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the hamlet (thousand oaks neighborhood group), a bit of history...


by Carol Takaki

This article was written in February 2018.   Subsequent to this writing, Bill French succumbed to illness and time, and has left us.  We are so pleased to have had this last experience with Bill in his usual chair leading the Hamlet meeting.   Bill was the heart and soul of the Thousand Oaks Hamlet and It seems appropriate that we publish this in his memory.

At the Ashby Village Christmas party of 2011, folks gathered in neighborhood groups, and the “Hamlet” was born.  At the time, our neighborhood was Thousand Oaks and Albany, and Bill French was our leader.  We began to gather each month for a tea and organizational meeting.  Almost immediately we formed subgroups, the first being the games and puzzle group (now just puzzles) and then the lunch bunch on Solano and the Mac users group.  Later we added needlework, happy hour and the movie mob.


Bill recently “retired” as our leader, and Mary Jo Powell took over.  Mary Jo does not live in our neighborhood, but that’s okay because several Hamlet members live elsewhere an ours is a stable, active group.  This month Mary Jo was on a road trip with grandsons, so Bill took over as leader at the tea and decided we would celebrate our sixth-year reunion.  As a special guest, Bill invited Betty Webster to tell us about the history of the Ashby neighborhoods.


Five of us were original Hamlet members: Bill and Tari French, Shirley Jowell, Sue Diehl and myself.  We shared some of our experiences with the Hamlet.  According to Bill’s report at the tea, there was "a lively discussion about the use of special events as a part of our Teas…Many felt it would be a good idea to invite back some of the more popular events we had in the past. Hamlet members wanted to share both their life experiences and current interests or activities.


Bill concluded, “I think we have come a long way in the last seven years, but I think there are a lot of exciting things lying ahead of us, both in the Neighborhood Groups and in AV itself.  I think there is a real need for what we are trying to do.”

   Charlie Schad teaching the Hamlet
Charlie Schad teaching the Hamlet about moths and butterflies