June 9, 2019
It was pure serendipity.
A few months back I was attending a talk at one of my favorite venues, the South Pasadena Library Community Center.
After the talk, my good friend and South Pasadena Librarian, Steve Feljsted approached and introduced me to fellow lecture attendees, Craig and Patricia Graham, who are the owners of Vagabond Books.
The Grahams have been collecting and selling rare books for over forty years.
We shook hands and Craig reached into his jacket pocket and removed a small 4×7″ hardbound book and smiling, he handed it to me, and said, “Came across this recently and thought you might want to have it.”
To my great surprise, it was my paternal grandfather’s personal Calendar Book from the year 1935.
It was unused and in mint condition, contained no personal entries and as seen above it was embossed on the front with my grandfather’s name and work address: “George Hodel Annuities * Life Insurance* 111 W. Seventh St.”
Thumbing through the book I discovered it contained no physical entries, was completely blank and pristine. The back of the book contained the usual miscellaneous information such as: weights and measures, postal mailing costs, interest rates, etc. Also included was a list of “populations” for U.S. major cities as of 1920 and 1930. Checking out “Los Angeles” the book showed it as: “1920-876.000 and for “1930-1.2 million.” (Today’s Los Angeles population some eighty-four years later is over “4 million”.
My sincere thanks to the Graham’s for bringing my grandfather’s book “home” so to speak.
I can’t help wondering what “travels” the book experienced during the past eighty-four-years. Did it just remain on some lonely shelf for decades, or in a weathered box in a garage, or did it get out and about and see a bit of the world? I asked it, but whatever it saw and heard, it ain’t talking, so guess we will never know. But, rest I assured I gave it a big “Welcome Home.”
My grandfather, George Hodel Sr. had been a top insurance salesman in downtown Los Angeles joining the Equitable Life Assurance Society in 1915 in Los Angeles. Below is a letter from 1950 acknowledging his “35th anniversary”
My father’s father passed away four years after the above letter was written.
He died on June 1, 1954 at age 81 and is buried in Forrest Lawn Glendale.
Interestingly, my grandmother, Esther Hodel, my grandfather’s wife died of tuberculosis in Los Angeles on August 3, 1935, the very same year as this newly discovered calendar book. My grandparents are buried side by side at Forrest Lawn.
*My thanks to “Laura Hardin” for the photographs and entries documenting my grandparent’s gravesites.