Aplace of natural beauty, a history rich with culture, a town awash in political intrigue and civic drama, the interface of the tremendously wealthy and the staggeringly poor. There are perhaps few cities with as many potential storylines as Santa Barbara. And for those of us who reside in this enchanted place, these stories are our own-we live them, we remember them, we play the starring roles, we dance in and out of the settings.
It’s in that spirit that The Independent launched our Life in Santa Barbara memoir contest, designed to elicit such stories from those of you who’ve lived them. Once the contest was announced on independent.com and in the printed paper in the fall, we received dozens of entries, ranging from first-year college students just tasting the South Coast’s nectar to octogenarians who have had Santa Barbara addresses their whole lives.
Here, in our first issue of 2008, we present the winners of this memoir contest. Our first-place entry is from Joe Cantrell, who wrote about the humorous legacy of Frank’s Rice Bowl, a taste of State Street’s past. Coming in as runners-up are P.B. Rippey’s story of a family shake-up when Reagan came to town and Marjorie Popper’s reminiscence of the organic farm called El Mirasol, located where Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens sits today. And in our younger than 30 category, Miranda Ward cooks up a tasty tale of marmalade, sloe gin, and other fruits.
So curl up by the fireplace and read what your neighbors remember about our town. If you like these, watch out for future editions, when other submissions will get published as part of special issues. And if you want to get in on the fun, check for more writing contests this year from The Independent.