Saturday, March 9, 2013

'64 Buick Riviera

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Sense of Place

       Everyone knows that the sense of smell is the strongest one tied to memory. I know that and am reminded with every visit to my Dad's garage. Or should I call it a workshop since for as long as I can remember he's always been working on one project or another.

      The house, a small white bungalow at the top of a hill, the HUGE yard in front filled with so much greenery the City of L.A. should be paying him for the oxygen he provides, and even the outside of the garage have all changed in appearance over the years but one place has remained the same. Dad's workshop.

      Hanging out with him in the garage, his neighbors walk up the street, on the return trip home, arms weighed down with grocery bags, or walking down the street toward Sunset Blvd. with hands that won't stay empty for long. He'a known most of his neighbors for years. Decades even. Some stop to chat. Others walk by taking a quick glance into the garage satisfying their curiosity. He introduces me to new neighbors or old ones I haven't already met. "This is my son." always brings a smile to my face.

I have my own key to the garage so once in a while I stop by to pick up or drop something off. Usually something that he worked on for me. I flip the light switch up, enjoy the cool air inside and inhale deeply. The smell of wood, metal and years of elbow grease make me feel right at home every time.

During my last visit though I make sure to take a look around. Studying objects that stick out to me reminding me instantly of pieces of my childhood. I smile at everything that has been in the same place in the garage as far back as I can remember and notice those that seem out of place.

I myself never feel out of place when I'm in here. I'm always at home.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Story Before Mine

This is a post I've been wanting to write up for a long while and I guess it'll be a work in progress. I want to tell you a story. A story before mine. The story my Grandparents wrote together starting in Los Angeles back in 1948.

Guadalupe Cruz and Javier Meza (1948)

One of my favorite pictures on display at my Grandparents house was one taken on their wedding day, December of 1950. Sixty-Three years ago and the world was a different place. Los Angeles moved at a much different pace and was second to only Detroit when it came to producing automobiles. The city's population was half of what it is today at just under 2 million and although we still may not be producing more cars, we sure are producing more people, and in turn, more drivers.

Wedding Day ( Oct 1950)
 I was blessed recently with more family pictures when I was asked to make copies for the rest of the family. Pictures from the day Guadalupe Cruz said, "I do" and became Javier Meza's bride. All these years, two generations later I feel like I received an invite when I look at them. They say a picture speaks 1000 words. Well, I've got 6 of them PLUS a recording and they'll tell you a story alright. They'll tell the story before mine.

Grandmama getting ready. Her cousin and Maid of Honor, Josephine Nuñez holding her veil.
On her way to La Placita Olvera to say "I do".

Time to cut the cake. 

Cake for everyone.

Smile! You're married now.
     My Grandmama's cousin, Josephine Nuñez, was best friends with a major player in Los Angeles at the time. His gift to my grandparents on their wedding day was an 8mm camera, film, projector and screen. It's because of his gift that I am able to enjoy this footage 63 years later and share it with you.


 Thanks for watching. More footage to come.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Field Of Dreams. Field of Memories.

   If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you'll see a timeline filled with many car pictures. Mostly old Fords and Chevys with the occasional Plymouth and De Soto if I happened to get lucky at the car show. My friend, Rafael, noticed my love for cars and invited me to tour his workplace, Dodger Stadium. He knew there were a few vehicles bearing the Dodger logo I'd love to see and photograph.



This was a great opportunity for me and to think my photography got me through the door. Well, that and knowing the Director of Community Relations sure helped. There was no way I'd pass this up. Growing up in Los Angeles in the 1980's was incredible. The Raiders had a Commitment to Excellence, our Lakers had Pat Riley and Showtime and the whole city had Fernandomania.

I took Rafael up on his offer on a Friday morning. Step out from office and you're right there in the game, along the third base line. Now, this was the off season and architects were present preparing the park for some much needed renovations. No game was being played but that doesn't matter. Dodger Stadium and the 352 acres the stadium sits on IS the field of dreams. Chavez Ravine is filled to the brim with memories both good and bad. Joy and Heartbreak. Wins and Losses. Maybe the renovation will make space for more memories...and Championship trophies?

 As we toured the stadium I couldn't help but drift off into a memory of my own. We came upon the batting cage area Kirk Gibson used before hitting the walk off Home Run in the 9th inning of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. I wasn't at the stadium that night. I was at home watching the game with my Grandpa Chino on a 13 inch T.V. in his bedroom. Kirk Gibson's HR shocked Oakland just like the Loma Prieta earthquake would the following year. The excitement traveled through the L.A. streets and the cheers he received reverberated through the hills of Elysian and Echo Parks. Grandpa Chino and I heard those cheers in stereo because we were just a mile away from the epicenter.

 I'd like to thank you, Rafael, for the amazing tour and experience. I've been to many Dodger games but to be able to walk the same halls as many of the greats that wore the uniform is something I never thought I'd do. I thank you for the new memories and for helping to bring back old ones.

 I bought a white jersey that day and am planning on adding my grandpa's last name to it. I'm proud to carry his blood in my veins. Catch me at a game next season representing the "Gonzalez" name on my back.