Why I ❤️ Davis
This past week I’ve been interviewed twice for a couple of different articles. This has been a self discovery experience as I’ve been able to reach down into my soul and fully capture what has kept this 35 year love affair with Davis alive. Here’s my love story.
The six year old girl who came to visit this foreign place where the silver slides in Community Park would burn the buttock at noon on the 4th of July was intrigued by all the differences compared to home in Denmark. People doted on the little girl who didn’t speak English, while she pointed to everything with great excitement, and looked suspiciously at P&B sandwiches.
The intrigue of the visit was branded into the mind, so at the age of 10, it was an exciting notion to come back to learn English and be submerged into the culture and go to school. The spare blue 50’s Schwinn bike was lubed up and down the street it was peddled. Watch out for those sharp turns and make sure the pedals didn’t touch the ground! Bikes in the U.S. are sure different from bikes in Denmark. A friend over in Solano Park had a blue Schwinn and those pedals were much higher making for a more secure ride. The lanes on the side of the road were interesting with words ONLY BIKE or should it be read BIKE ONLY? ONLY was a real curious word for an only child just learning to speak English and riding around Davis. ONLY BIKE like in only child? BIKE ONLY like in no cars allowed. This apparently was some great revelation from Denmark. Huh? Bike paths are supposed to be separated from the roads cars are driving on, but OK I’ll ride with it. The coolest thing is the freedom of biking downtown to buy stationery for letters that will be sent home, going to the post office on G Street to buy the stamps for the pretty letters and looking into Grandma’s Post Office Box to see if there were any letters waiting to be picked up. People were super friendly and would ask about Denmark and tell me how much they loved Amsterdam. Amsterdam? I didn’t recall that being in Denmark, and I remembered having a stop over there on the way home from the US when I was six years old. But what do I know? so I just nod and smile. That school year, a new world was discovered - a world that so warmly embraced this girl who had arrived from so far away and showed a great curiosity of where she was from. One day the question was asked “how do you feel about moving to the U.S. permanently and living in New York?” and the immediate answer out of the eleven year old girls mouth was “Yes! of course, absolutely”.
The blog post “Bicycle Revolution”, details how the New York experience was a real revelation of what makes Davis special. Fast forward to six years later and Davis now becomes home. Davis is different from the California that was portrayed in the movie “Valley Girl”. Yes, the Sacramento Valley is a hot place where people are laid back and down to earth. Davis is a place with people from all over the world and there is a wide variety of cuisines. For fun, the young adults would play bowling at the UCD bowling alley, there was Pac Man and Asteroids at the Library, people could listen to music at Barney’s Records, and get a butterscotch dipped cone at DQ. The Davis Food Co-op had just moved from it’s 5th street location by Big O tires to the former Safeway. A year’s worth of membership credit could be earned by cutting cheese into smaller blocks and stock the milk shelves. Who would know that this was the beginning of a bigger revolution towards sustainable agriculture and eating locally grown foods. It was Davis and it was fun. Not too different from Denmark! The weather was sooo much better! It wasn’t so bad not having to shovel snow ever again.
The time came to move into an apartment with a former pen pal who just happened to decide to enroll at UC Davis without knowing that this New York pen pal was planning on moving to her Grandmother’s hometown of Davis. The Sun Tree Apartments was located on the greenbelt north of Community Park and was the first solar apartment complex in Davis that used solar panels to heat water and there was a tankless water heater for cloudy and rainy days when the solar panels would be useless. This was revolutionary for 1985 and these 18 year old girls didn’t fully comprehend the value and how innovative this was.
People come and go in a university town like Davis, but it’s the people along with the innovations, great weather, the bicycle culture, sustainable agriculture, and sense of community created in our parks and green belts that makes Davis a special place.