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By the Shores of Toluca Lake

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Earlier this week I made a right turn out of a parking lot in order to avoid waiting a lifetime to make a near-impossible left turn. I found myself on a quiet side street in lovely Toluca Lake, and eyeballed my trusty GPS navigation screen in order to see if the road I'd taken would connect me through to a street I knew would hook me up with Riverside Drive and send me on my way home.

But what did I see on the screen? It was a patch of blue, which, as any one whose ever read a map knows, means a body of water. Could it be? Is it? After all these years? I found the actual lake in Toluca Lake!

Maybe you, too, have a small mental file marked "Things that might be entirely obvious or known to others but happen to baffle me." One of those entires is the query: Is there really a Toluca Lake in Toluca Lake? I'd heard smatterings of chatter in the past that some celeb or another lived along its banks, or that it was the domain of the late and legendary localite Bob Hope, but I'd never seen it for myself. It was just the stuff of pure conjecture. Now I know you'll say "Why didn't you just look it up?" and I'll say "I don't know, I just didn't, dammit. I wanted to find out for myself."

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Of course, my excitement tapered off substantially when I realized that the lake was surrounded entirely by private property and completely impossible to view as I drove along the curves of Toluca Lake Avenue. While this was the happy accident I was hoping for, it wasn't panning out like I'd wished it would. No glimpses of blue waters, no public park wherein I might relax with a book or snap some photos. This lake is all about the privilege of living on its shores, and remains shrouded in mystery to me. I suppose it's time to move my Toluca Lake tidbit from the aforementioned mental file into the proverbial "round file." Ah, well.

But what's the real story about Toluca Lake, the lake itself?