Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dealing with an invasion of dragonflies, the homeless and plunging home sales

* ... DRAGON FLIES: Gretchen Knaggs shot me an email wondering what is going on with all the dragonflies on the west side of town. "I'm not sure if it is just in our part of town (out near Brimhall and Old Farm roads) but it is really something else. There were close to 15 in our front yard the other evening!" Gretchen ended with her own memory of east Bakersfield. "You know you're an old school east sider if remember Plahn's Bakery on Niles near Mount Vernon. That's a throwback to my grandparents Eric and Agnes Plahn."

 * ... HOMELESS: A local therapist took issue with my earlier post citing "one of the nuttier" areas of our community populated by the homeless and recently released parolees. Wrote Ethel C. Katz: "The 'homeless denizens' and 'scary looking parolees" are often suffering from chronic illnesses. They do not chose to live on the streets but without the necessary medication are relegated to them or to jails ... Most of this population do not have middle class homes to go to nor do they have incomes to purchase medication which would quiet their 'animated conversations with invisible partners.' A bit of sensitivity would go a long way to helping this under-served population." Sorry if I sounded insensitive, and I understand the issues, but it nevertheless is a nutty scene.

 * ... HOME SALES: Hard to be optimistic after hearing that home sales dropped 27.2 percent in July in another signal that this recession has a lot of life left in it. Regionally, the west dropped 25 percent and across the country, homes in the distressed category accounted for more than a third of all sales. This is not good news folks. It's easy to underestimate how important steady growth and a healthy real estate market are to our local economy, but the consumer is wary and lacking confidence. On the plus side, it is a great time to be in the market: mortgage rates are near historic lows and there is a lot of property to choose from. But consumers remain skittish, banks have raised their lending standards and many folks are just sitting on the  sidelines until this mess gets better.

 * ... UCSB: Local attorney Harley Pinson and his wife Cindy will be hosting a reception for all the young people heading to UC Santa Barbara. The Pinsons, both Gaucho grads, will host the incoming freshmen, their parents and local UCSB alumni on Sunday, September 12 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Meetings like this allow the kids to exchange contact information for car pooling and are great opportunities for the parents to learn more about the school. If interested, call Harley at (661) 599-5584.

 * ... OLD EATERIES: Local farmer Dick Porter shot me a message recalling a restaurant that his parents took him to in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Called "Mr. and Mrs." it was located on the west side of Chester Avenue a few blocks south of California. "Their specialty was pan fried steaks, not breaded, just steaks fried in pans. I can still smell the absolutely fabulous aromas coming from the frying pans just across a stool counter. I can remember the floors were black and white linoleum tile and there were pictures of movie stars on the wall. Just fantastic food!"
  * ... SPOTTED: From reader Sue Allred: "Observed in the dress department at a Valley Plaza department store on Memorial Day afternoon. A young man said to a woman: 'If you choose a dress in the next 15 minutes I will pay for it.'" And Sue added: "You know you're from Bakersfield if on your summer walks you know what 'follow the shade' means. It can lead to some great new paths."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're a Bakersfield  old timer if "you remember what was on the northeast corner of 19th Street and Union Avenue before Stan's Drive-in. (the old street car barn)


Anonymous said...

Gretchen is right on the money. We are experiencing dragonfly mania in our backyard and we also live in that area. I know they are harmless but they bug me! No pun intended :) Rachel Legan

Anonymous said...

"Mr. and Mrs. of Radio Fame," was the restaurant's name. Their ads said they were "of no fame" and came from a small Missouri town.

Anonymous said...

We live off Brimhall Road also and my daughter and her friends have been talking about the dragon flies for weeks now. Let us know if you find out why there are so many, all of a sudden.

Anonymous said...

I remember Plahn's Bakery! They had wonderful goodies. It was always a special treat to go.