Greetings (Town Crier, July 2013)
As I was doing my summer closet cleaning, a box fell off the topshelf and spilled its contents on the floor of the closet. I thought “Aha! Something I haven’t opened for at least a year – probably should be thrown out right away!” I stooped to pick up the spill. It was my collection of greeting cards received over… how many years?
The first I picked up was a handmade card with a picture of a girl drawn by a very young person. Inside was a greeting from the family which had just purchased the house across the street from us, introducing themselves and their three daughters and saying that they were “looking forward to being our neighbors for many years.” They were wonderful neighbors for almost five years; they moved last week.
The second was a birthday card featuring a couple of martini glasses with sparkly olives on the cover. It was from my cousin and her husband. They did meet in a bar, but he helped her to beat her alcoholism after they married, and she has been sober for decades. Odd to see her name on a liquor-flavored card!
The third I picked up was a form card from a group with which I had participated in a long-term health study after my bout with cancer. It included a recipe for a healthy protein-rich, minimal sugar birthday cake which I had always meant to try.
The fourth was a snarky birthday card from my brother and his wife. Judging from the price of the card listed on the back, this was sent very early in their marriage. Before their marriage, he usually forgot my birthday entirely. Under his wife’s influence, the cards have become less snarky over the years.
The fifth was a custom card generated on a computer. It was from my mother, who had been the first in our family to become computer literate, and for years had created all her birthday cards and Christmas cards on her beloved Mac.
The sixth was simply a piece of blue paper folded over. On it is written in an unfamiliar hand “Happy Birthday Mom” and the names of my two sons. There is a splatter of what looks like pine sap on the upper corner. I remember how my kids conspired to surprise me with flowers on my birthday that year. My husband and I had gone camping in the remote Anderson Valley. The kids managed to find a part-time florist in Booneville who made a bouquet of garden flowers with an impromptu card and delivered them to our tent site in her pickup truck.
I guess I won’t be able to throw this box out right away after all.
Your recent comment in the Los Altos Town Crier concerning the renovation of a house in your neighborhood was of interest to me. You seem to have some concerns about this new house being of a 2 story nature which will be inconsistent with the existing character of your neighborhood. Am not sure you are aware of the “Single Story Overlay” program which was created by Los Altos City Council about 10 years ago, but this enables residents of a particular neighborhood within Los Altos to limit remodels and new construction to a single story within the defined area of the local neighborhood. Of course, there is a lengthy process to go through to do this, including holding a secret ballot (conducted by the city) of the residents
within the defined local neighborhood. To obtain the”Single Story Overlay” protection, a two-thirds majority of the residents must approve the action. I have been the leader of a group which obtained the Overlay program for our local neighborhood on Panchita Way, and would be happy to speak with you about the program if you’re interested. My home phone is 650-941-7285, or feel free to use my email as well.