Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Step-Grandma Anita and her L.A. Bungalow

Good morning. This is Tina, and I am going to take you on a little trip to Los Angeles, California, home of the California Bungalow.

When I was a very little girl, before my sisters came along, my Grandpa Pop remarried.  His wife was Anita (which is "A Tina" when you turn it backwards, and that always fascinated me for some reason).  Anita and Pop lived in the most wonderful tiny (2 bedroom, 1 bath) little Spanish-style bungalow in Los Angeles.  Anita worked for the telegraph company for many years.

It was not fancy, and they never remodeled it or had a gardener, or anything. It was just as it was built, in all its tiny splendor.  To the right side was the driveway, which led to a wonderful big garage which was filled with all kinds of interesting wood-working tools and lots of fishing gear.

On the right back corner of the house was a little service porch, which if I remember right had a roaster oven sitting on one of those special holders that put it up at counter height, a small refrigerator, because there was no room in the kitchen, and a washing machine.  There was a door that led to the driveway.

The front door in the round tower led to the living room on the left, the middle front was the dining room and the right front had a teeny tiny breakfast room, with barely room for a table and a little shelf on the wall.

The backyard had a small patio and a very tiny little guest house. No bathroom, just a bedroom and a closet area.  Grandpa Pop used to barbecue for us out on the patio when we came to visit.
I am going to leave Anita's for just a minute and show you pictures off my television (which is not HD, by the way!). These two shots are of the house from Fran Drescher's show "Happily Divorced".  The minute I saw the show I thought, that's Anita's house!)  It isn't, of course, and the house on TV has been remodeled, but it is definitely very similar and now I watch the show just to see the house.  In her show the garage has been turned into a florist shop.

So many similarities, driveway on the right.  The tower door in now on the outside of the tower to make the inside a vestibule entrance.  Good idea for a small house.
Anita and Pop's living room had a wonderful center fireplace, with small windows on either side, and a nice big hearth.  On that hearth stood the most wonderful large ceramic cat.  As a small girl, probably only 2 or 3 years old when I first saw it, it stays in my memory as the biggest, prettiest kitty I had ever seen.  In the photo above, taken in the 90's, it sits in the guest room on a dresser.  I wish I had asked Anita if I could set her kitty  back in the living room for a picture as I remembered her best.  She dwarfs the other knickknacks. This cat is by Kay Finch, a Southern California artist who I plan a blog on someday in the future.
Anita's tiny kitchen had barely enough room for the sink, with the window above looking out to the driveway, and the wonderful old stove shown above.  I think that is when I fell in love with the lovely old white gas stoves, especially if they have a griddle in the middle! Pancakes at Pop and Anita's anyone, served in the breakfast room off the front patio, please.
How in the world I managed to get Anita to 1) let me take photos in her bathroom, of all places, and 2) let me take a photo of HER in her bathroom (?) I will never know!  But I guess I must have impressed upon her how much I LOVED her bathroom.  Wonderful blue tile, gorgeous pink fixtures, Darling art deco tile trim. It is similar to Heidi's bathroom, the shower is a lot like hers.  Made for little teeny tiny people, not Tina sized people, but Anita must have fit in there just fine.
 Black soap and cup holders built-in.  Lovely blue and black tile counters.
 Now that is a comfortable looking bathtub.  I am SO jealous!
Note the great art deco light switch surround.  Anita had given up showers by the time I took these photos, and with the addition of a rod, it made a good closet.
Anita and my dear hubby in the backyard in front of the guest house as she explains the facts of the world, or tells him what she is growing in the tomato cages.  We tried to get over to visit her whenever we went to Southern California for a visit to friends and relatives.  This may have been our last visit.
Our Step-Grandma Anita is now in heaven, but I hope she has the internet up there so she can visit her old home again, and know how fondly I remember her.


Heidi Ann said...

Oh, Tina - this is the sweetest post. I had not seen those photos before, and it had been so long since I'd been to Anita's house that I really have only a few , much vaguer memories. This absolutely delighted me - and I needed a lift this morning. Thank you.

Crystal in Texas said...

I LOVE the photos of all the tile work! I am such a fan of vintage bathrooms... and to for you to remember your step mom like this is just marvelous!

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Lovely post!! Thank you for sharing your photos and the bathroom is totally amazing!!

Ellie Rae said...

That's lovely. I'm glad they never remodeled -- it is in mint condition. Love the bathroom. Love the closet.

SusieQT said...

How lucky you are to have thought to take these pictures! I often remember my grandmother's house the same way, but do not have the photos to clarify it. Every so often I drive by it and wonder if the new owners would let me in to see it. But I am sure whatever they have done to the place would make me sad, and quite possibly destroy some of those memories.

Jill said...

Thanks for sharing your memories, love the pictures!!

Anonymous said...

SuzieQ: A few years ago, my three sisters and I visited Santa Clara Valley and the house dad built and we grew up in (middle of the orchards & vinyards that comprised the whole of The Valley of Heart’s Delight – no Apple, inc., nor any silicon industry, nor metastasized tract housing, nor people & auto congestion, nor smog & stink. Our home was still in a tiny orchard, so out of place amidst, well, surrounding “Silicon Valley.”

The owners gave us a tour. Yes, they had made changes, but most of what we had remembered was there, and what wasn’t gave us the opportunity to say things like “Hey, look. That’s where such & such was.” Sad, yes, but in a warm, wistful, rewarding sort of way. Go knock on Granny’s door, SuzieQ. I bet more memories will be reestablished than destroyed. Betcha you’ll be glad you did. (Tell the owners your story & desire to tour the house “sometime at their convenience.” They might wanna straighten things up before they delight in showing you around & hearing your memories. Share with them.)

Tina: Sorry for the length of many of my comments. That’s why I can’t twitter or FB worth a hoot. Tina, I thought this was a wonderful post. We all have things in common and everything about your story brought memories of my granny, her house, her personality via knickknacks, colors, & such. (My granny frowned upon showers. “You can’t get your bottom clean unless you soak in a tub.” Nor indoor potties. “Plumbing or not, we’re not meant to do our poopin’ where we live, sleep, eat.” “Now, in my day....” )

I’d love to see & read more of where the GC Girls grew up, what they did for fun, what they did to get in trouble (school bus driver telling on Lori – lol). You’ve probably already done lots of such posts. I’m slowly working my way through the fun blog.

Thanks Much, Jim J;O)

Mr. Modtomic said...

How very sweet of you to remember your step Me-Ma this way. My girlfriend would love the ratio of bathroom to kitchen! Such a modest kitchen surely means eating out is the preferred dining experience!

Lorlore said...

Loved revisiting Anita and Pops home. I do remember BBQ's in the back yard, the huge fireplace hearth and the bathroom. See you both in Heaven one day!!!

Heidi Ann said...

Jim - I can assure you that we all love your comments, whether they are lengthy or not.
And thank you to everybody else, too - I love it that everyone seems to have enjoyed Tina's post today as much as I did!

yosemite faith said...

love this tina - thanks so much for sharing this. how wonderful that you got lots of pictures on that visit.