Thursday, June 24, 2010

Southern California Genealogical Society's 2010 Jamboree: Day Five (Monday)

By Monday, Jamboree was over. But I had planned to stay an extra day to enjoy myself and see the sights. Susan Kitchens, of Family Oral History, had offered to take me around in her Mazda Miata.

(click on any photo in this post to enlarge)

First we headed to Toluca Lake for lunch at Paty's Restaurant. Under the shade of an umbrella, we dined on the patio. I had a delicious chicken breast sandwich on toasted sourdough with swiss cheese, bacon, and the ever-present avocado (I don't think I spent a day in California without eating at least one meal with avocado!), accompanied by a side of potato salad. We spent quite a bit of time talking about our childhoods and growing up years and found we have quite a bit in common besides an interest in family history!

Then we headed out to see the sites. First we drove by Warner Brother Studios:

There were incredibly huge movie and television show posters mounted to the studio walls:

Then off we went up Mulholland Drive to a scenic viewpoint where we could see the Hollywood Bowl and Los Angeles.


 (Hollywood Bowl is in the right foreground)

Climbing up a few steps we saw the famous Hollywood sign.

On the way back to town, we saw the Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills cemetery where many celebrities are buried:

It was a cemetery, and so we--being family historians--had to go in. It is "done" in a New England Early Americana theme. There is a huge mural portraying important events in the founding of our nation. I saw two "chapels," and I use that term loosely, because they were both quite large.

The office looks like a colonial mansion.

Birth of Liberty Mosaic.

 A glimpse of the Church of the Hills, modeled after the First Parish Church in Portland, Maine, where poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow worshipped.

A statue of George Washington in front of the Birth of Liberty Mosaic.

We also checked out the Plaza of Mesoamerican Heritage:

I mentioned to Susan that I thought my husband's great-great-grandmother, Senna "Senie" (COLLINS) TOLLIVER was buried at this cemetery. Senie was the wife of Pleasant Clark TOLLIVER, whose grave I had visited on Friday. Susan was kind enough to stop at the office and I asked at the desk. Turns out Senie is not buried here; she is buried at Forest Lawn - Glendale. I discovered there are five Forest Lawn cemeteries in the Los Angeles - Orange County area! The office staff gave us a map and directions from their Hollywood Hills site to their Glendale site. I was completely OK with not going to Glendale because I didn't want to inconvenience Susan, but she insisted on heading down there!

On the way, we passed the ABC studio. You can see the tip of Mickey Mouse's Sorcerer's Apprentice hat to the right (more on that later). We also crossed the Los Angeles River.

Passing through Glendale, we passed this building. I still don't know what it is. I've tried looking it up on Google. The reason it stands out is that I thought it was unusual to have a building resting on four "feet" in an area known for earthquakes:

I snagged this photo from Google Maps.

When we arrived at Forest Lawn - Glendale, I noticed that everything was done in Tudor - Medieval theme.

The gatekeeper had a computer in her booth and was able to look up Senie's burial plot info and give us a map.After passing more murals and amazing statuary (including a replica of the David by Michaelangelo - sorry, no photo), we located Senie's plot at the bottom of a steep slope near a wall.

It's hard to tell by the angle of this photo, but this and many of the other "lawns" at this cemetery were so steep I seriously wonder if the graves were dug horizontally into the hillsides and the coffins placed into the ground, drawer-style! If they had a graveside service, it would have been very difficult for family members to trek down the hill and back up. I took a look around, but just like where Pleasant is buried, none of the people mentioned on surrounding graves were related to Senie. How sad that she and Pleasant are buried so far apart from one another!

After leaving Glendale, Susan and I did more tooling around. We saw a lot of buildings that had this particular style of number plaque on them, and Susan told me that was an insider's way of identifying buildings belonged to Disney:

So much of the area was surrounded by this incredible fencing. It seemed to go on and on for miles:

I also saw some very magical places!

"Magical" was an accurate description of the day! I had a wonderful time playing tourist and listening to Susan give an insider's perspective of the history of the area and the local movie industry. I was so grateful to her for giving me a wonderful and memorable afternoon and especially for taking the time to help me find Senie's grave; a definite bonus!

The day was not finished, however; of course, it wouldn't be a perfect trip to Southern California without an earthquake! Although I was too far away to feel it (or at least notice it), my geneablogger friends further south were all twittering about it that evening. And was I glad I was nowhere near that building in Glendale! It was a perfect ending to a perfect weekend!

Day One
Day Two - Part I
Day Two - Part II
Day Three
Day Four


my Heritage Happens said...

Great day you two had! Thanks for sharing with us, I enjoyed your day!I have never been to any cemeteries down there, will have to do that one of these days.

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

What a fun day, and an awesome tour guide to boot!

Anonymous said...

I love the style of your writing. It was a great time, no doubt!

Joan Miller (Luxegen) said...

What a nice day, and a special treat to tour around with a local. It sounds like you had a lot of fun!

Miriam Robbins said...

Cheryl, the cemetery tour was fascinating. If they offer it again, I highly recommend it!

Amy, she was the best!

Thank you, Anonymous, for your kind words!

Joan, we had a blast!

Thank you all for stopping by and leaving your kind comments.

Kathryn Doyle said...

Sounds like you had the perfect SoCal day. I totally agree: Susan is THE BEST.

Miriam Robbins said...

Kathryn, I enjoyed my time very much with you, too, my friend. It was one of the highlights of my trip! I hope the graduation ceremony went well.