How far we have come….

When ever we are about to go through a major change in life, I have a tendency to “look back” to see how far we have come. My last post was all about some of the memories we have made in the house we are about to move away from, but this post….this post goes back further…to our roots…where we came from.
My husband and I both started out in our marriage with nothing but each other. We scraped and pinched to get by. At one point (when he was first in the Coast Guard) we were living off of less than a thousand dollars a month!! and we had a little one in diapers!! We made it through, but all the while, never gave up hope that one day we would have better. Through the years things got better for us. We went from living in a two bedroom apartment, to a three bedroom house, and then another three bedroom house in an even better neighborhood (both rented) to finally purchasing our first home…all on OUR OWN! no inheritance, no mommy or daddy giving us money!! We saved and worked HARD. At one point John had his primary job, and then on weekends he/we would work another job with an advertising agency posting up ads around the city (San Francisco) and all around the bay area, in specific locations. I would go with him and help with the paper work, while both kids entertained themselves with books and games in the back seat. We got to know the city very well and saw some amazing and crazy things. Making this extra money allowed us to take our first vacation as a family to Hawaii, and also buy our first home.
John and I both met in our home town at a mutual friend’s house. I never ever in a million years thought I would end up marrying someone from Redondo, but I did. That was a shocker in of itself. I knew however that I was not destined to live and raise my children in Redondo Beach. For those of you that don’t know where Redondo Beach is, it is in Southern CA, and the neighboring towns are Hermosa Beach, Torrance, and Palos Verdes.
Much has changed where we grew up. It is no longer the place we once knew. Some things are still the same, yet others are vastly different. I think the Los Angeles area in general is a place of “transition”where many don’t stay for long, before eventually leaving. Some do stay, and they will always stay, but many move due to job opportunities, real estate opportunities and just because they feel they need to leave in order to move on. It has been weird watching it change over the years. Single family homes have become multi unit condos, all on one lot where a single house once stood. Businesses have come and gone, and landmarks have been torn down. Every time we have gone back to Redondo to visit, something else has changed, and I never get used to that.
I prefer to look back and think of our hometown as the place where we met. Where my daughter was born, and where we began our lives together. I like to think of it frozen in time…back to the way it once was.
When I look at it now I can’t help but think of how far we have come since then…how our goals and dreams have come true through hard work and determination, and not by sitting around and waiting for someone to hand them to us. How we have grown and evolved as parents, and how people we once knew have come back into our lives, while others have disappeared.
Here are some images of the town where we grew up, and where our journey started. Images here include memories of ours, and I am sure some of our childhood friends will get a bit of nostalgia while looking at them as well. These are our memories of where we came from.

Just street signs from our home town

This car wash has been there forever. This was at the end of the street where my parents first home was. The car wash has been abandoned for years. I wish I knew what was going on with this piece of land!! It is worth quite a chunk of change, and someone is obviously not willing to part with it just yet!!

Where our home once stood on Irena. They tore it down and put this there soon after my parents moved out! This was built in 1977 or 78 I believe.

Right here on this corner (where the blue building is) was Vince’s Produce. I would love going there because the owner would tease my brother and I saying “he was going to hang us from the hook!” it was a banana hook where he placed all the bananas! LOL! then he would give us a piece of fruit. He was funny. Sadly his business has been long gone.

Looking down our old street. My brother Steve and I were the only ones who lived on Irena. My other brother was born  in the other house.

The next house we lived in, and my dad’s current residence. The little blue house next door was and still is where Susie and her kids Ross and Erin lived. (the kids no longer live there but she does!) I miss Erin and Ross! 

arial view of my elementary school!! The place seemed so HUGE to me when I was little! but now when I drive by it, it seems so little!!

My grandparents tiny 732 square foot beach bungalow!! They lived there all their lives. My dad still owns the place. John and I lived there a bit when Ciarra was a baby, before we moved to Marin County.

Another view. I love the bougainvillea tree! My grandfather planted it. You can see some of the original houses of the neighborhood.

All three of these homes are original. My dad’s best friend lived on one of them across the street. 

This place makes me smile. My grandpa used to take us here to buy us candy!! and I would visit here to get ice cream in the summer on the way home from the beach!! 

Thrifty Ice cream! YUMMY!

Now this is what sits where Thrifty once was…It is now a strip mall with a Whole Foods.
LOVE EAT A JOES!! a local hang out for sure!! It was so cool the last time I was there. I saw so many people I knew! such a cool place! You go up to the top of the hill and make a right to get to my Dad’s.

This place is now a community for seniors. It was the drive in where we used to go in our PJ’s to watch movies! I still remember seeing Charlie Brown there!!

This is what is now where the drive in was. ๐Ÿ™
What you see when you are driving south on PCH.

My most favorite park in the south bay!! I loved this place as a kid, and John and I brought our kids here, and they loved it! I hope they never take this away!! EVER! that rocket has been there since I can remember.

Such an awesome view from the park!!

Lots of green space to run and play

Great pano I found on google of the view!

I love you Rocket Ship Park!

Del Amo Mall!! They filmed the food court scenes of the movie “Valley Girl” here, which of course cracks me up because this is the BEACH area…and SO NOT the Valley!! LOL!

View looking towards PV from Del Amo Mall.

One of my most favorite places to go as a kid for birthdays!!! I would freak when they would bring out the “Zoo” and make all that noise!!!

Inside Old Towne mall!! I loved it there!!!

Carousel at Old Towne.

THIS PLACE WAS THE BOMB! it was right down the street from my grandparents. On knob hill and PCH. I loved the banana milk shakes!!! I wish this place never went away!
This is what now stands where Foster’s was…what a waste. An empty store that was once a video rental place!! UGH.

The Seaside Lagoon! I spent many a summer here as a kid.

This is called “the queen’s necklace view” and from where this photo was taken, you are in Palos Verdes Estates. A very NICE community! It was once cattle farms!

LANDMARK SIGN!! was there since I was little. It is now gone. ๐Ÿ™

Loved this place!

This is still there and from what I remember when I was last there, still really busy on the weekends.

The Esplanade with view of the Pacific. It is weird to see it now in pictures!!  LOL

A view of Redondo beach looking towards PV. I would walk or roller skate down here a LOT. 

Wilderness Park in Redondo beach. 

 The following pics are of Historic houses in Redondo…ORIGINAL homes!! Not the overly huge looking monstrosities that are there now. BLECH. I like original California beach style homes! They are charming.

This one could fit in well HERE where I am now! 

This was once the library!! It has ocean views from inside.  A GREAT building!! Now there are functions there etc. The library is now to the right of where the Whole Foods is in a previous pic here above.

The Pier

The famous Tony’s on the pier!

The Wyland wall.

murals of how Redondo once looked long ago!

Going down to the beach

The Fun Factory on the pier!

This place has always been there since I was a kid! I loved the fish and chips from here!

The marina


historic building right next to city hall.

I always went here with my friend Erin (the one from next door!) to eat, and my hubby would come here to pick up tortillas, and chorizo for his grandma here all the time. A classic north Redondo place!!

While this is NOT Redondo, but Hermosa, it is still a part of our lives. My hubby and I went here for more than one date! Great place!

Good Stuff in Hermosa!!!

Hermosa now….

Hermosa then…..

Again…Hermosa…where I spent a LOT of time in summer during high school!!

A classic Hermosa dive bar!

Went here a lot too!

from Hermosa Ave. looking up pier ave.

The house in Hermosa where John and I met!!! What fun times we had here. This was Matty’s house. I think if you were around in the early 90’s in Redondo or Hermosa, chances are that you ended up here once or twice! LOL!!! Party in the Garden!! LOL!

 And from here John and I went off to begin our adventure together…which this July 28th will have been 18 years!! I can’t believe how much time has passed already. I am amazed at how far we have come, and the things we have seen. While John and I spent out childhood in one area, our kids have been in a few areas! Ciarra has lived in southern and northern CA, Washington state, and now Virginia. Soren has only lived in Northern CA, and here in Virginia. I am glad our kids have had the chance to see various parts of the USA. It is good for them to experience different people and places…good for us too!
We really have grown accustomed to the weather and seasons now. We love trees, and can’t believe we ever lived without them before!
Our home town of Redondo will always hold a special place in our hearts though…it is where we fell in love and where our daughter was born. It is where both John and I were born as well. It is where we went through happy times as well as crappy times. We still have family and friends back home, and so we will always have the chance to go back for a visit. This blog post is dedicated to all of the people who have touched out lives. Hopefully in the near future they will all come visit us!! 

Until next post…may you always find love, peace and happiness where ever you may go!!
Love to you all!

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