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Dadmissions: If Your Walls Could Talk, What Would They Say?

A roof, fours walls and myriad stories: Tell us an anecdote about your home.

Our house is old-- almost 100 years old to be exact. It has these weathered wood floors and a hand-tiled fire place from the 1920's and stucco on the walls which has long since covered and re-covered the cracks on those worn walls over the years. And sometimes I sit and wonder about just who called this house THEIR home in the years before.

When I was growing up in Sharon, Massachusetts my sister and I used to wonder the same thing. Long before my mom and dad bought our little red house, before I was even born, the kids who used to live in that same house had written their names in chalk on the underside of the basement stairs. As little kids, my sister and I saw the names on the underside of the stairs and always wondered just who those kids were. It was the only house I knew for the first 20 years of my life, and my family had made its own set of memories there, but clearly this house held special meaning for others as well.

One day when I was out mowing the lawn, a car pulled up and a couple of folks got out. They told me they used to live in the little red house too. They knew about the names under the stairs. They were in the neighborhood and stopped for a second, just a brief second, to relive the happy times they too had in that little red house.

Fast forward to today.

It's Sunday morning in the Dadmissions house in South Pasadena, California. My 7 year old is playing a new piece on the piano she is learning. My 5 year old is jumping up and down in the living room trying to catch a ray of sunshine coming in through the front door. Breakfast is cooking in the kitchen- the smell of bacon, eggs, and potatoes fills this small, postage-stamp sized house. And after four years here, there's no question this house is beginning to feel like home.

One day years from now, people living here might wonder about the folks who lived in the Dadmissions house. They'll probably find the closet where we've been etching the girls' height each year as they get older... They'll probably wonder about the two little girls who made their childhood here. And one day, years from now, I picture these two girls as strong, independent, young women, pulling the car over, getting out of the car, and remembering the memories they made here as well, even for a brief second. New memories can be made every day.

It's never too late to make them.

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Steve Garcia February 04, 2013 at 07:56 PM
Our house was built in 1926. When we bought it, we worked with a designer and came up with plans for a second story addition to the house. As part of the City's plan review process, I had to research the house and its residents, and I discovered who had lived in the house before us (a pair of local families followed by a colorful actress named Juliette Compton whose divorce was page 2 news in the LA Herald during late WW II) and something about their lives. Ms. Compton lived in the house until her death, and we bought the house from her daughter, who inherited. There was little left of the original house after our remodel, and soon after we moved in, Ms. Compton's daughter and her husband stopped by for a visit similar to the one the author describes. They looked around the living room and family room, the latter of which had once been the master bedroom, and they left. There was nothing here to remind them of their old memories anymore. Such is life. Perhaps that is why I am fascinated with survey monuments. They are markers of life that don't seem to get torn down or removed much.
Donna Evans February 04, 2013 at 10:20 PM
I grew up in Rockville, MD. In 1982, my stepdad built a three-level flower bed that he stacked into a hillside. Quite the laborious task. I remember weekend after weekend "playing the wood game,'' which turned out to be hauling lumber across the backyard via a wheel barrow. I started to hate that stupid flower bed. This past October, I drove by the old house, which we left in '84. And there it was, the three-tiered flower bed. Most beautiful flower bed I ever saw.
Jones Foyer February 04, 2013 at 11:19 PM
Moving into our place in South Pasadena, I was really interested in the history of the house and our neighborhood. One of the documents that was part of the paperwork when we bought the property was drawn up in longhand calligraphy in the late 1800's. The land on the ridge above Monterey Road was divided and allocated in the document to Mr. Wilson (of Mt. Wilson fame) if I recall correctly. Part of the provisions in the document was that no "saloon" could be built on any of that land. The ridge eventually got a road, now called Alta Vista. Some houses up there are from the 1920's, ours is from the mid-fifties. One neighbor recalled before a lot of the other houses were up there and it was more rural (the back side on Indiana had horse stables), teenagers would drive up on Alta Vista at night to look at the LA city lights (etc.!). With pretty much every lot occupied now and foliage grown up, it's hard to see the downtown skyline from the road. Our house was first occupied by a man who ran the photography department at Macy's (I assume in Pasadena). Later he got married and had a family and opened up his own photography store on Mission. I'm not sure of the exact location, but I assume it would have been nearer to Fair Oaks- maybe someone remembers it. There's a darkroom with a sink in the lower level. Interesting that the first resident must have built it.
Pete Wilgoren February 05, 2013 at 08:18 AM
Very cool stories... All

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