So on my way home today, my dad and I decided to stop at BJ's for dinner. Curbside takeout really makes it easy to be lazy while they make my pizza. Halfway into the twenty minute wait though, we realize we forgot our wallets at home! Although dinner was a little later, it was still good!
I found the shop a couple of weeks ago. "Shoe repair and alterations" on Old River School Road. It was time to repair the items that have taken up space in my "to-be-repaired pile" in my closet. It seems like a lost endeavor to get shoes repaired in our of use-and-replace world.
The shop has a "hole-in-the-wall" feel. There's a big, heavy-duty sewing machine, spools of thread, and customers' bagged shoes lined up. But, what caught my attention were the hanging wooden shoe stretchers. They were so interesting, worn with use, like they have a history. What stories could they tell?
Tacos El Gavalan opened last week in the old Mega Shoe Factory building on the corner of Florence and Paramount. According to their Facebook page, they were so busy on the first day that they had to limit their menu in order to keep the wait to an acceptable length. Sounds like the perfect place for a late-night taco — they promise to stay open "as late as our last customer that comes in."
The last time I walked past the Porto's Bakery construction site (see my January 11th post), the foundation was barely there. Now the building has two stories, with walls and stairs and windows. These lights at the end of the work day reminded me of the Motel 6 ad, "We'll leave the lights on for you."
Perhaps it was a good thing for my already cluttered life that I missed the garage sale, but it was funny to me to come across the "everything free" signs with just one chair left behind.
I love the idea that nothing is truly junk or trash. Unfortunately, this belief makes it hard for me to actually throw something away. I always think I can find another use for it. And you never know when that one very thing will come in handy. On second thought, maybe I should have taken the chair. . .
Driving home this evening, I saw a fire truck parked in Papa John's Car Wash. This struck me as funny, and by the time I made my U-turn and got back, a second truck was parked nearby. I asked the firemen, "Are you going to get your trucks washed?" "No," he said, "the city makes us wash our own trucks. We're going across the street to get some pizza at Pina's Pizza House."
Well, Pam, Joan, Erinna and I went to Acapulco tonight as the start of our visits to all the different restaurants. I forgot how good the food is there. I had the steak fajitas and couldn't stop eating even after I was full. We all had a little more of a waddle to our step while walking out.
Today I planned to go to the "other" riverbed in Downey to take my daily photo. I live in between the Rio Hondo and the San Gabriel riverbeds and since I've taken several photos of Rio Hondo and the area (actually renaming it Downey River Walk), I figured it was time to do justice to the bigger San Gabriel riverbed. Until I saw the ducks. . . these guys needed to be noticed. They hang out at Wilderness Park, which is right along the San Gabriel river bed. So, for now the ducks will represent the "area" of the San Gabriel.
Last Thursday night I went to Downey City Library for a book signing and presentation by Larry Latimer. Larry's book "Images of America DOWNEY" was the reason for the event. It was a fun, informative evening filled with pictures of Downey's humble beginnings brought to life through Larry's stories. It was a good reminder that pictures alone are not enough. You need the stories, the details to help understand the past.
Larry really knows Downey history. (He spent the last 3 years researching at the Downey Historical Society.) I was amazed to learn the first land grant of this area was in 1784 for 300,000 acres that stretched from Whittier to the ocean! Equally surprising were the pictures of the first schools in Downey — from the begining we were diverse with kids of many races attending.
The second picture was taken in 1890 at the northeast corner of what is today Firestone Blvd. and Downey Avenue. I just can't get over that it looks like it was taken somewhere in the old west. Included in the picture, sitting on the porch is "Indian Joe," who is buried in Downey Cemetery and was mentioned in a previous Downey Daily post.
I continue to be amazed at the depth of history we have surrounding us and I appreciated Larry's insight and willingness to put together this book so we can all learn a little bit more about our city.
I drove past Xela Cafe, on Paramount Blvd just south of Stewart and Gray Road, for months, intending to check it out. When I finally did, I was pleasantly surprised. The atmosphere is homey and the minute I walked through the door, I was greeted with a smile and a soft hello.
Oneyda and Oscar are the owners of Xela Cafe, a Guatamalan Coffee House named after a city in Guatemala. Xela (pronounced "Shay-la") means "city surrounded by mountains." Run by everyone in the family, the cafe is truly a family business. I sensed that no one is a stranger here, everyone is welcome. Once you walk through the door, you know you will be back again.
Friday is my most challenging Downey Daily day. It's my only day I have to work and take pictures too. So what came to my rescue tonight? A cold cut trio $5 Any Regular Footlong™ special at the Subway on Florence and Paramount.
Working out in the garden this morning, I decided to go barefoot. The cool grass tickled my toes and the dirt was fresh as I mulched around the pincushions surrounding the cherry tree. I sat in the sun for awhile pruning the lavender, weeding through the butterfly bush, letting the bees pollinate my roses and watching the next door neighbor's cat play in the cocoa mulch. This cocoa mulch is supposed to deter this specific cat from playing in my garden. I guess it isn't working.
So I lazed about on my day off of work enjoying the sunshine and listening to the squirrels that have found a home in our avocado tree.
After being outside for hours I came inside to make dinner for the family, have dinner with the family, and clean up the mess from the family.
All this to say I didn't remember it was my Downey Daily day until an hour after the sun had set and seven hours after my planned photo shoot was supposed to happen.
So this one, as it is still the theme week of feet, consists of another kind of feet. I hope it counts.
Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!
-An Irish Blessing
I've often heard the phrase "light on your feet," it never occurred to me the phrase could be reversed to be "feet on your light." In the Orange Estates area of Downey, there are these really cool "feet" on the light posts. It's one of the things I love about our community. Even light posts can have character.
The workers behind the counter at In-N-Out Burgers at the corner of Firestone and Lakewood are very busy on a Sunday afternoon. In-N-Out has gotten so busy these days that cars are often backed up out of the driveway and onto Lakewood Blvd.
To add a little challenge and creativity to our picture taking, we decided to try some periodic themes for Downey Daily Photos. While it won't be every week, we thought we would throw it in every now and again just for fun. This week is themed "feet."
I happened upon this pair of feet at Furman Park this afternoon. It appeared to be the start of baseball season and Little League. My favorite was T Ball. There were cute little feet everywhere. The kids were so fun to watch as they learned how to hit the ball, remember to run somewhere (hopefully toward the base) and to have fun experiencing the whole adventure. Here's to no de-feat, only FUN!
A few months ago, I stumbled across the Paris Daily Photo blog, by Parisian Eric Tenin. His blog was the original "city" blog, and its success led him to create an entire community of city bloggers. It was because of his blog that I and my friends started Downey Daily Photos. A couple of days ago, Eric celebrated his fifth anniversary (or 1,834 pictures!) blogging daily about Paris.
So, this picture of the Downey version of the Eiffel Tower at sunset is in honor of Eric and his blog. May he have many more years and pictures to come!
Of the 100 acres in Downey devoted to parks, boasting of golf courses, tennis courts, fishing ponds, and other recreational areas, this humble park barely gets a nod. The Brookshire Children's Park consists of a swing set, some rocks, a picnic table, a few things to climb on, a small field, and this guy; the turtle that will forever remind me of field trips in Junior High. Our teacher walked us from then South Middle School (now Sussman Middle School) a few blocks away and let us run around for a while in the middle of the school day.
I still go there and just sit in the shade for a while, just giving myself a break from the busy work week. At the corner of Brookshire and Imperial, it is amazing how actually calming it can be.
Downey Regional Medical Center (formerly Downey Hospital) opened its doors in October of 1920 with six beds and two physicians on staff. Located on a dirt road that is now Downey Avenue, the hospital occupied the second floor of the former Downey Hotel. A year later, under new management the hospital's name was changed to Virginia Hospital. Less than two years after opening, a violent explosion occurred at a popular service station injuring over 20 people and causing nine fatalities. This disaster substantiated the need for a larger hospital.
Consequently, in 1924 Virginia Hospital relocated to 5th Street, expanded to 15 beds and became Downey Community Hospital. During the next two decades, the staff and facility grew to meet the demands of the booming population. Recognizing the need for emergency services as auto accidents became more prevalent, DRMC decided to open a 24-hour a day/seven-day a week emergency department across the street from the hospital.
As one of the few rural hospitals in southern California, DRMC soon outgrew the 5th street location. Subsequently, plans were passed to start construction of a new private, non-profit hospital in 1964.
Five years later DRMC moved from its 49-bed facility to its current facility on Brookshire Avenue, which was then licensed for 152 beds. The day after opening, eight surgeries were performed. Within one week, the hospital was full.
The quote at the bottom of this tomb stone says "Always in our hearts." It is one of many infant graves in the Old Downey Cemetery.
Ranging from a baby who died a few days old to a woman who lived 115 years, the cemetery at Lakewood and Gardendale is definitely a historical landmark for Downey. It started as a family plot but was sold to the Masons a few decades later and then given to the Los Angeles County who now owns it. One headstone reads, "Indian Joe- A good Indian while he lived. He belonged to the Kaweahs and lived in Downey for 22 years. Died Nov. 2nd 1895."
The cemetery holds roughly 7,000 "residents" and still has 400 more open plots. The most interesting thing about the cemetery is that every grave site is still hand-dug, a job that died out years ago almost everywhere else.
No, this is not one of those "keep out" fences. I'm not sure what it really accomplishes other than a cool look in this grassy field next to Downey River Walk. It gives the place an added rustic look that appeals to me.