Signs and Wonders

Do you ever have inexplicably sad reactions to inanimate objects? It sounds like a strange question, I know, but I’ve found this happening quite frequently to me—no doubt proving that my delicate grasp on sanity is getting weaker.

There is a sign that used to herald the location of a vibrant business on Pico Blvd.  The sign proudly proclaims that M. Forman Pottery & Plants was established in 1946. It was an institution, no doubt. Alas, the only thing still standing is that sign—rusted and abandoned.

I can’t help but think of all the hopes and dreams that were once part of that story.  The proprietor (or proprietors) opened that business coming out of a depression and a world war. They took a risk and grew—sometimes thriving and, no doubt, sometimes facing more trying times. Did the owner die without heirs who wanted to keep the business going? Was there a fire? Did it become a casualty to Northridge or other earthquakes of the time? Did the will to slog through the flagging economy and deals of the superstores die?

What happened?  What happened to those brave souls who wanted to be masters of their fate despite the dangers of the world they had so recently experienced?

A quick Google search doesn’t yield many answers, only the assumption that the business is long gone as the lot is vacant without even a much turned-over storefront to provide any clues. It’s just the sign now; a sign that has been often photographed by Los Angeles artists (and now by me). So, maybe in a weird way, the dream of the store owner has lived on—not in the way he/she may have imagined, but in the thoughts of each one of us who photographs the sign (or pauses when we see it) and wonders a little.



P.S. If you actually know the story of what happened to this business, please feel free to comment or email me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *