The Whittling of America – Part Two – Enclaves


        Welcome back, My Dear Readers, to The Other Shoe. Welcome to Part Two of ‘The Whittling of America – Enclaves’. For those among you, My Dear Readers, that read my work often, or frequently. You’ll remember that I took an adventure last Tuesday, July 23rd . This adventure took me from my home here (for the moment) in Cypress, South to Disneyland and then finally to Rolling Hills Estates.

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I remember telling all of you, upon my return from Los Angeles, how this journey… This adventure had not only drained me physically (and left me in horrific pain) but that it had taken me from me an emotional toll, too. Over the next few pages I hope, that by retelling my adventure, you gain insight not only into me myself (Danny Hanning) and that, for maybe a moment, you have a larger view of our America.

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First I’m going to get the little something out of the way. Moreover, in advance, My Dear Readers, I sincerely apologize if at that anytime during my writings I offend. I never ever do that intentionally. If you’re coming here and reading my works it is my humble opinion you must be of above average intelligence. However, I listen to all the people that are my followers, my readers, my family, and my friends. I have no intention to talk down to anyone, but at times I will take extra time to explain and elaborate. Case in point; enclaves.

Enclave: “any small, distinct area or group enclosed or isolated within a larger one: a Chinese-speaking enclave in London.” (found here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/enclave)

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Now, My Dear Readers, I did not put the definition above there to insult anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings. I put it there so that everyone would know how it is I’m using the word, specifically. The act of populations separating themselves in areas, either by walls or geographic means, has happened throughout time as long as there has been mankind. However, more often than not this process of populations separating themselves in enclaves has either bad or mixed results. As I tell you the story, and I promise there is a story coming very soon, I want you to keep in mind this one little bit of history.

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At the height of its power the Athenian City/State, under the direction of its ruler Pericles, they waged war against Sparta. The Athenian people were led into a false sense of security, during this war, because Pericles had made the entire City/State of Athens (and the nearest port) a walled in enclave. This went along fine. For a time. The Spartans came and sacked the villages and everything outside the walls. Inside the enclave the elite Athenians and their servants felt a relative (but false) sense of security. I say false because the act of putting yourself, your people, your population in an enclave is a double-edged sword.

The City/State of Athens was brought to its knees not by see some huge standing army, in this case, but by a lowly virus. Remember Pericles had walled up the City/State of Athens and the single road that led to the nearest port (I apologize I forgot the name and I’m trying to finish writing this I will try and look it up and put it into this at a later time again I apologize). So when plague came it went through the port, and was carried up the walled road to the walled City/State of Athens. The plague ravaged everyone.

It was this plague that brought the Athenian City/State to its knees, and made it vulnerable to the Spartans. In addition, it was the act of turning the city and the port into one large fortified enclave that allowed the virus to spread so quickly and interrupted. By walling themselves up they kept virus, the plague, from infecting anyone else and it flourished in this walled in enclave. Therefore, My Dear Readers, just let that float around in the back of your mind and I tell you my story. This is my story of my first trip to Los Angeles and nearly a decade. Just a quick side note, my Dr. I used to see right here in Los Alamitos at the medical center. However, he no longer has an office there and rather than try and build a new report with a new doctor I have decided to keep seeing Dr. Gorlick at his offices and Rolling Hills Estates.

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I was awakened at 6 AM Tuesday, July 23, 2013 by my alarm. Actually, My Dear Readers, I been awake most of that night. I was tossing and turning filled with worry and plagued by pain. However, when the alarm didn’t go off at 6 AM I got up, with Allen’s help, and started preparing for what promised to be a very long day. I had already contacted OCTA access, and Access for the city of Los Angeles. I had already scheduled all the pickups and drop offs for my journey going there, and coming back. So I knew, by scheduling all the long journey, that my day would start shortly after 9 AM and I would return home here to Cypress sometime after 6 PM.

For any average American this would just be a regular normal working day. Until 10 years ago this would’ve been actually a light day for me, Danny Hanning, as a property manager of 110 units in Westwood California. Unfortunately, and I don’t mean to harp on this, honest, I am not the man I was 10 years ago. This proved to be an arduous journey at best. I was greeted in the bathroom, at about 6:30 AM, with what else? Brown water!

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Not a great start for the day, I felt bad… deep inside of me. I grabbed my cell phone and made a quick video of the Brown water, then uploaded it to YouTube as I ran the bath again. I took my bath and I put on some casual clothes, first. I had my nice Tommy Hilfiger top (a Polo shirt) all ready. As well, I had a nice pair of Tommy Hilfiger slacks all pressed and ready to go. Also, I had my Oscar de la Renta sport jacket ready. I’d look very nice going to Rolling Hills Estates. However, first came the chore of taking the disassembled power chair, putting (rather ALLEN does all the lifting and ‘putting’ things, and getting them up and down the stairs) the broken down parts of the power chair on a furniture dolly, getting them downstairs, and then having Allen the reassemble the parts into my power chair.

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Once that was done? I went back upstairs, with Allen’s help, and got dressed the best I could by myself. Then I called Alan, on his cell phone, and asked him to come up stairs and help me fasten my pants, put on my shoes, and my leg brace. Now all that remained were things I cannot do when it comes to dressing myself. By this time it was approximately 8:35-8:40 AM and the Orange County access bus was not scheduled to arrive @ nine. So Alan I sat in the courtyard area and talked for a little bit, about the adventure we were fixing to take.

I had just gone over the complete itinerary with him, so he will be fully prepared, and he had gotten the change out of the change purse I carry in the backpack attached to the back of my power chair, for the first trip of the day. This first bus was going to take us from the Cypress Lodge South about 10 miles to Disneyland. Disneyland is a transition point between Orange County Access and Los Angeles Access. Yes you can actually take an L.A. Metro bus all the way from downtown L.A. ,or even the San Fernando Valley, right to the front steps of Disneyland. However, today was not going to be a day of fun at the amusement park and having our pictures taken with Mickey or Goofy. This was just the very first leg of a very long journey, and Alan I didn’t have a clue what we were in for.

So far in our journey we have been taken from… There… I really never told you, My Dear Readers, where it is I live. The neighborhood I live in is, most likely, one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Orange County. Orange County is the very wealthy bedroom community of workers in Los Angeles. If you ever saw the Showtime series ‘Weeds’? That accurately portrays the majority of Orange County. I live in a room in, what was, an ‘extended stay’ motel. There are two others right here on this street. Prostitutes used to frequent this part of Lincoln Avenue. And when Allen I moved in there were drugs of all kinds, predominately methamphetamines, being sold from many of the rooms here in this building. I don’t know if I ever mentioned it, My Dear Readers, but I was instrumental in working with the city of Cypress Police Department and ‘We Tips’ online @ eradicating all the methamphetamine dealers, drug trafficking, and prostitution that was going on this building when I moved in.

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So, already in our journey Allen and I had traveled from a impoverished neighborhood in extended stay motel. Via a very nicely appointed, and air-conditioned, Orange County Access bus to the very steps of Disneyland. Disneyland, playground for the middle class and upper middle class is in and of itself an enclave of; roller coasters, gift shops, dining areas and all the entertainment and distractions one would imagine in a park of that size. As Allen and I were sitting in the drop off point for Orange County access to Los Angeles access. We watched as a stream of people came across the street and went in to the park area to pay their tickets and then entered the Disneyland Park itself in. We sat there for may be half an hour and we must’ve witnessed easily 3,000 people file neatly, single file, into the park.

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We, Alan I, also witnessed the tram buses coming from the different hotels and motels in the area. The Motel 6 residents would come in and a small size transport, not very well maintained, not very well appointed inside and dirty on the outside. Then you would see the very large Semi-Sized, transport for the residents of the local Doubletree. We watched as one group, of family reunion, came off the extremely well appointed and air-conditioned (and you get a cookie when you get off) tram. They filed off the tram from Doubletree in their all – all the same specifically designed for this family orange T-shirts. There must’ve been 20 of them, all in all, and they lined up along the side of the tram that they had just got off. One of the families took this large portrait of the family reunion group standing in front of the Doubletree bus on their way to have a family reunion in the Disneyland Park.

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This family looked cool calm and collected. Their clothes, even that men shorts, looked like they had been nice nicely pressed. They had freshly done hairdos and all of them had mostly brand-new sneakers and designer tennis shoes. Now, My Dear Readers, I compared them to the families that came off the Motel 6 bus. The families that came off the Motel 6 bus were carrying huge backpacks on their backs. Bottled water in their hands, and you know the packs were filled with food bottled water and extra clothes and everything that this family that had probably budgeted for years for this one trip had brought with them to make their trip to Disneyland more affordable. However, even at 9:30 AM the family that came off the Motel six bus (and I say this NOT to judge, but merely as observation) they looked hot already. Their hair was disheveled their clothes were wrinkled. It was just this stark contrast, readers, between the family that spent probably at least a year if not more saving for this one of family vacation at Disneyland and that family reunion group that came from the Doubletree Hyatt tram.

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They, each, come from their separate (financial) enclaves… Their separate worlds to try and celebrate the same thing. Be it for the Motel 6 families, or the Doubletree family, they were there for the very same reason. They were there to enjoy themselves as a family, to build memories for their children and themselves. It was just how they arrived, that morning July 23, 2013, that set my mind, and my mind’s eye, all ready into seeing what ‘The Whittling of America’ is doing to US.

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I was about to share these initial observations with my caregiver Allen when our next ride, arrived. It was the van, conversion, from Los Angeles Access, that had just pulled up in front of us. My Dear Readers, I’m going to take one quick moment and… and say something I’ve been wanting to say. From the very first pick up, Tuesday morning, to the very last drop off @ my building I live in. Every single driver I encountered was; professional, courteous, kind, nonjudgmental, helpful, friendly and everything else. This is the case, more times than not, with either Orange County or Los Angeles access services. And, at the same time, it is the single reason why I’m scared to death of writing on a mass transit bus. I don’t know that I’ve ever put this in print form… before words to it, My Dear Readers, but I’ve had one adventure in my power chair on an Orange County Metro bus and it was horrifically humiliating. It’s not just the stares, I can handle the stares, and the pointing to a certain extent.

But in just two rides, to Buena Park mall and back, I experienced; many passages giving me dirty looks, children pointing and not hiding the fact they’re asking “Mommy what’s wrong with him?”. I had people intentionally brush up against me and then mumble the most hurtful and hateful things. I was going to put some of them here… However, My Dear Readers, just remembering them right now for a moment was too much.

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So, we got on the LA access bus at Disneyland. Now we are now headed for the city of Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates. Shortly after getting on the bus, the driver mentioned that we had one shortstop in the Long Beach and then we’d be on our way. It didn’t register, with Alan, yet. You see Long Beach is where Allen and I met 26 years ago this December.

So, we leave Disneyland and we go down Harbor Boulevard all the way to be 22 freeway. We take the 22 freeway all the way West and get off, and I thought this was odd we did NOT get off the VA hospital, but rather at 7th street. Now visually this is a big change, already. You see Orange County has four-lane surface streets all over the place. Buildings aren’t crammed together and everything is spread out. Everything’s is very large and green. You see the first time I moved orange County was because, in all the places I’ve lived in California. the way Orange County is laid out, the way it looks, reminded me a lot of my home Texas. So, we had just driven less than a half-hour from the bedroom community of Orange County and the entertainment enclave that is Disneyland. Down a short piece of freeway to get off the freeway into Long Beach. When I started working at Long Beach Memorial Hospital Miller Children’s Hospital, and I had not heard this before then, I heard one of the ER doctors prefer to Long Beach as “Watts at the sea”. (Watts is South-Central L.A. the ghetto area of urban L.A.)

I was working in Long Beach, at Long Beach Memorial/ Miller Children’s Hospital at the time of the Rodney King riots. They burned; the IKEA to the ground, and the DMV, and a library, and several small corner stores. Long Beach is where I was taken, October 1987, when I was released from the acute care hospital in Los Angeles after my head injury. FYI August 25, 1987 I had a Smith Corona Typewriter fall 15 feet and strike me on the head and cervical spine)

We drove down seventh Street we took a left on Junipero. Allen hadn’t noticed it yet, we will hear a gasp from him, in the back, in a moment. Nevertheless, I only knew where I was, My Dear Readers, I was on the very first street I walked on, literally, after my head injury. You see I knew where I was, and better yet where I was going, and I was all ready flashing hard on memories. We were coming down Junipero, and I just couldn’t believe it when we stopped right in front of the Villa Serena.

That, My Dear Readers, is when I heard the audible gasp from my husband of 25 years Glen Allen Gay, in the back of the van. I heard it loud and clear. The driver hesitated from turning off of Junipero on to Fourth, because she heard him gasp so loud and asked “Are you okay back there?” Allen replied that he was just fine and then he started the sentence “Danny, that is…” Only to have the sentence cut them off by ME saying Villa Serena. We ended up saying it in unison, My Friends and for good reason. Villa Serena is the Institute for head injured adults, that not only was where I transferred to right out of the hospital. It was the Institute Allen was working at when I was taken there for rehabilitation.

Villa Serena, My Dear Readers, is the place where my life, and Allen’s life, began to intertwine. It was also the place where, at age 30, I learned how to walk without much feeling that leg. Began the personal hell that is waking up every morning and go to bed every night in pain. And where I, Daniel Hanning, tried to hide the fact I was… I was trying to learn to speak… again.

Allen and I had our faces just glued the glass. That access van turned we were transfixed by the site of Villa Serena. As we turned the corner we saw the restaurant where we had our first date. The park… right next to the restaurant where Allen I held each other and each other’s arms for the first time. Still swimming in these sense memories, from back in 1987, I began to notice something else. I begin to notice lots of homeless people pushing carts. I begin to notice how tightly cramped the buildings were, how dirty the sidewalks and streets were, and the general run-down nature of everything. Back in 1989, at Long Beach Memorial hospital, the expression “Watts by the sea” made me laugh… sometimes. That day I saw it! I saw the impoverished nature of the community, I saw the lack of proper care in the buildings, I saw the homeless people and literally a dozen in a couple of blocks, pushing carts. Then, just as this was soaking in… thinking of what I’m saying. We make a right turn on the street that goes right behind the Long Beach courthouse.

When I and Allen were there last the Long Beach courthouse was, I guess, a 5 to 6 story lime green building with wood @ dark black trim. It looked like it’d been built in the same time as avocado countertops. However, that’s not what we passed that day that July 23, 2013 that Tuesday. No, what we passed on that day was a gleaming brushed stainless steel skyscraper in the finishing stages of construction. In addition, here beside this beautifully designed architectural wonder gleaming steel, brushed stainless steel and glass façade, and in neighborhood dotted with a homeless. Now the street were on, just past the courthouse, goes right into the 710 Freeway.

The 710 Freeway is the only freeway heading west out of Long Beach then going north and south. The 710 is the major freeway you use to get you out of downtown Long Beach and down by the Port of Long Beach. Then out of that area up towards LA. There is a large green esplanade that separates the northbound, our direction, from the southbound lanes of the 710. The very next thing I saw, after the glittering and gleaming/brushed stainless steel, glass and steel monstrosity of the Long Beach courthouse? To my left I look forward in the very center of this esplanade. What do I see?

I see a ‘Hooverville’! I just put, My Dear Readers, an embedded link in that last proper noun ‘Hooverville’. Now for everyone that did want to click the link and go to another page? I completely understand. Let me explain, quite simply Hooverville’s were shanty-towns created by homeless Americans during The Great Depression. These shanty-towns were named after Pres. Herbert Hoover, because he was mostly blamed for the advent of the Great Depression. Again, My Dear Readers, this is July 23, 2013! I had just passed the brand-new gleaming façade of a beautiful new downtown Long Beach courthouse. Then, literally a stone’s throw away, where everybody coming in the Long Beach on the 710 will be greeted BY? IS: one very large blue tarp tied on each corner to a tree, surrounded by on all sides small little pup like tents, there are two porta-potties in the area, and a makeshift shower made from a garden hose and a large plastic tub that was full of water.

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As we curve right under the 710 I turned my head, painfully, to the left and I actually saw a naked 30 to 40-year-old man showering in the middle of the Hooverville in the middle of this esplanade. In just moments, My Dear Readers, I had traveled not only miles but I had traveled back and forth in time and through several stages… Enclaves of poverty and wealth.

Allen was struck speechless. He had not said a word since we talked about seeing Villa Serena and how everything seemed so small… 10 years later. That really struck us hard, how small the buildings were, how crowded the streets looked, how dingy everything appeared. It wasn’t and how we’d remembered it wasn’t how we saw it at the time. However, it’s the way it was and it was a shock for us. I was very happy, what little time I spent, in Long Beach. In Long Beach a lot of devoted professionals spent a lot of time and effort trying to make Danny whole again. I will never forget the good and kind people of Villa Serena and I will never forget all they did for me.

So now we’ve left the city of Long Beach, behind us and the first Hooverville I’ve seen in color (all the photographs of Hoovervilles from The Great Depression were in Black/White). Now, from the city of Long Beach we drove into the area, the commercial/industrial real area of the port of Long Beach. From the gleaming tower of the courthouse the city of Long Beach, to the Hooverville in the esplanade of the 710 Freeway we now entered a new… well… A new enclave. This enclave had two lane streets, two going north two going south. The road was packed with semi trucks going to and from the port.

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That was all I saw, My Dear Readers, semi’s and large commercial trucks. We were in the only personal van I saw in 10 blocks. There was no ‘on street’ parking, so we didn’t see any cars, trucks, vans, any kind of personal transportation anywhere. We passed; tattoo parlors, small buildings for window tinting and the car sound systems, mom-and-pop barbershops, bodega owners, and one really old and rundown Jack-in-the-Box.

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It was tight, it was cramped, it was dirty, and it was loud. (and I am NOT saying this as disparaging, just as a fact) Every single sign billboard we saw were all in Spanish. We were on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway)… and then, I think, we turned on Crenshaw. With the whole area was all the same. You hardly saw any cars or trucks being driven by people alone. There were lots of buses, the of the Metro train came all the way down here at one point we went over the Metro train track but it wasn’t until we got to the end of the 110 Freeway that we actually saw people and personal vehicles and transportation, again.

So here we passed, again, into another very different and real enclave. I… I honestly, My Dear Readers, I don’t see how anyone could live in that area.

… That is my nightmare I do readers as the nightmare I wake up in a cold sweat at night that’s the nightmare that I wake up crying that I Danny Hanning might end up homeless and on streets like those. It scares me to death.

We turn left, at some point, off the main road and we were on… I believe it was Crenshaw Boulevard. Then we turned left and we start going up a winding road.

Allen had been struck speechless since Long Beach, I think… I think he was experiencing and seeing… the same things I was experiencing… I was seeing. I honestly think it had knocked him out of his personal comfort space as well. However, as we were coming out of the port of Long Beach and up Rolling Hills Estates Boulevard you can see the brown layer of clouds. The smog layer, or that which lays on top of Los Angeles. The first time I saw the smog layer? Would’ve been in 1981 1982. Becky and I,( my first and only wife) and I had moved to San Diego. We were coming into L.A. to go to Disneyland. Coming in a Five Freeway, from the Mission Hills area, down into Orange Count and LA, I saw for what would’ve been the very first time in my life smog.

It looks like this big fake a multicolored blanket hovering in the air. A mile thick. The closer it got to the ground the darker it got… to the point where it got nearly black. Up from the black, closest to the ground, it then in a graduated from this dark rust color to a lighter brown to almost a tan color. From the tan color it then dissipated into the blue sky above. I was shocked. Having come from Southeast Texas, a (THEN) little town called Pearland, and having left in the early 80s. I had never really seen smog that thick. So when I saw it, that Tuesday going to see my doctor, in Rolling Hills Estates, I flashed back on that first time back in the early 80s with Becky and seeing smog for the very first time. And I was just mesmerized and how people can live and breathe that every day.

That is when Allen said the first words he said since Villa Serena. From the back of the van the driver and I hear Alan’s voice say “is THAT from a fire? Is that smoke from a fire close by?”

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Neither the driver nor I spoke we just sat in silence. I never answered his question and neither did the driver. However, the other day I was talking to Alan about writing this article. And I mentioned him saying… what he did… about there being a fire. He admitted, he told me then, “Danny I thought about how I thought it was a fire… and… I realized it was smog. And, Danny… I was… speechless”. Allen has lived here in Southern California his entire life, specifically the LA basin. Allen is 47 years of age, born in 1965. That Tuesday was the first time in Allen’s life he had ever witnessed the smog he’d breathed in every day of his life till I moved him to Orange County.

Well, My Dear Readers, is now 5 PM my time which makes it 7 PM and Southeast Texas. I had really hoped to finish the trip, and back, all in one posting today. However, I apologize it’s just not going to happen. I’m going to stop here right now today. For that I deeply apologize I… I really really do. But I still have to go over these eight pages and make sure that I have dictated. Is corrected. The whole thing… and, like, to go and correct the dictation… well when… it didn’t get it right. I promise you, My Dear Readers, I will do my best to finish that tomorrow or the next day and have it all ready for this weekend.

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As always, My Dear Readers, it is an honor that you come here and read my work. I am deeply honored when you ‘Like’ my articles and touched when you ‘Share’! From the very bottom of my heart I say

“Thank YOU!”

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About Daniel Hanning
I am a; writer, editor and publisher. I write, most often, articles about our space program, fun videos andpolitical works. My most recent additions are; A Week In Review, Sunday Funnies and The Adventures of Nadia. Along with The Mars Report and Lost in Space. ENJOY!

One Response to The Whittling of America – Part Two – Enclaves

  1. Pingback: A Week In Review – August 3rd, 2013 | The Other Shoe

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