Why I Drove 80 Miles Across Southern California on Surface Streets

The Road to the Inland Empire Is Paved With Good Memories—And Gratitude for Freeways

Don’t ever complain about freeway traffic, especially around my mother.

“You’re lucky to have freeways—when I was a kid, we didn’t have freeways,” she used to say.

But that didn’t stop my brother and me from whining about congestion on the 10 during long drives to see her relatives in Redlands. She’d respond to our complaints with the Southern California version of “when I was your age, I had to walk six miles through the snow.”

“I grew up in Hawthorne,” a working-class town near LAX, she’d remind us, “and when we went …

Longing for the Softer Side of Hurricanes

A Continent Away from Horrible Destruction, I Miss the Familial Routines of My South Florida Childhood

After school, whenever I walked into my family’s home in Davie, Florida, I was always reminded of 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, which decimated nearly 64,000 homes some 60 miles away in …