The other day I caught a clip from a movie shot in the 50’s in technicolor. It had hauntingly beautiful clips of the California I knew growing up. Images of waving fields of yellow mustard, trees heavy with luscious apricots, crashing waves on a pristine rocky Monterey Bay coastline and people strolling down tree lined streets. What struck me was the fact that California is changing so rapidly and those calming images are disappearing. Here in Silicon Valley we are becoming a metropolis of criss crossed highways and row housing.
I grew up and was raised in a little town called Los Gatos, the cats. The bobcat statues that were carved in the town’s name still stand near the first off ramp coming from the coast. My late friend Kevin, another long time resident, called me one day to remark on a comment in our town paper, “Los Gatos is the town to see and be seen.” He too remembered the apricot orchards off Kennedy Road and fields of green and gold. It struck him as funny how the focus here had changed. Bentleys and beautiful people in running spandex and “chi chi” restaurants like ‘Nicks on Main’ are the town, not long stretches of open fields. I have moved back to the family historical home after a long “walk about” the world. Here in this home of my childhood I can feel the time that has gone by. The house was the spot that they stopped the horses and watered them before they drove them up to the Novitiate. In the last couple days I have seen a coopers hawk, an opossum, raccoons, deer and woodpeckers right outside my front door and yet I can walk to the town library and local coffee shop in about 5 minutes. If the giant old oak that oversees the 3/4 acre could talk.
Los Gatos, once a destination spot for vacationing San Francisco folks, has the most amazing variety of old and graceful architecture. A stroll through the neighborhood near Pennsylvania Ave will attest to that. Next to a giant Craftsman with stained glass windows you might see a home that could be called art deco. Oddly enough it’s Netflix, a company that represents the present society, that supports the blend between plans for a library and the historical business buildings of East Main St.
My father found this town after surviving two world wars and crossing America three times with two fighting toddlers in the back seat. It’s amazing to think that a man who spoke five languages stumbled on and stayed in this spot. His high school friend Czezlaw Miloscz, ’84 poetry Nobel laureate remarked on this fact in his last book. It will be nice to someday give the family home a face lift and help it to hold down some of the history of this town. I don’t want to imagine the day that the oak dies and with it the many animals that seem to find their way to this grandfathered property.
As a realtor I want to pass on the appreciation of the fine things we have around us. No one should forget how fortunate we are to live in this valley. I want to teach those who come here to find a way to tend to this garden with the same respect for nature. No matter what the news brings regarding economy and worry I have been fortunate to experience this place. No matter what happens to me I have lived a life of which most people only dream. It has been a time of prosperity and a haven of peace. It has been the fulfillment of the american dream, the chance to live in a home that is safe in a land that is free.