Ira, you asked for a bit of writing about the Thousand Oaks neighborhood. It is hard to capture the unique qualities of the place, but for many reasons it is very special--the natural beauty, the history, the sense of community.
Just imagine standing in front of the Oaks Theatre on a late Saturday afternoon, looking down Solano Avenue and seeing cats' paws of fog rolling up the Avenue from the bay. The warm air turns sharply chill, and if you're 9 or 10 years old it's time to run home before the fog settles in.
For a child, the neighborhood provides everything within walking distance - Thousand Oaks School, churches, Northbrae Library, doctors' offices, Park 'n Shop and the movies. But the best, most magical part of the neighborhood is the Indian lore.
A 10 year old leaving the Oaks Theatre can walk up a city path to Contra Costa Avenue. Turning left, about a block farther on, is a small city park consisting of a huge granite rock. The park department cut steps in the rock sometime before the 1940's, and children can climb up to its top. There, carved in the rock is a well where neighbors say Indians used to grind their acorns. Imagine! The acorns that fall all over the playground in The Grove at Thousand Oaks School could be ground and eaten!
After examining the well, a child can stand and look out across the bay--The golden gate, San Francisco, Marin County are spread out in splendor. But it doesn't take much imagining to picture the scene as the Indians saw it--Gone are the city, the bridges, the ships--and all that remains is the sparkling blue bay and the golden hills. Why, a child can pretend to be an Indian in that park! And for a few hours the city slips away.
But there are even more magical places in Thousand Oaks. Down near Colusa Circle, Visalia Avenue rambles down the hill. There, under the oak trees, runs a creek behind the stucco houses. And next to the creek are Indian "mounds." In the 1940's, archealogists from Cal came to study the mounds, and retrieved many treasures. But they didn't find them all! Even a small boy and his little sister could find arrowheads in the gardens there in the years following the excavations. Do more arrowheads remain?
If a child doesn't find an arrowheads and tires of searching, it's just a short walk to Thousand Oaks School, where old oak trees with giant hollows in their trunks provide hiding places for more Indian games. Surely, these hollows were created by real Indians themselves in the days before the school was built along Strawberry Creek. But if not, it really doesn't matter, because it seems that way.
There are many ways of experiencing life in the Thousand Oaks neighborhood, but one of the best is to be in about the fourth grade and hear the stories of what has been, right there, in that beautiful place.
Ira & Carol offer professional real estate services in Berkeley, Albany, Kensington, El Cerrito, and nearby communities in San Francisco's East Bay, and free referrals to other outstanding Realtors in the United States & Canada.
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