Leah Gans | La Jolla Country Day Senior
I grew up in a bubble where community is strong, air is salty, skin is tan, and people are friendly. I’m not alone when I run on the beach with my dog in January. In the summer, I can look out over my town from the top of a Ferris wheel, or I can spend an afternoon losing a little money but winning lots of good times at the races. On Saturday afternoons, I can walk through the Farmers Market to pick up my weekly produce and, of course, some yummy kettle corn.
Del Mar may be a bubble, but it’s my bubble, and one in which I’m so glad to have grown up. I remember bringing my dogs to the Winston school to play with the others in the neighborhood, and the movie nights held there. I remember the first time I was allowed to walk into town with my girlfriends: Going to Crêpes and Corks Café the morning after a sleepover became such a ritual that they actually catered part of my Bat Mitsvah. My photo is on the wall at Seaside Yogurt, my preschool class helped build the wall in front of the library, and I participated in countless Ugly Dog competitions at the racetrack (I never won any, but I got my picture in the Del Mar Times every year!).Del Mar will always be a part of who I am, and I hope always to be part of it. I cannot imagine a better place to have grown up. There are very few places in the world today where all the kids in the neighborhood still play outside together from the time they get home from school to the time their moms call them in for dinner. For me, that always meant playing with friends everyday on “sour grass hill,” at the end of Hoska Lane. This was also the site of the wedding ceremony between my dog, Lilly, and my neighbor’s dog, Oliver, where all the neighbors (young and old) dressed up and attended as guests. We found a rope swing off Crest that we would play on for hours, and a hidden fence with graffiti art that we kept as our secret spot. We spent hours trying to find the “tunnels” off of 15th street, which was very anticlimactic when we finally found them and realized they were disgusting. As we got older, Del Mar became more about late nights studying at Starbucks, babysitting younger kids in the neighborhood, brunches at Pacifica Breeze, the occasional spa day at L’Auberge, and, of course, the countless beach days at 15th street.
This town is a huge part of my identity, and while I am excited to attend NYU in the fall, leaving this place will be very hard. Even so, I will take with me the feeling I get when I drive my VW bug with the top down through my neighborhood, thinking about all those memories. It is a feeling I can only attribute to my quirky town of Del Mar, and for which I’ll always be grateful.