In my car yesterday, looking for a shortcut to avoid traffic on Melrose near Normandie, I turned up Kenmore and drove north.
On the 900 Block, I found a strange and eerie neighborhood of old houses.
There were no cars parked on the street, and hardly any automobile traffic.
Jail bars covered the doors and windows of every home. The street was baked in blistering sun, and without any shade trees.
No people were outside, and at the end of the block, at Santa Monica Boulevard, vagrants sat along the curb outside of a twin-steepled church.
I wanted to know what this neighborhood was, and what it had been, a long time ago.
Was there a time when children played in the front yards, rode bikes on the street, and adults sat on the porch drinking iced tea?
Why did every window sit behind steel bars? And was there a time when people lived in homes without protective glass gates?
And who lives here now? Are they mostly Korean or Armenian?
And why does this sunny place seem so frightened, closed-up, hermetic and cold?
There are some streets in Los Angeles where things just do not seem normal.
The 900 Block of Kenmore in East Hollywood is one of these.