(Reprinted from the June 12, 2018 issue of the Messenger Mountain News)
â€śRose Wiley has lived in Topanga her whole life and is our eldest native. Her grandfather, Francisco Trujillo, boarded horses and lived off the land while homesteading in 1886. Rose, the daughter of Dolores and Cornelia Trujillo, was born in 1931.
Rose attended elementary school in the old schoolhouse on Topanga Canyon Boulevard (now Froggyâ€™s) and later went to Canoga Park high school. At that time, the valley was mostly farmland; Santa Monica, a fragment of what it was to become, was the place for supplies and entertainment.
As a young adult, Rose worked in the canyon at the Hitching Post and met Robert (â€śBobâ€ť) Wiley, whom she married in 1952. In 1959, they procured a building permit in one day and built the house where she still lives. When reflecting upon life in Topanga at that time, Rose says that people â€śknew each other and watched out for each other.â€ť
Rose and Bob had six children and have seven grandchildren. Their children have wonderful memories of Topanga and its rugged beauty. The family liked to go camping and they embarked on many adventures. Sometimes, times were tough but they always managed. Rose was a good seamstress and made many of the childrenâ€™s clothes. She also sewed for others and claimed she was often paid less than it was worth. Bob (who passed away at 91 in 2010) worked for many years as an electrical/mechanical technician.
Progress moved along with time. The Valley exploded with construction in the fifties and real estate prices followed suit. In the sixties and seventies, Rose was busy raising their children and wasnâ€™t involved in the counter-culture that brought many people to Topanga. Her children were church-going and Rose made sure to instill a strong sense of responsibility in them.
Rose has a great memory and is thankful for her many blessings. Her house is often the scene of large family gatherings where food and memories are shared. These days she can be known to linger in her lovely garden and surrounding property.
Rose is a cherished living legend in Topanga. May she continue to enjoy her life here.â€ť
For more information, go to Topanga Historical Society at topangahistoricalsociety.org.