Friday, October 9, 2009

Homespun

One of the reasons South Pasadena feels so comforting and homey is because it is loaded with old houses like this. I mean really now ... just look at this place! It just begs you to slow down, grab a glass of lemonade and unplug from the frenzied digital age. And don't kill my buzz by telling me the people who live here probably have a 60 inch high def TV mounted on one of those 110 year old walls, or that they use the original sun porch to access Twitter from their netbooks. You're probably right. But that's not what I imagine when I drive by.

In my mind this house is inhabited by characters out of Edith Wharton or Henry James. And the same goes for the neighboring houses. The dream of those candlelit parlours and spinet sonatinas makes me feel a little less frazzled after a long day when I unwind in my own 110 year old home. It's like everyone who lives here has sworn to uphold an unspoken pact. We preserve our old buildings and take care of our heritage trees and cheerfully call the plumber when our 19th century pipes burst so that we can make sure that we all get to live in a place that looks like a setting for plays by Thorton Wilder or films by Frank Capra.

When my family moved from West LA to South Pas, we spent the first few months in giddy sense of shock. Sure, the San Gabriel Valley is only 25 miles down the 10 and 110 freeways, but it's light years away in terms of architectural charm. (The vintage streetlamps! A million Craftsman houses! Bricks! Check out all of the wonderful old bricks!) I'm sure the spell wears off after a while. But I've been here almost two years and I'm still not over it.

17 comments:

Eki Qushay Akhwan said...

the shades frame the house even more beautifully.

Kate said...

Ha! Beautiful! Our house is an Edwardian Terraced house built in 1909 and with lots of original features - stained glass, fireplaces, lovely doors etc. It's certainly a bit tatty around the edges but we love it. We bought it from a family who had lived in it for 5 years and before that a couple who had married, lived and died here. I feel connected and secure here - rooted to the history of the house in some way.

altadenahiker said...

Things are rather Brigadoonish down your way -- that's why I enjoy strolling around. Henry James AND Betsy Tacy.

Love the picture and the piece.

Cafe Pasadena said...

Many who live in big cities know the world, but remain in shock to what's in their own backyard or neighborhood.

Judy Williams said...

Utter and complete charm and the composition of the photo with the trees reaching over to touch, just couldn't be a more perfect frame. I refuse to think of a 15 year old with an I-touch jamming to Katy Perry on that porch, or a mom in the kitchen using a stainless convection oven. It will remain in my fantasy world, just as it was back in the days of its newness. I imagine the glasses of tinkling lemonade and the calling cards on the front porch- having told them of friends who dropped by unannounced. No cell phones, no voice mail, no Twitter. A simpler time captured in a single snap of your shutter. I love it.

Judy Williams said...

Oh! Just read the "Brigadoon" reference. Probably my favorite stage play I was ever in. I loved everything about it and now when I think of this photo, I'll imagine the plaids, music and voices of that moment of my time line. Thanks, Ms. Hiker, for that memory.

Jean Spitzer said...

This is such a charming photo. And I love that the front lawn isn't grass.

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Beautiful shades !! Fantastic post !! Thanks for sharing..Unseen Rajasthan

Laurie said...

Oooh, I'd forgotten about Brigadoon. LOVE that reference.

TheChieftess said...

I don't think the infatuation with the charm of So Pas ever goes away Laurie...it's what keeps So Pas as Mayberry!!!

Double "D" said...

A story in every photo and a warm apple pie in every house. Gorgeous photo Laurie.

Yakpate said...

LA: Know how it's theorized that cell phone waves are harmful to bees? I think they must be harmful to people, too, a digital barrage that overwhelms us on some fundamental level and make us long for simpler times.

Somewhere on that porch there's a swing. And ladies in flowered cotton dresses who smell like powder after their afternoon baths. And stolen kisses that are sweeter than anything we can tweet.

I congratulate you on using your blog to ground us!

Cafe Observer said...

That house and your pic are together full of win!

Dixie Jane said...

"This ole house once knew his children
This ole house once knew his wife
This ole house was home and comfort
As they fought the storms of life."

And I have a feeling that this ole house will weather any storm.

It's comforting to this ol' Southern gal to know that it stands there reeking of fried chicken and hot biscuits on Sunday. And yes, Double D, warm apple pie!

Laurie said...

Many thanks, wonderful people. (And Cafe? Bad doggie!!!)

I'll catch up with you tomorrow, gang. til then.

barbra said...

I've lived here for fourteen years and it hasn't worn off! Since I grew up behind the Orange Curtain, being surrounded by South Pas architecture feels like a dream come true!

(And yes, there are almost always plumbers visiting one of the houses on my street!)

Anonymous said...

Do you remember the location of this house? It's a filming location that I've been trying to track down for quite some time.
Thanks! -Mallory