Sunday, October 26, 2008

Home Means Nevada, Part 2

Sometimes, among Native Nevadans, there lies anti-Californian sentiments. Like bumper stickers that say "I don't care how they do it in California" and reader comments on our Web site telling other readers (those darned liberals!) to move back to California.

I resent these remarks. Having grown up just 80 miles away and in a much smaller town, I have been coming to Reno (and supporting its economy) since I was 6 years old. We always came here to do our shopping, at Parklane Mall, then Meadowood. My mom and stepdad stocked up at Costco and bought their furniture at McMahon's. My orthodonist was here. My sister and I flew in and out of the Reno airport probably three times a year to visit our dad and stepmom in L.A. We'd usually stop at Bordertown on the way home for a sandwich loaded up with so much turkey we'd take off half of it and save it to make another sandwich the next day.
Dad and Deb used to fly to Reno, come pick us up in Quincy, and bring us back to Reno for the weekend. We'd stay at the MGM, which later became Bally's, which later became the Reno Hilton, which now is Grand Sierra Resort. There, we'd swim in the pool and go bowling and me and Mena looooooved the old-fashioned candy shop. We were very sad when it ceased to be the MGM and lost the red carpeting on the grand staircase and old black and white photos of Hollywood stars. They'd take us to Circus Circus, where we'd play games and watch acrobats and have our faces painted like clowns. Once they took us to Carson City to learn about the state capitol. Sometimes, at dinner, we'd get to play Keno.

When I turned 16 and got my own car, I'd drive Mena and our friends to Reno spend our paychecks at Claire's and Contempo Casual and Hot Topic. I celebrated my 21st birthday here, and then my 23rd - because that year Mena was old enough to enjoy slots and cocktails with me and Mom.

I have a lot of Reno memories, but growing up I never thought I'd live here. I never saw much of the city outside of downtown or mall shopping, and I failed to see its charm. I somehow missed the quaint neighborhoods and local boutiques and parks along the river.

I'm glad I gave it a second chance.

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