Augh! Is there EVER a dull moment around this place?
Another Day from Hell. So many of those pepper the temporal landscape that sometimes I wonder if live in Hell. A day like this leads one to suspect that’s true.
This place — the city of Phoenix and its tacky environs — gets more and more like Southern California every day. That’s not surprising. Twenty years ago, give or take, our honored City Fathers openly announced they wanted to model the Valley after L.A.
Ugh! was what I said to that then. And Ugh! is what I say to it now.
I just hated living in Southern California, after my father moved us down there from San Francisco. Tacky? You want tacky? The place defines tacky. The crowds, the traffic, the noise, the smog, the ticky-tacky, the worship of mediocrity…yuch! What a place!
In Long Beach, we lived in a dreary second-story flat in a dreary ticky-tacky plaster apartment building: no insulation — either for heat or for sound. Every part of it a study in cheesiness.
My mother, after a year or so, found a place that was somewhat better built and contrived to get us into it. That was an improvement. But it was still Southern California. Ticky-tacky Southern California.
I didn’t have to drive there, because I was still too young to get a permit. Thank gawd!
Driving here in (un)lovely uptown Phoenix is now just about the same as it was there. Crowded, dirty, dreary, streets never built to hold the volume of traffic, ticky-tacky apartment buildings lining many of the main drags; all the rest lined by ugly strip malls. It’s an ugly, ugly city with a dreary, dull lifestyle.
The ‘Hood was built awhile before full-scale LosAngelization set in. So even though our houses are somewhat cheaply built, they’re not outright junk. Not great. But not as awful as newer construction.
Oh yeah: the Day from Hell….
My laptop hung majestically as I was working on the files for the Olive Getten project.
Olive Getten was my wild-assed grandmother. From what I can tell, she was about as far off the wall as you can get and still stay in the troposphere. She was, indeed, one off-the-wall lady. And as I traipse around digging up data about her, I keep finding more and MORE off-the-wall stuff.
Olive supposedly died of uterine cancer in the late 1920s, allegedly the result of her wild and woolly lifestyle. Her family were Christian Scientists, so she didn’t get to a doctor until it was too late to save her life…if it was ever not too late. We’re told she remarked to my mother that she thought her agonizing death was God’s punishment for all the abortions she’d had.
My mother was her first illicit pregnancy — dignified by a marriage with the father that lasted…what? ten days? WhatEVER. 😮
Apparently they were divorced by the time my mother popped into this world, thereby defining a “flash in the pan” marriage.
The maternal grandparents — Olive’s immediate family — had moved to California from upstate New York long before my mother came on the scene. How Olive got mixed up with the boyfriend in New York–allegedly my mother’s father–I dunno. But she did. The Bay Area family made my mother care for Olive on her deathbed…you can imagine what a great adolescent experience that must have been? My mother said she saw her carted out of the house, dead as a doornail, and loaded into a hearse.
But…y’know…to the contrary,…
…apparently she lived until 1979.
It appears that Olive had an extramarital relationship with a San Francisco business magnate named Jack Sansome…and it appears that at one point she married him.
These antics add up, within the mores of the time. She couldn’t very well bring her illegitmate(!) daughter into a marriage with a prominent member of the business community. So…what to do? “Disappear.” And recoalesce under some other name.
Did the East Bay relatives know about this accommodation? My guess is that at least some did. The paterfamilias was a prominent businessman. He would have known Sansome well. Did he tell the distaff side of the tribe? Dunno. But in downtown San Francisco, there are two streets that merge in front of a large bank: Sansome Street and Olive Street.
As soon as I start to write up this saga, the goddamn computer CRASHES!
So once again — for the how-manyth time over the last couple of weeks — it was traipse through the unholy traffic, trudge into Best Buy, stand in line, try to explain what the trouble is.
I hope they can at least retrieve my data. Stupidly, I didn’t back it up to iCloud…’cause I was still working on it.
Meanwhile, in the middle of all this, I am sick as a proverbial dawg. Gawdawful hacking cough, stuffy nose, 101.2 fever. I just wanna go to bed! And the real thermometer — as opposed to the touchy and wacksh!t digital one — is presently LOST. Had it this morning, but have no idea where it is now.
Driving around Phoenix, though, to return to our original premise, reminds me eerily of ticky-tacky Southern California in the late 50s & early 60s. WHAT a dreary place. Mile on mile on mile of cheesy, cheaply built apartment buildings, dreary, dull, and vastly mass-produced.
Can’t see how my son can stand living here. Think it’s because he wants to be near me and his father — that’s why he magisterially insists that I NOT move away. But if he ever moves — or if he ever can be persuaded to move to wherever I want to go — I am outta here!