In the San Fernando Valley, noise was a constant; you could hear the sound of freeway traffic at night and sometimes police helicopters would circle overhead, searching for some errant burglar or partaking in a high speed car chase. Sometimes a stolen car and the police cars following close behind would go up or down our own street.  About once or twice a month,  we would hear a resounding crash and know that an accident had occurred on the corner of Arleta and Branford, and Bob would go check to see if he would call the police or an ambulance.

We could hear airplanes landing or taking off from Bob Hope Airport and sometimes army airplanes would land at the Van Nuys Airport.

Buses went up and down our street regularly, and commuter traffic was heaviest in the early morning or late afternoon, often making it difficult to get out of our own driveway.

It was a level of noise to which we had become accustomed and often paid little attention to, even while sitting at night in the Secret Garden.

On Friday mornings, he trash pickup trucks barreled down our street waking me from a sound sleep, but for the most part, our house was far back from the street and there were a lot of trees to cushion the sound.

I did not realize how much noise we had become accustomed to until we moved to the Antelope Valley, where the noisiest  interruption in our daily routine are the trash pick up trucks making their rounds on Monday morning.  We seldom hear pick up trucks making their rounds on Monday morning. We seldom hear airplanes or helicopters; it’s a novelty if we do.

On New Year’s Day I recognized the sound of the Stealth Bomber taking off from nearby Edwards Air Force Base, on its way to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl Parade.

Sometimes I hear a bus or an ambulance or a fire truck but for the most part, the noise level has decreased by decibels  and sometimes I have to turn on the radio or television for the comforting sound of noise!

Sandra Lee Smith

March, 2009

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