Lani Tunzi, above, has worked the counter at Knowrealitypie in Eagle Rock for four years. | Photo courtesy of Knowrealitypie

Know Reality

2021 Columnists Editions July Lani Tunzi

By Lani Tunzi

I have about two and a half months in my hometown before finally heading off to UC Santa Barbara and the dwindling time has me feeling nostalgic. Reflecting on the life I have crafted up to this point, one of the most impactful things I have experienced has been my job at the local pie shop, Knowrealitypie.

I’ve been working the pie counter for four years, starting as a kid with a mouth full of braces and long hair to a high-school junior with a shaved head to now a shoulder-length haired, much happier and independent college student.

The job has been everything I could have asked for — and more.

When I was a high school student, I was thrilled by the street cred I had for having a job so early that was both niche and well paying. The shop was within walking distance of home and school. I was making money that I could start saving and spending. I was able to exercise more responsibility and autonomy earlier than many of my peers and I got to tell people I worked somewhere that sounded straight up cool. Also, working alone surrounded by the best pie in the city is inherently indulgent.

More importantly, this job has been a testament to the special connections that are forged in this town.

Like many Eagle Rock stories, a larger context of coincidence led to my working at Knowrealitypie. One day, when my mom was on a walk down Hill Drive, she found a little brown dog out by itself. Luckily, the dog had a collar, informing us that his name was Peanut. As it turned out, Peanut had recently moved in up the street from my parents’ house and was owned by none other than Tracy Devore, my new neighbor and future employer.

Upon returning Peanut to safety, we found that he hit it off with my parents’ little dog. Thus began a period of occasional walks and dog-sitting weekends. Around the same time, Tracy was starting Knowrealitypie with her husband, Kelly Deco, and needed someone to run the pie counter while she was baking. The rest is history.

I have grown very close with Tracy and Kelly, whom I cherish dearly. I’ve gotten drum lessons from Kelly, went to prom with his son, house sit when they’re away and dog sit for their new dog, Stella. The two of them have been true role models for me and for that, I am grateful.

My heart breaks knowing I’ll have to leave the pie counter but I’m grateful to have had the best high-school job in the world with the best dang pie I’ve ever tasted. I’ll still work summers! And I’ll forever have a special place in my heart for pie.

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