Thursday, April 29, 2010

What Matters: Now

I'm usually more timid than I need to be when it comes to exploring, but my brother was visiting last weekend. Being with him made me bold. Together we climbed the steps of the Merritt Mansion (see yesterday's photo). As we drew near we realized the mansion was empty. Had that not been the case I surely would not have been so rude as to press my camera to the window to take this picture.

You can see "empty" doesn't mean "abandoned." Over the past hundred years or so as it's passed through different hands, this building has been well cared for.

I hope City Ventures plans to maintain that tradition. If they're to meet their goal of opening condos by the end of 2011 they should be building along Orange Grove Blvd. soon. This lovely old house will be spared if all goes according to plan. If I'm picturing it right, the condos will be in what was once the mansion's front yard.

The house my brother and I grew up in has also passed through different hands since my mother sold it more than twenty years ago, after my father died. The last time I visited, the hardwood floors were scuffed and dull and the driveway looked cracked and old.

You never know if the next owner is going to love your home the way you did. One day, like Hulett C. Merritt, you'll be gone. Will it matter then?


Dina said...

Glad your brother was there to add extra boldness in your adventure.

Gunn said...

Thanks for sharing.
it looks pretty, and I love the lamp and the shiny wood in the room.

Bellis said...

I've never dared look in, so I'm grateful you were bold enough. I think the Worldwide Church of God, who owned the Ambassador campus,must have lavished a lot of money on their properties and landscaping.

wv: junwis. Sounds Dutch. I'm in the beautiful bulb fields of Holland at the moment.

B SQUARED said...

It would be a tragedy to loose something as beautiful and timeless as this.

Petrea said...

Dina, it was so much fun to explore this place with him. We don't see each other often enough.

Hi Gunn. I was surprised to see the lamp. "Chandelier," I'd call it. Very fancy.

Hi Bellis! I'm beginning to think you're never coming back.

Hello, B Squared. I think most Pasadena residents would agree with you. Though our "old money" past is (mostly) past, we love those mansions and want to keep them for posterity.

Linda Dove said...

Wow, that wood is really beautiful. Looks a little like curly maple.

Leif Hagen said...

What a grand living room with a dazzling chandelier and fireplace!

Pascal Jim said...

The bronze doors I mentioned yesterday, are located at Forest Lawn in Glendale, housed in the hilltop museum

Shanna said...

Gorgeous. I love the symmetry of the room. And the wood is really beautiful.

Katie said...

Love the peek into another world. All that wood is amazing; and I'm curious about the art above the fireplace. Yay for your brother giving you a bit of courage to approach the house and photograph through the window! Have a great visit!

Amy said...

I'm glad your brother helped you explore in closer. This is quite the view. I wonder how often someone comes to clean. At least they don't have to move any furniture while sweeping.

J+P said...

The past is, well, gone forever. The present—oops, it just became the past. The future? That's where I'm headed, like a metaphysical lemming.

When the Upanishads, et. al, tell me that time is an illusion, I have to think a moment. But my thought's like a prayer cloth: tattered by the existential wind.

Does now even matter? I can't get it in my hand, but it's where I seem to live. My loss.


To things we are ghosts, soft shapes
in their blindness that push and pull,
a warm touch tugging on a stuck drawer,
a face glancing by in a mirror
like a pebble skipped across a passive pond.

They hear rumors of us, things, in their own rumble,
and notice they are not where they were in the last century,
and feel, perhaps, themselves lifted by tides
of desire, of coveting; a certain moisture
mildews their surfaces, and they guess that we have passed.

They decay, of course, but so slowly; a vase
or mug survives a thousand uses. Our successive
ownerships slip from them, our fury
flickers at their reverie’s dimmest edge.
Their numb solidity sleeps through our screams.

Daguerrotypes Victorian travellers
produced of tombs and temples still intact
contain, sometimes, a camel driver, or beggar: a brown
man in a galabia who moved his head, his life
a blur, a dark smear on the unchanging stone.

(John Updike, 1985)

Petrea said...

I enhanced the photo a little, Linda, to get the glare off the glass. But it's luscious in there.

Leif, I think it might just be the entryway and not the living room at all!

Pascal Jim, how'd you find out?

Shanna, I find myself attracted to symmetry as well.

Another world indeed, Katie. Seems like a lost world, though bits of it still exist around here.

Good thought, Amy. Now that the property is changing hands it may not get cleaned as often for a while. I wonder how the developers will use it? I hope they use it well.

You know that's one of my favorites, J.