Memories For Sale
Posted on December 23, 2007 Posted by John Scalzi 18 Comments
Don’t ask me how I got there, because it’s not actually an interesting story, but I was on a site looking at California home values and as a curiosity I looked to see if one of the houses I grew up in might be listed. Sure enough it was: 1144 W. Edna Place in Covina, California, where I lived while I was in fourth through half of sixth grade, is currently up for sale for the bargain price of just $545,000! That’s up a bit from the last time it sold, in 1997, when it was nabbed for $164,000, and I expect it’s at least ten times what my mom and stepdad paid for it more than a quarter century ago. Given that the property has been on the market for almost six months, it doesn’t look like very many folks seem to think it’s a half-million dollar house, and while I was fond of the place, I would have to agree with that. Also, when we lived there, it was not this sickly color.
Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a house in Southern California and/or the depths of your Scalzi stalkery impel you to seek out one of my childhood homes to claim as your own, here you go.
How many times did you trip over/fall off that wall in front?
Hardly ever, and anyway it’s just a couple feet down to the sidewalk.
Wow! That’s 545,000 reasons I’m glad I live in Indiana instead of California.
Well, its way too early to start planning “The John Scalzi Childhood Home and Museum”, so I’m not biting.
Dammit John, I’m working in Southern California at the moment and I don’t want to leave. You can’t tempt me like this!
btw, I saw one of your books on display with Elizabeth Bear’s Dust this morning, on a Christmas rack. “Woo displays!”
I see a cross in the background. Are you trying to be like Mike Huckabee? Subliminal messaging. Sorry, that was a poor joke. I go to school in Boulder, Colorado and the property values in the area are crazy like that too.
I recently blogged about a house my parents owned in the 70’s:
“at UKP 679,000 (Approx A$1.6m or US$1.4m), the old house is selling for almost ten times the price we sold it for in ’83, and exactly 68 times what my parents paid for it in 1969/70.”
Ouch. (You can see before-and-after pics here, if a link is allowed. Includes me at about 4 years old, and a nice old Mustang… which was new at the time.)
So you’re waiting for the Covina bubble to burst, and then scoop it up as a bargain?
I note that covina.com writes:
“Welcome to Downtown Covina, California. Nestled at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains, about 20 miles east of Los Angeles, in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley. Intimate and neighborly, the Covina Downtown still retains the atmosphere that it enjoyed during its days as the center of a small city whose motto was once ‘A Mile Square and All There.'”
Oddly enough, Covina today [Covina is a city in Los Angeles County, California about 22 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. The population was 46837 at the 2000 census] is economically the tail wagged by the bigger dog: West Covina [as of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 105080].
I have a little trouble with the relative Easts and Wests and distances in the above, but live close enough to check it out if necessary.
A half mil. And in the LA area. Dude, it’d have to be FAR from LA before I’d even look at it at $100K, let alone five times that.
(Yeah, I know. I’ve got a severe anti-LA bias. But how many people in San Fran are working on their screenplay and only using their law degree to pay rent?)
More than you suspect, Jim.
I grew up in a “marginal” neighborhood in Chicago, which has apparently turned into the new “in” place to be. My folks bought our house back in 1963 for about $18,000. Yes. Less then what I paid for my car. Dad sold it in ’96 for $164,000. Very nice, and good for him. The woman who now owns it bought it about 2 years ago for around half a million dollars. The mind boggles. She’s put a lot of work into it and says it will probably re-appraise at over a million. I suspect my dad is rolling over in his grave.
Bah, I’ll stick to staying in the greater Dayton area, thanks.
My parents bought a tiny bungalow on Long Island in ’63, paid $5000 for it. No heat, no water in winter, 3 rooms plus a bathroom where you had to sit on the toilet to close the door. However, it was 4 houses from the beach, *and* with a lake behind.
It sold this summer for just under 1/2 mil. Still no heat, no water in winter.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t my family selling it.
Where I live now, that 500K would buy…oh, 3000 square feet on several acres, marble counters, 3 baths and all the McMansion accoutrements. Oh, and running water year-round!
How much could I make running a John Scalzi childhood memory tour?
9: “(Yeah, I know. I’ve got a severe anti-LA bias. But how many people in San Fran are working on their screenplay and only using their law degree to pay rent?)”
Yeah, I’d say that’s a pretty severe bias, considering that I lived in LA (and for several years in Covina/West Covina) for 35 years and everybody I knew worked for living.
I couldn’t afford the house I grew up in, but thankfully I don’t have to— my parents still live there, and paid off the mortgage a few years back. It would be nice to be able to afford A house, though, one in a somewhat decent area of town.
However, my mother did point out a house they had owned in Arkansas, up for sale at only a few thousand more than they paid for it almost forty years ago. Depressed economic area, natch. Sometimes stable prices aren’t the best thing in the world either.
I think that the first house that my father purchased, after World War II, was in America’s first large planned suburb.
As wikipedia begins:
“Levittown, a suburb of New York City, is a hamlet and unincorporated political subdivision of New York State located on Long Island in Nassau County, New York. As of the 2000 census, the community had a total population of 53,067.”
“Levittown gets its name from its builder, the firm of Levitt & Sons, Inc., which built it as a planned community between 1947 and 1951. Levittown was the first truly mass-produced suburb and is widely regarded as the archetype for postwar suburbs throughout the country…”
I believe that he paid between $7,000 and $9,000. In any case, less than many of the cars that we’ve purchased since then, and less than the normal American cost of remodeling a single room.
“On Friday, November 9, 2007, Levitt and Sons of Fort Lauderdale became the nation’s largest builder to file for bankruptcy as the housing market boom of the early 2000s continued to crumble.”
There are very few of the earliest homes in that community which have not been substantially upgraded and modified in various ways. Those very few pristine survivors are rather expensive now (but nothing like these strange tales of Covina and the like).
I grew up (ages 9 months to 16 years) in a rent-controlled apartment of an historical 1888 building in Brooklyn Heights, New York. This was arguably the first suburn in what is now the USA, from back in New Amsterdam days. It had five different windows in one room alone which looked down on New York Harbor, and across to Manhattan. The rent could only be raised for improvements. It ratcheted up to $90/month. My mother and three kids (myself the oldest) lived there after my father left and remarried. After my Mom died, and the 3 boys scattered, we illicitly sublet it to a cousin. Eventually, the cousin moved out, and the rent skyrocketed.
When I visited the apartment, with new renters, in 1976 (for the July 4th celebration) it was inhabited by a nice pair of coke-snorting gay lawyers, who were already paying $2,500/month. I’m guessing that it’s now in the ballpark of $10,000/month.
Only the Dead Know Brooklyn
You Can’t Go Home Again.
Spike in killings in ’07 alarms Covina
By Jennifer McLain, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 12/30/2007 10:02:12 PM PST
Read more from the Crime Scene blog
COVINA – Police tape, dried blood, and a small shrine to a slain man is the only evidence that remains at a homicide scene in the 300 block of West Rowland Avenue.
The death of Paul Brizuela, 20, marked the seventh homicide in Covina this year. There were none last year.
“We had a spike this year,” said Covina police Chief Kim Raney. “Normally, we run between two to four. But any homicide is one too many.”
“By far and large, this is out of sorts for the character of our town,” said Mayor John King. “In the most recent incident, all the parties were from outside of Covina, and that is just unfortunate that they chose our city.”
[“sounds oddly like “mistakes were made…”]