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Sunday, January 24, 2016


I did a search last night for the address of my childhood home (in the San Fernando Valley area).  My family and I moved away when I was nine, and left a beautiful, airy, spacious home, with much family history and love, and with my grandmother living in a small house on the property, and two acres of land.behind it where we played all day.  We moved to a much smaller house with a backyard of gravel and redwood bark.  We had a pool, which did not compensate for the very, very bad memories for me.  I realize that having a nice house and a middle-class income is really a privilege.  We wanted for nothing in our lives, but an atmosphere of addiction really severed whatever nurturing there was.  I always looked at my first childhood home as the locus of what was good in my early life.  If I hadn't had that time, I would have been much worse off emotionally than I was.

I live in an area now where I rarely see houses razed to make way for condos and shopping malls.  There is a lot of resistance here for that  sort of thing. In Los Angeles, it seems like a frequent activity.  The house I grew up in was the very last old, ranch-style house to survive a wave of condo-building and an easement for a busy street behind our house (which was the reason we moved).  Hard to explain: we had a home with a huge amount of acreage behind it, basically an enormous field.  Everyone had this, as the open space extended very far.  It looked like miles and miles of grass dotted with old walnut trees--it had once been a walnut grove. There were houses all along the street. I have one gorgeous picture of the front yard and one of the next-door houses.  It was all so lush and beautiful--the lawns, shrubs, old trees, all the greenery and care, and pride in the homes.  Now it's condos with absolutely no landscaping in front, and a dusty, dry bare lot where my house once stood.

So what do I take from this?  All around the world, people lose their homes to horrible things: earthquakes, war, disasters of all kinds.  Many lose everything they have in the process, including people they love. So I take my sadness with a grain of salt.  What else can you do?