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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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?)