It is commonly held that the founders of Azusa, California named it such because they envisioned it having “everything from A to Z in the USA”, but one Los Angeles Times writer had another theory (via Wikipedia.)
Azusa has enough for me. I moved here from North Hollywood on March 10th, 2010. This small city (pop. 45,000) is cinched right up to the foothills of the Angeles National Forest, which is contiguous with the San Bernardino National Forest. The main drag in Azusa is Foothill Drive. I am writing this at a Starbucks situated on that road.
My first weekend in town, I took a walk towards the mountains, intending to touch them. But they were farther than they looked, so after two miles I ended up sitting in a little concrete seating area among flowers.
There are plenty of palms here, and plenty of March sunshine.
Been exploring. My typical day involves laptop time at Starbucks, the library, and another coffee shop called Kelly’s Coffee and Fudge (co-operated with a Greek bakery.) Sometimes I hit up a McDonald’s for their free WiFi too, though the atmosphere is not “me”. At all. Starbucks isn’t me, either, for that matter, but they open early. I have been getting up at 5:00 a.m. every day and going to bed before midnight. The schedule works well enough for me. I get plenty done. I write.
People are friendly here. People open doors for disabled people. Drivers stop at crosswalks, usually.
There are things to do. I wouldn’t call it everything A to Z though.
I did take a trip out to Venice Beach. A pilgrimage of sorts, an odyssey, even. I visited the small garage my dad rented a block from the beach in the beatnik 1950s. Got on the phone with him and he was able to describe my surroundings in acute detail. Those were some formative years for my dad. Poetry, art. I paid homage. More on that in another post.
Yesterday my friends Tony and Victor and I piled into Victor’s truck and drove around downtown L.A. Victor played the tour guide, describing everything as we wove through town. We didn’t bother paying $3.00 per 15 minutes to park anywhere and walk around. Instead we drove to Pasadena and took a drive in the foothills where the rich and famous live. We identified one famous person’s house: Delta Burke’s. It’s pink. It’s gated. It’s in the hills with all the other elite. Beautiful houses. I’d like one, please.
Back to Azusa. It’s not exciting, but it’s pretty, and I have new friends here. Friends who listen, friends who speak, friends who laugh.