Alma Imogene Payne Waters (1922 – 2014) at 14336 Gilmore St., 1952


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Don Waters (b. 1954), who grew up in Van Nuys and now lives in Missouri, has been a longtime reader of this blog.

After seeing my recent photos of Gilmore Street, he recognized one particular bungalow court at 14336.

His parents, Donald (1929-2007) and Alma (1922-2014) had lived there in the early 1950s.

A 2007 obituary provides some family biography.

Don, very considerately, sent me a 1952 photograph of his mother, standing in the courtyard of the complex.

It must have been a quite pleasant neighborhood to live in: schools, government offices, stores, and churches, within walking distance.

In 1952, the San Fernando Valley was on the precipice of speeding into the future full throttle.

And now, in 2015, we look back and wonder what went so very wrong.

Nobody wears skirts in Van Nuys anymore.

116Imo@VNapts

7 thoughts on “Alma Imogene Payne Waters (1922 – 2014) at 14336 Gilmore St., 1952

  1. Van Nuys is a prototypical working-class LA neighborhood of the first half of the 20th century, in all its overly humble (and largely ugly, ratty) glory. Over the past 50 to 60 years, the cultural shoddiness of that same community has increased to now match that environmental inferiority, although Van Nuys is generally still better than the cardboard shantytowns of Guadalajara.

    The mistakes of the past and the transgressions of today (fostered by modern-American progressivism, where nothing is ever too progressive, ever too liberal) form a holy (or unholy) alliance.

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  2. Planning ? Planning ! Oh, please !
    It was not for lack of planning
    that Van Nuys was despoiled and ruined
    There are thousands of pages of City Codes
    and City Planning community design plans,
    ordinances, zoning guidelines which are ignored,
    violated and simply not enforced in Van Nuys.
    You can also thank several decades of
    land-banking slumlord-developers, organized crime
    and civic corruption for the pathetic mess that is Van Nuys.
    Eliminate the rot, at the root, and healthy growth will follow.

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  3. Andy is right–growth occurred too fast. Families start out in bungalow courts–they move to half-acre lots in the West Valley that are a personal paradise–then they move away to another place as they save money and can afford hundreds of acres on a cattle ranch. I’m an optimist. Folks living in Van Nuys now will find their way upward and find better places. It is unfortunate though that a community can’t find a way to plan for the future and grow in a planned manner. Europeans expect to spend their lives in the same place. Maybe that just isn’t the American type of life.

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    1. Unfortunately, I think many of the people living in Van Nuys now who live in the neighborhoods that have seen rapid decline over the last several decades will probably NOT have the chance to move upward and find better places-many may never even be able to buy homes perhaps-because they may either lack the financial resources or not have the education they need in order to secure better jobs(and thus make more money) so that they can move away from the blighted areas. I do agree that it is unfortunate that Van Nuys cannot find a way to plan for the future so it can grow in a planned manner.

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