The global pandemic has brought previously unimaginable changes and challenges to nearly every aspect of our lives. Although we in the magazine business are fortunate to be able to carry on with our work remotely, we’re still faced with the question of how to cover neighborhood news and lifestyle when events are canceled, many businesses are closed to the public and residents are sheltering in place. Yet we know that, behind those closed doors, life goes on. Businesses are adapting and innovating to safely continue serving their customers, and families are figuring out how to stay healthy, entertained and connected at home.
With so much of our community life happening behind the scenes, we needed your help to find a way to document it — and you delivered. We asked people to send us their stories and be photographed in front of their homes, and we were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response. We’ve gathered reports from dozens of community leaders, business owners and residents on what life is like for them right now and what they’d like to tell their neighbors. While every experience is unique, there are many common threads: gratitude for friendly smiles and waves on daily walks, support for our local businesses as they struggle with the economic impact of this crisis, thanks for the workers on the front lines in grocery stores and hospitals, appreciation for all those following the public health guidelines to keep us safe, and love for this small-town neighborhood.
I want to give a well-deserved shout-out to my son, Daniel, our talented and intrepid staff photographer, who trekked the neighborhood to do his thing for this issue from a safe social distance. The images he captured and the insights our respondents shared go far beyond what we can fit in our printed pages, so please be sure to read the extended online version to see more “porch portraits” and read the full interviews that record this extraordinary moment in our history.
Speaking of history, while the times we’re living through are certainly unprecedented, that doesn’t mean we can’t draw lessons and inspiration from the past, as Patrick Curtis does in this issue with his personal narrative of growing up in Toluca Lake during the 1949 polio epidemic — with help from the Hollywood cowboy heroes who brought hope to stricken children. And of course, no Toluca Lake event, even a virtual one, would be complete without an address by our honorary mayor, Fritz Coleman, who spreads some much-needed smiles with his humorous reflections on working from home and surviving all that family togetherness. There isn’t much about this pandemic that is funny, except, of course, the price of dumbbells on eBay and how toilet paper jokes never get old for everyone.
Another calamity caused by this caustic coronavirus is the loss of one issue this year of your favorite local magazine. Our regularly scheduled May/June issue (which, ironically, we had originally planned to be “The Travel Issue”) is now replaced with this newly coined Summer Issue. It will be followed by, you guessed it, our Fall Issue, which you can expect to receive in early September, and then our Winter Issue. We hope to return to our normal, bimonthly schedule in 2021. In the meantime, please stay connected with us through our website, Facebook and Instagram.
And as always, I appeal to you to please give your business to our advertisers, the benefactors of this publication, as they need our support now more than ever.
Thank you, and stay safe and healthy.