When HB and I first moved to Los Angeles, we looked at several neighborhoods, and right away we felt comfortable in Los Feliz/Silver Lake. Why? Because it’s the part of Los Angeles that most feels like the Oakland-Berkeley hills. Tucked in the hills there are narrow, wooded winding streets with no curbs (a huge fire hazard). The views are wonderful. Los Feliz backs up against the country’s largest urban park, Griffith Park. Silver Lake is on a distinct bump nearby with a couple of reservoirs in the flat sections.
We instantly found our niche in Los Angeles. For a time, HB could actually bicycle to work in Burbank by riding through the park. I enjoyed our 1950s pseudo-traditional/ranch. We had a view south and east to downtown Los Angeles and the library tower.
And of course, we brought home the Cutie Nubbin to this house. He crawled on the wooden floors that we refinished and he learned to walk there. He chased the cats all over the house. He enjoyed the view of downtown from his high chair. As a toddler, he cried when I put him in the fenced postage-stamp sized yard while I did yard work, not understanding the concept of being “outside in the yard.”
Now we live in…well, suburbia. It’s not the city of Los Angeles by any stretch of the imagination. Whereas before it was impossible to do anything more than walk on the sidewalks in our hilly neighborhood, now we live on flat, square gridded streets where children walk or bike to school daily. We have a yard with a decent patch of grass. A driveway where we can shut the gate and let him ride his bike or scooter up and down the drive.
It’s safe, quaint, the schools are good kindergarten through high school.
I’m worried about our smooth transition into this new place. I joke that I knew I could live here when I saw anti-Iraq war protesters at a major intersection. It felt like what I might see in Los Feliz on that crazy pie-shaped corner near the Vista movie theatre, one of our neighborhood’s little protest spots.
I’m worried about all the Yes on 8 lawn signs I saw during the past election.
Believe it or not, I’m worried about having to live among so many Republicans. (Now that’s hilarious as three of our immediate neighbors in Los Feliz were Republicans and they did not seem to eat children. In fact they were very nice and we liked them lots.)
I think what I’ll miss is living in my bubble. I’ll miss having to live in a politically progressive and uniformly liberal, for the most part, neighborhood.
Most of all, I’ll uneasily check myself for slippage into suburban conservativism. In the end, that may be at the heart of my trepidation at this move. So, radical mommies and Burning Women, if you’re out there I’m looking for you, too.