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Truth, Harmony, and Vanished Laundromats

For the second summer in a row, we’ve juggled three workers and two cars.  It’s a useful exercise in family cooperation and balancing competing needs. I take the bike to Long Beach Airport on the days I work at Angel City Flyers, and on Wednesdays, I ride up to North Long Beach to keep a hospice patient company so his daughter can get out for a bit of respite.

North Long Beach isn’t home to too many old ladies on bikes, so the patient’s daughter—I’ll call her Janine—always laughs when I ride up.  She laughs again when I clap my helmet on my head to ride home. “I know I look goofy,” I told her, and she laughed once more. She has little to laugh about these days, with her father in the last stages of Alzheimer’s and unresponsive, so I like providing even a small moment of comic relief.

Today I stuck the camera in the backpack to capture a few things that have caught my eye as I’ve ridden up Orange Avenue these last six weeks.

Benny has long since gone on to that great sewing circle in the sky, but his wife, who goes by Mrs. Benny, continues to ply the trade, mending, altering, shortening, and letting out.


Lots of vacant shops in this part of town.  This looks like it was once a Laundromat, judging by the faint penumbra of the octopus.


This Jesus has a bit of the Bhagavad Gita about Him, don’t you think?  Outside a Botanica shop, He surveyed me as I rode by.  Maybe the camera alluded to in the sign is really the eye of God.


In this neighborhood, there are churches galore.  This one looked abandoned.  Maybe everyone who used to attend truly was set free?

Truth of God

I like this inviting door to the library branch, where another kind of worship takes place.

Library Entrance

This tidy, whitewashed American Legion post looks deserted, with never a soul around.

American Legion

This mural’s theme is “Harmony.” One day a couple of weeks ago, the artist was working on it as I rode by.  I’m glad that I had the chance to call out to him that I loved it.

OctopusBeautify Earth

About treacycolbert

I make my living by writing about health care. I've always written about life's chastening effect, but just as a way of sorting it out for myself. After years of doing this and keeping these essays quiet, I decided to put some of these impressions out there on this blog. Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think.

10 responses »

  1. The Jesus and the library door are my favorites. I chuckled at your commentary regarding the Truth of G-d church. Thanks once again for sharing your thoughts in writing, Treacy.

  2. I got excited when I pulled up my email and saw that you had written something. I felt like I was surveying North Long Branch along with you – like on a tandem bike! Thanks for sharing your ride.

  3. I swear my wife is a saint. Maybe even Mother Theresa’s daughter. There aren’t many older women riding a bicycle in the middle of summer past housing projects and abandoned churches along a bicycle un-friendly avenue to attend a hospice patient. And finding the stories along a route most of us would rather not travel.

  4. This is wonderful! I love all these shots… signs fascinate me. I’m a little jealous that you get to ride your bike to work. That’s probably good planning on your part!

  5. p.s. The Harmony murual has to be my favorite, but Bhagavad Jesus is really cool,too. And the Legion Hall. Such simplicity.

    • Thanks, Sally! I’m not quite as good at planning the rides as I need to be. Have to bring clothes to change into and invariably forget something like a comb so I look like Medusa, or some work-related documents. But the pedaling is fun.

      • Ha! I’d like to see you arrive!

        p.s. I am not quite as good as I need to be about planning comments. Murual? Maybe a subconscoius nod to my brother J, who used to call a mural a Muriel. I was never quite sure if he was joking or not.

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