A little house just went on the market in Studio City, on the corner of Sarah and Simpson.
My parents and two brothers lived there before I was born, from September 1947 to April 1953.
This two-bedroom, one-bath cottage was their dream home, a purchase made possible through assistance from the GI Bill.
My parents, who last year celebrated their 70th anniversary, moved in 1947 to what was then called North Hollywood from an apartment on Hayworth near Beverly Boulevard.
They were just like a lot of young couples in postwar America, with its new, growing economy, finding opportunites in the San Fernando Valley.
When friends from Los Angeles would visit the far reaches of Los Angeles, known as North Hollywood, they would ask, "Should I bring water? Are the roads OK? Are there hotels?"
My dad owned a jewelry store on Lankershim Boulevard called . It was named after the two original partners, Ralph Goodman (my dad) and Bill Mallet. It remained a major part of the North Hollywood business scene long after Dad sold it to the watch maker and manager Tommy Jakels.
Ramal Jewelers was across the street from Rathbuns Department Store and a bank. The old bank building is the location of a new nightclub called
When they moved to the house, my mother joined all kinds of civic organizations, and spent her time raising my brothers, Barry, then an infant, and Alan, the 6-year-old.
The kids went to Carpenter Avenue School, and later transferred to Colfax Elementary when Colfax expanded.
There was no telephone service at the house for the first few months so they would line up, with the neighbors, at the Safeway near Riverside and Colfax to make phone calls.
There was no 101 Freeway back then, so North Hollywood, Valley Village and Studio City felt like one big community. The new freeway arrived a few years after our family sold this home, and some neighbors lost their homes to the project.
My parents had a variety of well-known and interesting neighbors, including Erle Stanley Gardner. Gardner was a lawyer and author, best known for the Perry Mason stories. He also used a variety of pen names, including: A.A. Fair, Kyle Corning, Charles M. Green, Carleton Kendrake, Charles J. Kenny, Les Tillray and Robert Parr.
My mom remembers some wonderful neighbors named Ray Mayor and Edith Evans. They were a famous vaudeville team from the '30 and '40s.
"They invited us over every Saturday night to hang around their piano, sing songs, and raise hell," she recalls. "Among their guests were Donald O'Connor, Sidney Miller, Ann Sothern and loads of actors and dancers."
My mom adds, "In those day, nobody locked there doors. You just didn't need to. ... Besides, someone might want to borrow a cup of sugar."
Sonja Henie was down the street. She was an Olympic champion figure skater and film star. Henie won more Olympic and world titles than any other female figure skater. At the height of her acting career she was one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood.
A lady named Vera Zorina lived around the corner. She was a Norwegian ballerina, musical-theater actress and choreographer. Her husband was Columbia Records President Goddard Lieberson.
There was also an actor who lived down the street. My parents now are not sure of his name. His career was going great, until the House Un-American Activities Committee ruined him, they said. He had spent extra time coaching my mom on her lines for a part in a local show. My mom remembers when the FBI came to our house to ask questions about this man and our families' political affiliations.
Some folks are not sure of the value of real estate as a long-term investment. I have no question. At the peek time of the real estate bubble this little house on the corner of Simpson and Sarah was probably worth $850,00 or more. It is now on the market, as a trust sale, for $500,000. This is certainly a loss from 2007, but consider the long term.
My parents spent about $15,000 to purchase the house in 1947. It was a long negotiation. The seller wanted an amount closer to $15,400. My parents were hoping for $14,800. In 1953, they sold the property for about $18,000. We then traded the equity as a partial down payment for a brand new house on Valley Spring Lane in Toluca Lake.
I was born in the Toluca Lake house. It was across from the golf course. It was big and had a pool and lots of famous neighbors, but that's another story...