Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Time-Travel via Google

Damn! I can't seem to stop playing with Google Street View. One thing that I find seriously spooky: virtually traveling to other places can sometimes feel like virtually traveling to other times. Try visiting the first house you can remember living in, and you'll see. It's like visiting the past, though in some cases a past strangely, even horribly altered.

Here is a picture my Dad proudly took, circa 1958, of the garage of our house at 1800 Funston Ave. in Stockton CA. He had recently converted the attic-like upstairs room onto an elaborate den/study for use as he tried to get a law degree in his spare time (and attempt that failed). [All pictures are click-to-enlarge.]

Below you can see the same space today. Why would someone pull down a garage and a grape arbor and rip out rose beds in order to replace them with -- nothing? To the rear of this space, where there used to be a beautiful barbecue pit made from native rock collected all over the California, lies a rotting derelict automobile. (In case you can't relate these two pictures, the low peaked roof at the far left in the above picture is in the very center, to the left of the derelict, below. Also, the lamp post on the right above can be seen below just this side of the big dumpster: still standing, but decapitated.)

Here is the front of 1800 a few years earlier.

And here is the same space today. There is a car parked on the front lawn. Also a sofa and an old armchair.

Ah, but not all the news is bad. When I came home from the hospital after being born, I was taken to 5331 Strohm Ave, North Hollywood, a few blocks from the corner of Magnolia and Cahuenga. It was a house my father had just built himself (he was a carpenter at the time). Here is my mother holding me in front of the house.

Notice the two houses across the street. There are no trees in sight. This whole neighborhood was brand new -- built with massive government giveaways to house servicemen returning from World War II. And here are the same two houses today...

... virtually unchanged! Except now we have trees. So the whole world has not gone straight plumb to heck. Count our blessings!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, I read your comment at Reason Magazine about the American left's love for dictators. It's now one of my favorite quotes on Facebook.