Hemet hardly a ‘cheesy’ tourist town

Dear Editor,
I read with interest Martin Cheek’s chronicle in the March 18
Dispatch of Helen Hunt Jackson’s literary journey. However, I must
object to his reference to Hemet as

a cheesy tourist town centered on the ‘Ramona’ legend.

Dear Editor,

I read with interest Martin Cheek’s chronicle in the March 18 Dispatch of Helen Hunt Jackson’s literary journey. However, I must object to his reference to Hemet as “a cheesy tourist town centered on the ‘Ramona’ legend.”

As one who grew up in Hemet and who returns there to visit at least once a year, I must insist that Hemet is neither “cheesy'” nor a “tourist town'” nor even “centered on the ‘Ramona’ legend'” with the exception of three weekends in the spring.

Hemet has been a lot of things over the years.

When I was born it was a quiet farming town. When I was in high school it was an active retirement community. In recent years, with changes in what is allowable with regard to age restrictions on housing communities, it has become a busy bedroom community with a large number of new housing developments whose residents commute to work in Orange, Los Angeles, and San Diego counties. But “cheesy” it is not.

Understand that I am not an uncritical Hemet booster.

A couple of years ago I told my sister-in-law, a long-time bank manager and chamber of commerce member, and my bother, recently elected to the city council on a platform of bringing some order and sanity to the housing permit process, that Hemet’s downtown was getting a little long in the tooth and could do with a facelift.

But be that as it may, Hemet has a lot to be proud of, and the annual Ramona Pageant is a community effort in which members of all ages and from all segments of the community participate.

There are only three professionals in the production: the director and the roles of Ramona and Alessandro. Everyone else is a volunteer who contributes to the success of a popular and well-reviewed production.

I would suggest that Mr. Cheek not make disparaging comments about that of which he is not familiar. I would further suggest that San Juan Bautista, with its popular mission and antique shops, is far more of a tourist destination than Hemet ever was or ever will be.

Mike Christie, Gilroy

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