As part of a new series, ACCPF Board Member, Kasama Lee will be interviewing ACCPF Founding Members. A Founding Member will be featured and interviewed each month to share what they love about American Canyon, the outdoors, and why this community means so much.
This month we are happy to present featured Founding Member, Fran Lemos!
What a true pleasure it was to spend time, and learn about this month's featured ACCPF Founding Member. There are so many great stories that have made history in this great city. I wish I could share more of what Mrs. Fran Lemos shared in our conversation through her eyes.
If you ever get an opportunity to spend time with her, I’d highly encourage you to get to know her. There is so much you’ll learn about American Canyon, life, and wisdom you will gain by spending time with this great lady with a huge heart for our community.
She is loved by so many who have had the opportunity to know her in American Canyon and I am quite certain, everywhere she’s been.
How long have you lived in American Canyon?
Since 1947. My husband and I got married in November of 1947, and for a wedding present, my husband’s parents gave us this piece of land. With the help of my dad, my brother-in-law, and my cousin, my husband saved all the lumber from another building and built this little house. I have a well and a septic tank here.
What is your favorite park or open space, and why?
Shenandoah is my favorite park. People from my aqua class (water class at the gym) and I have rented space and have had picnics there. I like Wetlands Edge, too, but I cannot walk out there that far.
Can you tell us a story about your favorite park-related memory?
I love our Little League Park. It’s close to my home. It’s the kids… I can hear them. It’s seeing the change over the years. Those parents are wonderful. I’d love to see the City do more with it. There’s so much space there. At the end of the year, they have a celebration - I love that! I have the most memories here because I’m close to it. And back in the early days, there weren’t that many parks.
If you could visit any National Park, where would you go and why?
The one that I would go to is Yosemite. My two sisters, our husbands and I would take the motor home trailer to Nevada, all the way up to Idaho and Canada. While in Canada, we met this couple. They were teachers, and I got to talking to them. They told us they had traveled all over, and their favorite park is Yosemite. At that time, I had never been to Yosemite. I told my husband when we get home, we would go visit Yosemite. I’ve been there about 4 to 5 times since then. We’d stay In the cabin during the off season. There was nobody there. We would watch the waterfalls. It’s just beautiful!
What is your favorite outdoor activity?
I used to be really good in sports. I played baseball. I was on a softball team.
My favorite activities these days are playing bocce ball and taking the aqua class. I play Bocce at Memorial Park. I played for the Sons of Italy league. I was an alternate on the team, since we play on Thursday nights. That’s when the Parks and Commissions Planning meeting is held, and I don’t want miss my meetings.
If you could be any piece of outdoor play equipment, what would you be and why?
Oh gosh! I’d probably be a swing because it feels good to swing back and forth.
What are the benefits you see to being outdoors?
Oh, for your health! Mentally and physically, it’s a good thing. If you go out, get the sunshine, enjoy the sunset. I think outdoors activities are what keep you young.
What would you like to tell future generations about parks and health?
I think they should use the parks. I’ve always been sports-minded and I love to be outdoors. I wish I could walk, but it hurts my back and my knees. I think it’s important for people to have parks and places to go to and meditate if they want to... just to enjoy nature. Because life is too fast… it’s so fast and you have to relax a little bit.
What is your vision for parks in American Canyon?
I think we have a lot of good parks in American Canyon. For a city of our size, to have as many parks as we do, I have to commend our City. The reason we have as many parks as we do, it’s because of our City Council.
I’d have to say since we’ve been incorporated, I’m thrilled that our City has come a long way. We have parks, and we have people who love it here. We have new people who love our City. It’s more than what I could have imagined when we incorporated.
I never imagined we’d have expensive and beautiful homes. I know the old-timers don’t want to lose our rural atmosphere, but we had to do something to grow. What we have done as a City is really fabulous. We have earned the respect from the county. We’re the second biggest city in the county. It’s such an accomplishment.
Why did you choose to support the American Canyon Community and Parks Foundation by becoming a member?
I think it’s important that you have the opportunity to get new things the City cannot provide. ACCPF is a non-profit. They can raise money to get things that are needed. That’s what the foundation is for.
Thank you Fran for all you have done and continue to do for this City. WE are the fortunate ones to have you shine the bright light everywhere you go, dearest Fran. Thank you for a rich conversation and for your friendship.