Many Mansions Discovered

Written by Al Friedman

It was a cold drizzling Wednesday afternoon in February. Classes at Westlake High School were over for the day. Our granddaughter, Danielle, often walked to our house after school. My wife Lois and I decided to drive down, find Dani, and drive her home. We saw her and another girl walking together, each wearing a heavy backpack. Dani saw us, smiled, waved good-bye to her friend and got into our car. Her friend continued walking on Thousand Oaks Blvd.

Lois said, “Dani, how is your friend getting home?”

“Oh, she takes the bus, but sometimes walks home.”

I asked, “Where does she live?”

“Oh, down Thousand Oaks Blvd.”

In unison, my wife and I said, “She is going to get soaked, let’s give her a ride.”

We pulled over. Dani opened the window and asked her she would like a ride home. I do not remember her name, but she said, “sure, thanks!” and got into our car.

We drove for about 10 minutes and she said, “I live down the next driveway.” I turned and drove down the alley. On the left was a row of small offices. On the right were old apartment buildings. Lois asked if this was where she lived. She told us she lived on the second floor with her mother. Many days, she used a room on the first floor to do homework where many kids get some tutoring if any help is available.

She said, “Thanks for the ride. See you tomorrow, Dani.”

I turned around and started back to the Thousand Oaks Blvd. We passed a sign over a little office doorway saying Many Mansions. Under the sign was a written card: Volunteers Needed.

Lois said, “Stop in front of that office. I want to see what they do here.” When she came back to the car, she had some papers in her hand. “Those apartments are for families who have been helped by Many Mansions. They might be homeless, but all need help. I am going to volunteer and help tutor some of the kids.”

Lois volunteered at Many Mansions about three days a week for many years. She always came home happy helping kids and sad about how much help some of the younger ones needed. Lois considered it a gift that she could help them.