“A Good Life in the Hollywood Hills” by John Weaver – April 1970

Or, “How old should a child be before his parents tell him he lives in the valley?”

The cliffdwellers cling precariously to the brush-covered slopes of the Hollywood hills, sharing the common perils of fire and flood. In the late fall, when the humidity drops and a warm wind whips through the canyons, the hills may suddenly explode with flame. In the rainy season, when the naked cliffs crack and slide, the mortgaged wickiups come tumbling down. But the true cliffdweller always returns to his wildlife refuge. He trades in his charred Porsche, patches his pool, rebuilds his house-with-a-view and again settles down to enjoy the comforts of his mountain lair.

He has the best of two urban worlds. He is minutes away from the city’s offices, shops and restaurants, but when his day’s work is done, he comes home to down his tot of gin in a green and private place where ruby-throated hummingbirds flutter in the bottle-brush and quail skitter across his lawn. Mule deer drink from his pool and foxes feed from his garbage pail. His children are turned loose to climb trees, collect snakes and chase rabbits.

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“MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH CRETE” by Daphne du Maurier – March 1971

Anyone who has the great good fortune to live in Cornwall, beside the sea, has no reason to go on vacation at all. This I tell myself, with guilt, when I begin to feel restive, generally in winter, after too many rainy days. Soon the sou’westerly winds will cease, I can discard oilskins and sea boots, the sun will shine again, the straggling wallflowers bloom, and I can cross the ploughed fields down to the beach without being blown backward by a gale. And yet, a nagging sense of discontent remains. Hailstorms gather and April has not yet come. I glance at the weather reports of distant capitals and see that Athens is fair, with a temperature of 68 degrees.

I begin to dream of holidays long past, when, stouter of heart and stronger of limb, I set out, bound for Athens and a vacation to be spent hiking in the Pindus Mountains in northwest Greece.

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