I loved life in Southern California, there was always something to do. We went to Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm and in the summer, we went to the beach. We were surrounded by mountains so if we chose to do so we could go to the mountains. We were close to Hollywood and most people who grew up in Southern California did see movie stars once in awhile.
I was spending a lot of time with my friend Darla and her brothers who were twins. We would play poker using toothpicks instead of money. We'd also play croquet in Darla's back yard. Darla had a famous professional wrestler living next door to her and we would peek over the brick wall and watch him rehearse his wrestling matches.
Darla invited me to go with her to her aunt and uncle's home in La Canada, a Los Angeles suburb. We drove up there excited about our upcoming adventure. As we drove we discussed what was the best ride at Disneyland. In those days Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was very, very popular with the kids and the twins insisted that was the best ride ever. Our other subject was Bucky Beaver. Bucky Beaver was a cartoon icon in a commercial for Ipana tooth paste. Everyone loved Bucky Beaver at that time and we knew and sang the words to the commercial.
When we arrived in La Canada, we had fun searching the canyons. The canyons were filled with wildlife and running streams. It was fun to just watch the squirrels and other small wild life.
Darla's uncle had built a beautiful ranch style house in the canyons. I remember that I thought it was the most beautiful home I'd ever seen. It was the first time I'd seen a fireplace that was visible from two different rooms. This particular fireplace was made of stone and was on a wall that was shared by the living room and on the other side, the family room. I was awestruck. This home also had the first built in oven I had ever seen. I fell in love with this beautiful home and the city of La Canada.