This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

My Los Angeles

It wasn't until I moved back to Phoenix that I referred to where I had lived before as Los Angeles. Even now it seems kind'a strange to refer to it as that. And there really isn't a good way to refer to the area that I now call *my Los Angeles*. And a big chunk of my Los Angeles isn't even Los Angeles, or even Los Angeles County.

I could try to call it *Southern California*, but really, that would include San Diego, of which I know nothing. The radio stations that I listened to referred to the area as *The Southland*, but I never heard anyone say that. I guess it was a way to try to refer to an area that included more than just Los Angeles. I can read the radio jingle saying, *Southland weather...!*

My *Los Angeles* went from Santa Barbara to Hollywood. And I knew it the way a kid knows his neighborhood on a bike, in a very narrow and exact way. I could find my way around effortlessly in areas that I knew, but if I got even a little bit beyond my comfort zones, I was lost. I tried, every once in a while, to explore, but mostly I stayed in a very small area.

In the movies, downtown Los Angeles represents Los Angeles. But like most people who live in Los Angeles, I didn't go downtown, and its skyline was just something that you could see in the distance if it wasn't too smoggy. What I know of downtown Los Angeles I've learned from movies, and post cards.

So my Los Angeles isn't really Los Angeles. When I tell people I lived in Los Angeles, I feel like I'm lying. My Los Angeles is Calabasas, Woodland Hills, and Malibu. It's Topanga Canyon, and the East Beach in Santa Barbara. It's the Pacific Coast Highway along Ventura.

But really, that's how people in Los Angeles do it. Los Angeles is way too big to wrap your arms around it, as Raymond Chandler wrote. You have to find your own Los Angeles.
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