A fourth generation of a local family is taking advantage this winter of offerings at the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge, the Chevy Chase Drive facility that began more than 60 years ago as the Youth House.
Kelly Cook and her sister Michelle Mena have been attending "Mommy and Me" dance classes offered at the center with their daughters, Irene and Amelia. It's come full circle for the young mothers, as they too participated in classes when they were growing up in La Cañada. Their mother, Pam Glynn, took them to the Youth House for the varied recreational programs it offered. It was a family tradition: Pam also spent a great deal of time at the center in her formative years.
"The dances that I went to were as a kid at the Youth House of La Cañada," Glynn said. "I would go there for Brownie meetings, Girl Scout meetings…it was a center of activities. It's a unique center in our town that not many towns have. The dance class starts classes at 18 months old, and the center has activities available all the way to senior citizens that do pottery and yoga. I was going to dances there in 1959, '60, and it had been cookin' for a long time before that."
Pam Glynn's mother-in-law, the late Ida Glynn, was so beloved in the community that a memorial flagpole was installed at the Youth House in 1974, following her death. Ida and her husband, Ed Glynn, operated the La Cañada Variety Store, a town fixture from 1949 to 2009 that was operated in its latter years by Pam and her husband, Pete.
For Kelly Cook, the community center is an especially convenient place to enjoy the bonding experience, as she is a longtime teacher at the facility's adjoining preschool.
"It's really special now, bringing my own daughter there," Cook said. "Just being on the other end now, being more involved as a parent now — it's like wearing a different shoe. I'm looking forward to being a parent, and taking more classes with her, she absolutely loves the dance class."
As she nears the final weeks of a pregnancy, Cook will have the opportunity before long to experience the classes with yet another member of her family. She plans to bring her forthcoming daughter to the center, an activity she says she looks forward to.
"Of course [I will bring her]," she said. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
MICHAEL BRUER is a freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.