Sometimes, things from the past just flow into my head regardless whether I want them there. It brought to mind one of Bob Dylan’s well-known song from the 1960s that continues to foretell the fate of our little community, “The Times They Are A Changin.’”
Our tough little community that has fought change for the past 50 years. First there was the 210 freeway dividing the town, then there was the fighting the California Highway Patrol that wanted to build a field office here. Later we had the “No to Home Depot” and the “mansionization” of our rural homes. And of course we can’t forget the Whitebird Project, the Snowball Development, the Canyon Homes Development and the HSR. Yup, this is one battling town we have here. I got tired of trying to put names to the different people involved in these fights so I just called them “Water Drinkers.”
Dylan sums it all up for us with his statement, “Admit that the waters around you have grown,” when he attacked poverty, homelessness and racism. And he points out that if something needs changing, you better hop to it or you will be left behind. What was so important in the ‘60s is just as important now. And regardless of whether or not we like what is happening here, we better get on board in our little rural pond and help with the changes or they will be made for us.
There are some givens here:
1.) We used to be a tight cohesive little town;
2.) We had community organizations
that really brought the people together either to help one another or to just party down;
3.) Cars weren’t as fast then as they are now and we didn’t have so many traffic deaths;
and 4.) People hadn’t the slightest idea what an Armenian or Korean was. Well, those days are gone and as Dylan said, “you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone.”
The Internet has brought new wonders to the world and in particular Sunland-Tujunga where social media is the second language — at least for a lot of good people. And things are a-changin how we perceive our neighbors. This past Saturday, we had the Armenian Culture and Arts Festival, the first we’ve ever had and an event that looks like it will continue in the future. People are always ragging on me about my friendliness towards the Armenians, and I just answer them, “Without the Armenians coming into our community with their businesses and homes, S-T would be just another hick town on the way to becoming a blighted area.”
Look around you: we’re not looking like a third-world nation anymore. Our buildings aren’t all shuttered up and closed. There’s a vitality that we thought lost. In fact, it’s new money coming into our town that is making the difference. The Koreans created the Commerce Center Plaza and the largest church in California with more than 40,000 members. The Armenians brought in their culture as well as the neighborhood grocery store and bakeries. Hell, they even took the water-sogged theatre and built the Great Caesars Banquet Hall that is one of the best in the area.
Yup, the times they are a-changin and you better get used to it, for what we have here is the wave of the future. And yes, you can say, “It was the water!”