Where I first saw Star Wars isn’t there anymore

I suppose it’s technically still there. It’s just a Target now. I went there today (visiting family in the Bay Area). It’s much cleaner and brighter than it was in the 70s. I remember where I sat. I could reconstruct the whole thing in my mind. I was sitting in the aisle because there was no room. Lots of kids were in the aisles: my brother, some cousins, a couple of friends. Totally unsafe, but utterly memorable, even though I was too little to understand the story. This morning, I walked over into that space where the movie had played over 30 years ago and could almost see the Tie Fighters and hear the popcorn dialogue.

“I sense something…a presence I haven’t felt since…”

I left the Bay Area in 1994. Since then, I’ve been down every couple of years or so to visit family and friends. It’s always felt a little foreign to me—I think the booming economy and rapid growth never quite fit my memory of growing up here.

This visit feels different. With the economy tanking, state government struggling, water rationing looming, it feels like…home. Music is getting grittier again. People are wearing their hair longer. It’s a weird Proustian flashback that wasn’t triggered by a cookie, but by the whole environment. Kind of like I’m the cookie and the world is having the flashback. 🙂

“California, here we come…right back where we started from”

As I’ve posted before, it’s taken longer than I thought to get to a v1.0 of our product. We’re there now, but we’ve run out of ramp to stay in Portland. We’ll need to sell the house and move back to the Bay Area to keep going. My family has been mentally preparing for the transition, but it will be hard to leave the great friends we’ve made and all the things we love about Portland.

On the plus side, it really does feel like we’re coming home. It will be good to spend more time with our families—something we haven’t been able to do over the past 15 years. It will be good to be in a technology center, a place where things are always happening and the innovative energy is extremely high. I just visited a friend who works at Google (and grew up in Portland) and was amazed at how much he loved being here and how energized he was by the people and the South Bay. I’m looking forward to being a part of this again.

Something I will regret in moving back, though, is having crystal clear childhood memories overlaid and muddied by the new ones of being here. I think I’ll have lost something special that first time I drive by and see only Target and Starbucks instead of Festival Cinemas and Doggie Diner.

It is sunnier, though 🙂

Doggie Diner


About Rino Jose

Trying to find good ways to develop software.

2 responses to “Where I first saw Star Wars isn’t there anymore”

  1. Harish says :

    Are you going to the Bay Area because it has more potential Beta customers, or for some other reason?
    I’m bootstrapping a small company in Portland too, so I want to understand better what my future might be like.

  2. Rino Jose says :

    @Harish, business-wise, we’re moving because development took longer than I had hoped. Personally, we’re moving to be closer to our families.

    What does your company do?

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