One of the reasons South Pasadena feels so comforting and homey is because it is loaded with old houses like this. I mean really now … just look at this place! It just begs you to slow down, grab a glass of lemonade and unplug from the frenzied digital age. And don’t kill my buzz by telling me the people who live here probably have a 60 inch high def TV mounted on one of those 110 year old walls, or that they use the original sun porch to access Twitter from their netbooks. You’re probably right. But that’s not what I imagine when I drive by.
In my mind this house is inhabited by characters out of Edith Wharton or Henry James. And the same goes for the neighboring houses. The dream of those candlelit parlours and spinet sonatinas makes me feel a little less frazzled after a long day when I unwind in my own 110 year old home. It’s like everyone who lives here has sworn to uphold an unspoken pact. We preserve our old buildings and take care of our heritage trees and cheerfully call the plumber when our 19th century pipes burst so that we can make sure that we all get to live in a place that looks like a setting for plays by Thorton Wilder or films by Frank Capra.
When my family moved from West LA to South Pas, we spent the first few months in giddy sense of shock. Sure, the San Gabriel Valley is only 25 miles down the 10 and 110 freeways, but it’s light years away in terms of architectural charm. (The vintage streetlamps! A million Craftsman houses! Bricks! Check out all of the wonderful old Bricks!) I’m sure the spell wears off after a while. But I’ve been here almost two years and I’m still not over it.
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