It’s interesting how quickly one can travel back through their childhood by the triggering of a sound, smell or a place.
A couple years ago I lived about six minutes from my first home, a fourplex in Toluca Lake. Whenever I got close to the corner of Bloomfield and Cahuenga Boulevard the childhood memories came rushing back.
My mother built that apartment in the late 1940s through a trade. She traded her 1930s Duesenberg for labor and lumber to build a fourplex. She loved that car but wanted a home that was closer to work.
Mom had often seen the Duesenberg parked on the lot at Universal and dreamed of owning it but it wasn’t for sale. That didn’t stop her. She found out who the owner was and talked him into selling it. She was determined and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Her oldest brother Chester would put on a dark suit with a chauffeurs hat and would drive her into work at the studio. Late one afternoon on her way home from Universal, going up Cahuenga, she spotted a “For sale” sign on a corner lot and just like the Duesenberg, she couldn’t stop dreaming about owning it.
Our home was eventually built there. With the help of her best friend Floyd (who eventually became my stepfather), she was able to come up with enough cash to buy the property. How she managed the car trade for the labor and lumber to build the fourplex is a story I never heard.
My grandmother (pictured in the photo), my mother and I lived in the corner apartment on Bloomfield. A retired music professor from Utah and his wife rented the apartment on the other side of us. Professor Thomas Giles (standing with me) became my first piano teacher.
I have vivid memories of that home, including Christmas celebrations, sitting in front of the TV playing my toy piano and Mom going off to work.
In 1956 Mom retired from the film business and decided to rent out the fourplex. That’s when we moved to our White Oak Ave home in Granada Hills. For the next twelve years I continued my studies with the professor. All good memories…
Copyright ©2022 Richard Douglas Souther