I can’t remember how old I was when my mother told me this story , I am pretty sure I was an adult, but I will never forget it. Every so often she would tell me little bits and pieces about her life growing up in Los Angeles. My mom’s dad died when she was 2. (more about that in this blog post Picture from a funeral) Mom told me that her mother raised her as best she could and my mother idolized her, but when I heard these stories…sometimes I wondered. In this particular story, mom said that in about 1928, when she was about 12, she and her mother lived in an apartment in downtown Los Angeles . In looking at census records, I believe that apartment was at 811 S. Union Ave. I found some pictures in my grandmother’s photo album that show it, and believe it or not, it is still there although it doesn’t look the same.
My mother told me that she had come home from school and was doing her homework at the table when she saw the door knob to the apartment front door begin to turn. Her mother Elma and her girlfriend Amy were in the bathroom at the time. My mom ran to the bathroom and banged on the door and told her mother “Help, someone is trying to get into the apartment” and my grandmother just told her to ” stop imagining things!” Mom said that it was a man out in the hallway and he kept saying “open the door.” My mother was terrified. She told me that her mother did not come out of the bathroom and and she had to sit in the chair and listen to the doorknob go back and forth, until finally, whoever it was went away.
How terrifying for a 12 year old girl!
My mom had many mental problems that I am sure stemmed from the things that happened to her as a child. And I remember this story well because as she told me, I saw her as the terrified girl sitting in the chair in that apartment.