We are the only remaining original occupants, having literally camped on the front porch while the wood floor was being set to allow occupancy in 1976. Mary likes to attribute her diminutive size to having a stair climber before they had stair climbers. At the end if the street is a common green area with a stream that in the spring provides a place for four or five year-olds to catch frogs. There are also abundant Eucalyptus trees that served as bases on which to construct tree houses when my children were growing up.
The street used to provide opportunities for neighborhood parties, including a pretty-much regulation volleyball court at the end of the street and block party events on summer holidays.
I own two of the twenty houses, one I live in and one I rent to my older son. My house, which is on a typical California lot, meaning I can touch my house and the house next without strain, and have about two feet of property before reaching the property line of my other neighbor, and have ten feet in front and an equal distance in back, but on that lot I have eighteen trees, plus eight on my deck and one in my living room, some sixty feet tall.
So, I have never been surprised that people who do not live on the street walk by; often with children or dogs, to look, exercise, or possibly case the joint for nefarious, planned, future activities. Twenty-five years ago an adulterous couple was busted for fornication in a car at the end of the street.
A week ago or so I was surprised when a group of five, headed by a man walking backwards, came past my house, paused, and then continued up the street. It appeared that we are now on a programed Walking Tour.
It may have been that he was a Realtor, attempting to put a positive spin on the common objections raised by prospective buyers (“too many steps, no parking, no yard, terrible commute”). But I like to think it is because our street is unique. One of the twenty houses was once owned by a marijuana grower who had 1600 plants when the police finally began to suspect that blackened windows and a bleeding off of power from the main line might be suspect. Another house has gone through at least four major interior renovations while being unoccupied for more than twenty years. Several of the original occupants, seven of whom moved en masse from Huntington Beach to claim the favored lots, have returned after moving. Nostalgia? I’m not sure. But we have never seriously contemplated moving except the two times when the Navy made that decision for us and we rented out our house. And we feel blessed that our one son lives on our street and his unmarried brother only a mile away.
So, I like to think the Guide may have a set pattern of stories about our street, in much the same way as the Walking Tours of San Francisco, Boston, or New Orleans, all of which we have taken. And that perhaps when the four walkers waved at us, as we waved at Jimmy Stewart when we rode a bus through the Hollywood homes of the rich and famous, they were happy to have had an opportunity to visit and see what we enjoy every day.
It gives one pause to reflect on the value of our everyday lives.
In my next Post I will offer a suggestion on how the police might improve on sobriety check points. Even if the subject doesn’t have personal interest, you might find it amusing.