Postscript - 1991, 1994 and 2012
The photo above was taken by my in-laws who, at the time, still lived in Burbank. Mom sold the house to some people who had little or no regard for the home improvements my parents inflicted on the place. Hard as it is to believe, they made the place worse! Then they moved out and tidier people moved in (see below). You may notice that our big air conditioner is still perched on the window ledge to the left, and Dad's Standard Brands electric blue porch color have been retained. Our cypress trees have been removed, which gives the house a stark look it never had when I lived there. Apparently the pine trees we planted circa 1965 which grew to immense heights behind the pool have been removed (or drastically trimmed) as they no longer appear behind the garage.
More interesting, however, is the word "GATE" painted on the gate. This is the creation of our neighbor, who was and probably still is something of a kook. (When he built an extension on his home he included a sun deck in the back. His bloodhound, Potatoes, was somehow able to climb it and howl at me from the roof when I arrived home from work!) Apparently he missed labeling the "ROOF," "DOOR" and "WINDOWS," but maybe that came later.
This is a photograph from 1994, when I visited Burbank for my 20th anniversary high school reunion. As you can see, the place looks a lot more respectable than it ever did when I lived there! The patio has been painted a reasonable color (although the owners are apparently hoping Dad's blue driveway will fade and disappear), and a new roof has been installed. The front porch is now functional, and the yard is neatly trimmed and mown. The house is painted something other than the stark white with black trim that we had, and Dad's concentric picture frames used as trim in the center of the old wooden garage door are but a distant memory. (Mom pulled 'em off a couple of years after Dad nailed 'em on.)
I asked the present owners if I could go in and take a look around, which they allowed me to do. I was surprised and pleased by the work they had done on the place. Apparently the people Mom had sold to left the place an utter shambles inside and out, and the present owners made badly-needed improvements. I can attest that the back yard looked better than it ever had, with the slab we had as a patio walled in properly and turned into a family room with sliding glass doors and skylights. (No fish pond in sight.) Even Mom's add-on section of patio where we kept the gas barbecue - which boasted a flooring of decorative white rocks - has been made a part of the patio. Finally, a coat of stucco was put over the chimney, improving the look of the back of the house.
This shot of the back yard indicates that my awning, crooked support and all, still stands, and the mighty sun-blocking pine trees have been removed, with some rose bushes and shrubs in their place. A metal fence was installed around the pool to keep little grandchildren out. Mom's unfortunate shelf still exists under the awning - but that's okay. Nowhere on the property, on the inside or out, is there a single trace of avocado paint! And nothing is antiqued! Even more amazing is the fact that while these pictures were taken in November, the pool is sparkling and verifiably blue, not the green it normally was during the Clarks' ownership.
All this proves, perhaps, the old adage about one never being able to go back. (And more to the point, sometimes one shouldn't even try!)
May 2012 Update: Gus Ferrat's Man Cave
So there it is: A virtual tour through the common San Fernando Valley two-bedroom stucco structure that served as my childhood home. There are still plenty to be seen in the Valley, but perhaps few with the do-it-yourself flair that we managed to give to our own during my childhood. And no, I haven't followed family tradition - I am happy to report that with the exception of an avocado-colored plastic coffee pot my mom gave me for the office at her last Christmas, nothing I own is avocado!
WARNING: If you consider my home tour and the decorating taste of my parents as funny (and, according to the letters I get, many do) then you should be aware of the nature of sons and daughters to turn into their parents with age. It could well be that at some point in the future your sons and daughters will be constructing a web site like this about you.
Let he who laughs last, laugh best.