Monthly Archives: December 2018

Out & About—The new United States Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles

Out & About The World

This morning I went out with the Pacific Photographic Society on a 3-hour walking tour of downtown Los Angeles.

I was quite surprised at how crowded it was on a Sunday morning and how few homeless people there were, and how many theaters are on Broadway.

I always thought all the theaters were in Hollywood.

Following are two pictures of the United States Federal Courthouse in Los Angeles, looking unlike any courthouse I’ve ever seen.

Los Angeles Federal Courthouse

Los Angeles Federal Courthouse

Construction on the courthouse began in August 2013 and was completed in 2016. The architect was Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, one of the world’s largest architectural firms. With 633,000 square feet of office space on ten floors, it houses 24 courtrooms.

It is a green building with a Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of just 31, four points below its design requirement of 35, and 54% below the national benchmark for similar buildings nationwide.

Read more about this interesting building at The Journal of the American Institute of Architects.

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Out & About—Amethysts

Out & About The World

Jim and I both always have liked amethysts. We have a 3-column amethyst, a pair of amethyst bookends, and several smaller amethysts.

I saw these in Kingman, Arizona, on July 24, 2018.

Amethysts

I would have bought one of those (one?) if I had been ending my journey instead of beginning it. I wouldn’t end my journey until nine days later.

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Halls of History—Abandoned, yet still in use

Halls of History

Cemeteries always have fascinated me. My wise old grandmother’s house in Kingsville, Texas, was just 15 blocks from the cemetery where my dad and two brothers were buried.

When I visited the California Ghost Town on July 30, 2018, one had to drive by the cemetery in order to get to the Ghost Towh. Of course, I had to stop to take pictures.

Calico Ghost Town cemetery

Calico Ghost Town cemetery

Calico Ghost Town cemetery

Calico, California, was founded as a mining town in 1881, but by 1907 it had been completely abandoned. During those 26 years, it produced $86 million in silver from over 500 mines in the area. Population peaked at 3,000.

Walter Knott, of California’s Knott’s Berry Farm fame, bought the town in 1950 or 1951—sources vary on the date—and restored it based on historical photographs.

A walk through the cemetery revealed that it still is in use:

New headstone in the Calico Ghost Town cemetery

I wonder who the cemetery caretaker is. I also wonder why Helen had the privilege of being buried there even though was born 25 years after Calico had been abandoned.

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654 South 100 West in Brigham City, Utah

Halls of History—A welcome sight for a hungry 6-year-old boy

Halls of History

I had two purposes for going to northern Utah in late July 2018.

One was to enjoy all the railroad action in the area since it’s one of the great railroad junctions in history with Promontory Point being the location where the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad met in on May 10, 1869, to complete the first transcontinental railroad. That should tell you where I will be on May 10, 2019….

The other was to visit my childhood homes after my mom moved us to norther Utah after my dad committed suicide in 1961 in Palestine, Texas.

I had no idea what the addresses of the first two homes were, only their general location and what they looked like. I did know the address of the third and final home.

It was the first home that I was really interested in, though, because that’s where my mom became an alcoholic. My dad had committed suicide over my mom’s “indiscretions,” and I truly think that alcohol was her way of comforting herself.

The only thing I knew for sure was that the home was directly behind Food Town, which later became Food King. I also knew that Food Town was on Main Street. I felt sure that something as big and as necessary as a grocery store probably would still be there. It wasn’t. I didn’t have a clue what to do.

I gave up and went to the Brigham City Courthouse and then to the library.

Brigham City, Utah, courthouse

Carnegie Library in Brigham City, Utah

I asked at both places if anyone knew where Food Town had been. Nobody did, but the librarian suggested that I stop at the Box Elder Journal offices across the street. They also didn’t know but being a newspaper, they had newspapers from the 1960s, and they set me up to browse the January 1964 papers. That was how I found the front-page newspaper item about one of my juvenile delinquency episodes (Police looking for passer of bad checks). Food Town had full-page advertisements in every paper, indicating that there had been two locations.

Food Town advertisement in the Box Elder Journal from January 1964, Brigham City, Utah

I went to 81 North Main Street since it was just a block away from the newspaper offices. There was a new Justice Center/DMV building there. Off to 870 South Main Street. There was not a Food Town or Food King there, but look what I found:

Location of old Food Town in Brigham City, Utah

It’s not a Food Town but I knew that was the location I was looking for. I parked, walked around back, looked across the street, and there it was:

654 South 100 West in Brigham City, Utah

House numbers were few and far between; the best I can determine is that the address is 654 South 100 West. The current view of the back of the strip mall from the house is quite different from what I remember.

Location of old Food Town in Brigham City, Utah

When I lived there in 1961, I could watch the food trucks arrive and the expired food being tossed out on the loading docks, a welcome sight for a hungry 6-year-old boy.

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Halls of History—Why me?

Halls of History

I attended Lake View Elementary School in Brigham City, Utah, for grades one through four, and half of grade five. There wasn’t a lake within fifty miles….

Lake View Elementary School in Brigham City, Utah

Lake View Elementary School in Brigham City, Utah

I went by the school on July 25, 2018. As I was looking through the front door, the principal came out of his office, saw me looking in, and opened the door to ask what he could do for me. I told him that I had attended Lake View from 1961 to 1965, and that I was in town exploring my childhood. Although the school was closed for the summer, he invited me in.

Lake View Elementary School in Brigham City, Utah

Lake View Elementary School in Brigham City, Utah

I didn’t remember anything about the interior of the school, probably because I spent more time skipping school than attending school….

I used to know the names of all my teachers, grades 1-12, and I believe I have a list of all of them, but I can’t find it right now. I do remember my Lake View Elementary teachers:

Mrs. Larson, first grade—Mrs. Larson lived next door to us. She had a beautiful garden full of Nasturtiums, so beautiful that I destroyed it one afternoon when I skipped school. She knew exactly who had done it. To this day, I love Nasturtiums but in 42 years of gardening, I have never had any Nasturtiums in my own gardens.

Miss Richard, second grade—I was in her very first class. After she put up with me, she either quit teaching or moved to a different school.

Miss Fonnesbeck, third grade—See below, Mrs. Gilmore, fifth grade

Mr. Boyd, fourth grade—The most popular teacher in school.

Mrs. Gilmore, fifth grade—When the State of Utah took me away from my family, Mrs. Gilmore took a special interest in me, even coming down to the Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital in Ogden, 19 miles, to visit me.

I kept in contact with Mrs. Gilmore through 1995, visiting her a couple of times in Case Grande, Arizona, where she had moved after retiring from teaching to be with her son. I also came out to her in late 1993, at which time she told me that Miss Fonnesbeck had been fired because she was a lesbian.

Mrs. Gilmore’s son wrote me when she died to tell me how much she loved me. I guess we each made an impression on the other, although I’m not sure why she would take such an interest in a juvenile delinquent child of ten who had no relation to her. Was it just her being a good teacher? A good person? Did I remind her of someone in her past? Were there others like me in her years of teaching?

Since that day when I read the letter from her son, I have always wondered why. Why me?

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Halls of History—Blaming Walmart & Amazon

Halls of History

When I was a juvenile delinquent living in Brigham City, Utah, I think I did everything except rape and murder. My most prolific delinquency task was theft. I was pretty good at it, even for a child whose age still was in the single digits.

I had gotten involved in stamp collecting (philately) when I joined the Boy Scouts. Sadly, every Boy Scout den I joined closed just weeks after my joining. Hmmmm. Maybe they knew something. Anyway, my interest in stamp collecting took me to the attic of our house, where the Boy Scouts manual said old letters and envelopes with stamps could be found. Sure enough. Unfortunately, though, I found a ton of letters addressed to me from my grandmother in Texas. All unopened, but all saved. The stamps intrigued me.

I took all the letters and hid them, taking them with me to Texas when my grandmother adopted me in 1965. I showed them to grandma, at which point she understood why she had never heard from me after mom had taken us there. Four years in Utah. As a juvenile delinquent.

When President Carter signed the extension of the Freedom of Information Act, I went to Brigham City, Utah, to get my juvenile delinquent records. I got them. I was amazed at the things I did as a child.

One of the things that WAS NOT on the 39-page list documenting my delinquency was my theft of a Harris Liberty Stamp Album from the Ben Franklin Five & Dime store.

Harris Liberty stamp album

I had taken the album with me to Texas, and had it until April 1993 when I left it in College Station as I abandoned the State looking for a new life. In 1978, though, while in Brigham City, Utah, I stopped at the Ben Franklin store, which was just a block from the Courthouse, asked for the manager, explained what I had done 15 years ago, and gave him $20 for the $4.95 album. Interest….

He was surprised, to say the least. When I was in Brigham City on July 25, 2018, I stopped by the Ben Franklin store. Sadly, it was there no more. It its place was a vacant storefront, Union Block Marketplace.

Brigham City, Utah

I was a little sad, wanting to blame Walmart and Amazon….

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