Sunday, July 5, 2009


I grew up in a nondescript San Jose neighborhood with housing tracts constructed in the mid-'70s to the early '80s. Not quite East San Jose, not quite South San Jose, and no catch-all name for the neighborhood, unless you count the Ramblewood tag that never really took. Something tells me South Central San Jose won't stick either.

I remember being upset that I lived in a nameless place, and to this day I have difficulty explaining the location. It doesn't seem right to describe a neighborhood in terms of freeways and freeway exits or the nearest shopping mall. Maybe I'll start saying I grew up near the Lord of the Rings streets. Maybe I grew up in Middle-earth.

Los Angeles neighborhood identity is a tricky business. A sliver of the Van Nuys neighborhood wants to leave and join up with the adjacent, tonier Sherman Oaks neighborhood. Valley Glen and Lake Balboa also split from Van Nuys in recent years. Poor Van Nuys. I don't know what's be a neighborhood with zero identity or a neighborhood with a negative identity.


pneyu said...

Your San Jose housing tract actually had a name? Fan-cee!

BaddicusFinch said...

Pretty much just a label on a map. I was always envious of the Seven Trees area for having a name that people actually used. Now I'm curious which 7 trees the name referred to.