One of the many unique things about living in Palm Springs is that nobody is ‘from’ Palm Springs. We/they all come from someplace else. While not unique to other American outposts like Key West, Las Vegas and Taos, New Mexico, it’s certainly different than most rural and many urban communities.
Historically, the many ‘faces/facades of Palm Springs’ seems to congeal into this melting pot of divergent personalities through many different pathways. It might be as a tourist destination or a weekend getaway. Many folks have second homes in the desert and seek a different kind of life style out here.
This ‘not from here’ phenomena continues in the many diverse neighborhoods of Palm Springs. Each seems to attract an eclectic collection of personalities from ‘other places.’ Like a mountain man rendezvous, the folks come from many different directions to gather and socialize and share in like-minded attitudes towards life.
Festivals like Coachella and Stagecoach bring in the masses from all over the country. Local Palm Springs specific events like the International Palm Springs Film Festival and Modernism Week also bring in a plethora of attendees from around the country. You get an even more intimate peek into these phenomena when the locals cross paths with one another.
It might be at an early morning Starbucks run or around poolside or on top of a local mountain hiking trail. Wherever folks gather, the conversation usually circles around to where they came from and how they got here.
This is not surprising, since in the past, the average population of Palm Springs had usually hovered around 47,000 year round. Early on, the demographics were usually heavy in the blue collar, working class ranks. Since the mid-forties and forward, more and more folks have moved to the area on a permanent basis. Thus ‘born and raised here’ started to become the rarity it is today.
I experienced this through my involvement with the Palm Springs Writers Guild. Even after ten years of engagement, I have yet to meet a ‘native Palm Springs person.’ My fellow writers come from across the country with a large percentage from the West Coast area. Sharon found the same thing with her fellow early morning swim class participants.
None of our neighbors are from the area. They come from Texas, the Midwest, the East Coast, the Deep South and the Southwest. The single thread that seems to connect all of them is their disdain for winter weather as well as the inclusive nature of our community.
Our bi-annual Indian Canyon Neighborhood Organization parties are another example of this on a much larger scale. Of the four hundred and fifty homes in our neighborhood, very few are passed down generational abodes. The vast majority are permanent retirement homes or second homes for folks from someplace else.