California Dreamin’

Springtime in Los Angeles is gorgeous — blue skies, puffy cumulus clouds, bright orange poppies, lush green hills. Every once in awhile, you smell the syrupy perfume of orange blossoms. The traffic is famously slow on freeways that seem to go nowhere but a lot of the cars are awfully nice. Although my first loyalty is to my geographic soul mate in the north, I feel very comfortable here and even a little nostalgic. Disneyland. Vin Sculley. Olvera Street. Surfer boys. Palm trees.IMG_0531

Kathy and Laura were here over the weekend so we could visit Dad’s family together — Dawn, Tom, Marilynn and some of the cousins. We took the opportunity to enjoy the neighborhood where we lived as teenagers. Our old house in San Marino looks the same as it did in 1975 when, hard to believe, that house was affordable for  a government employee supporting a family of six.  We wandered through Old Town in Pasadena, where in 1969 “you” could buy paraphernalia and blouses from Mexico that annoyed your English teacher (who is now playing Words with Friends with Kathy).  Today, Old Town is home to a whole lot of high end boutiques and restaurants.


In the garden at Pasadena’s wonderful Norton Simon Museum.


Our house on Monterey Road in San Marino. The chip on the doorway tile is still there. So is the chain link gate where Koko the dog and Charlie the tortoise would wait for us in the afternoons.


Tom and Marilynn at dinner.



We rode by Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch where many westerns were filmed, including The Lone Ranger, Rin Tin Tin and Gunsmoke






After Kathy and Laura left, I headed north to Santa Clarita to visit longtime friends Ann and Marilyn who have a beautiful ranchita, four darling Yorkies and a couple of horses in the back yard. Ann had to work some long hours but Marilyn and I joined a few other neighbors for a wonderful ride through the hills. I rode Lena who came with special instructions, a curb bit and a whole lot of energy. At first, I was a little nervous but she behaved herself and turned out to be a great ride.  The troublemakers are always the most fun.


Marilyn on Ginger. You get an idea of the terrain — bright greens, oak trees, poppies and lupin.


Photography was not permitted inside.


Marilyn’s tour of the permanent collection with a group of teenagers.

Marilyn is a (fantastic) docent at the Getty so I got a special tour of the Turner exhibit, which is on loan from the Tate. Probably more than any other painter, Turner paved the way for the Impressionists.  He was vilified for his innovative techniques and he also became very rich.  If you were a collector in 1840, Turner was a must-have. Coincidentally, Turner is one of Motomi’s favorite painters and now I understand why.


A tribe of artistic kids at the Getty.

From Santa Clarita, I drove to Victorville in the high desert to see my Aunt Cathy, and cousins Jennifer, Greg and Donnie. Cathy just recovered from a broken back at age 89, which you would never guess, and she seems to have the energy of someone half her age.  Jennifer and her husband Greg have been married 50 years! Donnie is currently the captain of the posse in Modoc County in the far northeastern corner of the state. When I was nine, Donnie saved me from a rattlesnake in Yosemite.  I am glad there was a good way to include a small number in that paragraph.


I probably don’t need to clarify that the Clarks are from the English side of the family. Greg is taking the picture

It’s time to go home again.


Facing west from California’s shores,
Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound,
I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity,
the land of migrations, look afar,
Look off the shores of my Western sea, the circle almost circled…Long having wander’d since, round the earth having wander’d,
Now I face home again, very pleas’d and joyous,
(But where is what I started for so long ago?
And why is it yet unfound?)

Walt Whitman



Light and Color (Goethe’s Theory) — The Morning After the Deluge — Moses Writing the Book of Genesis. By JMW Turner.



  1. Thinking about your extended blog series I am struck by the extensive and rich circle of family and friends — new and old, near and far — and your talent for staying in touch with so many warm and rewarding relationships. A talent, a gift to all, and a true measure of “wealth” that you nurture with your time, travel, and attention. Quite a treasure.

  2. I was immediately transported back to San Marino seeing the photo of the house. Although I think I only came once (maybe twice) to spend part of the summer, it is so clear in my mind. If I am not mistaken I stayed in the “maid’s room” next to the kitchen. You and your sis’s look the same Kim as when we were kids. Good genes I suppose. What is next? Back up north for a while?

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