Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Tower of Pallets and Our Vanishing Sense of Humor

I slept well the night of my pitiful little shopping spree, better than I had in weeks. Next morning I pulled on my pink tracksuit, ran my hair through the flat iron, and set out for the neighborhood Starbucks. It's a little over a mile from Mark's apartment which, I probably forgot to tell you before, is in the valley. Sherman Oaks is a nice place, and all that, but it's not L.A.

Mark's condo is located on the site of a former historic landmark. Back in the early fifties, this crazy old coot named Daniel Van Meter came across a bunch of wooden pallets which had been discarded by the Schlitz brewing company. He drug them home and stacked them into a huge beehive-shaped tower twenty-two feet across and twenty feet high. The city more or less left him alone until 1977 when they told him that he had to tear the unpermitted structure down.

Well, Van Meter was having none of that so he marches down to the Cultural Heritage Commission and convinces those guys to designate it as a Historic Cultural Monument.   When asked why the commission agreed to Van Meter's request, the then-commisioner replied, "I don't know. Maybe we were drunk. It was the funniest thing we ever did."

In 2006, Van Meter's estate sold the property, bulldozed the mouldering old pile of termite infested lumber, and built the apartments.

Somehow, I think the days of designating a pile of kindling as a landmark site just for the fun of it are long gone. R.I.P. Daniel Van Meter.

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