Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What Julio has wrought

Machado house

Wrought iron: iron that has been heated and is then worked with tools to change its form and properties. The term “wrought” comes from the past participle of the word “worked.” Wrought iron literally means "worked iron."

Machado houseWrought iron, although prevalent, is just one of many metals found in Julio and Stella's beautiful home. I soon realized that we shared a love of metal. From the three wrought iron staircases, to the numerous custom-made display shelves, to the rows of hanging cast iron and copper pots and pans (not pictured), metal is everywhere, and most of it is handmade by Julio himself.

Here are just a few examples of the artwork that Julio has created from metal.

Machado houseMachado houseMachado houseMachado house

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Casa Machado


Getting a tour of this unique house was an amazing treat. Julio and Stella are welcoming and kind. They clearly love showing off their beloved home. As you can see, everywhere there is the profusion of color and growing things! There is even a tree "growing" on the side of the house.


"HOME is where love resides, memories are created, friends always belong, laughter never ends."

Monday, April 24, 2017

Humans of Downey - Julio and Stella #2


"When we first came to America, the fastest job I could find was as a seamstress in downtown LA. They paid by the piece and I was not very good. I was making $3.00 a day and sometimes sewed my finger. Then I was able to get a position at Teledyne in Hawthorne. But the work was always the same, day after day. I earned minimum wage, but we had medical insurance for the whole family. The building was warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It was a nice job.

"But then I got pregnant with our daughter, Brenda. Julio said we need to change things. You need to go back to school. The real estate agent that sold us our first home motivated me to get my license. While I was pregnant with Brenda, I had to be in bed a lot. I was swelling because I was retaining fluids. But it allowed me to study at the same time. She was born in November and I got my license the next February. I worked for Century 21 and was doing very well.

"Twenty years ago my broker decided to retire since he had heart problems. He rented his broker license to me for a few months while I went to school to get my own license. Soon after I got my own license, he passed away. Since then I have opened my own office, which allows me to work on my own. I keep my clientele and they keep calling me. I help my clients whatever their needs are: residential, commercial or investment property. I work all over California and I will drive wherever my clients need me to go. I don't have any other agents in my office because that relieves me of the stress of making sure they are doing things correctly. I can put all my attention on my clients' business."

~ Stella

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Humans of Downey - Julio and Stella #1


This is Julio and Stella. They immigrated from Argentina in 1978 and they are a great example of living a life of hard work, honor, and uprightness. Pam, Joan, and I had the pleasure of being welcomed into their home recently. Today and tomorrow, I will share some of their stories. After that, Pam and Joan will share some pictures and thoughts about their beautiful home.

"When we first came to America, we rented a house in Inglewood. After we had been there for 10 months, we started to look to buy a house. I had a friend, he was my boss and he encouraged me to buy a house, but I said I didn't have the money. He said he would help me with the money with a $3,000 down payment and I just needed to pay him back in two years. He wanted me to buy a house around $30,000. Stella and I looked around and we found a house in South Gate for $52,000. I told my friend about the house we were going to buy and he got scared. He said this is more than what I said to look for. You will have problems making the payments. I said that I would make the payments as I promised. He said, the money I gave you I'll need in one year, not two. I said no problem, I'll pay you back in one year. Actually, we paid him back in 6 months.

"In Argentina I went to engineering school. This is where I learned to work in wrought iron and wood. When I came to America, I started working in a machine shop. Then, after two years, I started making wrought iron security doors and security windows. But we didn't have a shop to work so we did it in my garage in South Gate. We added customers little by little so we bought our first shop near Florence and Alameda. As we grew our business, we sold that shop and bought a larger one. But then I started doing more finish home construction. We do room additions, roofs, plumbing, electrical, concrete—anything to do with construction, we do it.

"I run my business the old way. The people tell me what they want done, I tell them what I will do and how much it will cost. They say how do you want the money and I say I will go first doing and you will come behind with the money. We shake hands and I start. As we have been talking, I have been taking pictures in my head. I have pictures of what the inside will look like and what the finished product will look like. Once I had a customer that wanted some work done on his home. I listened to him, took my 'pictures', went back to the shop, calculated a price, and then sent him the bottom line. He liked the price but he wanted something in writing. I sent him a piece of paper what I was going to do and the price. He said he wanted more detail and he was going to fax me what he meant. He faxed me 40 pages of details. I called him and said everything that was on his 40 pages was on my one page. He agreed and said go ahead with the plans."

~ Julio

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Big sisters


This little girl was definitely taking care of her little brother as they walked around the park.

"My first job is big sister and I take it very seriously!"

Friday, April 21, 2017

Miles to go

Bike path

I took a walk along the Rio San Gabriel riverbed bike path last weekend, near Wilderness Park. Even though it was a nice day out, the path was still pretty empty. (I imagine it will start getting crowded in a few more weeks, as the days get longer and longer.)

Gazing down the path brought these words to mind.

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
but I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep."
~ Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Study in lines


One of the essentials of photography is the study of lines. Lines tend to draw our attention to themselves and then draw our attention to other aspects in the photo. Done well, the lines should draw your eye to the subject in the picture. See if you can tell what I was thinking was the subject in this picture. *

study in lines 2

By the way, this tree is just outside Porto's Bakery. I love how the lights play off the leaves.

* The answer is: the traffic on Firestone Blvd.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Humans of Downey - Jose


"Back in Mexico when I was 13 years old, I landed a job in the state of Veracruz. They were working on a gas pumping station for Phoenix. I started out as a 'helper'. So, as I hung around, I watched the welders and I learned how to pipe feed and other aspects of welding. After that job, the company asked me to stay on and I finally got to weld by myself after a couple of years. I worked all over Mexico at that very young age. Then I ended up in Rosarito Beach, Mexico.

"Then in 1969, I came to the U.S. to work. Back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, there wasn't very much safety on the jobs. You didn't care about wearing safety glasses or ear plugs or covering your hands with the protective gloves or your feet with steel-toed boots. So, there were a lot of accidents, bad accidents. I remember once we were working in the North Sea. This crane was carrying this large piece of 48-inch pipe. And they didn't have a flag man. The flag man keeps an eye on everything and everybody that is happening during the job. But the crane operator didn't notice one of the workers was in the way of the pipe he was moving. The pipe smashed him pretty bad. Other unsafe activities like drinking on the job were common on those extended jobs. That isn't how it is anymore. Now, the first thing that happens before you do any work is they have a safety meeting. Then they have another big meeting once a month.

"My biggest job was an oil platform we built for the North Sea. Each leg of the platform weighed 17,000 tons. To get each leg onto a giant barge to be shipped to the North Sea, they used a giant crane called Thor. I went with the barge and stayed out at sea for three months to complete my portion of the job. One of the platforms we built was destined for the waters off Alaska. When they turned it upright, the legs sank too far into the sand and rock. So, they decided to take it out. But the feet were stuck, so they dynamited the sand but with too much explosive. It cracked one of the legs. We were called out to repair what they had damaged. Later they found a better spot with less loose sand."

~ Jose