Many of you reading this blog know I lived in Southern California for almost 20 years. And those were my formative years, including high school (St. Francis, 1985) and college (USC, 1989).

When I left in 1995, it was because the cost of living and the quality of life I wanted no longer seemed within my reach. Mind you, I was in my late 20s and single, and I wanted to get my Master’s elsewhere; however, who knew what that planned one year in Ohio had in store!

Nevertheless, a part of me will always call Los Angeles home. And a story in today’s Los Angeles Times hit me hard because many people who are in my age bracket and who stayed there face a precarious future because of the economic fallout from coronavirus. As one person said,

“Sometimes you get caught up in what I call sweeps of history, and it doesn’t make any difference how smart you are or how strong or well-financed … You can be swept away by a tidal wave. We’re in a pandemic and it’s a tsunami.”

Yes, I know small business owners in all parts of the country are under threat because of coronavirus, the convenience of e-commerce and the cost of doing business (to name just three), but reading about them in a place where I called home — and where part of me always will be found — was an important reminder that they are the backbone of every community and city.

Take them away and you’re left with lots of closed doors, unemployed people and a decline in the character of the place you call home. Los Angeles likely will never be home again, but I still love it, and, oh, it has such rich character.