Los Angeles, I'm Yours
This is a shot taken from my rental car of downtown LA as I was speeding past. This is significant because I was on a solo journey from Palm Desert (where I spent 4 days in a surreal gated community for Christmas) to breezy Santa Monica, by the ocean. I was spinning, floating through the desert in my little white rental car, passing the fields of windmills and dry mountains, listening to Willie Nelson, and then switching to the great Red Norvo for my forray through LA. I felt liberated, alone, but not lonely. I was exhilarated to be following the highway from the desert to the sea. Suddenly, I popped out on the Pacific Coast Highway, the highway of my childhood, with palm trees and beaches, and the Santa Monica pier where Charlie's Angels often shot their episodes. I was laughing and so happy to be grown up enough to drive myself to this place. And to have Red Norvo keeping me company! My mother was best friends with Red Norvo's daughter when she was little. She told me stories about playing at Porcia's house while people like Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk would come in and go in the back to play music with Porcia's daddy. AMAZING!
I was in Santa Monica this time to sort through my grandparents house on Georgina st. Nama had been moved to a home after 10 years of at-home care. My movie-star handsome grandpa Charles Bizbee Spurgin and my tall, glamorous grandma Virginia Tegner Spurgin had lived in this house since the '70's. I spent so many xmases and summers here, I have powerful memories of playing on the lawn, swimming in the little pool, and even daring to go behind the garage to the alley where it smelled of damp eucalyptus. I love this street and this house. Grandpa was a ham radio operator, as well as a race-car builder, racer, and a sailboat racer. His den was filled with trophies and old photos of boats and cars. His radio had neat logs of weather in faraway places listed next to it. It smells of books. I got to sleep in there when we stayed over, and I slept in there this time, too. The last time.
Mom met me there and we sorted everything. It was bittersweet, but maybe more sweet than bitter because despite the lump in my throat at the thought of saying goodbye, was the relief I felt that we would be saving so much, and giving it a new life. You can't stay in the past, even if you really really want to.
Mom and I found a photo of my grandpa's race car that he built in the '40's on the cover of a magazine called American Hotrod. So cool! I have a photo of my grandparents in the early 60's, on their boat sailing to Catalina island. Grandma is in a chic white swimsuit with a matching hat and cateye glasses, and Grandpa is shirtless in his trunks, with a straw boating hat and a Budweiser in his hand. Too cool for school.