Monday, August 1, 2011

SIX DEGREES

When Steve an Marina asked me to create a drought tolerant garden for their Craftsman home, I was a bit reluctant. I was slowly recovering from
an excruciating experience with a previous client that shook my creative core. The other fact was that Steve and Marina were my friends, what if something went wrong? Clearly, I was a bit wobbly at the thought.

A year later my garden was voted garden of the year by the  West Adams Heritage Association and was the subject of an L.A Times article written by Emily Green
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/home_blog/2010/07/west-adams-garden-renee-gunter.html


92nd Street House



The year is 1942.
Lee Loften( Pat’s father)  is a defendant in a case that would go all the way to the supreme court in an effort to save his home in Los Angeles.  A non- Caucasian covenant was implemented  which forbade negroes from owning property in his tract.  A judgment was rendered by the court which forced Mr. Loften from his home.
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=797582255428654665&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr


Pat Lofton shares the following in her own words:

My mother was the instrumental part of the whole process. During those times, the woman was not "in charge", so my father's name was upfront.
My parents purchased the house on 92nd street in the late 30's. They later moved into the house. They had friends, the Owens that lived across the street. They later found out about the covenance. They started trying to fight it. They went to the NAACP, but they would not take my parents case. My mother then began to fight on her own. In the middle of the fight, she became pregnant with me. She already had two sons, 9 and 10 and here she was in the middle of everything...pregnant.  It was too much for her and she broke under the pressure. She went to stay with the mother in Fresno, for support. My grandmother was a very strong woman.  She borne 11 children, 10 were girls, two (twins) died when they were young, so she raised these warrior women.  My mother regained her strength and continued the fight.

I was born in 1942, at home, by an African American female doctor who came to our house with her nurse and finished cooking my mother's beans that she started for dinner! Two years later, in 1944, we lost the case and found 30th street.

During that time, there was a very popular movie called, "The House on 92nd Street" and the newspapers ran an article about the law case with the title,"The House on 92nd Street".

We moved into the house on 30th Street in 1944, it was really in good shape.  It wasn't a fixer upper.  My mother and brothers changed the kitchen flooring and painted the interior wood. My mother thought all of that dark wood was too much. They did some other cosmetic type changes like most people. My father was into the garden, so he did a lot of planting, etc.

It was wonderful growing up in such a diverse neighborhood. We never had to lock doors, we could sleep with our windows open. I would visit our neighbors that lived on our street at the early age of four and my parents didn't have to worry. I remember the freedom of it all.

She adds, "Thank you for your interest and your work and for coming into my life.

Pat Lofton Brown

Patricia Lofton age 4 with a neighbor

June /2011, Patricia Lofton receives an email from a friend about  the West Adams Garden. Pat says she was so surprised to see her childhood home in the paper!! It brought back so many memories which she wanted to share with Steve and Marina (current owners) and myself! After a  flurry of emails and phone conversations  a tentative plan was set for all of us to meet for lunch! This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of sharing a delightful lunch with Ms. Lofton, one of her childhood friends and my dear friends Steve and Marina. I mean, how cool is that?



I feel as though I’ve met a kindred spirit, and  master gardener! Pat has a small herb farm in Sacramento! You see how life works??

2 comments:

  1. jimolarte@gmail.comAugust 1, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    You are an admirable lady & keep up the good work...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love this blog. It's about heritage, history, and stewardship! Keep up the great work!

    Fondly,
    Rue

    ReplyDelete