I read Bert Gershater's moving article, "Tearing Up Leaving Beloved Flagstaff" (December 22nd) with mixed feelings: he was bleak when he left for good reasons, while my wife and I returned for the same reasons – both mostly with family related and aging. After four very good years in Tempe we have returned to Flagstaff, our home, for 15 years. But Flagstaff means "home" to us. So this article is kind of a reverse echo of the Gershater article with a happier ending.
The little bungalow near the ASU campus that we inherited was just right for us and the location was perfect. We had volunteered for the Museum of Northern Arizona for a long time and transferred this work almost seamlessly to the Desert Botanic Garden. We enjoyed the warm winters, the good neighbors and the university activities nearby. Life was good.
But we became aware of what we had missed over time and the slip of days reminded us that retirement is both a prelude and a pleasure. Our closest family stayed in the north and the big city environment was not the same as fresh and clean mountain air and water. The joys of warm winter made for a scorching summer, and the joy of biking around Tempe Town Lake was tempered by memories of biking the urban trail through Flagstaff and its surroundings.
As a semi-retired writer, I found the Arizona Republic of Phoenix, which welcomed my occasional articles and letters to the editor, as the Daily Sun had done for years. But as a reader I noticed an important difference between the two newspapers. The Republic's approach to the news and its columns is to the right of center, which suits its history and readership, while the Sun's approach to the left of center, which is in line with its tradition and the influence of its late-lamented editor Randy Wilson. Both newspapers are excellent in their own way, but the small-town taste of the sun and its overt penchant for political moderation and the outdoors left a better aftertaste for my breakfast. And I am spared the political extremes that are being replaced by enthusiastic gardeners, hikers and bikers.