Tuesday, September 24, 2013

People are weird...but my happy place is still there

Wayne LaPierre was on "Meet the Press" on Sunday, flapping his lips again. Singing the same song he's been on ever since the Sandy Hook shootings. You know "good guys with guns", with the extra added attraction of blaming "people that are having mental problems" (his words) for shootings and recommending that they be "indicted", implying that all people with mental issues are just shooters waiting to happen.

But, you know what? All I'm going to say is, Wayne LaPierre, you're in arrogant, ignorant jerk, and it's too nice a day to get caught up in your stupid lobbying for the gun manufacturers. And then I'm going to write about my weekend, which was nice (and cooler; yay! autumn), and the high weirdness it brought with it.

In other words, I'm going to my happy place today, and bringing all of you along for the ride.

So, I spent too much of the weekend watching Hallmark Movie Channel movies. This is not something I usually do, but my roommate likes them and had them on while she was turning the living room into a fiber-arts studio. And so, I got started watching, as well. It was a mystery marathon weekend, so it wasn't too bad. Saturday, it was a series of made for TV movies under the title "McBride", while all day Sunday was something called the "Jane Doe" mysteries.

So far, so good. Nothing unusual there.

Where it got a little weird was when places I know started turning up on-screen. Not that, in general, this is an unusual thing for me. I grew up in Southern California. Location shooting (and not just on movie ranches like the ones I wrote about yesterday) is a normal part of living in what they call the Greater Los Angeles Area. I even came upon a movie set one time when I was at the cemetery to visit my father's grave one time.

No, the weird part was that the places I was seeing on the screen were not places that I'd seen a few times, or just know where they are. These were places that I know very, very well and are personally meaningful to me from long association with them.

One was the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center. Now, I've never been in the building since it was converted to the Arts Center. It was nice to see the inside, though, and see how they have converted it from the church that it used to be into a state-of-the-art theater while maintaining the historical integrity of the building. When I knew the building, it was a Methodist Church, the place where my parents started sending me to Sunday School when I was three years old. I sang in the children's choir in that space. I was in the Christmas Pageant in the basement when I was five years old (and there's a story about that that's really cool, but needs to be saved for another time). It was the place where I first really got to know my oldest friend in the world (Hi, Debbie). It was also right across the street from where the public library was in the days I lived locally, and catty-corner from where I went to junior high. So, I saw that building on a daily basis for years.

Here's a picture of how it looks today; I tried to find a historical photo, but apparently there aren't any online:

Another of these locations, just in the next block from the Cultural Arts Center, is much less spectacular, just a local market, but also a place where my family and I shopped, and that I saw nearly every day for years. I recognized the sign outside as soon as it appeared on-screen. I didn't immediately recognize the inside, since it has been remodeled since I've been there, but a little research online confirmed that it is the same place I knew as a child.

Now, normally, a grocery store would probably not elicit an emotional response, but this one brings back specific memories of my father. When I was in the eighth grade my father had some medical problems and had to be off work for a month and a half while it was determined what was wrong. While he was required to not work, he didn't have to really restrict his movements, and being my dad, he was bored to tears by about the middle of the first week. So, about twice a week, he started getting up at four in the morning to go down to the produce market in downtown L.A. with the produce buyer for the store, who was a friend of his, just for something to do. So, yeah. That store has memories for me, and seeing it on TV hit me right in the feels.

The third location is directly next door to the grocery store I just wrote about. It is a motorcycle shop now, and has been since I was in high school, and that's the capacity in which it was used in the movie it was in. I don't ride motorcycles, so it really has no significance to me as that. However...it used to be a pharmacy; in fact it was the pharmacy that my family used from before I was born until the time it closed. It was also the first building I was ever in outside the hospital after I was born. And, no, I don't remember that far back (although I have a pretty good memory for things that happened when I was very young). But, as the family story goes, when my parents were bringing me home from the hospital, they stopped by to show me off to the pharmacist, who had teased my mother all through her pregnancy that I was going to be the Technicolor Kid because of all the different color pills (vitamins and whatnot) that the doctor had her taking while she was carrying me. So, yeah...that was kind of emotional for me, seeing that again.

So, yeah. The first place I ever was, when I was like four days old. My old stomping ground, with all three of these locations in my free-range territory starting when I was first allowed to wander away from home without a parent along. Lots of happy memories, mixed with a few that are more bittersweet. It was like being transported back to my childhood, even though things in those places aren't exactly like they were when I was a child. They are enough the same that recognition was instant in each case.

Definitely my happy place.

If you've read through this whole thing, congratulations. Sorry if I bored you. But this weekend, with its semi-high weirdness, hit me right in the feels, and I'm not quite over it yet because I really miss my old neighborhood and getting to see it so much this weekend hit me right in the nostalgia.


Gloria said...

I like your blog. Would you like to trade guest posts? I do two blogs, edgeofgloria.blogspot.com and recoveringbankrupt.blogspot.com. I understand about nostalgia. Usually music from the early/mid 1970s does it for me. Also, when I see pictures of my parents from a long time ago.

By the way, I came across your blog on John Scalzi's blog, so it worked!

littlemissattitude said...

I'm glad you dropped by, Gloria, and I'm glad you like my blog. I figured a little bit of shameless self-promotion over at Whatever couldn't hurt, since he was offering and all. I'm trying to get better at doing things like that.

I actually might have been exposing myself to a little too much nostalgia lately. I'm writing a book about the Baby Boomer era, though, so it's kind of an occupational hazard. Not that I'm complaining. And it comes naturally; I mostly decided to write the book so that I could spend some time with things from that era.

Anyway, yeah. I think trading guest posts is a good thing. Let me know if there's anything specific you'd like me to write about.


Gloria said...

Hi Elaine! I have two blogs: edgeofgloria.blogspot.com and recoveringbankrupt.blogspot.com. Check them out and see if anything I've written triggers a topic for you. You can email me at GloriaDcolumnist@aol.com.