Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer's Frills

Did I mention crape myrtle trees? It's hard not to think of them when they line so many South Pas streets. Jacarandas may usher in the season but crape myrtles stay way past the curfew. In fact, they turn late summer into another lingering spring -- blossoms last clear into September with shades of dark pink, red, white and occasionally lavender.

This one outside Shakers seems to be looking back toward Mission Street, where many others are also blooming.

20 comments:

Laughing Boy said...

Mmmmm Shakers...not the point of the photo? Oh right! Pretty trees!

The lighting captures the deep colors of this myrtle magically. But the Shakers in the background reminds me that I'm not in a fairytale...ahh, reality.

Dixie Jane said...

We have a lot of Crepe Myrtles here just reaching for the sky and grinning with their glorious color. When Shanna was a little girl she called them Crepe Gertrudes. We still call them Crepe Gertrudes. They apparently love the hot weather.

Judy Williams said...

They do grow here when everything else is gasping from the hot Texas sun. This compositionally, is exceptional. I love the guy's swinging arm and right foot in motion. :~)

I always thought it was crepe. I guess it's crape. I learned something today.

Anton said...

So, aside from the beautiful tree and Laurie's compositional skills and back to So Pas of the past...

If I'm not mistaken, Shakers used to be called "The Salt Shaker" before that name became a little culinarily politically incorrect (oh, 1976 or so.) It was just a slightly pithier Denny's, but fun nonetheless.

When the South Pasadena Playhouse used to exist (both physically and organizationally) everyone in the production would go there after rehearsals and shows and mob the place. Anyone remember that?

dbdubya said...

I believe Anton is correct about Shakers originally being called The Salt Shaker. There used to be a Salt Skaker and a Shaker Mountain Inn steak house in Glendale. Because of the similarity in names I assumed they were owned by the same people but don't know for sure.

I also believe the South Pasadena Shakers was something else before it became the Salt Shaker. I had lunch at Pann's in Westchester last week. The building, which was built in '58, is very similar in style to Shakers.

Mister Earl said...

DB - Is Pann's a big place on Sepulveda? I think I"ve been there a couple times before Laker or hockey games.

I went to Moffett's Chicken Pies in Arcadia last night because one of the girls who works at Starbucks in SoPas also works there. It's an old-timey comfort food place. Fresh bread, mashed potatoes, pot pies, burgers... and dessert is included for a very reasonable price.

We've already mentioned here that Wild Thyme used to be The Bakery. I think it was owned by the same people who owned Shakers, but I don't know if that's still true.

dbdubya said...

That's the place, Mr. E. Pann's also serves comfort food including hand shaped hamburger patties and milk shakes that come with a tall glass and the metal cannister it was made in.

At one time I believe Wild Thyme was a House of Pies back in the
'70s, and I believe it's owned by the same family that owns Shakers.

WV: bings - short for buffalo wings

Mister Earl said...

Pann's was also featured in the opening and closing shots of Pulp Fiction.

Speaking of films, Diedre's Bridal Shop opened on El Centro near Meridian the other day, but it closed down in only a day or two. I knew South Pas couldn't support a bridal shop.

Shanna said...

Dixie Jane: I had forgotten about crape Gertrude's. It sure got a laugh out of me!!!

Mr.E: I'll have to try that place with mashed potatoes and chicken pies. Shaker's is the only place I've found that doesn't put garlic in them - and in everything. I'm allergic to it. Yes, I do get a lot of jokes about that, esp. since I look a bit witchy.

Shanna said...

oops - Gertrudes

Anton said...

Oh, Laurie, you set the wheels in motion...

So, I was thinking about the way So Pas of today has been described here and there in your blog, the restaurants, shops and so on, and I realized that there may be this assumption that it has always had the feel it has now back through some idyllic lens--but that's not really the case. I don't know what it was like before about 1975, but in the mid- to late 70's, So Pas was a little bland (like everything else of that period,) with the downtown corridors probably more characterized by the dirty Thrifty on the corner of Fair Oaks and Mission, the dirty and poorly managed Rialto and the dry and dusty Radio Shack. That large shopping center on the NW corner of Fair Oaks and Monterey went in about 1976 bringing a franchise-type pizza place, a supermarket (the only supermarket prior being Alpha Beta up on Raymond Hill) and so on. The Pronto Market (Trader Joe's starting point that had yet to take off) was probably one of the most interesting things in town at that time.

We lived in Altadena from about 1969 to 1975 and I had a lot of exposure to Altadena and Pasadena and Pasadena was almost a total wasteland and very crime-ridden at that time (the 210 freeway going in didn't help at all.) I know that Pasadena has since been reformed, especially down on Colorado from Orange Grove past Raymond.

And, likewise, my sense of So Pas today is that it has been re-crafted in the image it wanted to be and portray.

Nothing wrong with that--just a little context...

Laurie said...

Ah, who among us hasn't been a bit recrafted from who we were into what we would like to be? :-)

I think MOST cities were crummy during the 70s. Look at what has been transformed in New York. Chicago, too. In Los Angeles, it wasn't just Pasadena but HOllywood, Los Feliz, Venice, a lot of Santa Monica and West LA -- all kind of strip-mallified and ugly, with grafitti and trash. All of those places have been revitalized into versions of their own mythology. HOllywood Blvd. is now an homage to the old days of film, Venice embraces the romance of the hippie vibe, etc.

Jane Apostol's book that I've covered in this blog is the definitive history of ALL of South Pasadena's many incarnations. Fascinating stuff over the years.

ALso, click on the Shakers tag at the end of this post to read about the other restaurants this family owns.

Virginia said...

We are SUCH kindred spirits. I 've been driving all over B"HAM to capture the last of the crape myrtles. It was my grandmother's favorite and she checked every day from her window to see how many new blooms were there. Too many folks cut them off every fall and it results in tall shoots in the summer. They need to be left to arch gracefully. Thanks L.
V

Cafe Pasadena said...

I answered this question re Shaker history for a long-time, but now former, SoPasa/Pasa resident. Unfortunately, at the moment I can't recall what I told her! Except I was shaking with doubt in the certainty of my answer.

Re Pasadena from 69-75 being almost a TOTAL wasteland and very crime-ridden is news to me. Of course, I was barely breathing way back in them days but maybe others who were alive & kicking back then & still breathing now can say more on that view.

Where's a loco historian or PIO when you need one!

Anton said...

Cafe:

Yeah, that's what it was. I was old enough to take the public bus to my school in Pasadena, to the Pasadena library and so on--things were pretty ugly and seedy. I even got to watch the smoke rising from the SLA shootout from a spot just above my house in Altadena.

Laurie said...

Thanks for all the comments, gang! I love it that as a relatively new resident of San Gabriel Valley, I can always count on my readers to fill in any historical blanks. Blogs are wonderfully collaborative!

Until tomorrow, everyone.

Natalie DeJohn said...

Gorgeous picture! I want one of those trees. Although I think if I had one in my backyard, I'd probably just sit in a hammock and stare at the beautiful tree all day.

Laurie said...

Thanks, Natalie! I feel the same way about these trees. I love this time of year because they are so plentiful around here.

Anonymous said...

Howdy! I was looking up some info about South Pas. I was born and raised there, but no longer live in the area. Shakers was indeed the Salt Shaker and before that in the early 60's was called Prebbles. It is owned by the Yost family of South Pasadena. My husband worked there for them for many years!

Anonymous said...

Regarding Shakers used to.neo.g Prebbles, yes it was!! My mom worked there every day for years in the vegetable department. I always went to pick her up from work. It was a wonderful.time in my iife. I have very fond memories of Pasadena in the 60's!