Village Matters


A Shared History


By Ann Christoph

Guard at a state prison, mechanic at a copper mine, child day-care provider. Kids working as security guards while attending school, grade-school janitor and Mexican restaurant waiter, someone who does something having to do with making technical monitoring devices, civil engineer, banker, Japanese translator and insurance office worker.


School bus driver, seafood restaurant cook, structural engineer, fifth grade teacher, retired nurse, city accounting manager, National Guard master sergeant, helicopter mechanic…


All these are brought into the complex holiday mix. Why would all these people come together who would seem to have nothing in common except holidays, funerals, weddings, graduations and birthdays?


There are deeper aspects that are in common, a value that makes family important, life priorities passed down from the respected earlier generations. A shared history.


You and I have the same grandmother, heard the same stories.


We helped Joe, mom, and others when they fell sick.


I knew your dad in 1961. I remember his laugh.


As farm laborers we planted a walnut orchard and you said, “If we don’t get out of here and make something of ourselves, we’ll be harvesting the nuts from these trees.”


We all made something of ourselves.  Some of us in Laguna, some elsewhere.  For a brief moment every year we come together to acknowledge our commonality.  Gathering those familiar values together one more time before embarking on yet another year filled with unknown challenges.


Rejoicing in how far we’ve come, we look forward to being given another empty calendar waiting to be filled with new adventures.


I think of my little niece all dressed for her first day of school, standing bravely in the kitchen grasping her tiny backpack.  “I’m ready, mama,” she asserted in her small child’s voice.


2012, we’re ready. To make something wonderful of it.


Landscape architect Ann Christoph is a former Laguna Beach elected official.


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