Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Love Thy Neighbor. . .

I love my neighbors. Most of us on our little block know each other pretty well and look out for each other's properties and kids and animals. We run into each other on the sidewalk and in the yard and on the porch and across the fence.

It's a bit of a schizophrenic neighborhood, and I'm not talking about the people! We live on Atchison Street between Hill and Sierra Bonita, right on the city/county line, so the north side of the street is unincorporated county and the south side of the street is -- well, it depends. Some properties on the south side are in the Pasadena city limits and some aren't!

The street itself is under the jurisdiction of the county, so even residents who are in the city limits have to get animal licenses from the county, have to have trash picked up by a private hauler, etc. The north side has Southern California Edison and the south side -- even those not in the city limits -- have Pasadena Water and Power (our PWP bills are less expensive than Edison, which is a plus!).

There's one thing that we can all agree on and will show up for, and that's Neighborhood Wine Night every few months. It's really a glorified potluck that's hosted each time by a different household. The host chooses the wine theme -- Cabernet, Chardonnay, French Burgundy, Champagne, whatever -- and everybody brings a bottle. During the course of the evening, we eat lots of food, catch up with each other's lives, have a sing-along and enjoy the wine. Nobody has to get in a car and drive, so it all works out. Nobody ever gets drunk. It's very civilized!

We had Neighborhood Wine Night last Saturday. The battery for my digital camera was dead and the charger was at my office at City Hall, so I had to use my Treo to take photos. Not the best option but it was all I had.

Here are a couple to give you an idea:

While still daylight, here's Ana Carpenter (left), Thelma Reyna, who many people know because she's a retired teacher and principal and taught at PHS for many years, and Ana's husband Lloyd. Thelma's husband Victor is also a retired high school teacher. He was there somewhere!

Then it gets dark and my Treo, which doesn't have a flash, takes very grainy photos but they are what they are.

That's George and Zebeda. George's wife Arpi and Zebeda's husband Remy were at the party somewhere! George is from Lebanon, Zebeda is from Algeria, Arpi is Armenian from Lebanon and Remy is from Poland and grew up in France. We're a very diverse neighborhood! Lots of distinctive accents.

And then it gets darker so here's one more but I won't make y'all suffer through this any longer!

That's Dwight Torigian on the right, his wife Maro with her back to us, and Betsy in the middle. Dwight is half British and half Armenian, Maro is Armenian from Lebanon and Betsy is a not-so-average American whose day job is at a bank but whose passion is acting. She does live theater and has been in a few TV commercials that you've probably seen.

Many others were there but the shots are just too dark and grainy to serve the purpose here.

I must send a shout-out to Arie, who used to live next door to me and now lives a few blocks away but still comes to Neighborhood Wine Night. He's from Holland and is planning a trip "home" next month. He used to work for PBS and now teaches at PCC.

Yes, I love my neighbors. We eat, sing, laugh, drink vino and gab. A lot.


Anonymous said...

a post full of life! Any vacancies in your 'hood?

pasadenapio said...

Sorry, not right now to my knowledge. You can drive down the block when you're in the area and see if there are any signs to that effect. Many of the places are rentals, including some sweet little cottages behind the house next door to me, and there are a few houses, like mine, that are owner-occupied.

AP said...

Unincorporated doesn't count!

By the way, you know we used to be neighbors? I used to live on North Hill - right next to that liquor store.


- AP

West Coast Grrlie Blather said...

I like the grainy photos! Thanks for introducing us to your neighborhood.

Petrea said...

That diversity is how I think of Pasadena. I know it's not all that way, but the best parts of town are so full of the world.