Pocketful of Eichlers - Page 2

Owners of international diversity are producing sweet music at Sunnyvale's Rancho Sans Souci
Pocketful of Eichlers
Dwight (center) and Felicita Evard (left) entertain neighbors Mike and Donna Stasio (at right) in their Eichler kitchen.

Then there is the Rao family, Kamlesh and Meghana, who are raising two girls in their Eichler. Meghana is a founding member of a software company and is vice president of information technology at an aviation company.

Both are from Bangalore. Bangalore may be, as they say, "the Silicon Valley of India." But Sunnyvale is the Silicon Valley of the world.

"But definitely it was the dream," Meghana says about being here. "Especially if you're in software engineering, then Silicon Valley is the place to be…because all the magic was happening here. Google, Apple. I mean, you just walk around here, and these are iconic names known worldwide. And that was a big thing for us."

And speaking of tech legends, parents in the tract are quick to point out that two students who attended Homestead High were Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

All the Eichler homes in the Pocket appear intact from the street, except for replacement garage doors. One has ungainly ducts across the roof.

Pocketful of Eichlers
  Pocketful of Eichlers
Two more views of the Evard home: kitchen (top) and living room (above).

"Fortunately, this tract has not been molested very much. You know, as far as second stories goes, or stucco, or any like major, major modifications," says Shawna Kirby, who, with husband Chris Proia and daughters Charlotte and Camille, moved in just as Covid hit.

Utilities are underground, which adds to the Pocket's quiet good looks. More street trees would be nice.

Olympus Court is the centerpiece of the neighborhood, both physically and spiritually. This is where block parties have always taken place and where homes with pools have attracted hordes of kids.

Less obvious than the houses, but not hard to notice if you listen, is the international flavor of the neighborhood.

About the neighborhood, homeowner Donna Stasio says, "A couple of things stand out to me. You can hear people speaking in all different languages, you know, across the fences, literally. But the other thing is there is always laughter over the fence."

Cyndi Rupp, whose husband, Fabio, is Italian-Swiss, counts off some of her neighbors. "Germans across the street, Russian two houses down. A Finnish couple just moved in. Chinese across the street." Ronit and Raphael are from Israel.

  Pocketful of Eichlers
Eichler exterior on nearby MacKenzie Drive.

"There's a healthy mix of a lot of cultures here, I feel," says Kamlesh, who adds, "The neighbors tend to be very open minded and friendly around the Eichler communities." Many are also erudite.

Lazar Fleishman, a professor of Slavic literature at Stanford, where he had earlier lived in an Eichler, has lived in his Sunnyvale Eichler for almost 30 years, appreciating its "imperceptible fusion of inside and outside."

He'd attended a music academy in Riga, Latvia, where he grew up, and neighbors today walking by can hear him playing piano, or archival recordings from the start of the 20th century. "I like music and, you know, I use music in my literature courses as illustrations, or as inspiration, or for parallels between the structure of a poem and the law of musical composition or musical," Fleishmann says.

The Pocket is not the sort of Eichler neighborhood where almost everybody knows almost everybody. There is no neighborhood association. But many things draw people together.

For more than a dozen years Felicita Evard, from the German-speaking region of Switzerland, and Dorian Martinka organized the annual July 4th celebration on the court, a revival of a tradition that started when Rancho Sans Souci was new.

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