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Natives and Newcomers

September 12, 1993

Alan Kishbaugh is right on target on the beautiful descriptions of California in the "old days" (Commentary, Sept. 3). Tears came to my eyes as he discussed Angels Flight, the distance between the cities with landscapes of acres and acres of orange trees, and the only freeway being that of the Arroyo Seco. My recollections are of going to "downtown" Los Angeles at Christmastime to see all of the decorated windows. My family would make a big thing of this since we took public transportation from South Gate. I remember the beauty of the "new" Union Station when all of the Ohio relatives came to visit. We had no need to be fearful to ride our bikes a couple of miles to the ice cream parlor and the innocence connected with our teen-age years. We left the house unlocked while on vacation for the milkman and iceman to come in and leave their products just before we returned home.

I was born here; so were a lot of my good friends with whom I am still in contact. Our South Gate friends get together to talk of what used to be and to try to hold on to the past . . . just a tad. We aren't trying to deny today; we are only too aware of it.

JANICE CADY-KENSON, Placentia

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Kishbaugh states, "Natives are not highly regarded in a state that is constantly flooded by newcomers, many of whom seek to replicate . . . the world they left behind." Does he realize the profound irony of his statement? He goes on to state, "We're the ones who know the place . . . like Rodney Dangerfield (we) get no respect." I know a few Chumash, Gabrielino/Tongva, Yokut and others who just laughed themselves to tears.

It is, I suppose, a morbid fascination on my part, like gawking at wreckage, that I continue to read how land thieves refer to each other as natives or not, depending upon when they stole their little bit of heaven. As far as memories are concerned, I remember when you called our world the New World because we kept it clean and unspoiled. I remember when the buffalo roamed, when we were free and you were fleeing persecution. I remember when we helped you gain your freedom. Now that you've seen the emptiness of your lifestyle and your religion, you are coming back to us to save you again. Unfortunately, we still can't turn you away even though you now want to steal the last thing we have, our spirit.

LARRY HILL, Seneca Nation, Arcadia

*

Kishbaugh's commentary was a breath of fresh air for this native Californian.

I, too, remember how it used to be and sometimes regret that it has changed so much. But you just need to get away from the area for awhile to really appreciate it.

It is still the Golden State.

BARBARA CARRIGAN, Murrieta

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