Â© NANCY SAUL-LARSON Mama, Owlfrieda, and Papa, Owlfred (not pictured), may soon be empty nesters. These downy Great Horned Owl fledglings will soon be riding the night winds to hunt on their own. The family has been in the neighborhood for at least five years and is a great source of joy as the male and female nurture and fiercely protect their brood from crows, hawks, and other dangers.
This is the last, but not least of our month-long poetry slam, to which weâ€™ve dedicated three pages. The response from our local poets was so prolific that weâ€™ll continue to provide a platform for this art form as often as we can. One heartwarming observation worth noting is the acknowledgement two of the poets made to their parents. Chronicle contributor Joel Bellman and his brother discovered that their father, a university English professor, wrote and frequently published his poems, something his sons never knew until after his passing (page 10). Poet Anita McLaughlin gives her mother a nod in â€śApril Comes to the Valleyâ€ť (page 8) upon discovering one of her poems.
We segue into Motherâ€™s Day with an edition that accumulated an abundance of kid stories, specifically kids attending schoolâ€”specifically Topanga Elementary Charter Schoolâ€”as they slowly make the transition from the virtual to the actual classroom experience with their teacher and classmates occupying the same (still distanced and masked) space. Everyone is excited. Where would schools be without mothers?
Which brings us to another, well, two markers that help us count the days, Motherâ€™s Day on May 9, then Fatherâ€™s Day on June 20. No job is harder, yet more satisfying than parenting as demonstrated in the Bonnell neighborhood. It is burgeoning with little kids from ages one to five years old who race their Razors, cover the street with chalk mermaids, octopi, and creative hop-scotch patterns, play soccer and practice softball in the park with their parents.
Two weekend birthday parties brought back memories of when my son, then four, and I moved to Bonnell Drive in this town called Topanga from New York City. Back then It was Big Wheels screaming down the hill and Joe Karnes, who lived just across the creek, was the first of Vajâ€™s lifelong friends. At the current parties, some of the guests, now moms and dads, were also lifelong friends from elementary school. It was fun to hear their stories.
The best thing about Motherâ€™s Day and other prescribed holidays is they provide reminders of the continuum of life, especially if you live long enough to tell a 20-year-old, â€śI remember when you were a bump in your motherâ€™s belly,â€ť and watch them roll their eyes. As my mother would say when my sister and I got out of hand, â€śWait until you have kids,â€ť and sheâ€™d get a mischievous glint in her eye and murmur, â€śGrandparentsâ€™ revenge.â€ť I think that plan backfired because she doted on the grandkids and Granny played a big part in their lives, passing on at the age of 96.
Joanne Cinelli Martinezâ€”1929-2021
After a brief battle with lung cancer, Joanne passed peacefully on April 5, at the age of 92, with her family by her side. Their remembrance of her will appear in the next issue of The Canyon Chronicle on May 14. The family invites those who wish to send their condolences and memories to the memorial Facebook page named Cinelli Martinez.