Candace was raised in the Valley, a typical middle-class Jewish upbringing, where her family raised her with the hope that she’d do better financially than their generation. But she was never typical. She went to the first alternative college in the United States (Johnston College, now called Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, part of the University of Redlands), received a degree in criminology and got her first job working with street gangs — mainly teenagers ages 16 to 18.
“We did 30 hours in the office and then 30 hours on the street a week.” If they heard about a fight, they’d do their best to stop it. “Sometimes you couldn’t prevent the fight, so you’d just take away the knives, guns and chains and make it as safe as possible for them to fight.” I like this woman.
Because she loves traveling, she took a new job working for the Military-Industrial Complex. She took a course in sailing in the Dutch West Indies, where she met her now-deceased husband. “Four years later, we got married, and seven years after that he died. It was prostate cancer that had metastasized by the time they found it.”
In 1983, they built their own house in a tiny town 60 miles east of Baker. “Cowboys would come by and help.” They picked up their mail in a town 21 miles away. The nearest phone was 21 miles in the other direction. “We were hungry for pizza one night, so we went to get it — 154 miles away.”
They later moved to Montana, where Candace took a job teaching and her husband worked as a packer. “If you want to go hunting or camping and there’s no other way to get there but by horseback, [the packer] takes people in to the wilderness — the real wilderness — no phones, no electricity, nothing.” Eventually they owned and operated a cow-calf operation. “It’s where you raise the calves until they’re old enough to be sold for beef. People have a bad idea about feed lots, but you have to get your meat somehow.”
After her husband died, she became very involved with the Jewish community in Montana. “Shabbat dinners were usually at our house. There were 48 families. It was like the Frisco Kid. We had a traveling rebbe who came in every six weeks or so. And he had to accommodate everyone from Orthodox Jews to assimilated Jews.”
After a stint in Oregon, she decided she needed to come back to where her family was, “and we moved into Thousand Oaks. It was great for [my daughter].” When she first got there, Candace took a look at two identical houses and saw two people walking out of their front door pushing strollers at the same time. She thought, ‘What am I doing?’ I was a hippie, involved with the anti-war movement in the ’70s ... ”
She’s settled now, working as an administrator for the BJE — Builders of Jewish Education. “I work on two programs that help keep Jewish kids in Jewish day schools.” But it’s been 19 years since her husband died, and she’d love to find another man.
The perfect man for Candace would be “a doctor on a Harley who likes to get dressed up occasionally — as comfortable in jeans as he is in a tux. And he can have a ponytail. I would love to have somebody who has a sense of adventure because I’d love to own an RV and travel around the country. I’d love to go down to South America. He has to have a love of people because I talk to people a lot.”
She doesn’t care about a man’s height or weight. “Is he athletic? There are other things that are more important. Is he a mensch?” Then she adds, “But he does have to be financially self-sufficient. I’m not looking to take care of anybody.”
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Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.