From my book, Puertas: one woman’s journey through to the other side by C R Perkins
Newly published book, Puertas, now available to order! I will post a few pages here every so often, to give readers a peak at the contents. I use photographs I took with text alongside to paint with words, not paint or stone. Below is one piece, ’56 Chevy, for your review. Information about how to purchase this book is on the link under. Some of the photographs will soon be available to purchase on my shop. Enjoy!
Could be it’s not one. A ’56 Chevy I mean. Yet when I look at this photograph, that title jumps into my head. The stark black & white, a creamy white. The raised ironwork of the logo on the glove box. I think it says “Original”. Well, if it doesn’t, it should. I know little of cars, yet I can see myself in this one, even though it has a hard top. I’m strictly a convertible gal.
I had one. A ’66 Cutlass convertible, banana yellow, black top. Three on the tree, as it was called. Three speeds: drive, reverse and the 3rd speed for extra power going fast on the roads and for extra energy for climbing hills. Wouldn’t it be great if humans had that?
Los Angeles used to be cooler. Not in temperature, but in style. There were little pink bungalow houses called bungalow courts, built in the 1940’s or 50’s, ‘New’ apartment courtyards, that were built after World War 2, for families who worked in the city. Small, no balconies, some with fountains and high ceilings, French doors looking out onto small yards where children played. Beautiful snow white gardenias grew on small trees or lemon trees; their scent filled the warm air.
The 1960’s brought in the swimming pool – a nice place to have a drink on a warm night, watching the light play on the water. For me, it was a place to swim every day. How refreshing after work, after waiting tables in the heat all day, to dive into the cool water.
How welcoming for me, years later, to fly into Los Angeles from Europe, as the plane dropped down through the brown smog, then below to see the mountains of LA.
All the tiny blue pools all over the city, scattered like blue sapphires for this thirsty wanderer. Clustered in the little towns, nestled into the hills that slope to and from the Hollywood sign, small ones in the apartment complexes of The Valley, Culver City and West LA, and the large ones, flickering in the sun atop the mountains with their amazing 365 degree views from the palaces owned by movie producers and studio executives.
City of Los Angeles at night. On clear, warm summer nights I’d drive my convertible up into the hills, just to park and look out at the view. Black silhouettes of the hills. Lights scattered and twinkling, like hundreds of diamonds sprinkled onto black velvet.
The wind would barely blow. Just a warm summer night, below the stars and below still, another sort of star – that of the lights of the city. Sometimes the view would stretch right out to the sea.
Below me, cars with their yellow lights would climb up towards me, snaking and curving, their red tail lights flashing only to disappear, then again back into view, then disappearing once more, going in and out of view.
As a teen, I hadn’t gone there with someone to kiss or more, but alone, to look out at this beautiful city – my city. It always was, and I’d thought always would be.
She calls to me now. I get that pull at my heart, at once familiar, like a long forgotten lover, that thrill of first sight, newly awakened, the longing still there. The hope of reconciliation circling and purring like a warm cat at my feet.
She is home to me, this city. And as I do, as I have, with a lover, I question why I ever left her. I see her so clearly. Still waiting for me.
To order this book, please go to this link:
In Europe at the American Book Center in Amsterdam and the Hague: https://abc.nl/book-details/puertas/g9789492563965
(Books ordered online can be shipped to the USA) Will soon be available in the USA and Britain. Watch this page for updates.