As someone who has lived in the small California community known as Ladera for more than 25 years, I sometimes feel like I am lucky to be stuck in a time warp. The world around us has at times become disjointed and “self-first” focused, and yet, I don’t ever feel that way here. We landed in Ladera quite by accident and over the years it has become astonishingly apparent to me that it is one of the luckiest events of my life. We were a young couple with 2 small children. We moved here from the suburban life in Menlo Park, and I felt like we had landed in the Wild West. As people who took up residence in November, the first winter was pretty lonely. I felt completely isolated and cut off from the rest of the world. And then, like sunshine after rain, Spring came. The LRD pool opened and life as we knew it was forever changed. We discovered other families who had small children. We met the neighbors. We visited the restaurants and unique shops at the bottom of the hill. And most importantly, lifelong friendships sprouted from that early seed.
I am convinced that this experience began 60 years ago when the first families moved in to this small planned unit development. Those first families set the stage for those of who followed in their footsteps. They established a recreation district to be the center of the neighborhood. They created paths for wandering and had foresight to protect land around them. The families had barbecues and street parties and July 4th activities that began traditions passed down through the ages. And through those activities, families found friendship. The Ladera kids all trudged to the Ladera school and played in the creek in the afternoons. Couples formed pot luck clubs (at least one of which is still in existence). People took turns watching each other’s kids so they could have a night out. People in the neighborhood took on leadership roles at the LRD and in the community. And people cared about their neighbors. Most families who now move to Ladera, move here because they want that sense of community and friendship.
I am blessed to have developed so many BFF’s (best friends forever) here in Ladera.
Diane Gow –
Here’s a little bit about me. I grew up in Marblehead, Massachusetts and attended the University of New Hampshire. On a whim I followed my then boyfriend, now husband to California for what I thought would be 2 years. 35 years later I’m still in California. I attended Santa Clara University School of Law and practiced litigation for a few years before I was lucky to stay home with my 2 boys and be part of their childhoods. We moved to our wonderful community of Ladera in 1995 and I’ve been actively involved in the neighborhood for the past 25 years. I currently occupy the General Manager seat at the Ladera Recreation District and I moonlight as an assistant to Ladera Crier co-editor LInda Fornaciari. I dedicate myself to sprinkling kindness throughout the world.
BILLY’S Comments: Di knows my son Prescott and his twin children, Gage and Lexi, well, since the children participate at Di’s regionally known LRD Swim Program. I personally am grateful for her help in arranging the LRD Meeting Room for my last minute talk to a visiting delegation from Shanghai, China’s Fu Da University, last year. It was a holiday, yet she took time to help me. I deeply deeply appreciate that. For me, a Neighbor indeed became a Friend. Thank you, Di .