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Thursday, March 24, 2011

13067 Lancaster Lane

It's almost unfathomable that this 30 X 30 foot cracker box can list to rent for $972! My mother could barely find the $50 each month for us to live there from the time I was 5 until I was 13. Three girls in one bedroom with wall to wall, floor to ceiling furniture.

We delivered the rent in person to the landlord. His wife always had a beautiful glass candy dish on her table for us to pick a piece from. The landlord, Mr. Clark was never upset if she was late. And she often was. 

Somewhere in those years, she managed to get well off enough to buy the piece of land behind the four houses on the lot we lived. "We sacrificed (Mom would tell the story) for years to get that $2500 bill paid"... we had a dream.

There is no telling what that land is worth now, and it still remains empty because of how the roads went in around it. Even still, it's probably worth a million. My mother sold it somewhere before the 80's for a song, invested in gold and silver and fought to save her sanity when the Hunt Brother's commandeered the heist soon thereafter

I made many a drawing of the house we were someday going to build on that land and I imagined my room would look like the one's I saw in magazines. It was a dream. Dreams are what get us up in the morning. I hung on to that dream for years. It might even have been what inspired me to become a designer. Who knows.

That's a single car garage on the side of the house. My mother's giant baby blue Buick with a continental kit would fit right in it, even with 3 bicycles lined up against the wall; but she would usually drive it right up in front of the house so that we could use the garage for play, or to hoard more stuff. We would half close the door, which hung on two arms with giant springs, and would play my father's Redd Fox album, thinking we were doing something just terrible. Other times we would set it up like a market and use my mother's empty soup cans to line the store shelves for merchandise. We hosted neighborhood carnival events from that garage. My older sister was the mastermind. She would rig up games for candy prizes that she would always benefit from money wise. She was smart that way.

There are a flood of memories attached to this little nothing house. A million pictures - Easter, hunting eggs in flannel housecoats Mom had made, birthday shots out by the lilac bush, holding a cake with our name on it scrolled in Mom's handwriting with a nail, Christmas on our bikes. Millions of pictures, millions of memories.

I took a Google drive through the neighborhood recently and wanted to move back there so badly, I ached. I wanted to run through the neighborhood chasing tumbleweeds and see which of my friends was out to play too. It was funny, nothing much had changed. The whole area that was our neighborhood remains almost intact. The front yards of the houses up on Eucalyptus Ave have all been pushed back to accommodate the thoroughfare. They used to all sit way back on their lots. We hardly ever saw a car go by except for our neighbors. There was no traffic, except on race day. Now it is practically a freeway.

There was an apricot tree just out the back door. There is an apricot tree just out the back door of my house now. I see it when I wash dishes or open the curtain in the morning. I feel the sense of youth every time. We used to climb on the roof of the house to get to the apricots on the top branches before the birds got them. We looked for any excuse to climb on the roof.
There was a tree in the front that I could swing up onto a limb and perch to look out over the neighborhood whenever I wanted to escape. That tree is gone now. A silly palm replaces it. Nothing for a kid to climb.

Nothing has changed much in the old neighborhood, which I think is just simply wonderful. But when you get up into the aerial view and stretch back to where the race track used to be, it's like a different world. Completely incongruous. Makes no sense. A whole little stand of rural, nothing houses swallowed up by cram-packed, rows and rows and rows and rows of high-density, stick quick built junk houses intended for investors to get rich on. I'd take this little cracker box house in the old neighborhood any day...if only it weren't $972 a month! I'd buy the whole little nothing neighborhood if I only could. I surely would. I surely would. Those were simple days, days of eating birthday cake and riding bicycles, climbing trees and chasing boys around the neighborhood. 

We moved from that house in the late 60's and up onto the main street that is now like a freeway. Mom would live there the rest of her life.

It took her 5 years of mental hell to recover from that silver debacle. The Hunt Brothers were culprits in her suffering. So was love. She wanted more for her girls. She wanted something to leave us. She wanted something to focus on after we all left her. She'd spent her life focused on us, she didn't know what next to do. She focused on us even then.

Every morning now I search the clean dishes in the drainer for one of the spoons I took from among Mom's things after she died. I just kept 2 of them and a couple of knives and forks. They were air force property from my father's sticky fingers. (I guess it is called survival.) I eat my cereal and feel connected to a simpler time. Later she got some new silverware that she would put out for Thanksgiving. I didn't take any of that. 

There are things more than money, things no amount of money can buy. I wish I could buy back a few of those years of sitting in trees and chasing boys. I'd find the money for sure somehow. If only I could, I would.

"The collapse of the silver market meant countless losses for speculators. The Hunt brothers declared bankruptcy. By 1987 their liabilities had grown to nearly $2.5 billion against assets of $1.5 billion. In August of 1988 the Hunts were convicted of conspiring to manipulate the market." 

"In the long march toward a new social order, ultra-right and left-wing agitation propaganda serve not only to polarize and destabilize society, they create a diversionary conflict to prevent recognition of the true conspiracy. Lest an informed and united citizenry form an alliance against them, principles of conflict management are employed by the power elites: "The plan, I think, is the old one of world dominion in a new form. The money-power and revolutionary power have been set up and given sham but symbolic shapes ('Capitalism' or 'Communism') and sharply defined citadels ('America' or 'Russia'). Such is the spectacle publicly staged for the masses. But what if similar men, with a common aim, secretly rule in both camps and propose to achieve their ambition through the clash between those masses? I believe any diligent student of our times will discover that this is the case. -- Douglas Reed"

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