Christine Meyer: An under-the-radar leader in our community

| July 27, 2023 | 0 Comments

Christine Meyer, or Christine Bennett to those who knew her as a child, moved to the United States for the first time when she was 11. Her mother was French, and her father was a press attaché at the American embassy in Paris for many years.

During the first two decades of her life, Meyer moved around every two to four years, living in different countries. “I lived in France, Iran, Pakistan, Germany — it was so broadening. But I didn’t get the experience of living in one place, getting to know people, seeing birth, marriage, death,” she said.

When Meyer settled in Windsor Square, she found something she’d never really known — community. Though they lived in the Pacific Palisades while their kids were young, Meyer and her husband, architect Carl Meyer, FAIA, ended up, in 1993, buying the house where Carl had grown up with his seven siblings. “That house became such a happy home with events, pre-prom parties and such,” Mrs. Meyer told us.

She said, “Being part of the St. Brendan Church and School community was a revelation to me in a lot of ways.” She explained that she truly experienced what it was like to be part of a community there, and she found herself taking on leadership roles in her neighborhood, as well. She was her block’s Windsor Square Association block captain for 27 years, helping to organize the popular Lucerne Block Party; she was a den leader for her son’s Cub Scout pack; and she became the friendly face that people would see when they went to the polls to vote.

Meyer often was the head poll worker for her neighborhood’s polling place. “We did it in someone’s garage for many years.”

The humble mom of three said she became more comfortable with the poll worker job as she did it more. “I learned I could handle problems.”

Poll workers have to get up early to make sure everything is ready for voters on the big day. They also stay late packing up and dispatching the ballots. “It was such a wonderful experience. You feel very involved with your community.” Meyer said she loved it when people brought their kids with them or when someone came in for the first time. “We taught them, in principle, how to do it,” she said. One year, Mayor Villaraigosa came in. “That was very exciting,” she said.

Though Meyer has grown to love being part of a local community, there’s a big part of her that relishes her worldly roots. She got her undergraduate degree overseas in France and Germany and might never have ended up in Los Angeles if she had not met Carl while they both were studying in Heidelberg.

Meyer still returns to France yearly. She and her sister now own the peaceful, ivy-covered small chateau that has been in their mother’s family for generations.

For many years, she also has been involved with a nearly 100-year-old group that started in Hancock Park / Windsor Square called Le Salon Français de Los Angeles. Meyer served as president for 12 years and is now the organization’s vice president. The group is composed of Francophiles who get together several times each year. Members host each other in their homes or meet at places like the Wilshire Country Club to have tea and listen to guest speakers.

Since her 20s, Meyer was drawn to the study of psychology. She got her masters degree in the U.S. but found it difficult to get the hours she needed to be licensed after having children. But she persisted. In 2008, her dream of being a licensed therapist finally came true. She’s had her own marriage and family therapy practice ever since. She actually sees both French- and English-speaking clients.
The grandmother of six feels that “a lot of really good, good things came my way all by themselves.” She feels blessed. “I am so fortunate that our children are enthusiastic about our many get-togethers,” she said.

Every summer, her daughters’ two families, her son, Christine and her husband all vacation together somewhere between San Francisco and Los Angeles. They rent a place with a pool so the grandkids can play and the family can simply enjoy being together.

Christine and Carl recently downsized from their Windsor Square home, and they now are living happily ever after nearby in Sycamore Square.

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Category: People

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