Town Crier: Montclair’s not-so-picturesque car-lined streets


MONTCLARION NEWSPAPER – June 19, 2009

MY FOLKS LIVE IN MINNESOTA, on a picturesque tree-lined street between two lakes and a pond. Pretty much everyone lives between two lakes and a pond in Minnesota, but that’s not the reason for my rumination.

It’s my observation that my parents are missing out on something we enjoy here in the hills — navigating the barely passable streets of Montclair. They’ll never know the thrill of almost hitting another car that swerved out of its lane to avoid a parked vehicle. They don’t get to see the selection of used trucks, vans and sedans in America today, because their neighbors selfishly keep their cars hidden in the garage.

That’s so last century.

Don’t they realize the garage is valuable square footage? To simply use it as a car port ignores its full potential. It’s much better to throw in a bed and make it a rental, or put in a pool table and make it a den. Heck — even using it for storage is a more thoughtful use of such valuable space.

As for the cars? The more the merrier. They can be parked on the street (blind curves are especially nice) where everyone can enjoy them. After all, the automobile is a symbol of success. And from the looks of things, people around here are doing pretty well.

Local Superhero: By day he’s a mild-mannered city arborist; by night he’s known mostly as “dad.” But Dan Gallagher has another persona — that of an outdoorsman who

helped find an 11-year-old girl scout who’d wandered away from her campsite in the Santa Cruz Mountains last month.”She wasn’t crying, but I think she was very glad to see us,” said Gallagher, who does volunteer search and rescue in his spare time. It took 20 hours of combing the brush in the chilly fog before they found the young girl, who was wearing only jeans and a fleece, on May 24.

Senior Stories: One of the greatest gifts a senior can give is to share stories of his or her life. No one knows better than local writer Nancy Thompson, who has been interviewing seniors for a book called “Pioneering Spirits: A Legacy of Courage.” Nancy’s own aunt, Inez Brown, is her greatest inspiration. Inez rediscovered life at age 74, when she started painting with the Art with Elders program at Alameda Hospital. Inez Brown is in bed most of the day and hooked up to a respirator, but her art is so popular, it’s even for sale on the Web site www.mrsbrownsbeauty.com. So, to, is Nancy’s book, which she’ll be signing at a June 27 reception at the North Oakland Senior Center. Everyone is invited.

Call for Help: Doing a good deed is as easy as rounding up your unused scarves and taking them to the American Cancer Society in Oakland, 1700 Webster St. Reader Andrea Daniel says they never have enough scarves or wigs for the growing number of women who are being treated for cancer. Your show of kindness will make a difficult process a little easier.

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