I am a 50-year-old man who has spent my whole life in Morgan Hill. Being raised out in Paradise Valley on 16 acres of walnut orchard was the best any boy could hope for. My family has deep roots in this area and we have been proud to call it home. We are the latest to join the exodus from the beautiful state of California. It pains my heart to know my children won’t grow up doing the things I did. Our church family will be the largest hole to try and fill. The decision to leave was made after much prayer and thoughtful research.
Growing up with two older brothers, I always had a lot to live up to in school. My mom was on the school board from when I was in kindergarten (Burnett Elementary) all the way until she handed me my diploma at the 1990 Live Oak graduation. A number of those years she served as president. My dad was a programmer at the new up and coming IBM campus in south San Jose.
I attended Machado School for 1st and 2nd grade. The second year Paradise Valley was built, I went there from 3rd through 6th grade. At that time it was Paradise Valley Pirates, and my mom’s name is forever engraved on a plaque in the school’s entrance. After that it was off to Britton Middle for 7th through 9th then finished high school at Live Oak.
We would do our grocery shopping at the only store in town which was Nob Hill, named after the hill that houses the water tower. It was where the Region Market is today. My mom would push her cart down the aisles and everyone knew everyone. I would have to patiently wait as friendly chatter was normal, and a stranger wasn’t to be found.
The closeness of a small town was normal to me at the time and it gave the air a feel of happiness and of a hopeful future. My first job when I was 13 was picking up trash and breaking down empty cardboard boxes at the Morgan Hill Flea Market. All the old timers would come hang out and drink beers on Saturday and Sunday at the corner of the railroad tracks and Main Avenue (Butterfield was a decade off).
My dad took my brothers and me on a bicycle ride up the newly paved not yet painted 101. We rode around some cones and straight on the Cochrane on ramp going north.
My mom took me to the grand opening of Longs drug store in the old Tennant Station. The event was highlighted with Willie McCovey signing baseballs. The Flying Lady was a restaurant/golf course located off Foothill that was also host of the Mushroom Mardi Gras for many years.
The original boat launch at Anderson had a bar with entertainment which I heard got pretty lively at times. The Granada Theater was one huge screen. It was amazing to see the brand new Star Wars on that giant screen. I had birthday parties at Scooters Ice Cream where Ladera is now.
I have seen Morgan Hill change from a slow paced, smile and wave at your neighbor church going community to a larger hurry up and get there type of place. Where neighbors once knew each other by first name, it seems different now. I know that with progress comes growth and lots of change. Maybe it’s just a sign of me getting old but I like it the way it used to be—simpler. My brother was on the city council for more than 20 years, and also served on the school board. I am extremely proud of him and what he has accomplished here in Morgan Hill. His name is forever engraved on many of the plaques of buildings around town including Morgan Hill’s awesome library.
I feel like thoughts and talks of God were more commonplace. Praying in school was a thing along with the Pledge of Allegiance. Knowledge of a loving, full of grace God is missing from daily life. I was raised going to church every Sunday at the Episcopal Church on Peak Avenue. Later I changed to the Lutheran Church on Murphy where I met my wife. Thank you Anita, we love you.
Morgan Hill Bible has been our home for six years. I am a sinner like everyone, not perfect. Knowing there is something more powerful than us has made me humble.
I love Morgan Hill, but I don’t like the state that it is in. My wife is Emily Carr, our children are Myla, Kaylee and Adele. My mom was Joyce Carr who is comfortable with the Lord now and my brothers are Roger and Larry, my father is Jim.
I am beginning a new adventure. One that will take my family far away. Morgan Hill has been my home for my entire life and I will miss it for sure, but the struggle of living in California has become too much to bear. Goodbye to all my friends… so long Morgan Hill.