Couched as it was with reminders of the earthquake, the wildfires and the sagging economy, our question to readers was simple: Why do you stay in the San Fernando Valley?
In dozens of poems, essays and even a limerick, written on manual typewriters, computers or scrawled on note cards, you responded, defiantly defending your neighborhood, your strip mall, your Valley.
For some, it is the memories that keep you here: of orange groves, farmlands or the deer that once roamed the Valley floor. For others, it is as simple as the convenience of nearby malls or the endlessly sunny days. Others point to something less tangible, a collective spirit that rises in the face of each new disaster.
But we asked for your words, so we'll let you explain. Here are some of our favorite remarks, illustrated with photographs by Brian Vander Brug about why there's no place quite like the Valley to call home.
Even the Ground Is Entertaining
I live in the Valley because there's always something interesting to write home about (home being a euphemism for the Pacific Northwest, where my nuclear family still lives).
I live here because I work at Warner Bros. (I got lucky.)
I live here because my friend Pat and I polish actor DeForest Kelley's and producer A.C. Lyles' stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame every Sunday morning at 8:30. (So I'm looney!)
I live here because I can experience--firsthand, like a chicken leg--"Shake and Bake." And because there's usually sufficient "rock and roll" to suit me. (I'm not talking about music!) Don't you just love living where even the ground can furnish a compelling degree of entertainment? It keeps life from becoming routine and predictable.
Bottom line: I live in the San Fernando Valley because each and every one of my most cherished, lifelong dreams have been centered in (or very near) this magical place.
I'm not going anywhere.