May 24, 2009

What Goes Around Comes Around

In 1976, our little family (me, husband Larry, 4 1/2 yr old son and infant daughter) moved to Poway. At the time Poway was still kind of a "cowpoke"place. There were  horses and cows grazing next to Poway Rd., few shopping places (except fast food), no playgrounds, maybe 2 grocery stores and about 3 traffic lights.  It would be several years before anyone put "renown" and PUSD in the same sentence.  We moved to Poway because we found a house we could afford. 

On weekends we trekked back to San Diego to visit our favorite places: the zoo, Balboa Park, La Jolla cove, Presidio Park and Mission Bay. I've always been grateful for these wonderful places and the efforts of community minded citizens who made sure they happened.  

Although Poway was not jam packed with amenities, we found there was no shortage of concerned citizens who got involved and tried to make their community a better place. Our mailman, Kent Miller, told us all about the Poway Soccer Club. We signed up our 5 yr old. 
At our son's school, a group of parents had formed a day care for parents who wanted to volunteer in their child's classroom and had younger children that needed care. They fixed up a room and found some way to hire someone to care for the younger siblings. 

Poway had lots of groups. There used to be a bunch of wooden signs down by the entrance to town with the names of the groups on them.  Groups like the Kiwanis, Lions Club. One of those groups was responsible for the annual Easter Egg hunts our kids went to. They were at Poway Lake and the kids really had to look for the eggs hidden in the scrub. My sister-in-law was in the Jr Woman's Club and she recruited me for the annual youth day at Poway Lake. I was in charge of face painting.

As we got to know our town better, we found it did have some amenities. There was lots of open space to explore.  There was a creek. There was a library.  And although it was in a shopping center, it had special children's programs and a caring staff that got to know us well.  I still remember taking a call for my napping 2 yr old daughter from the librarian telling her that the book she requested, "Molly Mullet" was in. And how thankful I was when they called and told us that she had left behind her precious strawberry blanket one day. 

The Poway spirit was contagious.  We coached soccer for the next 13 yrs.  I volunteered in my son and daughter's classrooms. We joined (and formed) some political groups. We walked our neighborhood asking people to vote for incorporation. My husband was a member of the library committee for 8 yrs. Our kids grew up, went off to college and moved on with their own lives. But we still kept an active interest in making the community a better place, just as people had done before us.

Our neighborhood park, Starridge Park,  has always been of special importance to us. Over the years, we have had a hand in making sure the park stayed a neighborhood park and did not turn in to a sports facility. And so, even though our kids were grown, we attended the meeting when the city decided to replace the playground equipment.  And when the swings were removed and Bob Thomas said that they were not safe, we helped get a petition signed to bring back swings to Starridge Park. And we succeeded. A couple of years ago, I noticed that there was no shade by the swings, so I lobbied the council for some trees. Larry and I don't really use the park much. But we are always thrilled to see the park get used for birthday parties, family picnics, and neighborhood pick-up games. 

Yesterday, we visited Starridge Park with our granddaughter.  She tried out the baby swings. She gave them 2 thumbs up, or maybe it was 2 pajama bottomed feet up. She loved those swings.  What a sweet moment. When we were advocating for Starridge Park, we never thought about whether our efforts would  come around someday and bless us. But they did.  And we loved it. 


Merrilee said...

What a beautiful grandchild! Many are and will be blessed by your efforts--thank you!!

Anonymous said...

In 1976 I think the grocery store was Alpha Beta. And maybe Big Bear was still there.

As an ex-pat, the thing I still love to do when I visit home is climb around the hills. Sycamore Canyon is the most authentic Poway to me.

You mentioned a creek. Where I grew up, we were near Rattlesnake Creek. But I think I noticed they changed the name to Poway Creek or something dull like that. Sigh. Rattlesnake was so much tougher for that trickle of a creek.

Chris Cruse said...

That creek is still named Rattlesnake Creek. It flows into Poway Creek. There is a map of it at this link:

Yeah, Alpha Beta was the grocery store in 1976. In those days, you couldn't go grocery shopping without bumping into someone you knew and having a little chat.