I am one of those miserable ex-Sepulvedians Robert Jones mentions in his article. For the last few years, I have been cringing in my drab, down-market "ranchette," as Mr. Jones so vividly writes. Does he mean to imply that the homes are baby ranches, or merely that they are sprinkled with salad dressing?
For years I have refused to give anyone my address. Each morning I have left the house carefully disguised in sunglasses, overcoat, and blond wig, not wanting to associate myself with seedy, sad Sepulveda.
Yesterday that all changed. I flung off my disguise and stepped into the sunlight that symbolically bathed . . . North Hills !
Actually, Sepulveda has been good to me. When my family and I immigrated to the United States almost four years ago, we knew that the Los Angeles property market was one of the most expensive in the country. All we wanted was a modest, older home in a quiet, peaceful part of the San Fernando Valley.
Easier said than done.
We searched through the socially acceptable areas of Northridge, Granada Hills and Woodland Hills, discovering that even the better neighborhoods have suspect areas. Every house we could afford was on the wrong side of the boulevard or the railroad tracks or was a Lilliputian ranchette.
We briefly considered a two-bedroom cottage in Woodland Hills. We worked out that if we sawed our sofa in half and kept all the doors permanently ajar, we just might fit. We decided that it was time to either move to New Zealand or to change real estate agents.
Our new agent listened to our laments, bundled us into her Mercedes and drove us to western Sepulveda. There it was: a modest house, but it did have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a living room large enough for our sofa.
The house needed paint, but it was on a quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac where most of the surrounding houses were well-kept with neat lawns and pretty gardens. We canceled our tickets to New Zealand and moved in.
Real estate values in this area have done very nicely, contrary to Mr. Jones' gloomy opinion. Last year, property prices in this area dropped much less than in more chic areas because this is one of the last attractive and affordable areas in the Valley.
Our neighbors include several schoolteachers, an engineer and an artist. There are even a couple of doctors living down the block. Yes, Mr. Jones, doctors in Sepulveda.
I will enjoy living in North Hills even more. Now I don't have to worry about moving to a flashier address.
Where else in the world could one get to live in a better neighborhood without moving? Only in California.