People of Summerland

By Leslie Westbrook   |   May 28, 2020

From long held memories with old neighbors to first impressions upon new encounters, one thing remains true in our “People of Summerland” snippets: from the terrific views to thoughtful neighbors, the pop. 1,500 town is a magical place.

Fran Davis, Writer; Roger Davis, Retired Editor

Fran and Roger Davis

“As Summerland residents for fifty years, we’ve accumulated a staggering load of memories. One of the best, especially sweet in this time of social isolation, is the annual Whitney Avenue potluck lunch held on New Year’s Day. In December, neighbor Sandy O’Meara drops off fliers reminding us of the annual ‘Whitney Avenue Board of Directors meeting.’ About 20 years ago Elizabeth Fortner, who once owned the Fortner Gallery in El Paseo, started the tradition as a lark. The initial gatherings, called the ‘Whitney Avenue Yacht Club,’ were cause for a lot of laughter since our street at the top of Summerland is the very farthest from the water. Now, at noon on New Year’s Day, a couple of dozen neighbors show up for the ‘Board of Directors’ meeting. Rain or shine, we gather in our winter warmies, bearing dishes. The food is always good, and we sit at the long table in the O’Meara’s driveway or in chairs shaded by pine and oleander, and we chat, sharing stories, gossip and laughs. We may not have talked to each other in months, but on this day, we rediscover our neighborliness and each other. It’s the absolute best way to start the New Year, a big communal gathering to share food and talk and the joy of togetherness in our special neighborhood. I’m holding out hopes that COVID-19 will have finished its heartbreaking ravage of our country and moved on by the New Year so we can gather again.”

Kat Hunt: Delivery Person for C’est Cheese

Kat Hunt

“Honestly, it’s a lot of fun to deliver. People are really grateful and everyone says thank you for bringing them cheese and other groceries from the shop! We started doing deliveries on March 25. On Wednesdays I deliver to Goleta, Thursdays to Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria, and Fridays to Santa Barbara and the Mesa. Summerland is the best! I love the views. Everything looks a bit brighter and clearer and there are less cars now.

I’ve become aware of every interaction, from ringing doorbells to being gentle with people. Everyone is in a different space. Some are upbeat and happy to see me; others are very scared and nervous. You have to respect everybody’s boundaries. It’s been interesting trying to navigate that. If we all increase our awareness, we can navigate our person-to-person interactions.

COVID has forced us to rethink how we can serve people. It’s been a great opportunity to increase our awareness about food safety in general. I am hyper-conscious and constantly sanitizing. I feel safe at work and we are taking every precaution and constantly washing our hands. I go through five pairs of gloves a day when delivering.

People are tipping. Someone tried to tip me cash – I had to change my glove, but I appreciate the check and credit card tips. People are being so generous, especially when everybody is in a difficult economic state right now.

One customer the other day (in Montecito) told me on my way out to check out the ten ducklings that had hatched the day before in a pond on his property – that was the cutest! Mother Nature is rejuvenating!”


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