Monday, April 14, 2014

Read Something: It's Library Week

A few years ago I witnessed a phenomenon that impacted my life in a major way. Book retailers started closing their doors in numbers. As I said goodbye to Border’s bookstores, a chapter in my life closed as well. That was the bookstore I shopped at for my latest reads, where I would meet friends to study and sometimes catch live bands. During college you could find me searching the shelves as soon as finals ended looking for a new book to read during the upcoming break. Around the same time my local used bookstore, the Book Baron, also closed its doors.

Without a doubt the closing of books stores changed my life.

Books weren't as accessible to purchase anymore. If I wanted a book immediately, which is often the case, I had to drive further away to find a bookstore or I had to order it online and patiently wait for its delivery. Because I insist on reading the printed word, access to books remains the same today. I’ve come to depend greatly on my local libraries to feed my reading habits.

Anaheim alone has 7 branches in addition to the Bookmobile and Heritage Reading Room. Although Buena Park only has one library, they usually have books that I am looking for, not available at the Anaheim libraries. The Orange County Public Libraries has over 30 libraries in their network. In honor of National Library Week I have plans to add the OC Library’s card to my current stash.

Beyond fulfilling my need for mental stimulation, or book worm entertainment, my blog would not be what it is without my local libraries. Victory Book Club would not exist without access to historical fiction or books written in years past. I wouldn't be able to share all of the wonderful historic photos in A Place I Live series if it weren't for the truly wonderful work of Jane Newell. Jane is the manager of the Anaheim Heritage Center and Reading Room, and knows so much about the local history that I am always amazed. A big thank you to Jane and all those who make our local libraries thrive. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Victory Book Club: The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro, 2013

I imagine that France in 1955 was rather glamorous. To find an abandoned perfume shop filled with scents from around the world would be a treasure to the senses, especially when those perfumes were collected by one of the world’s most sought after perfumers. In The Perfume Collector, perfume isn’t just something women apply to their wrists, but how two stories are told.

Grace Munroe’s story starts in London in 1955. She has a husband with money and a good family name; she spends her days napping and nights getting dressed up for socialite hosted dinner parties. As goes the tale of the 1950s housewife, she wants to be more than just someone’s wife. Her monotonous life is interrupted when she receives a letter from a Monsiour Tissot, asking her to travel to France where she is to sign papers as heir to Eva d’Orsey’s estate.

Eva d’Orsey’s story is told through three perfumes: La Première, Auréole Noire and Choses Perdus. From 1927 to 1935, and just briefly in 1942, Eva lives a life much different from Grace’s. She is not a wife, she finds herself without a good family name, but has a unique gift and scent that take her on a journey around the world.
Having never met Eva, Grace is determined to find a connection between them, two women separated by decades and seem to be linked by an abandoned perfume shop.

I enjoyed reading about perfume making, specifically the slow process of extracting scents. It was interesting that the best perfumers weren’t interested in making a popular scent for all women to wear, but instead crafting a memory. The perfumers were chemists and artists, mixing scents to recreate memories of snow or summer rain with the intention of transporting their wearer to a different time through their sense of smell.

Although this story is told during two wonderful decades, there is little history to be had. While I especially enjoyed reading about the perfumers, there were too many underdeveloped characters and holes in the plot for me to really enjoy this novel. If you want to give the novel a try, it did receive many great reviews, it just wasn’t for me.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Anaheim Plaza Sculpture by George Tsutakawa, 1963

photo source / drawing source

Last year the Anaheim Historical Society hosted a lecture featuring art in public spaces. My friend and Anaheim artist Kevin Kidney highlighted 8 art pieces along with their historic and city significance. One piece really stood apart. I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that the bronze sculpture I was admiring on the screen was from the 1960s and so MODern.

The sculpture happens to be a water fountain designed by artist George Tsutakawa, a painter and sculptor from Seattle Washington. What I found so interesting about this piece is that the sculpture was designed so the metal shapes directed the water to create a dynamic sculpture of its own. How cool is that? Tsutakawa created over sixty public water fountains across the US starting in 1960. So why had I never seen Anaheim’s Tsutakawa sculpture?

Tsutakawa was commissioned to design and create a bronze sculpture water fountain for the front of the Anaheim Shopping Center’s new Robinson’s Department store which opened in 1962. The fountain itself was added later in February 1963. The very glamorous department store not only offered shopping, but 2 dining options: The Mission Room and Carousel Round Robin. When I headed out to visit the sculpture I took advantage of the opportunity to dress in my very best early 1960s outfit complete with my little terrier along for shopping and lunch.

The Anaheim Robinson’s closed in 1988 and shortly after the shopping center was demolished and rebuilt as the Anaheim Plaza. Not to worry, the fountain still exists though it is no longer functioning. Unfortunately it is hidden behind a Rubio’s restaurant and surrounded by planters, which explains why I had never seen Tsutakawa’s artwork.

Lovers of vintage and art, what do we have to do to restore this great piece of art and get the fountain working in maybe a more eye catching spot?

Friday, April 4, 2014


I am a fan of French films. Who doesn't love, and I mean looove, Amelie? Am I right? Even if you hate subtitles, but are a lover of Mid Century, give this film a try for the eye candy. The fashion! The hair! The décor! It is all très magnifique.

And yes, this is a movie about a typing competition and the glamorous secretaries that compete for the international title. Follow Rose on her adventure in 1959 Normandy, France as she goes from secretary to competitive typist. With her boss turned Coach, Louis, along for the ride, you know there is bound to be a love story too.

Monday, March 31, 2014

1950s Glidden Interior Paint

Remember the exterior paint catalogs I shared? Here are two interior paint swatch color catalogs for ranch homes.

1950s Glidden Decorating Pastels inspired by the South Seas makes me think of Tiki Bars across the country! The 22 colors came in satin, luster, flat and latex finishes in colors like Paradise Green, Pebble Beach, Jungle Moss, Teak and Tropic Sun. Changing the color of the walls doesn’t mean the décor had  to change with the color planning guide on the back. I’m sure this made it easier for the 1950s housewife to talk a modest husband into giving a few rooms a face lift.
Ready to use Spred Satin in latex, luster and flat finishes also provided beautiful pastels with great beachy names. It was guaranteed washable from crayons, grease and other household dirt and to last until you wanted to change the color.

I love the pastel colors for the interior walls just as much as their tropical names reminiscent of WWII travels to the Pacific. I'm pretty sure if I look close enough my bedroom walls sure look a lot like Shoal Green.

Growing up I only knew white walls and wood paneling so it is refreshing to now have colored walls in almost every room. What colors do you live in?