domestic bliss

The Linda Jones Archive: Crier in the Wilderness by Chuck Jones, Part 6


Note from Linda: At the time of this article, February 7, 1957, the lead-in stated the following: “Chuck Jones has been Art Director of the Crier from its infancy, and herein tells you how come. He and Dottie dwell in a fabulous glass-and-stone aerie up in Hollywood Knolls, and Little Linda is all grown up and married.”  I was, as stated in the article, seven years old in 1944. There was no cafeteria at Valley View School in those days (is there now?), so we all carried our lunch boxes. My lunch box was a big, black industrial size box that held wonderful surprises my mother sent each day…leftover summer squash, carrot sticks, milk (a staple), peanut butter, lettuce and mayonnaise sandwiches (which I love, still), cold lamb chop, potato chips, orange, apple, apricot, celery (with cream cheese)…and often a little note of encouragement, too… she was pretty great… Now, here is part VI… and we’ll explore something else next week.

[PART VI] Why Hills?

            The success of the Crier has been of course due to the talent of these people, but I suspect that it could only flourish in a specialized community with a built in rapport between readers, in this case, perhaps a need for three dimensionality. What is it that drives people to the hills? Seclusion? Some hillside communities are so tightly inhabited that the roof of one house supports part of the foundation of another. The conceit of looking down on one’s neighbors? Hardly. Many hill residers’ homes crouch at the bottom of ravines, or back firmly into box canyons. Economy? The cheaper the hillside lot is, the steeper it is likely to be, and the costlier it is to prepare for building. The simple life? Floods, fires, poison oak, gophers, jackrabbits, landslides, transportation difficulties, RFD, black widows and oak blight.

            I return inexorably to the feeling Dottie and I have. A love of space and an acceptance of a three-dimensional world, a world in which the work and fun of climbing is equal to the joy and freedom of descending, where it is better to look up at a neighbor’s porch than flatly at your neighbor’s hedge, where a picture window makes sense because it frames a picture, where the roof-tops in the morning tell you there has been a frost, where you can look down on a bird in flight, where you can tell hillsiders from people by the fact that they read the CANYON CRIER.

[Thank you for accompanying me on this little venture… come back next week to see what I have discovered to share with you.]