Not A Black Birthday

Posted on June 13, 2012 by - Also by this author

JIM LUFF: I’m about to turn 50! How did this happen?

Ten days from today, I will hit the big 5-0. I remember as a child that people that were in their 50s were ancient in my mind. Speaking of memories of childhood, it seems like just yesterday I was a child. There are so many milestone moments that have occurred in my first 50 years of life and they all seem like yesterday. It is hard to believe that I am turning 50. Thinking more about being a child, I told my wife the other day that I feel like she and my assistant, Treanna, sometimes talk to me like I am a child today. She replied with a simple smile and comment that trailed off, “Well, if the shoe fits…..”

Speaking of Treanna, I remember writing a blog about her departure as my full time assistant last November. It was a striking blow after being with me for so many years. But, like Batman and Robin, we are a dynamic duo and she returned to her full time job in April and it was like she was never gone.

Continuing to reflect back on the first 50 years that started out in North Hollywood, Calif., I remember moving to Indio, Calif. at the age of five and how awful those 120-degree summer days were. Oddly enough, I have some corporate clients that have operations in Indio so I still have ties to the community and recently went “home” to attend a music festival in Indio. Even stranger is the fact that people I grew up with also moved to my current hometown of Bakersfield, Calif., from Indio and we remain friends to this day. I have been hailing from the city we locals affectionately call, “Bako” since 1976.

The move to Bakersfield in 1976 was without a doubt a traumatic teen experience. I had just developed my first romantic relationship with my first girlfriend, Nancy. I walked her home from junior high school every day holding hands with our fingers dripping in sweat. It could have been the heat or it could have been the anxiety and nervousness of holding hands with a girl or perhaps a combination of both. I was forced to leave her behind and left town broken hearted. It was just as well, since her family moved away to Arkansas shortly after. We remain the best of friends to this day and twice her adult daughter has come out from Arkansas to vacation at our house.

I arrived in Bakersfield not knowing one single person and started school without a single friend. I had no siblings attending school with me so that first day was really terrifying to me. To make matters worse, I arrived on my first day at my new school on my really cool BMX bicycle that even had shocks built in and a racing number on the handlebars. I quickly found out that the school was very preppy and no one rode a bike like me. The BMX bike was officially retired on that same day.

As we fast forward to the present day, I have seen my share of joy being recognized as an Operator of the Year by both LCT and Limo Digest. I was blessed with four beautiful children in my life and to date, seven grandbabies. I was blessed to meet and marry my soulmate, Hillary. I also have faced tragedy of unimaginable proportion as we said farewell and laid one of my kids to rest in 2006 reminding me how life changes in the blink of an eye.

One of my greatest joys in life is being a part of LCT and being able to connect with so many people each week on my blog. If you are a regular reader, you know that sometimes it is whimsical, sometimes serious, sometimes industry related and sometimes just a glimpse into my personal life. And today, you get a snapshot of 50 years of my life. I really just can't believe it has gone by so fast.

—   Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor

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