Happy Birthday, California
The Spirit of Tehachapi
August 31, 2019
When you find that someone who should remember, such as a husband or a child, has forgotten your birthday you say, "Oh, don't worry about it. That's o.k." What you really mean is, "YOU FORGOT MY BIRTHDAY!" California was admitted to the Union as the 31st state on Sept. 9, 1850 but we Californians seldom take note. In fact, we're lucky if it is ever mentioned in the evening news. When I mention it to someone they usually say they were not aware of it at all. Being an old time "Californian" I always think of our state's birthday. Some other states in the Union declare it a state holiday. Why don't we? The Golden State will reach 169 years soon. I hope someone gives that grizzly bear on our state flag a friendly wave. There is not a grizzly in the state anymore but that's o.k.
It is surprising that Congress was even interested in the piece of real estate so many thousands of miles from the rest of the Union. One may ask, "Did it have anything to do with the gold discovery at Sutter's Creek in 1848?" Congress said, no (Who would want to have an interest in a gold mine?) but hordes of people coming by wagon, horseback and even on ships from foreign countries traveled here to strike it rich. As the news spread across the country some 80,000 people searching for gold was to populate the state. Congress did hurry things along by omitting the usual tradition of first declaring our state a territory. It was explained that it was admitted under the Compromise of 1850 as a free state; a non-slavery state. Missouri, a slave state, was to be admitted to the Union and it would have created an imbalance of slave and free states. California balanced it with a tie. With the Civil War still ten years away, it sounds as if they were already choosing up sides. Still, one cannot help but think that the lure of the yellow metal, gold, didn't help in the statehood decision.
The Gold Fever rush ended years ago and many people say they would never want to live here. With a state population of some thirty-nine million, who needs them? Sunny California still packs them in. Gold Fever, Spring Fever, Hay Fever- whatever! On Sept. 9 we celebrate our 169th year as a state and the 31st star on the American Flag is ours. Few folks even observe it or recognize the day Sept. 9, 2019. A very important date. Let's run up a flag! Never mind, it's already up there under the good old Stars and Stripes!