After being away for forty years I have returned to Oxnard, to the town of my childhood. In 1918, when I was a boy in school I would awaken very early and listen to the lonesome sounds of the train whistles as they crossed the valley. The painful moan of the train sounded like weeping.
Back then I made friends with those locomotive engines and I knew each one that passed by. Each of the whistles were different. I knew them well and they were my friends.
Another lonely sound that was my companion came from the lighthouse at Port Hueneme, about 3 miles from here. The lighthouse started to spread her light beam in the early evening and I would stand in the patio of our house and watch the beam of light make its circle and briefly erase the dark.
When the fog came in I could hear the horn as it spread its warning out to sea. The darkness and the gray fog would cover the valley and everything was lost. It became a strange unknown world and I was afraid to take a step, I was afraid I would fall off the edge of the world.
I would feel the moisture in the sad silence. I felt bewitched as if I was a prisoner in a cell with no windows. All was lost and everything disappeared within the deep mist.
My childhood memories were broken up by the sounds of traffic speeding past my motel window. The spell was broken. Traffic was a sound we didn’t have back then.
I was back in the Oxnard of today, but I was not back at home.