06/20/2001 AT 11:00 AM EDT
"French chef" Julia Child, 88 is leaving the five-bedroom Cambridge, Mass., house she's occupied for the past four decades and moving into a California retirement community called Casa Dorinda, near Pasadena, where she grew up. "I'm not a New Englander," she told the Boston Globe. "I always had it on my mind, and . . . best to do it while I'm perfectly capable of doing everything." Child, who uses a walker, also noted that she will not miss the New England winters. She is leaving her Massachusetts home to her alma mater, Smith College (she was class of '34).