Sense of place, essence of time.


Booking accommodations for an upcoming trip to Los Angeles, I asked friends for recommendations.

Unlike so many, I prefer the unexpected or sense of place.   Sure there is that confidence one gets at staying at the Hilton or Best Western—you know exactly what you’re getting—it’s easy, especially if one participates into the “points scheme” or one likes to know they have waffles on the breakfast menu.   But I prefer the place, which actually gives me a sense of place.

We have a lovely country club community that was built around our seven acres in the woods.   The Villas are handsome, with their brick facades and multiple roof-lines—yet I cannot describe the style except “builder’s plan book.” I look though the wooded buffer to a Disneyland of facades and landscapes, all well maintained by the “mow and blow” company breaking the silence for an entire day at least once a week.

They looked this way during the “open houses’ to lure buyers in. They still look virtually the same as one by one a new owners moved in. When one is sold and someone else moves in—they still look the same—as the address on the placard never-changing in personality.

Curious, I found online a 75-page guide to the community’s standards.   I guess it is for those who need a sense of assurance that standards will be adhered to or have no idea of what to plant or what to prune.

Visiting a friend for the first time I was blown away by the magnificent landscape these do it yourselfer friends were creating.  With interesting design and style that will linger in my mind for a long time. To get to my next stop,  she pointed me along a lovely old road with winding curves, country side at it’s best.  Then closer to town, I spied the flags of the same builder’s development (as behind our property)  on the far side of  the county and those same houses with the same plantings lined their cute little streets.  So where was I?

I would love to stay in the Hotel in LA that is the essence of LA—for my trip to be memorable, it might not be the most posh, but I’d like to know where I am when I wake up!

Years ago, I had lunch at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel.  I can still remember the lush gardens filled with palms for shading and making patterns on the walk, magenta Bougainvillea dripping and sweet exotic scents hanging in the air.   We dined on the patio surrounded by arched pink stucco—the oxygen felt alive. I don’t remember what I ordered—it was the atmosphere—exotic, well heeled, important and luxurious.

Often I wonder what happened to the little page dressed in the smart uniform with a pillbox of a hat, tipped to one side, held by an elastic band. Urgently making his way through the tables with an elaborate dark green French looking telephone with a gold top mounted cradle to hold the receiver.

“Telephone call for Mr. Important, Telephone call for Mr. Important,” in a voice pitch of a Kentucky Derby jockey. He’d scurry over to the nodding head or raised cigar, fluidly plugging the phone into the jack built into the booth in a single motion, as all necks discretely craned to get a glimpse.

In the days before cell phones, this had to be REALLY important to speak on a phone during a breakfast or lunch.   My hosts said many celebrities would page themselves just to have their names floated over and over again in the air—through the lobby, lounge, dining rooms, dining patio and pool area— at this iconic Mecca of film deal making that it might land in earshot of a producer, director, casting agent or mentioned in the gossip columns.

I wouldn’t mind a trip to Disneyland as that is the home of Mickey and Minnie and they were the original inhabitants of Disneyland.   Of course there is Cinderella’s Castle but wait—I think there is a similar castle a couple of streets over behind the villas—sans the drawbridge—I do hope that Tinker Bell will visit, I know she’d love our dragonflies and lightening bugs.





3 thoughts on “Sense of place, essence of time.

  1. Chaos Girl says:

    That was very evocative writing! I could picture all those scenes 🙂

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