We were three days on the road in and around Los Angeles, saw old friends in El Segundo, drove past old haunts in Hollywood, ate dinner in Chinatown, had one short business meeting in a club for pole dancers in West L.A., and drove down to South Central Los Angeles to see the old house and further down to show Irene where we used to keep horses.
At Hollywood High I was able to watch dozens of kids practice on the track. There wasn’t an Anglo face to be seen anywhere. Hollywood Boulevard is going through a construction boom as if there were no recession. Houses of old friends are gone, replaced by apartment buildings and businesses. Fences are everywhere, where a couple decades ago most everything was open.
Driving south we got off the freeway so I could show Irene where I had boarded horses at 116th Street and Vermont. Obliterated by the freeway. Tex’s Café at 134 and Broadway and the open country all around filled with warehouses and petroleum businesses. It was all gone. Obliterated. The most prized memories of my teenage years gone. Covered over. What did I expect?
Wanting to have things as they were in America fifty and sixty years ago is a dangerous preoccupation. Here and there maybe it works. Those who want the Holocaust to remain what it was decades ago are in the same boat. Won’t happen. Uncounted Holocaust stories have already been obliterated by exposure to the light of day. The desire for it not to change is sentiment at its most useless. Only loss can come from it. As it was for me yesterday morning looking at the hole in the earth where the barn and the stables used to be and where on rainy winter mornings I would stand inside the stall with Yankee looking out the top of the Dutch door at the falling water, the side of my face pressed against his warm, soft muzzle.