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Verdugo Views: Photos conjure up thoughts of mid-century Glendale

July 03, 2013|By Katherine Yamada
  • Victoria Baima Mandile , right, and her sister Pattie, left, met Ray Corrigan, star of a number of westerns, at Corriganville, an amusement park on his ranch in Simi Valley. The buildings were destroyed by a 1970 wildfire, but the city of Simi Valley recently bought a portion of the property and developed it as a park.
Victoria Baima Mandile , right, and her sister Pattie,… (Courtesy of Victoria…)

Memories of her childhood came flooding back to Victoria Baima Mandile when she opened a package from her sister, Pattie. Inside was a stack of photos of Glendale in the 1940s, '50s and '60s.

Mandile, a stylist at Shampoo Conspiracy in Glendale, brought the photos to work recently and co-worker Pete Cortez called me, thinking I'd like to see them.

Later, Mandile and I looked through the photos. Each one triggered a story, beginning with a photo of the Seeley building on South Brand.

Mandile, the second of three girls born to John and Marion Baima, grew up on Vassar Avenue, near Seeley's.

"We were all born at Queen of Angels Hospital," she said. The oldest, JoAnn, was born before World War II, Victoria and Pattie after.

They attended Cerritos Elementary and walked past Seeley's on the way to school.

"We used to check the big clock on the front to see what time it was," Mandile said.

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Another photo, of Forest Lawn, triggered a memory of walking past the gates.

"We used to pretend that it was the home of a very wealthy person, so that we wouldn't be afraid," she said.

One day, they entered the gates and managed to pick up one of the Mallard ducks sitting near the pond.

"We carried that duck all the way home and told our Mom it had walked home with us," Mandile said. "Well, Mom figured that one out pretty quickly and back we all went to return the duck."

A small restaurant, Casa Gonzales, occupied a nearby house.

"It had a large mural of an Aztec warrior and a woman standing on a cliff," she said. "The owner's cousins lived behind us and we used to go to Casa Gonzales after hours with them. We'd dance to the music on the jukebox, especially 'Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.'"

Next was a photo of the old Masonic Temple, showing the south side of the building with the words "Welcome to Glendale" painted above a huge Coca-Cola ad.

The sisters often went to the Temple Theatre. "It was the cheapest place in town. My mom would drop us off and we'd stay all Saturday," Mandile said. "They showed three feature movies and a newsreel and a cartoon and no one ever told us we had to leave. Many of the kids in town and in our neighborhood went there."

The family shopped on Brand Boulevard, especially at Hedy's.

"Not at Webbs; we weren't Webbs people, we were more Sears and Penneys," she said.

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