Monday, April 8, 2013
Once upon a time, a race of "aged people" roamed the earth. Extinct by the mid-1960's, the Aged P's were replaced by their more vital offspring -- the matures, silvers, and seniors.
For the moment, anyway, you can find remains of their old stomping grounds in Altadena, the erstwhile Scripps Home for the Aged, rechristened simply The Scripps Home in 1965 or so. The property was sold and razed around 2007. Residents who expected to live the rest of their lives in the shadow of the mighty San Gabriels got packed off to another location, 12 miles south.
Scripps Home is nothing but an open field today, as it has been for the past five years. Soon there will be a high-end-high-density stucco development called MonteCedro. A retirement village, yes, but oh, so much more. Residents will discover "The Art of Life in Harmony" -- I expect that means yoga will be involved.
M and I planned to take some photographs this past Wednesday -- of the meadow plus a bank of houses on the east-flanking block, before total demolition and construction begins.
But in the morning, M sent an email, "Check it out. Location fenced, curtained, and locked. We might have to cut our way in."
I choked on my toast. M is getting pretty big for her urban exploring britches these days.
Still, I brought a Buck knife, just to be able to say, "Take it; Trouble is your business."
Alas, alas for M anyway, no heroic efforts were required. The deconstruction supervisor saw us poking around and gave us a tour of the grounds.
This bit of history will be history by the end of the month. Most of the houses were built in the 20s and 30s, maybe a couple from the teens. When the developer purchased the properties quite a few years ago, legend has it, there was a hold-out -- one owner who refused to sell.
That's often the case.
Should you ever find yourself in LaCrosse, Wisconsin -- not something I recommend, by the way, but still -- should you ever find yourself in LaCrosse, there's one place worth a visit. A big garden-variety shopping mall, famous for its Kohls, where a classic two-story farmhouse sits on the edge of the parking lot. When the developer bought the surrounding property, this farmhouse owner refused to vacate and waged a lawsuit, one that lasted almost a decade. And the farmer won, if living in a field of parked cars constitutes a win.
And who's to say? For some, the heart is where the home is. The cupboards built by a grandfather, an upstairs window where a mother did her ironing. Floorboards that creak as they creaked for generations of footfalls. In which case, perhaps it doesn't matter if you live next door to the Cracker Barrel and a long-bed truck, it's what's inside that counts.
Now, where was I. Oh yes...