Bringing the 50s Back to Los Altos Event Was Fun for Everyone!
A Story by Michele Kreinheder | Updated 12/8/2015 5:12am
Sunday's Kick-off Event "Bringing Los Altos Back to the 50s" was fun for everyone who attended. And thankfully, many (over 200) attended.
Doug Haubert, Long Beach City Prosecutor re-capped the story of the litigation against an airline that was out of compliance leading to a settlement of $50,000. It was from this settlement that two endowments were created. One endowment to benefit Bixby Knolls residents who live under the take-off path of Long Beach Airport planes, and a second endowment for Los Altos residents on the landing side.The endowments are administrated by Long Beach Community Foundation (LBCF). LBCF President and COE Marcelle Epley was on hand with a check representing the $25,000 for Los Altos Charitable Giving Fund Committee; Bill Marshall, Joe Mello and Michele "K" Kreinheder. Epley was impressed by the strength of our neighborhood gathering and willingness to work towards a common goal.Here is the story of how and why the Los Altos Charitable Giving Fund (LBCGF) came to have a holiday party in Whaley Park on Sunday, and where we hope to be next year.When Bob Soukup moved into his Whaley Park facing house, he found a four foot letter "P" in the rafters of his garage. Not sure what the "P" was for, he ended up putting it in the trash. He later found out from residents who had lived on the park in the 50s that there was a tradition that each house around the park put out a letter, or sometimes two, to spell out the sayings "Happy New Year" and "Merry Christmas" with the numbers for the year at the northeast corner house on San Anseline. Bob and I had talked about how we could bring this tradition back but we couldn't seem to get any traction going on the project.The LBCF was looking for ideas on how to use this year's $1,000 endowment allotted money to draw attention to the endowment and at the same time give something back to the community. The LBCF asked me and the Los Altos LBCGF Committee for ideas. The idea for the return of the letters sprung to mind. First we had to make sure each house around Whaley Park North was willing to be involved. Each house approved with the only stipulations being they wanted it to be the same configuration as the original design.Soon we learned that there was an original "R" letter floating around somewhere. A few door knocks lead us to the Russell household. The granddaughter recently moved into the house and found a large wooden tinfoil covered "R". She called her dad asking why it was in the garage. Logically she thought it stood for the family's last name! It turns out is was the "R" used for "Merry" on the east side of the Park. This was exciting stuff, plus now we had a template for our new letters.Jane Barrett, an originally owner who lives on the west side of the park recalled how the San Anseline side started it off by putting up Merry Christmas. Well the other two sides were not to be outdone and decided to spell out Happy New Year. Barrett said for years they would meet at the Whaley Rec Center for a potluck to kick-off the decorating event. This is where the idea for a cookie or treat potluck came from for this year's event!Because the LBCF endowment can only be used by non-profit organizations we have asked the Boys Scouts to run with the project of creating and installing solar lit letters for next year. We are hoping the area Girl Scouts can contribute the organizing of a food drive and ginger-bread cookie decorating contest. The holiday music and other support provided by the 4th District Council office made the event special and we are hoping they can help us again next year. Our Los Altos Santa was phenomenal and I have insider information that he will do a repeat next year.Everyone's enthusiasm for the letters and event was satisfying, to say the least. We do have our work cut out for us for next year but I know everyone will rise to the occasion. A donation from area residents and businesses to the Long Beach Charitable Giving Fund could help bring even more neighborhood building events to Los Altos. If you have an idea on how to improve this event, we would love to hear from you.Los Altos Charitable Giving Fund Committee; Bill Marshall, Joe Mello, Michele "K" Kreinheder, and Marcelle Epley