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Home » Santa Clarita News » Editorial: Attention All Children Of ‘Friendly Valley’ By Stephanie Agnew
Editorial: Attention All Children Of 'Friendly Valley' By Stephanie Agnew

Editorial: Attention All Children Of ‘Friendly Valley’ By Stephanie Agnew


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 This could be one of the most important messages you might read. Growing up in the 60’s, most families were similar to mine. My Father worked, and my Mother stayed home to take care of me and my older brother Mark. My mother was in PTA, drove me to Brownies, took Mark to Little League, Church on Sunday, choir on Thursday, helped us with homework, cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner, baked goodies, refereed, fixed boo-boo’s and broken hearts, and other assorted “fun” things for our family, and she did it well. I am now 53. And I still don’t own an iron. This brings me to why I feel it is IMPORTANT that other’s like myself have fair warning if YOUR PARENTS ARE MOVING TO “FRIENDLY VALLEY.”
Until 1990, things were going fine….normal if you will, I was living in Ventura with my husband and seven year old daughter Danielle, and my brother Mark had a place in SFV and working in the music industry as a sound engineer and making his mark in the world. All was good.
My parents also lived in the valley, .and it was easy to get to my parent’s house when needed. Plus, we always knew where to go for groceries when our cupboards were bare.  We knew what we we’re doing for all holidays, birthday’s, Sunday brunches, and for laundry days. It was perfect.  But then one day (out of the blue) my parents announced that they were moving.(and not down the block from either one of us) to a place they called “FRIENDLY VALLEY.” 
A retirement community in some place they called “Newhall” in a “Santa Clarita Valley” (wherever that is).
I mean we have been living in “The Valley” almost our whole lives.
Why all of a sudden a move? And why to a old person’ place???
That just didn’t make any sense.
So I called my brother Mark to see if he knew what they were talking about (and if he thought they were delusional too). His reply was,
 “I don’t know what the hell is going on!!”
After giving it thought, we came to the conclusion that they missed us.
Now since I was married with two dogs ,a bird, two cats, ,three dirt bikes, two horses, a boat, and a 10 wheel dump truck that pulled our backhoe, it would be too cramped to move back home.
I asked Mark if he wanted to move back home.
So we decided to visit more, stay longer after dinners, and watch “So You Think You Can Dance” with them, and maybe this crazy idea would just go away.
  We knew then, that there was something “not right” with our parents, and reluctantly took that long-ass drive to “Newhall” to see what the hell was really going on, and hopefully Mark could fix it.
 In the middle of (what I considered at the time) “Nowheresville Desert of Nothingness” was this beautiful, tree filled gated community with park like settings. It had a 18 hole golf course, magnificent pool and spa area, and wild life!  You could hear the sound of birds singing!  And it was clean! I mean to perfection! This place even has a Church! It was beautiful.
Mark and I couldn’t wait to move them in!
 We could PLAY GOLF while waiting for the laundry! (Even play a few more holes after dinner) and we could walk because it was right there! You can see the ‘greens’ right in front of you! It was going to be Awesome!!   This place is GREAT! (So we thought).
I couldn’t find anything wrong with Friendly Valley, except for maybe the street names. Whispering leaves, Ave of the Oaks, Weeping Willow Cir (they gave me the creeps!). Mark said they named them that way because it was the last stop before going up the hill to “Eternal Valley”  
               …..BUT AN 18 HOLE GOLF COURSE!
 So I got over it.
 After a week of living in “Friendly Valley”, things were different….strange if you will. Every time I call no answer.
(And I mean all hours of the day). I would just get the machine!   
I called Mark to see if he heard from them
Where the hell are our parent’s?
When they did eventually call us back, it was late, like 9 or 10 PM
(What was that about?)
And they would mention these friends….no, “good” friends, of theirs.
We didn’t know these people!
Who are they? And what are they doing with our parents?
   I had to do something! My parents were acting…weird.
It was my duty to see what was really going on, and who was involved.
 The next day I drove 2 hours (on the deadly 126) to see what my parents were up to (and if they wanted to go to the mall to buy me stuff). I had a trunk full of laundry, some dry cleaning, and a shopping list of things I needed to barrow and take home.
I was ready to get down to business!
I was feeling quite confident I would soon learn the truth about this “Friendly Valley” place of horror, when I saw it!
There they were. The two of them!
They were, getting in their car to drive somewhere!
  I quickly pulled behind them blocking their way out!
Slamming the transmission into park, I quickly jumped out of my car to see where the hell they were going!
 The first few minutes after what I call ‘The beginning of “WTH” were somewhat vague.
 I remember my mom saying something like
 “Oh I wished you would have called first, we were just on our way to    the mall and do some shopping” (Shopping?)
Then my dad pipes in with the kicker… “for the cruise.”
What cruise?
Does Mark know we’re going on a cruise?
And you know why? We weren’t invited.
 They were going with some Sam guy and a Etta something. And with a rose (why are they bringing a rose?).
Mark and I gave in (This was the day our lives changed!).
Daily, we would ask each other “well… have you heard from them?”
 When we were lucky enough to catch our parent’s before leaving forBingo, casino’s, BBQs, concerts or productions of “Hello Dolly“,
(or whatever else came to their card playing madness minds)
They had to check their calendars to see if they had time in their
‘Oh’ so busy new lifestyle for us!  
I mean, I once asked where we were going for dinner, and they looked at me confused while explaining to me how they couldn’t go because it was “Bunko” night, but help yourselves to something in the freezer.
I was stunned….Frozen in my tracks!
They walked out the door leaving me with my jaw on the floor. But not before they concluded the evening with “we’ll check our calendars, and maybe we can do something in a week or so.”
What? Are they serious?
A week or so??
What do they mean check their calendars?
It was my flipp’n birthday!
Why wasn’t that, on their damn calendar?
I asked Mark If he knew what the hell just happened.
His only reply was, “so… about Christmas…Your house?
 So if you’re thinking…”yaa this is cool! I can go swimming, play golf and relax while my laundry gets done and dinner is cooking”
Instead, you will find yourself alone.
On your birthday!
In ”their” house
Not your home.
And you’ll be listening for the dryer to stop.
And your dinner will be cooking…in the microwave!
You could find your parents are much too busy for you!
And there might not be room for you at the dinner table if you don’t clear it with them 6 weeks in advance!
You too might find yourself hoping they will spend at least one holiday with  you instead of their “good” friends.
So, beware, my fellow children of Friendly Valley…
Remember you have been warned!
Good luck,
        a friend
By Stephanie Agnew
September 2013

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Source: Santa Clarita News

Editorial: Attention All Children Of ‘Friendly Valley’ By Stephanie Agnew

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