March 17, 2010


 Not my home, now.  But Home with a capital letter. Home, as in, "you can't go home again." Except that I do, usually about once a month or so.  My mother still lives in the apartment that she and my dad rented near Uptown Whittier when I was in junior high. Temporary, they said at the time. Because while we had always been renters, we had never before lived in an apartment.  No yard? No front porch? How would we all manage?  Now it's almost thirty years later, and still the same address.

I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking here.  I guess this is sort of a belated Weekend Recap post -- these were taken on Super Bowl Sunday.
This is the back of my bedroom door. I don't remember when I put up the Led Zep -- but I cut the letters and symbols out of a poster and glued them up -- I guess with some pretty heavy duty glue, as they're still there. My dad moved into this room after I got married (yes, I lived at home right up until my wedding day, with only a brief 9 months away at an out-of-state college).  He tried to chip off the letters, but to no avail.
 Shortly after I was married, my dad was diagnosed with emphysema. He eventually ended up needing an oxygen tank and some other sort of major breathing machine (like a tank, but less portable). He moved into this room, and toward the end of his life, he rarely left.  He had his computer, a TV for round-the-clock viewings of Law & Order and other cable police shows -- and his displays. This shelf held his display of vintage roadrunners.  (Shortly after I took this picture, my mom said she took down the display. Almost 3 years after my dad died, and it's still hard to put away all of his things.) After his years as bartender, my dad got very into thrifting and selling at flea markets. For a while, he had his own shop: Roadrunner Antiques.
 The view out my bedroom window.  This is "Across the Street," also currently known as a Circle K -- before that, it was a Stop N' Go.  We have always, always just referred to it as Across the Street: as in, "I'm going across the street for some Dr.Pepper, do you need anything?" (Usually  yes, since my mother ALWAYS needs a half-gallon of milk.)  At night, and on clear days, the view is long and southward -- one can see clear to Signal Hill,  near Long Beach.   During the summer in high school, I would cross for bags of chips and Icees, wearing short shorts and testing my ability to stop traffic and garner hoots and hollers from passing cars. I was both thrilled and embarrassed. It's like a short story from Joyce Carol Oates or something. 

 Vintage cuteness in the first bathroom. Yes, an apartment with 2 full baths and 3 bedrooms, and more than 1,000 square feet. We never felt crowded. 
The view out a front window, looking east.  Less than 2 miles east up the road, this major street, which you can drive west all the way to Beverly Hills and beyond, turns into Turnbull Canyon.  The canyon is winding and rural and wild and it never felt far away, even in the midst of the traffic noise and bustle. Even now, at night, one can smell the proximity of all that brush and chapparal.  High school kids like to cruise the canyon on Saturday nights at way-too-high speeds, blasting Ozzy Osbourne out the car speakers. Not that I'd know anything about that.

 Me and my sister (I'm the curly one.) In the background you can see some of the other vintage elements in the house that we take for granted: the old icebox, that we've had  forever, the Frankoma pottery above the pantry, the clock, the De Grazia print. 

Lily with a mouth full of Super Bowl cupcake. Behind her is the antique cabinet holding my mom's collection of ceramic Florence dolls. Florence dolls were made in Pasadena, Califonia in the 1940s and '50s.  These gals was acquired by my dad, almost exclusively on Ebay. Neither the cabinet or the dolls are secured in any way to the wall -- one good earthquake, and they're toast! I have harped on my mother for years to fix this  --- not my problem, I suppose.

The view from the balcony, looking northeast:  The hills are very green right now, says mom. Whittier is a terrific walking town, especially on the west side: alleys, overgrown bougainvillea, bungalow homes and curvy, steep, narrow streets. There are trails that lead up into the hills, too.  Ah, the green, green grass of Home. 

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