Stanley M. Fried
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From Of Coffee and Coffeehouses - Leaving San Diego


In the throes of packing up my possessions to move north from San Diego, I have uncovered many relics of my past. Photos of friends who have moved or died have more than once made their way into my hands only to stop me in my tracks for a moment to reminisce about times that are no longer. Writings and papers from conferences and meetings I attended have found their way to the trash. Books I no longer want to carry with me and clothes that have worn out or no longer fit have been donated to charities. All of my furnishings and appliances have been sold. This is a trimming of excess. This is a lightening of my load.

Only a few items will travel with me: some clothes, the computer, and my espresso maker. Everything else that is left remains in storage until I can afford to bring it north. Only the essentials will accompany me on this voyage. The morning coffee is among them.

By the time this is being read, I will have left San Diego. After nearly 13 years here, I am still uncomfortable with the city. This departure is long overdue for me. San Diego was not a town in which I would have chosen to live. I came here to take a job offered me at UCSD at a time when there was little work available in Los Angeles. I came here thinking I would stay for three to five years. I stayed here thinking I might be able to make some use of my skills. San Diego has been a great training ground. I have learned much since my arrival here. There are no regrets in leaving this city behind me. there is only hope for what my future may bring elsewhere.

In San Diego, I leaned much about racism, sexism, anti-semitism, and homophobia. I've watched as developers capitalized on the climate to make a dollar at the expense of the quality of living for those who reside here. In my stay here, I have seen the tuna fleet decimated, the streets of downtown turned into havens for crack users and the homeless, fears of illegal immigration from Mexico surge. I have seen the support for the arts and culture dwindle, the educational system wane, and a baseball team ruined.

San Diego is not my hometown, but I have lived here longer than in any other city. It is a town that I will miss for the people I have known here. As in any place, it is the people who make one's life interesting.

I've no idea what my future will bring. It may return me to San Diego one day for more than just a visit with friends. It may preclude me from ever setting foot here again other than to reclaim my few possessions I am leaving behind. One's future is always a bit uncertain. At various times in our lives this becomes more apparent than others.

Many of the friends I have made here have moved over the years to other parts of the country or abroad. Some of the friends I have known here are now dead: some from age, some from accidents, most from AIDS. A few of my friendships have been lost to disagreements or changes in our lives that caused us to drift apart. Most of my friendships remain although this move will change them irreparably. For those of you whom I will never see again, my warmest thanks and appreciation for all you have done and provided for me in the time I have known you. For those whom I will continue to know for some time, my deepest gratitude for you continuing to share your hearts with mine. We each move in our own direction. Mine now takes me to another place. I wish you well in your own voyage through time in this place have have all come to know.

One of my fondest memories of San Diego was shortly after I arrived here while staying with a friend I'd known from college until I was able to find a place of my own. He lived with his roommate in an apartment house on Sixth Avenue in Hillcrest across from Balboa Park. For my first Sunday here, Tom and Ken prepared a pancake breakfast. I had brought some coffee with me from Los Angeles and brewed a pot as they scrambled about the kitchen making a mess. The door of the apartment was open and the smells wafted through the complex of apartments. Soon, a few of the neighbors began to drift in and ask for a cup of coffee. In a short while, most of the neighbors were sitting around the living room in sweatpants or bathrobes drinking what had become a third then a fourth pot of coffee. Pancakes and bacon were eaten. Everyone was talking and smoking cigarettes. Tom and I laughed and reminisced about our days in college and joked of how much this reminded the both of us of our days in the dorms. It was a warm Fall day. The sky was clear. This was a new city for me. And it was comfortable.

The promise of that morning was never realized here. Although there were many other Sunday mornings that followed with the neighbors and with new friends that I met. Over the years, the Sunday mornings were no longer filled with the socialization of those first days. Work became a seven-day-a-week situation. What little time I could find for myself and my friends always seemed to appear to employers or so-called business partners to be stolen away from them. For a long time, I felt like an indentured servant. San Diego had become a place where I felt imprisoned. Not it is time to leave. Now it is time to find out what it is I am made of.

Over the years, many people have been kind to me. Many friendships have grown. San Diego has been a town were few loves have been found. But the care and love of friends has gotten me through many bad times. What I will miss of San Diego may not be the clear and sunny days or warm weather or the beaches or the zoo. What I will miss of San Diego will most likely be the friends who have put out their hand to help or who took my hand when it was offered.

I expect that there will be mornings in Seattle when the rain is falling for yet another day and I am sitting with my cup of espresso that I will yearn for the warmth and ease that I knew here. I suppose we all yearn for that which has passed at times. For the moment, I yearn to seek what I may find ahead.

©1994 - Stanley M. Fried/The Espresso



In April of 1994, Stanley Fried moved from San Diego, California to Seattle, Washington. This was the last article he wrote for The Espresso while still in San Diego.

Stanley took a couple of boxes of clothing and his computer with him to Seattle. He put all that remained in storage with a customer he knew from when he managed Java named John Cherry . He never saw any of the artwork, books, collection of coffeemakers, or any of the other items he stored with this fellow again. He still misses seeing the artwork. Many of the pieces were by his friends: Miriam Schapiro, Tom Knechtal, Roy Dowell, Jules Engel, and Lynne Schuette.

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