July 26, 2020:

It was quite a long walk for a second-grader. From Rolando on Tower Street across 70th, south down 71st to Stanford, east on Stanford to at least Harbinson. Sometimes I'd turn up Harbinson one block to West Point, to climb the big hill there to my sitters' house. Bertie and Ted Angel, 7292 West Point Avenue, La Mesa, California. Other times I'd continue on Stanford to the stairs, now officially named the La Mesa Rainbow Stairs but then unpainted plain cracked concrete climbing more quickly up the great hill, arriving just a few doors east of my destination. Which route from Harbinson was essentially arbitrary, although the stairs were less tiring.

I loved the walk down Stanford because it was a quiet neighborhood with great patches of towering old Eucalyptus. I loved those trees, with their vibrant smell and their sound like bacon frying when the wind stirred their upper branches. A nice girl in my class lived on that street; we'd walk to her house together sometimes to spend the afternoon finger-painting. I remember how supportive her parents were. All the adults were good to me in La Mesa. That only changed in Clairemont.

Those stairs were so interesting. Here are rows of little houses shoulder-to-shoulder across a hillside, yet someone has thoughtfully thought to provide a simple shortcut at the middle of the block, so that pedestrians can avoid going all the way 'round. Whose idea was that? And why just this particular block, nowhere else? They were unique, and uniquely convenient, leaving me a lifelong love of urban stairs.