Thursday, October 15, 2020

It’s striking the impact of places where for chunks of our lives we lived. Over time a location that becomes very familiar leaves lasting impressions. Regardless of whether we engaged in relatively quiet country areas or in very complex city environments, places very familiar become sort-of family-like ties to our pasts.

I began thinking about this while reading a biography of Eleanor Roosevelt. She spent most of her life, before reaching her mid-thirties, in NYC. When Franklin’s political ambitions moved his family to D.C., Eleanor went to work there and helping him had to learn the new city. She wrote in her diary and to friends how greatly she missed New York and the variety it affords to those living there.

Recently, music by Bach flashed me back to a long ago Kansas City life. Annually between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a major insurance company dedicated a large windowless side of its building to evenings celebrating the holidays. A camera hidden in brush operating from dusk to dawn flashed onto the building a slideshow. It consisted of religiously-oriented paintings accompanied by Bach’s music, a lovely gift to the community. I remember evenings when my young self paused my car, to see, listen, and for the first time fall under the spell of classic arts.

My casual musings about Eleanor’s NYC and old Kansas City opened my mind to an article from the Getty Museum’s blog, about Los Angeles’s Sunset Boulevard, that long-lived iconic major street. The article describes the boulevard’s beginnings and how over time the street has been altered by changing populations and cultures. The article is made more cool with captures from a photographer who long focused on the street.

I lived many years in Los Angeles, the article hits a homer. That city and boulevard were big in my life. We living in L.A. during the 60’s remember Sunset Boulevard’s wild “Music City corner”, and our disgust as Sunset Blvd. transformed from elegant to seedy, and then to something in between. This article makes me wish to drive right now entirely along Sunset Boulevard, from beach to beyond downtown, to relive the spell of that area’s cultural changes on my young adulthood.

Here’s a link (it’s a 6-minute read):

Dear Friends: Places as almost-family, there’s lots to remember and reconsider. Diana

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