It seems that history is disappearing, as in a short story viewed on the TV series, the Twilight Zone. Something unreal and strange is happening, but it is real to me. A town, where I grew up, is slowly fading away. Even the stories my folks told me have no basis of reality anymore … all are becoming memories.
Arcos Drive, Dumetz, Canoga Ave, Mulholland Highway, Ventura Blvd., Serrania Ave / Desoto Ave… Winnetka, Topanga Canyon Blvd. The zig-zag path of my youth is Woodland Hills, California. Once dirt roads and two-way lanes embraced by eucalyptus trees and pepper trees, now screams the constant cars of an asphalt jungle it has become. No longer the shady town of horses, farmers and small town ways.
The echos of others who saw change before me. The large land owners or farmers of Orange Groves or the Native Americans, that still embrace this land with their souls. I hear their chanting in the waters that flow over concrete. The Los Angeles River sweetly moans and sometimes howls their stories .
Today we drove by Ventura and Serrania Ave. A whole block is resurrected. A new blue Chase Bank now stands there. A place that once housed a 7/11. In the early 1970s while walking home from Parkman Jr. High, we would stop there to enjoy an ice-cold Slurpee. ten cents made a 5 mile walk home, go by a little faster. A H. Salt Fish & Chips and a Winchell’s Doughnut House adjoined the same block of youthful memories.
In fact, from Canoga Ave. to Serrania Ave. along Ventura Blvd. so much is changed! Immensely so, since the days when my dad told me stories about the small town of Woodland Hills. He told me about the land that my grandmother owned.
My Brothers BBQ was in business for almost 60 years and only closed down a couple of months ago. The best damn BBQ sauce!!
Across the street from My Bros is a nursing home. My dad told me it was once a wonderful park where there was a fountain in the middle. My grandmother owned that at one time. My history is fading away. The same block was crowded this evening with nowhere to park. Strange faces, hipsters, smoke houses and unfamiliar restaurants line the street where I played as a youth..
On Canoga and Ventura there once was a horse stable. My dad would rent a horse and ride up to the top of Arcos drive, between Mulholland Highway and Dumetz. A quick clean view of the valley while resting under a large Eucalyptus tree is when he decided to buy the land there. A tree that I learned to climb years latter. My dad’s brother built my parents’ home on that hill. For some 60 years that was our home.
Tonight as Luna and Mars play their games… I will write this, for them, as an offering of peace and goodwill…
Original and wild as we were … it is also fading … disappearing…
Our goal tonight was to go to a friendly pub that we have visited many times. The Pickwick pub was full tonight. It seems this area is a hip strip that has rolled into a tomorrow I will not be a part of, much…but maybe my two sons will know it differently. Oh golly, I think it is time to move on to a place where there are no memories. I want to open and close the door to these memories.