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A Town for the Ageless

By Ann Christoph
By Ann Christoph

Just when I was so disillusioned—thinking that our younger and older generations were never going to connect, I was inspired. I was listening to our local radio station KX 93.5 driving back home from downtown. I love to hear the conversation on that station—you never know what interesting takes the hosts are going to have on Laguna Beach news, or what personal details Tyler and friends are going to reveal in their commentary. I have to say though, that most of the music is something I endure while waiting for some more local talk.

I happened upon “School’s Out” hosted by Thurston student 11-year-old Lura Buckle, with her mom, Laura Buckle, and friends from school providing more local color. It’s on from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Introducing the show, Lura explains, “The generational alt rock that the station plays is alright, but I want to play what we are listening to at school.” Hm, let’s see what that is, I wondered. “Would I find her choices to be totally incomprehensible? Not at all like hippie folk music of my college years, with its simple lyrics and singable melodies?

But every track was one I could relate to, but especially this one by Pink.

“We are the searchlights. . . We are the rockets pointed up at the stars. We are the billions of beautiful hearts and you sold us down the river too far. What about us?

. . . Are you ready? I’ll be ready. Cause now it’s time to let them know. We are ready…

Our younger generation is more and more ready and we are standing strong, continuing to protect our town, trying to make wise decisions, continuing with the more than half century of preserving open space, keeping the village character, protecting neighborhoods, grasping onto the integrity of Laguna. All the while thinking of future generations appreciating our work and carrying on these traditions while facing the new challenges that will always keep lapping up along our fragile shores.

As I spent one more night in the council chambers taking part in the Coast Inn hearing, there were Arnold and Bonnie Hano in the front, listening and then speaking in their characteristic insightful and humorous way.

We were there until after 1 a.m., Hanos included. Now in their 90s, they have been testifying, petitioning, and advocating with an environmental and social conscience for Laguna Beach for over 60 years. They and other like-minded activists have helped achieve the preservation of the Greenbelt, the 36’ building height limit, Main Beach Park, and many other assets of Laguna that continue to make our city especially loved and appreciated.

Where were the younger generations at that meeting and others? Are they indeed ready? Will our environmental gains be maintained and furthered into the future? That is why I was disillusioned as I pondered that meeting in the following days, and why I was looking for ways to connect. The music Lura chose told me, yes, we can connect.

How? Blending our friends across age categories as we define common issues. Be age-blind as well as color blind. Does it matter if one friend has white hair and another just graduated from college if values and goals are in common? Age is an artificial divide between people just as is race, gender, and other descriptions over which the individual has no control.

 

Understanding and helpfulness—each stage in life has its challenges. Those starting out to establish households have an especially hard time in our present era. Let’s jointly work on strategies to cope with those issues.   Those who didn’t grow up in the computer age aren’t as adept in understanding the full range of potential uses; as experiences are shared, all benefit. We all have Laguna and its future in common.

The searchlights, the rockets pointing up to the stars, the billions of beautiful hearts are all of us, and we are ready, ready to keep being inspired and persistent together.

 

Ann Christoph is a landscape architect who has been involved with historic preservation both professionally and as a local advocate. She is a former mayor and city council member.

 

 

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