Joe Applegate's look at Granada Hill's ("A Down-to-Earth Suburban Life Style" March 19) unlocked our family trunk full of fond memories of when this area was more of a bucolic, north-Valley outpost than the populous, "freeway-close" community it now is.
Thanks to the GI Bill of Rights, we acquired our brand-new Alden tract house on the corner of a newly paved cul-de-sac just west of Balboa Boulevard and south of Rinaldi Street.
The year was 1954, and the price was a lofty $13,500, with nothing down for vets. This bought us four bedrooms, two baths, fireplace and then some.
Fourteen years later, Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) moved us out to make way for the Simi Valley Freeway. Purchase price: $24,000, plus moving costs. That largess enabled us to relocate to Eagle Rock, one of Los Angeles' original "bedroom communities."
Today, Applegate tells us a home on a "nondescript cul-de-sac" in Granada Hills, sounding much like ours but bypassed by the state, goes for almost a quarter of a million dollars! Such is life.
Our immediate neighbors back then, not a few of whom became close and lasting friends, were also recipients of the government's generosity that aided millions of post-World War II tyro homeowners, the housing industry and the nation's economy overall as it converted from war to peace.
As a beneficiary, I've always felt grateful. Today, I often think of what some modified version of the GI Bill could do for young families aspiring to home ownership, the sluggish housing-construction industry and our nation's mercurial economy. The cost of one B-1 bomber or Trident submarine could buy a lot of front-door keys.