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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Farewell, Erika...


Erika, you passed away at 2:50 p.m. yesterday. Your sister Emily said the Moore Brothers' Now Is the Time for Love was playing.

You had been on life support since Sunday when you were discovered unconscious at home. None of us could grapple with the fact that an unexpected, deadly issue had been lurking, silently and undetected, before it struck you down in the blink of an eye.

How can it be that our vibrant, beautiful friend is gone? Our hearts are broken.

You were so creative in every aspect of your life, from fashion to art. At an early age you discovered through photography that you could see the world and light in a whole new way.

You earned a degree in photography from the prestigious Art Center College of Design in 1995. Your works can be found in galleries and private homes, as well as in the books Greene & Greene: The Passion of the Legacy by Randell Makinson and Greene and Greene by Edward Bosley.

You were among the guests at my retirement party in 2012. We had such a wonderful time that night at the Castle Green! I love this photo of you swing dancing with Ed Razor:

You were crowned queen of the Pasadena Doo Dah Parade in 1999. Here you are (center) with some other former queens at the 2013 parade -- Kavita Sharma, Rosie SchoenMichelle Mills and Dianne Patrizzi.

A child is never supposed to precede her parents in death. It's just not the way the universe is intended to work. But you did, leaving behind your mother Janeen Marrin, your father Jim Marrin, your sister Emily and her children Lucy and Leo whom you adored so much.

It seemed nothing could separate you and your dad. . .until now.

Last night when a few friends gathered with Jim, Janeen and Emily to hold them close, I leafed through this book that was on the dining table. It brought me a sense of comfort.

Some time ago you opted to be an organ donor. So you have given the ultimate gift of hope to a half dozen people who will live longer and fuller lives because of your selfless generosity. They and their families will be forever grateful.

Farewell, Erika. It was my honor and privilege to know you. 

 This is not the end; you will live on in our hearts and minds.

Photos are from Kavita, Erika's Facebook page and my own archives.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mystery History -- Solved!

Liz wins with her 6:28 p.m. Tuesday guess "Building the Green and Green Gamble house on Orange Grove."

David Berry Gamble, the son of Proctor & Gamble co-founder James Gamble, commissioned architects Charles and Henry Greene to design a home in Pasadena that would become a permanent residence where he would live out his days with his wife Mary.

They lived in Cincinnati where Gamble had taken over the reins at Proctor & Gamble years before, retiring in 1895 and spending several winters at Pasadena resort hotels. In 1907 David and Mary purchased a lot on Westmoreland Place along "Millionaires Row"; Greene & Greene completed the design of The Gamble House  in February 1908 and ground was broken the following month.

Charles (left) and Henry Greene:

Here's an invoice from the builder:

The completed house -- view from the north:


One of the terraces:

By summer 1910 the custom-designed furniture, artfully executed metalwork, luminous art glass windows and light fixtures were in place.


The coolest staircase ever:

After David passed away in 1923 and Mary in 1929, the house was occupied solely by Mary's sister, Julia Huggins. Following her death in 1946, Cecil and his wife Louise moved into the house and made plans to sell it.

When they learned the prospective buyer planned to paint all of the interior teak and mahogany woodwork white, they put a halt to the sale. They were well aware of the historic and artistic significance of the house and decided to keep it in the family.

Twenty years later the Gambles deeded the house to the City of Pasadena, which owns it to this day*; it is managed by the USC School of Architecture.

The Gamble House today:

The Gamble House is a national historic landmark and the only one of the Greenes' works open to the public. All of the original furnishings and fixtures designed by the architects remain in place. 

The Gamble House is open for regularly scheduled and special tours, all led by docents. Note to women planning to wear heels: Don't do it! You'll be required to take them off and don unattractive booties to preserve the wood flooring.

And the bookstore in the original garage is a must-visit!

* The City of Pasadena owns several other high-profile properties, including the Wrigley Mansion, the former National Guard armory occupied by Armory Center for the Arts and the lands on which the Norton Simon Museum and the Pasadena Senior Center are located.

Many thanks to the Greene and Greene Archives at Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens and the Gamble House.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mystery History

Where are we? And what's happening?
The first person to guess correctly will win lunch with me -- I'll buy yours and you'll buy mine.
Remember, leave your brief guess as a comment on this blog but don't try to give the entire back story (that's my job).
I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Mystery History -- Solved!

Loren wins with his 8:40 a.m. Tuesday guess "Well, there was a Thrifty on Colorado down close to City Hall, right? So it could be an anti-littering ad campaign that was shot on Colorado."

The April 11, 1955, newspaper photo above from The Independent is captioned "The litterbug in action." Of course the photos were staged.

Here's another photo from the article:

The Independent conducted what's now called an eyeball survey -- a reporter stood at various locations on Colorado Boulevard and observed.

Here's the article:

The litterbug nuisance along Pasadena streets, which has brought complaints
from many citizens here, was traced in part to the city's sparing use
of trash receptacles, in a survey conducted by The Independent.
Citizen indifference was a big factor, however. Some downtown strollers
were observed taking a dozen steps to drop empty cigarette packets in gutters,
when they were within three steps of a trash receptacle.
Citizens who were both lazy and indifferent failed to make the gutter.
They dropped papers underfoot on the sidewalk.
Some conscientious strollers carried crumpled up waste paper
for a block, looking in vain for a trash can. Some looked furtive
and conscience-stricken as they finally flicked their problem into the gutter.
City health officials have warned many times that accumulated
food wrappers, peelings and sandwich bits, lately standard items
along Pasadena's streets, are tempting come-ons for rats,
which grow fat and multiply when food is conveniently left out for them.
Rats aren't the only animals that forage for their food. Dog packs,
stray cats, insects, vermin, all head for the cast-off piles in the gutters.
In one block east of Allen Avenue, there are more mail boxes than trash boxes.
Another constant source of street litter is the outdoor eating places
and drive-in restaurants in some locations where careless eaters toss refuse to the winds.

I imagine the desks of city officials were littered with complaints about litterbugs at the time!

In modern times there is a trash receptacle at just about every block -- one at every bus stop.

There are also more than 40 of these Big Belly solar-powered trash compactors around town:

Leadership Pasadena brought a proposal for the compactors to the Public Works Department in 2007 as a possible environmental project, which led to a pilot program with four placed at key locations, followed by the Pasadena City Council approving the purchase of 36 more in 2009.

They take up as much space as ordinary trash receptacles but have five times the capacity and compact the trash using the power of the sun.

So note to those 1955 litterbugs: You have no excuse 58 years later!