Moving to California to Make My 12-Year-Old Self Happy — And to See Mary Tyler Moore

Hollywood Boulevard, 2012

Hollywood Boulevard, 2012

Dear New York,

I know I promised to write you a love letter, but it doesn’t seem quite fair to write one while I’m still here and about to leave. The whole point of my departure is to get away from you and try something else. I can’t get all sentimental nooow. Just let me explain.

For about 10 years, San Francisco has been my mistress, the city in which I swear I’ll leave you for upon visiting and then change my mind when I get back home to you again. For years I’ve been comfortable with this status quo — dealing with the predictable and pining for the unknown. Now I’ve decided to do it, to finally leave, except I’m not moving in with my mistress — I’m going after her sister.

I don’t know much about LA other than plastic surgery, blonde hair, warm weather, lots of driving, and Hollywood, but it’s going to be this thing that I try out for a bit. I think a separation will do us good. If I go out there and miss the shit out of you, I’ll never question that we are meant to be. But if I go out there and discover another side of myself that I enjoy, well, then it is what it is until it isn’t anymore.

Why LA? Well because isn’t that where everyone goes when they’re tired of New York? It’s either LA or back to where they came from. But also because I have a job opportunity there. And because I can sit on the beach in Malibu in January. Oh and apparently because at 12, it’s where I dreamt of living, plus Mary Tyler Moore might live there:

"California is PARADISE!"

“California is PARADISE!”

"Wish I was in California with Mary Tyler Moore if that's where she lives, she could be in New York."

“Wish I was in California with Mary Tyler Moore if that’s where she lives, she could be in New York. I wish I had her address so we could be pen pals.”

September 21, 1993



To me California is PARADISE! If I get straight A’s and B’s this year guess what? I’ll be going to paradise! Just think clear blue ocean water, Hollywood, movie stars, Beverly Hills, shopping sprees, guys in convertibles, Big Moncho houses, limos, I can keep on going. I can’t wait till I grow up. I want to be an actress/movie star and maybe a dancer. What makes me mad is that I want to do all of this NOW! NOW! NOW! And I could if I wasn’t here. I feel like I’m stuck here until after collage and that I have to make due until then! I wanna be the person on the Emmy awards receiving it and saying a speech. And just knowing that somebody out there, everybody in their homes say “Hey I know her who she is!” I wanna drive up in a limo get shoferd in a limo and into the big buildings. For now all I can do is dream until the big day when I’m out of collage. And it will be bye, bye Dara! 

So you see, I have to honor this former vision. Besides the whole actress part. (The fact that at 12 years old I thought I could be an actress is worthy of its own exploration in a future post. Working title: “What Happens When You Give a Kid Too Much Downtime.”)

New York, I do love you and even though I never once spotted Mary Tyler Moore, you do deserve some acknowledgment. And it will come, when the time is right.

Bye bye,


One response to “Moving to California to Make My 12-Year-Old Self Happy — And to See Mary Tyler Moore

  1. Lisa Pettinelli

    I think you would be a great actress

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