I've had the pleasure of traveling around a bit with someone who shares my ironic sense of humor and who packs a wonderful camera. When we go off vacationing, there's no hanging in the hotel bar with a drink or watching movies in the room. We get out and partake of the place we've chosen to visit. We come to see the sights and enjoy them. It came to pass that we'd spend a few July holidays in a fun beach area 30 degrees cooler than our home, and with more charm than one could imagine. We spent tremendous hours in the streets and the shops, including walking to a great bistro for dinner . . . yes, that was me in the cute skirt, silk sweater and really sturdy sneaks. "Dammit, I walked here for dinner. I know one doesn't wear sneaks with this outfit!"
In the old, old part of a small beach community where I once represented union members, there is a school dating from 1916 and I would imagine the houses nearby are contemporary with that. Today their conditions range from "expensively and authentically restored" to "not well-kept" to "we kept the foundations and knocked everything else down". Remember, I know this community well, so imagine my surprise at turning a corner in the streets, mouth going a mile a minute, and spotting the SS Moonlight and the SS Encinitas where once had squatted two tiny cottages! All the windows were open on this fine July day, and people were moving in and out. Obviously, groups of young people occupy these homes. Note that they are propped from beneath with wooden stakes that don't look sturdy enough to support a building and they sit on a fairly steep hill! His camera was coming off of his neck before I could squeak out, "What the heezy?" "House boats, Limes!" I don't know if they qualify for that designation, as these vessels have never been on water . . . but they charmed me. Proof - I had to walk past those houseboats every day of that vacation! Even if it was out of the way.
In the same area of the little city are a few blocks that are likely even older. It is extremely hilly on these cliffs above the Pacific and the sidewalks are thick and broken. Walking here can be treacherous, but the few blocks provides a quick throughway between different parts of town. He spotted it first, as I was focused on the crumbling concrete. "Ha!" "Retirement home, Badger! Seaside community. White picket fence. Needs a little TLC."
It should be noted that at night when we walked, we strolled Neptune Drive where many homes worth millions hunker in with some modest places that have sat on the cliffs since the 1950s - in terms of housing, this place has it all. Some things you'd think of and some things you never could! Enter the house. If it has a name or description, I don't know what it would be. I'm rarely at a loss for words, a quick quip. This, however . . .
It is a much newer structure, perhaps 1950s - 1970s, two story woodframe, garage apparently on the bottom floor. On the top floor, every window is open every time I've seen the place. We've never heard music or seen a human being. But we've seen the occupant's sense of style - oh, yeah!
The paint colors lean toward purple, fuschia, turquoise, green and cream. The main garage door is covered with music CDs, both in original condition and gold painted. Interspersed are pictures of old, dead R&B artists, but - oops! - there's a young Bob Dylan and a young John Lennon, and - hey! - Johnny Mathis. Albert Einstein is there, alongside Karl Marx. I believe there are pictures of no females. The pictures are framed with concentric circles of velvet, ruffles, a little aluminum edging, seemingly whatever can be found at hand when it becomes decorating time. A smaller, side garage door stands welcomingly open. Inside one can see a large wall ornament, and the door is covered with brightly colored small balls of some sort. I stuck my head inside once ~ there is a black drape where one would expect to enter the larger part of the garage. No, I didn't open the drape.
The upper story is adorned with things that look like manmade peacock feathers and other curiosities. Again, every manner of art supply has been used, including some things I've never used as an art supply. A smallish American flag flaps in the ocean breezes on the very peak of the roof. But the most remarkable area is the outdoor "sitting room". Not that one would want to be seated there. The photo was taken at dusk and shows poorly on blog. It is worth taking a closer look, however. Chained to the wooden telephone pole in the alley is a huge, ancient bicycle, decorated with whole and broken CDs and other "found" items. All are painted gold. Even the chain and the tires. Next to the side of the house is a large sofa and an enormous cocktail table. Both decorated in whole and broken CDs, painted gold. I believe half of the free world's CDs reside in that "sitting room" where no one would sit. One's rear would be shredded!
"What does it mean?" we've asked each other. "I'm too scared to guess." "Did you catch the new Mahatma Gandhi in the sitting room?" He had. "Badger, what do you think happens to the pictures and the velvet and the ruffles in the rain?"
Something that charmed me: How the ruffles are always crisp and the pictures sharp in contrast, the gold paint fresh and the bicycle tires inflated. These Californians are houseproud. They work hard to keep their places up!