We lived in Van Nuys when I was small having moved from Toronto and were part of the mass exodus of people who moved to California in the 60's from the East Coast. This was probably the biggest adventure of my life. Our original plan was to go to Boston but my Finnish parents were not impressed with the industrial side of the city where it just so happened that our luggage was to be picked up at the train station. This is the way I remember it anyway. We sat in the back of the old Ford Meteor and our parents asked us where we would like to move instead? We shouted out 'california!!' in unison and our split second decision was made. Or was it a split second...who knows what other conversations had transpired before that moment in time.
And we were on our way...then there were the lilacs. We lived in a quaint three bedroom house in Van Nuys...I'll try to dig up some photos...it was on Calhoun Avenue. Well we had a front porch that I spent almost as much time on as I did sitting up in an enormous tree in our backyard. The front porch was made of cement and painted grey. Beside it was a fragrant and large California lilac that took over most of what was our dining room window. It was one of those windows that you see in The Little Golden Books that featured stories about children running across meadows with flower wreaths on their heads and lambs running alongside. It was a wooden window that was made of three panes of glass with criss cross designs and painted white on the edges and on the criss crosses. The window opened up on the sides and you would catch the most amazing scent of lilacs. I often sat reading on that porch.
Now I have come to know that California Lilacs are indeed special and coveted by many as they are not only beautiful in colour but hardy and resilient as well. Sometimes I feel as if though I am destined to find that special place where lilacs really thrive. Not sure if I have found it yet as I have only lived in my house for 6 months and have yet to plant a lilac tree or bush. By the way this is only the beginning of my memories of Van Nuys.