Well , I feel like writing a bit more about old Mr. Brown , the old codger who lived downtown LA , next to the 110 freeway . His old house , which he had designed himself , by the way , was torn down soon after he died . I don’t know if the State of California got all of his stuff or not . Maybe .
By the time I knew him the old place was shabby and worn. There were unpainted wooden steps up to the second floor where his living room and kitchen were . The house was a simple design . Maybe it could be classified as in the streamline moderne style . Maybe. I’m not an architecture expert , however . Maybe it was a bit pre-moderne . Now , of course , at any rate, in the end , it’s post whatever it was . It’s gone and forgotten .
I know that old Mr. Brown had at least $80,000 in various banks , in T-bills . Those were the only statements I saw during a day that week that I was over at his place . There may well have been several more that had come or were coming to the house . And he owned at least a few houses around downtown LA . A couple of his properties were in south LA . Property tax bills began coming in . What else did he own ? He was clearly , as they used to say , loaded .
As they say in Poland , however , coffins have no pockets .
He lived as a miser, that crochety old man . I thought he was a poor old guy , barely scraping by , just eeking out a living on a quiet but questionable edge of the city ; but I was wrong . He was an honest -to-god , dyed in the wool miser . A good one , too , I think .
He sold me a table once . It was covered by a half-inch of dust and had been lying in a quiet corner of his basement . I had spotted it and was interested . We bargained . I was cool ; disinterested .
” No , I’m not really looking for a table , ” I said .
” Fifteen bucks ,” he said .
It was a solid oak , octagonal dining table with a leaf underneath that swung up . The legs needed to be re-attached and glued , but that was easily done . It had been made in Los Angeles in the 1920’s and it was a wonderful table . I kept it for several years and then, because I needed the money , I sold it for $ 90 to Rock Hudson’s agent , who bought it for Rock , he said . Rock didn’t have much time to enjoy it though , if it indeed ever got to him , because a few months later Rock Hudson was dead .
At the end of our individual sojourns we are all equal , the rich and the poor , the movie stars , the cops and the robbers , the Reagonites and the Tea-Party folk , the Communists and the socialists , the capitalists and the hoboes , the highland Dutch and the lowland Dutch , the middle-of-the-roaders and , of course , the Irish .