A Personal Salute To San José, California

My trusty calendar tells me that today is the anniversary of the day that San José, California was founded.  She’s an old town by American standards.  SJ was founded on this day in 1777 and was dubbed “El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe”.


The town was the hub of the agricultural district that served the San Francisco and Monterey military installations serving the monarchy of Spain.   People familiar with the history of California also might remember that San José was the state’s very first capitol city before Sacramento finally won out.


The city has grown considerably since those days and is a major center of technology.  It is considered to be the capitol city of silicon valley.  I’ll leave that information to your own investigation because that is better explained by current residents of San José.  This post is more personal than just an encyclopedic listing of data.

I’m proud to say I lived in San José, twice.  Two fairly short stays, but they were very important and instrumental in my life story.  Both times I lived with one of dad’s cousins and her young son.  I won’t mention their names out of respect for their privacy.

I had just left my birth family and was trying my wings as a fledgling adult.  I was very, very green and naive; so I was happy to remain with extended family.  As it turned out we treated each other as siblings, I can’t imagine us in any other capacity.  Certainly we were housemates, but that is a very shallow interpretation of what we were to each other.

We shared a pleasant three bedroom home located just west of Lawrence Expressway and South of the 280 Freeway right next door to the community of Cupertino.  The neighborhood was quintessentially California suburbia, peaceful and laid back. Memories of our homelife there are very special ones to me.

I would be neglectful if I didn’t also mention the warmth and inclusiveness of my great uncle and great aunt who lived in nearby Sunnyvale.  They were of great help in coaching me past some of my lingering immaturity.  I can’t help but think of them as another dear set of parents.

I’m glad this photo is rather fuzzy.

I’ve written about my job at Hewlett Packard in previous posts.  That was during my first stint in San José.  The second stretch of residence there saw me working as a security guard for California Plant Protection.  The job was a gigantic stretch for me at the time.  I did learn plenty about authority and earning respect from the assignments.  But my counterculture/freak personality at the time presented a major clash in lifestyle.  I did manage to work through the conflicting values by finding some common ground.  The work challenges did add much to my maturation process.

The time with California Plant Protection was also instrumental in my decision to leave the San Francisco Bay Area.  I wanted to work in broadcast media, but nothing full-time was in the offing for the foreseeable future in that area.  Thus ended my short relationship with San José.

To this day, whenever I hear or read about San José, California, I feel a big tug on my heartstrings.  All I can say today is, “Happy Birthday San José, may you have many happy returns”.


The Blue Jay of Happiness has mixed feelings about Dionne Warwick’s 1968 hit song, “Do You Know The Way To San Jose”.  It’s playing in his mental music player right now.

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in cultural highlights, History, Hometown, Youth and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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