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Lovely Homes and Good Neighbors

Freda Isaksen

In 1948 we purchased our first home. It was in a lovely area in West Los Angeles which had been used as vegetable fields in previous years. Now that the returning war veterans were settling in California and prospering and raising families, housing was in great demand, so many tracts of homes to suit all incomes were being built on unused land. The development we were interested in was away from the inner city and the traffic, it was a little more than we could afford at that time but we hoped it would be a good investment and we were satisfied with our choice because it was almost like living in the country at that time. It was a fairly long distance from Micael’s work but as the city grew it became to be considered close to town.

At first the houses were slow to sell as there were very few conveniences close by. Markets were a distance away, no public transportation was available, and even telephone lines were scarce, but when bungalows for a school were put in, the area became desirable for families. We were happy to have children playing in the streets as companions to our young sons, and they were safe away from the city traffic.

The new houses were very attractive, trees were planted by the sidewalks by the developers, but the individual owners were required to landscape their own property. Most buyers were strapped for money because they were raising children so indoor furnishings were the priority. The owners were slow to improve the outdoors and shrubbery did not seem so important at first. Almost everyone who lived in the vicinity was in a similar economic situation.

However there was one house on our block that was landscaped immediately upon occupation. Beautiful shrubs and flowers were planted in profusion by professional gardeners and the property was admired by all the neighbors. One day the lady of the house was sitting on her front porch as I passed by. I stopped and remarked to her, “Your house is the most attractive in the neighborhood.” She smiled and answered, “Thank you, we do try.” She seemed very friendly, so on my daily walk I always greeted her or her spouse when I saw them and looked at the house with envy.

One day the garage door located in the front of the house was open and I saw several expensive-looking suitcases in various sizes on the shelves. “These people must travel a lot,” I thought, “They must be very wealthy to afford a home where no expense has been spared and be able to see the world also.”

A short time later we were awakened one night by police cars with blaring sirens racing down our street, it was pitch dark so we were not eager to go outside to see if there was trouble so when everything became silent again we put the incident out of our minds and went back to sleep.

A couple of days later we read in the newspaper that our friendly neighbors of the lovely home had been arrested for stealing suitcases and valuables from expensive automobiles. They never returned to the house and it was put up for sale.


Copyright Freda Isaksen 1986–2006. Permission to reuse for non-commercial purposes is granted, provided that the text is unaltered and the original source is acknowledged. For more information, contact isaksen at math.wayne.edu.

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