This Cali Modern Life

I never thought I would say this, but I’m beginning to like California modern architecture, with the exception that most of the buildings in southern CA do not seem to have central heat. What were they thinking? I have been colder these past two winters than I ever was in Russia or NY. Like so many people here, my career brought me to the land of sunshine. So far I have lived in a well-kept ’70s apartment complex a few blocks from Apple headquarters, a starter home in what used to be orchard country, an Eichler house, (why anyone would live in a glass-walled house in earthquake country is beyond me, but they are interesting), a condo and a Depression-era apartment building. I must confess: the condo, starter home and Eichler had my parents’ house beat by a mile.

The house I grew up in was an old farm house. Anyone who lives in an old house will tell you they have “quirks.” Like the shower in our bathroom that would leak water into the ceiling globe lamp of the dining room (creative plumbing), or the toilet that did an amazing imitation of Niagara Falls – the Canadian side – at the slightest provocation (an errant deodorant can taking the plunge.) Then there was the kitchen ceiling light that would pee on you when it rained (weird, unlocatable roof leak.) We got so blase about it, that we would slide a pail under the leak and forget to turn off the light.

One particular memorable moment for which I was thankful I was in CA and not at home: My stepmother was doing her usual amazing all-out cooking for Thanksgiving when everyone finally sat down to eat. There was a huge cracking noise and the house shuddered. She made everyone stay where they were and eat first before checking the cellar to see what happened. The cellar usually floods every spring, the house being at the foot of a hill. No worries about pests or other things growing in the cellar swamp, though. I’m sure the pesticidal runoff from the fields surrounding our house took care of that. However, this was in November, and a floor support had given way under the dining room. Glad I wasn’t there; I’m sure my added weight would have sent us all plummeting down to the cellar to eat our Thanksgiving dinner in the swamp.

I love horror novels, and this was the perfect house to live in if you liked spooky. Closet doors would swing open on their own, (ghost?). The kitchen cabinet doors would pop open and slam shut (tractor trailer barreling by the house). I already had enough to deal with when watching The Exorcist, my brother kicked open my bedroom door, making my bed fly up in the air at the precise moment that Linda Blair was levitating in her bed. The chimney in our house ran up between my and my brother’s rooms. Imagine my horror when reading Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot — I looked up to see “blood” running down the chimney side. The stairs are steep, but I think I took them 3 at a time running downstairs. When my parents finished cracking up, they figured out that the chimney flashing outside had pulled away, and the rainwater was mixing with brick dust, creating a bloody horror. I don’t care; that house was creepy, and I’m glad I do not live there anymore.

Not sure where my career will be taking me next, but I hope the next place has central heating. And I won’t even care if it is “ugly Cali Modern…”

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One Response

  1. […] quartet friends dressed up as clowns. (Very creepy). Living in an eery old farmhouse. (See This Cali Modern Life) Giving my Miss Muffett ragdoll who was supposed to resemble me a severe military style buzz cut. […]

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