Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Born and Bred, Baby

  Okay, so I was looking at some Yelp Reviews and this woman claimed proudly that she was a born and bred native Pasadenan, "born and bred, baby." I thought, Is that a claim to fame? So am I. I  have noticed in my adult life that many people are transplanted to Pasadena from other states or surrounding areas. So few people I know were born in Pasadena and have lived here their whole life. But I have, baby,  I have.
     So, what about that? I remember being born at Huntington Memorial Hospital. I remember the squeezing sensation, the bright lights, those rubberized hands on my fuzzy head of hair. Oh, just kidding - I only imagined what it was like. OK - back to reality and out of the Freudian psychoanalytic take on my earliest memories. But really, my earliest memory at around age 2 is featured in this old blog post .       
     And then we moved to South Pasadena in April of 1973. About a year later I attended Calvary Pre-School. I have vivid memories of climbing the big playhouse steps to play "store." I delighted on filling my little kiddie basket with pretend food and taking it to the register. An early shopper in training! (I don't recall having any customer service issues then. How things change over the years!)
     Then there was my first grade teacher, Mrs. F. at Marengo Elementary School.  She used to bite her fingernails to the nubs. Her perfume smelled so lovely, though. Apparently, the principal thought so, too, I later found out. (Much later!) I distinctly remember my math worksheets in 1st grade; the colorful squares and triangles I added up to get a total. Early math merriment! Too bad it never really caught on...
     Skip to Mrs. Taylor in 6th grade. She was a dynamic and remarkable teacher. She would regularly take groups of students to the Norton Simon Museum. She gave us a snack of cookies and juice beforehand. Yum. The museum was cool. I haven't been back there since, but have aspirations to. One of these days.

 Then there was 8th grade when I ran for some elected office. I think secretary. I remember my election speech. My Dad coached me and I realized what a great speaker and teacher my Dad was. I lost the race, but learned valuable tips from my Dad about public speaking that I still use today.
     South Pasadena Middle School has always been beautiful and historic looking. Their auditorium had the most stunning art work, too. I'll never forget the beautifully tiled ceiling. Apparently it's under construction. I vividly remember the assembly when they played music while waiting for everyone to get seated. The music they played, you might ask? Some new artist whose first hit song was "Holiday" - Madonna perhaps?
     Then there was South Pasadena High School. It's been completely renovated, but I remember how charming the old school used to be. In that  learning establishment there existed the most horrid cliques of the nastiest folks that could be found anywhere. I believe they've all grown up to be magnanimous and successful individuals at this point in their lives (one can hope at least). I didn't go to my 20th reunion, although I really wanted to. Julia had been born just 6 days prior and I was still recovering from my tubal ligation surgery. The night of my reunion had been a particularly difficult night as well. At any rate, I have fun memories of high school there. I was a B Honors and AP student. One striking memory was when I did a skit with the year book staff for a school assembly. I pretended to be "Lola" and danced along to a Barry Manilow song of the same name. I'll never forget the garish makeup and hot pink feather boa around my neck. Ever since then my nickname has been, well, you guessed it: "Lola."
     During my high school years we used to shop at the Plaza Pasadena. Anyone remember that shopping establishment? It was on the edge of the bad part of town, there had been the murder of a young girl at the mall, and in its later years, it looked like a ghost town. About half the stores were vacant and it was a scary place to be. There had been an increase in violent assaults both in the mall and the parking lot from what I recall.
     It was also close to Old Town Pasadena. That area 20 years ago was the seedy part of town. There were quite a few abandoned buildings, a really old Woolworth's, and XXX book shops and video stores. Nasty! Well, as the time passed, the Plaza Pasadena was ripped down, Paseo Colorado was built in its place, and Old Town has become filled  with high end shopping  stores and fancy restaurants now. How 20 years can totally revitalize an area! My mother would hardly recognize Colorado Boulevard if she could see it now.
      On Friday nights during elementary school, across from the Plaza Pasadena, we'd go ice skating at the Pasadena Ice Rink. My sisters and I would each take a friend, pile into our old blue Suburban, and my mom would take us ice skating. We would skate to "Hot Child in the City" by Foreigner. Remember that one? It was a blast. My mom loved ice skating. It was fun watching her and hearing the stories of her early skating years on frozen lakes in Illinois. On the way home, we'd stop by Shakers on Arroyo Parkway and pick up a pie for my Dad. Another yum.
     There are so many memories of the Pasadena area that I have. It's a great place to live. I'm thrilled to live right next to Pasadena, but still be in small town Sierra Madre.I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. "The boundaries have fallen in pleasant places" indeed.


John and Tiffany said...

What a fun trip down memory lane!

DSmith819 said...

SO many good memories and brought back a lot of you and I in High School :) Thanks "Lola"