For 40 years, residents in the 600 and 700 blocks of Grinnell Drive
threw small backyard parties to get acquainted with their new neighbors.
This year, organizers decided to invite all of Grinnell, from Glenoaks
Boulevard to Sunset Canyon Drive. They got a permit to block off the
tree-lined street from Sixth Street to Kenneth Road.
"Why not expand on a good idea?" asked co-host Linda Antonioli, who
moved to the 700 block of Grinnell with her husband Ken in 1997. "Every
block is represented."
This year's version grew from the usual 50 people to upward of 150
adults and children.
While neighbors dined on catered chicken and got to know one another,
kids made cotton candy, played ping pong and tried their hand at Hula
Hoop on the dance floor while a disc jockey kept things lively.
"We were the young kids on the block once," said Doris Anderson, who
moved to Grinnell in 1940. Now we're the senior citizens."
Mike Kosteva, who organized the first welcome party in 1960, made the
trip from Ventura, where he has lived since 1990.
"I come back regularly because I know these people, they're my
family." he said. "It's a joy to exchange hugs and kisses."
Herb Vincent assumed responsibility for organizing the event once
Kosteva moved, then gave way to the Antonioli's and Jenn and Daren
Rediger after the 1998 party.
"I sold a lot of these people on Grinnell," said Vincent, a retired
real estate agent. "So I felt obligated to throw a party for them."
While Landrum and Berry are the newest residents on the block,
95-year-old Almo Myers has the most seniority.
"You're all newcomers," joked Myers, who moved into her home in the
500 block of Grinnell in 1930.