Dear Montecito: Dana Raymond Glass
When I was little, Pierre Lafond sold these long, perfumey marshmallows. And I think, if you were to ask my parents, they’d tell you what a truculent little human I’d become if there were no blue ones left in stock.
I remember running around on the water-worn bricks of the fountain, gumming at my lavender-flavored marshmallow and enjoying that perfect 3 pm tipping point of the afternoon. Of course, they stopped selling my favorite after-school snack when I was about five or six years old and, not long after, the fountain went dry.
Today, Dana Raymond Glass takes us back a little further, sharing her experience of Montecito past and what it feels like to see your hometown changed.
I grew up in Montecito, attending 3rd grade at Cold Spring Elementary through Our Lady of Mount Carmel, then to Santa Barbara High School, and finally to UCSB. It was a great place to grow up, small and unknown, off the beaten path. I’d ride my bike as a teenager out to Isla Vista when there was one last stoplight on the U.S. Highway 101. And I went to the beach. All. The. Time.
I would’ve loved to move back home to raise my kids, but after just a few short years, Oprah and Ellen had moved in and every house became a multimillion-dollar gated compound. After the fires and the mudslide, I thought there would surely be some affordable real estate. Nope! All my friends from elementary school moved to Goleta to afford rent and then out of state to finally buy. The Meghans and Harrys moved up from Hollywood and Beverly Hills (and the UK) and fundamentally changed the small town I once loved. When I last visited, Santa Barbara was a shell of its former self, merely a weekend getaway for Los Angelenos. All my favorite places had disappeared except for Big Dogs. (Though even lower State Street and Milpas are relatively posh compared to when I was last in residence!) As the song goes, “paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” But instead of a parking lot it’s a pretentious fill in the blank.
I’ve been living in Austin, Texas since 2002. The motto is “Keep Austin Weird.” It’s the live music capital of the world, the Formula-1 racing, the state capital, craft distilleries, every outdoor sport, Dell, SXSW, Franklin’s BBQ, and the X-Games. We’re adding Tesla, Amazon, a professional soccer team, and more by the day… and guess who’s come to the party? That’s right. All my former statesmen! They’re coming by the droves, and it’s great to have more 49er fans!
When I moved to Austin, this town is what Santa Barbara used to be: small, full of culture and cultures, and unapologetically unique. But now, everyone has to have a nicer car than their neighbor, and the real estate is skyrocketing. The writing is on the wall.
Here’s a thought… maybe if Austin can draw enough folks from Montecito, I can finally move back home! I can always dream!
All the best,
Dana Raymond Glass
P.S. Parents of Montecito children, if you have recommendations on people to feature in “Dear Montecito” please contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org •MJ