Taking It to the Sidewalks

Eichler tract joins others around the U.S. sending positive vibes during the pandemic
Fridays on the Homefront
When Granada Hills Eichler owner Jennifer Buck “saw the idea for ‘chalk walk’ in a local mom group, I shared it,” she said, to the rest of Balboa Highlands via Facebook. Then out came the boxes of chalk, and out came the sequestered residents—but only in front of their homes, where there is six feet between walkways.

With disaster dominating the daily news, some folks started rooting around on the Internet for something positive to do while social distancing.

In late March, many communities across the U.S. found their ‘corona kumbaya’ moment in a few squares of walkway and some colored chalk—including a few Eichler neighborhoods.

“I saw the idea for ‘chalk walk’ in a local mom group, so I shared it to our Balboa Highlands [Facebook] group,” said Jennifer Buck, a homeowner of the Granada Hills neighborhood, the only Eichler tract in Los Angeles County.

“We were trying to come up with little things to break up the day,” said Elizabeth Mitev, another resident of the tract. Upon Buck’s discovery of the national ‘Chalk Your Walk’ movement, Mitev said, “She posted it and a few of us were like, ‘Yeah, let’s do it!’”

Out came the boxes of chalk, and out came the sequestered residents—only in front of their homes, of course, where there is six feet between walkways.

For an artistically inclined family like Mitev’s, the challenge was a perfect fit, for the fairer half at least.

Her husband, Emil, is an art director for Warner Brothers currently working on the new ‘Scooby Doo’ movie, and their son, Emil, is 12, ostensibly the perfect age for the activity—or not.

  Fridays on the Homefront
Chalk design from Elizabeth Jane Freeman. Photo courtesy Kirsten Andersen Thomas

“My son didn’t want to participate,” said the mother, adding of her creative husband, “He just thought it was silly, [so] it was just my daughter and I.”

The couple’s older daughter, a fine arts graduate from Art Center College of Design, was definitely game.

“When brainstorming images I could draw for the neighborhood chalk challenge, the rainbow was the first symbol that came to mind,” said the daughter, Elizabeth Jane Freeman. Reeling off the universal meanings for colors in the rainbow flag, she noted, “It has a huge significance in our culture, representing not only peace and serenity but also equality and community.”

Gifted with inspiration in this troubled moment in time and no small amount of artistic acumen, Mitev said her daughter “took the front steps, which was more challenging.”

“When it came to how I was going to represent the rainbow, I chose to represent it as a river flowing from the house out into the street,” Freeman explained, adding that the image communicates “our family’s message for giving love to the community through these uncertain times.”

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