Grandfather George Hodel Sr. Calendar Book Finds Its Way Back Home After Eighty-Four Year’s “On The Road”

June 9, 2019
Los Angeles
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.”
I opened it and inside was a separately printed card, also in mint condition which read:
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.



  1. Patricia O’Neill on June 10, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    Steve, your grandfather sounds like a wonderful man……how did the ensuing years after his death produce such a nightmare for you & your family?! I think the answer lies in the greatest sins humans can commit from which there is no recovery for the perpetrator and that is abuse (sexual, physical, emotional) of a child or a woman.. The addictive practices of power & seduction to control another human being are truly death to the soul of the abuser. It is when the death to the abuser’s soul occurs we experience true horror in life until the abuser is stopped, usually by his or her physical death. I guess said flat out plain: Life aint pretty…..tread with caution😕!!

    • Steve Hodel on June 10, 2019 at 5:58 pm

      Patricia O: I really knew very little about my paternal grandfather and think my brothers and I only met him on four or five brief occasions in the years preceding his death. Have very little insight into his life and influence on my father? He was those still waters and I expect they ran deep in the sense that he had a lot of influential friends that seemed to remain hidden and camouflaged. My sense is that it was his wife, ESTHER LEOV HODEL that was the real power, but sadly she died young at age 62, even before I was born, so never knew her at all.

  2. Steve Hodel on June 15, 2019 at 11:56 pm

    SKH Note- One of my astute readers on Facebook queried me, “Steve, Do you think this book might have been given out to someone by your grandfather as a promotional gift to advertise his business?
    My answer was, QUITE POSSIBLE. Grandfather may well have had these printed and handed out at the beginning of the year to his old and potentially new clients. But, either way, it is still zero degrees of separation. From his hand to mine, by way of whomever. Regardless, it originated from him and found me. Very cool.

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