Iwas pregnant with my son Joe when I bought my house in Toluca Lake in November 2001. I grew up in a leafy suburb of San Francisco, with lovely residential streets adjacent to a quaint but practical commercial zone. Toluca Lake reminded me of my hometown, which was particularly appealing when I was ready to start my own family. Still, I wasn’t ready to move too far out and give up everything I love about L.A., where I’ve lived my entire adult life. Toluca Lake is close to heart of the city, allowing for easy access to all the places we want to go (pre-pandemic, that is).
I’d say we’re handling things fairly well right now. I work as a creative consultant, with an office at home, and my work is still busy, although my frequent travel is on hiatus. Still, this is a good time for long-range planning with clients. My son Joe is a senior in high school, and I feel bad for him because he’s missing out on all the great senior-year traditions, including his graduation ceremony. He’s been accepted to the University of Chicago in the fall, to study economics, and he is so thrilled about that it is taking some of the sting out of the high school disappointments. I was pregnant with Joe when 9/11 happened, and he’ll turn 18 in the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be interesting to see how his generation matures. Their superpower will be resilience, I hope.
I worry most about single friends and family who are hunkered down alone. We’ve been making full use of all the tech tools at our disposal, including a Saturday night Zoom dance party (we share the hotly debated playlist in advance so we’re dancing to the same music), and my writing group has switched to Zoom as well. My folks are in the Bay Area and in their late 70s, so it has been tough not seeing them and worrying about them from afar. Luckily they have each other and are doing splendidly. We’re all avid cooks, so we have a friendly competition going over who created the night’s best dinner.
My street has always been friendly, with many longtime residents (I’m still a relative newcomer after 18 years), and the neighbors continue to check in with each other — from a safe distance — regularly on our walks. We also connect via group emails and our Neighborhood Watch. And Joe and I patronize all our local businesses when we can, including curbside pickup of our Easter ham from Honey Baked.
Both Joe and I have been involved in the Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council (GTLNC) for several years, and we both currently hold board seats. I’m on the Executive Committee and co-chair of our Outreach and Elections Committee; Joe sits on the Public Safety Committee. While overall I’m proud of L.A.’s handling of our current crisis, it’s unfortunate that the City’s Department of Neighborhood Empowerment has suspended all meaningful activity of our 99 neighborhood councils until further notice. We’d like to be out there (safely) doing more to support our Toluca Lake stakeholders, but our helping hands are tied at the moment. We look forward to the day we are freed to act. Until then, we invite the community to contact us on our website. You may also ask to be added to our weekly news email, which is especially useful during this period of constant updates.
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