mid-forties. I was forty-five to be exact. Transferring from junior college, I was a Regent’s Scholarship recipient at UC Berkeley. At that time, I lived in Monterey, over two hours away from Berkeley. Too far to commute. And I wanted to live in Berkeley; was fascinated by that city and all it offered: an international atmosphere with many languages spoken on campus and in the streets and restaurants. How genuinely proud I was! UC Berkeley or Cal for short, one of the world’s most prestigious public universities, and I was going there!
I went to look for a room with my husband. We never did discuss whether to move there together with our youngest son, who was fifteen at the time. This was about me, and I was excited, not only to attend Cal but also to find my own room. A room of my own. Away from family. Had not had my own room since I lived with my parents; moved from them straight to my boyfriend and future husband. We were high school sweethearts and were in love and inseparable.
Soon we had children, three of them. When the older two started college, I was jealous. Having never gone, I started attending the local community college. And after two years there and two years at Cal I graduated with my B.A., the same year as my daughter. To attend college is to gain knowledge but also, and perhaps more important, it is a time to grow up, mature, and be on your own, away from family.
So, it was for me! Not only had I been with my husband for many years, I had been with my parents for as long and more. We had always lived where they lived, or they had lived where we lived. Close. We even had businesses next to each other. Our children were their first grandchildren. We invested in a restaurant together, which eventually failed. Exhausted, I decided to go back to school and transferring to Cal meant leaving home. Finally.