Margaret Cruz wanted to send out invitations to her parents' anniversary celebration, but ran into a unique problem. "I called Hallmark, but they didn't have anything" for people who have been married 75 years.
The 74-year-old Mar Vista resident then went to a local shop, asking, "If gold is the 50th anniversary, then what is the 75th?"
"How about a Cadillac?" the merchant suggested.
Her parents, Joseph Lamorie, 98, and Arcadia Talamantes Lamorie, 94, both have roots sunk deep in Los Angeles. The Talamantes family has been in Los Angeles since the late 18th Century and, in 1839, was granted Rancho La Ballona, an area encompassing what is now Culver City, Palms, Rancho Park, Cheviot Hills and parts of West Los Angeles, Venice and Marina del Rey.
The Lamories are descendants of Fernando Sepulveda, the son of a Mexican land-grant holder who was killed fighting against U.S. forces led by John C. Fremont in 1847.
Joseph Lamorie said he completed the third grade, "Then the old man told me I had to go to work." He took his first job in 1899, herding 300 pigs across the hills and flatlands of Hollywood for $8 a month. He later played professional baseball for the Hollywood Stars in the early days of the Pacific Coast League, batting against legendary pitchers Walter Johnson and Satchel Paige in exhibition games.
Arcadia Talamantes Lamorie was not immediately taken by her 22-year-old suitor, who by that time was making $2.25 a day driving a horse-drawn cart for Hollywood Lumber Co. "I was stuck up," she said. Nevertheless, after a three-month chaperoned courtship in 1910, the pair were married.
Asked whether it seemed like she had been married 75 years, Arcadia Talamantes Lamorie glanced at her husband and said, "No. He's been a good boy."
A Yurpie Newsletter
If BMW dealerships, tanning parlors and sushi bars start popping up in dusty backwater towns across America, blame Bill Seavey.
His mission is to convert dissatisfied yuppies into blissful yurpies --young urban relocated professionals. Seavey, a Pasadena native now living in Bend, Oregon, has begun publishing a newsletter, the Greener Pastures Gazette, providing practical information on how to find the off-ramp from life's fast lane.
Although the circulation of the newsletter he began in January is only 300, Seavey previously published a relocation catalogue that sold 5,000 copies.
His experiences while living in Long Beach between 1978 and 1981 convinced him to adopt the yurpie life style. His van was vandalized--while sitting in the garage. Someone exposed himself as Seavey was cutting his front lawn.
"I got tired of freeways and smog and was never really comfortable with the pace," he said.
He is quick to add that yurpies are not simply burned-out yuppies. "A lot of them are ambitious professional people," he said. "They just don't want to do it in the city."
At 100, Bertha Knowles uses a wheelchair. Not for herself, mind you, but for the developmentally disabled young adults she takes care of as the nation's oldest Foster Grandparent.
"I think it's the best thing that ever happened to me," said Knowles, who walks between 2 and 5 miles a day and requests wheelchair patients because some of the ambulatory patients do not walk fast enough for her. "It keeps me from just sitting at home watching TV."
The federally funded Foster Grandparent Program employs 1,400 low-income senior citizens at eight state hospitals throughout the state and with the California Youth Authority. Knowles works at the Stockton State Hospital and Developmental Center.
The Stockton resident was hired a decade ago when she was a sprightly 90. She works 19 1/2 hours a week, spending mornings taking care of Linda and afternoons tending to Brenda. Both of the developmentally disabled young women are 22.
Although Linda is blind and both are unable to speak, Knowles is able to bring some pleasure into their lives. "They like music," Knowles said. She entertains them, takes them outside in their wheelchairs if it is a nice day and feeds them.
Knowles said she shows affection for each of the women by rubbing her hands over their face and hair. "They like attention," she said. "They want to know that you are there."
Orlando to L.A. by Bike
When Richard Sidgwick rolled into town recently after a three-month bicycle ride from Orlando, Fla., none of his friends dared say that he was crazy to do it.
In 1980, Sidgwick suffered anxiety attacks, mood swings, crying jags and uncontrollable shaking and sweating. A nervous breakdown caused him to quit his job teaching music to 11th- and 12th-grade students in Broadbottom, England, and enroll in a nearby psychiatric center.
Five months later, he was not only cured, but had landed a better job as well--teaching music at a college. "It was more of a nervous breakthrough," Sidgwick, now 32, said.
After 3 1/2 years, he decided to quit his college teaching job and become a role model for people with mental-health problems and a positive example to others. He wanted to take the stigma out of mental illness.
"I wanted to do something international," he said, his mood obviously upbeat. His transcontinental bicycle ride was only the first leg of his journey. On Sept. 16, he will return to Britain, where he will ride from London to Preston, in Lancashire County.
Sidgwick believes that the main problem faced by people who have had a mental illness is getting a chance to demonstrate that they are well. "People tend to be frightened of things they don't understand," he said. "It's not like a cast on a broken leg."