Thank you for helping me revisit the Santa Barbara that I love. Having come here about the same time you did [Glenn Petersen’s “Santa Barbara Was My Paris”], though under far more pleasant circumstances, I too often see the changes and forget about the soul of this city.
When I came here in 1958 to attend UCSB, the Lobero Building was a residence for women, which gave me access to the places you mentioned. I often studied under the garden lights at the Courthouse, spent hours at the library, wandered around the old El Paseo, filled up many Sunday nights on inexpensive pasta at Joe’s or Leon’s. I thought nothing of walking to the breakwater in the early hours or hitchhiking out to campus, always feeling safe and part of the community.
With traffic and chain stores and a faster pace, it is easy to forget that Santa Barbara still has an abundance of generous, caring people, who see the beauty, hear the music, and want to give back. No matter where I have traveled, Santa Barbara has given me the confidence to talk to strangers, trust others, and to see the beauty all around me.