On his way to a Mexican octopus feast in Boyle Heights, PopPpop was distracted by the sound of grunts and thumps coming from a nearby Shinto Church, which doubles as a martial arts studio. With his grandson-in-law Richard Schave at his side, PopPop enters the dojo and meets the sensei, who invites him to observe the practice session. PopPop is fascinated to discover a side of the neighborhood he didn’t know existed.
Rose E. Brett was the unofficial poet laureate of Hollenbeck Palms, and in 1946 a small selection of her light verse was published in pamphlet form as “Homespun Rhymes.” The price was $1. We were lucky enough to find a copy of this scarce volume at Caravan Book Store, the last survivor of downtown LA’s book row.
According to the records of Hollenbeck, Rose and her husband Cyrus Willard Brett moved into the home on July 6, 1934. Cyrus died in 1938, and Rose stayed on until her own death on October 19, 1948.
This is the first of a series of blog posts presenting the sweet, forgotten, and still very timely rhymes of Rose E. Brett of Hollenbeck. We hope you love them as much as the OGs do!
AIR RAID AND BLACKOUT by Rose E. Brett
Hurrah! Hurrah for “Hollenbeck!” This is the place
for me; I’m sure there is no other Home where I’d
prefer to be. They “eat us” and they “sleep us,”
they keep the place so clean; they tend us in our
sick spells, and amuse us in between. They send us
to the oculist, who assists us by refraction, or
it may be to the dentist, who relieves us by extrac-
tion. All this they’re doing every day – no end of
care they take, but now they’re doing something
new which surely takes the cake. When Japan at-
tacked our Islands without a bit of warning, we knew
we might expect them here some blooming night or
morning. What can we do? Where shall we go? What
is our best protection? Again the managers step
in with plans quite near perfection. The man who
planned this building must have been a “right
smart feller,” for underneath the building is a
first rate air raid cellar. For black-out and
for shelter they gave us our instructions—of
course it raised a little breeze, and caused a few
slight ructions. And some refused to “douse the
glim,” they had to USE the light; and some were bound
to lock their doors, as they always do at night.
And one would never, never go to that dungeon, cold Continue reading “Homespun Rhymes by Rose E. Brett: Air Raid and Blackout”