the unfamiliar familiar.

Monday afternoon I found myself eavesdropping on a conversation at work. It caught my attention because people in LA don’t frequently strike up conversation with strangers unless there’s good reason and these two ladies didn’t know each other.  A few minutes in I learned that one was from Buffalo, NY and the other Oceanside, CA . . . made much more sense.  They were chatting about how many more of “the sights” they had seen in Los Angeles than acquaintances and friends who actually live in the city. They were pondering why this would be. I thought it was interesting as well and I drove home that day reflecting on it.

The next day Clinton and I walked down to the Ocean Park library and he half jokingly asked me if I wanted to check out a book on Los Angeles. Yes! I did! I went home with a photo-guided history of the Venice Beach neighborhood. Now, my new obsessions over the upcoming weeks will be – further exploring the Venice Canals, which were more extensive in the early 1900’s than I ever would have imagined; and, trying to find evidence of the miniature railroad that ran through the city. Who’d of thought that one of our favorite restaurants would be right around the corner from where beach-goers could disembark a tiny train!

The more I thumb through the old photos of my own neighborhood, the more astonished I am by the massive change that took place in the last 100 years. It’s fascinating. I always knew that Venice had its own unique and crazy history, but I never would have imagined the actual scale of the transformation that’s taken place.

I know that you’ve been to the Canals, but have we gone to Mao’s Kitchen or Windward Circle? Next time you visit we’ll definitely need to explore.

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