Letter to the Editor: Encino and the Jackson Family

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BY W. M. STRIEBECK, Encino, CA.

I live a few blocks from the Michael Jackson family compound, as their residence in Encino is called by the media.

When I moved to Encino, sixteen years ago, I waited in line at Gelson’s grocery store as an elegantly dressed lady paid for a few items.  When the clerk called her “Mrs. Jackson,” I said (in a teasing tone), “Are you a Hayvenhurst Jackson?”  To my surprise she replied in a sweet voice that she was the “…Mother of the Jackson Five.”  She said that she enjoyed shopping for a some items herself and added that she loved living in Encino.  I told her I had just become a resident even though I had been raised nearby most of my life.  She left with a gracious smile and a gentle wave of the hand.

Most of us in Encino are currently experiencing what Michael Jackson went through most of his life:

From the moment Michael Jackson died, I, and most of the other residents of this small town of Encino, have been experiencing the loud clatter of helicopters flying low from early AM until dark.  Hayvenhurst Street, usually quiet with light residential traffic, has become filled with fans; media trucks; broadcast equipment; tents; barricades; stacks of memorial gifts; roving reporters; security personnel; police cars; and the pained expressions of residents of the area trying to drive through it all so they can seclude themselves in their homes and hopefully  lock out the noise.

An elderly friend of mine, who has lived above the Jackson compound (it is a hill), for many years, finally gave up and went to stay with family members until the excitement dies down.

So much international attention focused on the small town of Encino worries many of the residents since it is considered a special place where leaders at the top of their field live and work.  Encino is the kind of place where celebrities are often seen walking their dogs, enjoying a latte, playing with their kids, or purchasing items from local establishments.  Of the countless celebrities I’ve spotted here, I’ve never seen anyone ask for a photo or autograph: They are treated as an ordinary neighbor of the community – which they are.  Sometimes I will smile when it is someone I especially admire and they always smile back, silently acknowledging my approval of their work.

Though the current onslaught of fans and media are well behaved and express love and compassion, Encino residents hope that attitude will not change once the grieving process has ended.  We love our Valley enclave of productive and creative individuals who are free to express themselves without the worry of others invading their privacy.

Of course,the publicity and crowds stimulate consumer purchases at the many establishments on nearby Ventura Boulevard, and that part of it is beneficial – especially during our current lower economy.

As I wrote this, I heard the helicopters overhead again: I know the Jacksons must be returning from their Beverly Hills luncheon.  “Hooray!”  Now it is dark and the helicopters have left.  Michael Jackson must have felt the same relief when he was finally left alone – wherever he is now, he is at peace – something he seldom experienced in life.

Remembering my conversation with the gracious Mrs. Jackson, I hope she can continue to enjoy living in Encino with the tranquil acceptance of her neighbors.

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

  • http://www.non-violent.com badthing

    As someone who has been around celebs all of my life, I applaud you, Wilma, for words beautifully written. :)

  • W. M. Striebeck

    Thank you, Karen, for publishing my article about the Jackson Family in Encino.
    Also, thank you for adding my “by line” at the top of the piece: It makes me proud! “Ha!” Best of luck in your new online site – I will make regular visits to it.

  • Dr.Thomas

    Great article thanks for the information

  • C E Langholz

    In letters to the Edtor – Wilam Sriebeck expresses the feelings of many
    people even though they don’t live in Encino or know the Jackson family.
    Celebs have the right to persue a normal life and their neighbors have a right
    to their privacy regardless of the fact that a neighbor is a celebrity. This article is well done.

  • C Church

    Loved Ms. Striebeck article. Well done.

  • http://laandc.org Roger Eaton

    Nice bit, Wilma. I can see you smiling on your celebrity neighbors and visitors!

  • D L Woodyard

    Thanks W M Striebeck for another piece of the puzzle into Jackson’s life. Hope to read more of your insights.

  • W. M. Striebeck

    Dear Readers:

    The editor of this web site has asked that I clear up the confusion regarding my gender and post whether I am “William” or “Wilma.” I am, in fact, “Wilma.”
    Although I must add an interesting fact: My name is the female version of Wilhelm (German) which when translated to English is William.
    The ancient German meaning of the name is “Defender of the Crown.” Happily, such a definition can now be applied to the female gender – So thanks to all those ladies who defend our country, our safety, our health, and our loved ones!

  • S Taylor

    Thanks Wilma for sharing your thoughts about our community and our neighbors. My compassion goes out to those who have to fend off the media just to live their lives. You have brought heartfelt meaning to the last few days for the Jacksons.

  • L Cortez

    Thank you Wilma. It’s important for others to remember that, celebrity or not, everyone deserves privacy and space in the place they call home. Thank you for the article.

  • Dave Turner

    Nice local color, Wilma.

    Since celebrity is worth $$ to not only the famous but to those they work with or live near, a bit of local inconvenience is to be expected and perhaps welcomed. Your observation of a temporary positive impact on the local Encino economy is a case in point. The Encino neighborhood should be thinking about a permanent, convenient memorial nearby which would be a tourist attraction, money maker, tax-revenue bringer, and even perhaps a bit of fun in these down times. One should make the most of this life as one never knows when your time will be up. Michael was taken too soon. A part of any tribute should be the cautionary tale of too much celebrity, too much negative attention, too many drugs, and too many pressures. They obviously can kill.

    Good luck on any future writings, Wilma.

  • nancy

    Thank you for your article. I was born and raised near the Encino area. I love the area and I loved Michel Jackson’s talent. He was the best when all was well and normal in his life. Unlike Michel Jackson, I know Encino will bounce back to normal. Normal in So. Cal. has a lot to do with what’s not normal elsewhere.

  • Rev. Tyrone T.

    Its nice you want the Jacksons and Encino to have some peace. Don’t know if that will happen though. Maybe too much attention now on them and their home. You are a good writer I think so Ill look for more of your stuff here.
    Lets pray that it will all work out for everyone.

  • A HANSEN

    FASCINATING COMMENTARY ON DISTURBED RESIDENTS IN ENCINO.

  • http://AOL Kathy

    For most average Americans, we have no conception of what it’s like to live in an area that includes famous celebrities. Watching as the whole world mourns the untimely death of Michael Jackson and celebrates his life…Most don’t stop to think about what kind of impact it has on the rest of the community.
    Thank you for sharing and giving us a glimpse of how something of this magnitude affects everyone that lives in Encino. Very well written W.M. Striebeck. Hope to see more articles from you.

  • http://www.udcworld.org Rev. Leland Stewart

    Thanks for publishing W. H. Striebeck’s article. It is well written and gives some interesting and colorful insights, both about Michael Jackson and Encino. I had not been that aware of Michael’s home there or the kinds of residents it has. I hope you will publish other materials from Ms. Striebeck.

  • Aurora

    Wilma, this was a very interesting article! I had no idea where the Jackson family lived and it was interesting to find out. Thanks for sharing this informative and interesting story. Very well done. Keep up the good work. Hope to be able to read more articles written by you. Hope also that Encino remains peaceful and enjoyable.

  • http://mydailyfind.com milestogo

    How sweet it is to know that we are all ready to serve each other in so many different aspects of life, and give of ourselves to help and serve each other, regardless of celebrity status. Thank you for the read, I feel I have recieved my slice of humanity for the day.

  • T. Ison

    Great piece – so well written and respectful. Love to see more.

  • Mary

    Hi wilma, Im actually planning on visiting Encino though im no crazy fan nor am i apart of the media!, i agree with you. Iv allways heard of encino being a lovely place, And thats the way it should stay. Peacful. Im looking to buy a house in Encino.

  • sarah

    My names sarah i live in Sydney, Australia, I am 21 years old, though i feel in my heart that i am still that 5 year old wishing i was one of michael’s friends.. As i got older my dream got stronger to one day meet michael. i saved and i saved my money, starting to work at the age of 12 at a deli, Walking a far distance though not leting the tiredness from the walk get me down, I would sing michael’s songs to myself, To and from work. Beliving one day i would make it to America and somehow meet michael. I allways contemplated the moment that i would meet him. i didnt want to ask question’s, I didnt want anything from him but for him to just listen to me … All my childhood as far as i can remember has been hard i feel like i wasnt able to be a child. I had to be strong always for my single mother who had 5 of us children. My older brother through out my childhood suffered with a severe case of skitzophrenia, And was allways violent and unpredicteble with us. So many times we have been hit, pushed, shoved, punched and i recall my mum falling to the floor crying, And myself telling her “Its ok mother the police are on there way” The police were allways in and out of our home . If not for my brother it was becouse of our dad. He is a really bad alcholic and has been as far as i can remember. We were constantly moving house to get away from him, But he’d always manage to find us and cause trouble. It was tough growing up not being able to afford the simple things and it didnt help not having any friends or relatives any support around. The only person in the world that i belived and knew in my heart that would care is Michael, He was always there.. He would understand..And he wouldnt judge. My problems in my life growing up was allways kept secret. I wouldnt dare to tell anyone they would laugh or think of me in a bad way..So at school i was always to myself, The quiet little girl in the back of the classroom that had no friends. The girl that didnt get a chance to grow up Becouse she, Was forced to always be that muture, wise, older person rather then that little person she was meant to be. Noone understands me…Only michael would have. i never got there. The money ended up going towards paying off my mothers debt. too many problems. It makes me really sad to think. But i know in my heart with out ever meeting michael, That we would have been true friends, The reason being, I would have treated him just the way i wanted to be treated, like a true real friend. He was only human you know.. May He Rest In Peace.

    Thank you for listening
    Sarah.

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