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The Valley Line: Finding friends and neighbors in a small world

October 27, 2012|By Jane Napier Neely
  • The Verdugo Hills Women's Council committee members coordinated the successful Bingo Luncheon that raised $2,000 for the hospital.
The Verdugo Hills Women's Council committee members… (Courtesy of the…)

Slowly but surely, I'm seeing the places in the world that have intrigued me. I have just returned from a fascinating journey to Russia, a place I have wanted to visit for a very long time.

The most important city for me to visit was St. Petersburg. Being an art history minor in college, I really wanted to see the Hermitage Museum of Art, which has an enormous collection of the master painters of the world.

Also on my St. Petersburg sight-seeing list for me were the summer palace of Catherine the Great and the Peterhof, the palace of Peter the Great, with its magnificent gardens and fountains.

Since I was traveling alone, I decided to meet up with a Viking River Cruise that navigated the waterways of the Tsars from St. Petersburg to Moscow. It was like a grand party because there were only 200 people on the ship and by the end of the two-week trip, I had met most of them.

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I think I must be a La Cañada magnet, because it didn't take me long to make a “valleyite” connection. I first met up with Cindy and Roy Walters, who were longtime La Cañadans and raised their children here. They now spend their time between nearby Long Beach and Dataw Island, South Carolina. Of course they loved hearing all the current La Cañada news.

Then I met up with Diane and Ed Clinton. Diane grew up here in LCF and Ed is a physician, with an office in Pasadena.

Diane visited St. Petersburg 20 years ago and she was amazed at the changes that have been made in the city. “When I saw St Petersburg 20 years ago it was a crumbling city,” Diane said. “Now it is a beautiful city, with its buildings restored to their former glory, and there seems to be such hope in the faces of residents here.”

By the way, Ed is the grandson of Clifford Clinton, who founded Clifton's Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles.

Ed is putting the finishing touches on a book that he is writing about his grandfather and the famed cafeteria and its exciting past. The book is due out next spring and should be quite a page-turner, especially for us that remember this landmark eatery during its heyday when Broadway, in L.A., was a fashionable street.

My next neighborly encounter came when the Viking cruise directors arranged a superb “Behind Closed Doors” tour of the Hermitage and its archived storerooms of treasures not usually seen by the public.

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