25 January 2011
The House That Built Me
Today's Take This Tune is The House That Built Me with its lyrics of unfixed loss. In my case, the house fixed something that might have been broken.
There it is 9019 Earhart in Westchester, CA. It was a tiny house that is now erased and buried somewhere under the tarmac of the new Los Angeles International Airport. It is a measure of how long ago that I lived there, that what everyone assumes is LAX is not the first airport of my memories. That first one now called Mines Field had a chain link fence and people would park beside it for the excitement of watching the Lockheed Constellation land. There was nothing quite like that huge plane with its thundering engines coming in just a few feet over your head as the whole car shook with the vibration.
All of the streets around us had the names associated with the flight pioneers such as Bleriot, Wright, and Croydon for good reason. In addition to the airport, all the men were aircraft engineers at companies such as Hughes or Air Research. My Uncle Don was one of them. The lady in the picture is my Aunt Ruth. They were the people who took in this helicopter child every time a home was needed, first on Earhart and then later on 78th where it intersected with Croydon. If they couldn't do it then the slack was picked up by Aunt Helen or Aunt Eva, but most of the time this was the place I thought of as "home" even when temporarily lodged with one or the other of my semi delinquent parents.
At the age of the me in the picture above, my favorite song was Bing Crosby's, "Far Away Places". To this day, I think that the sound of all those planes coming and going were what made a gypsy existence bearable. You see all the planes left and then they came back. They saw wonderful places all over the world and then returned to safety. Somehow this idea of the open skies built in a love for the freedom of the next destination, because you could always come home. As with this week's song, I could knock on the door of that 78th street home, but I can see from Google street view that it has been expanded and of course other people live their now. But I'm glad it is still there and that someday I might once more fly into the new LAX and just drive by before heading off one more time singing my theme song now, "Anyplace I Hang My Hat Is Home".