Cultivating Community for 3 Generations
Written By: Jillian Wilding
While I was working in one of our Good Neighbor Gardens this past week I was visited by the local mailman, Leonard. He was so excited to see me working and marveled at the new installation on Yosemite street, in Crown Point. He mentioned that out of all the time he has been delivering mail, this may have just become his new favorite yard! Leonard is a gardener himself with a big heart for native plants and pollinators. He loved seeing what we have been cultivating at Mark and Dani’s home and I got a moment to share with him what a lovely addition this new young family is to this neighborhood.
Leonard and I took some time to catch up and he asked about my parents, my aunts and my uncles all of whom he knows quite well. He also took some time to remind me how lucky I am to be able to garden in this particular neighborhood. We talk about all of the neighbors we loved like Judy and her sweet dog Blaze, and the Heinz family that lived in this same house 30 years earlier, a family my father had grown up with. Leonard of course did not miss the opportunity to talk about how much he loved and missed seeing my grandparents sitting and waving at their neighbors from their front porch, which they did nearly every day.
For the past 25 years Leonard has been delivering mail to this community, my grandparents being among the many lucky neighbors receiving his mail.
My grandparents had lived on the same street just one block down from this new garden for nearly 50 years. This is where my grandparents had raised their 9 children, lived and loved until their passing just a few years ago. Their family home also happens to be where I live now.
Now on Yosemite Street, 50 years later, my family is still cultivating and participating in community but now in a seemingly different way. I may not be the Pacific Beach town council president like my uncle Joe and I'm certainly not spearheading any beautification and restoration projects like my grandmother quite yet, but I try and carry on my families legacy for community involvement in other ways.
I walk to work with my bucket of gardening supplies and I pass by all of the neighbors my family and I have loved for decades. After my one block walk, I arrive at the Mark and Dani’s beautiful and blossoming front yard garden. If I stop by in the evening I am greeted by a group of young and smiling neighbor kids that are happily enjoying the plants and bugs. I invite them to join me in working in the garden, and together we continue to cultivate this community, but this time from the ground up. We smile and wave at our neighbors, plant seeds and nourish them. The other day I was even lucky enough to introduce them to Leonard.