Sunday, August 18, 2013

FIRST WEEK in LA



To family and friends,

Max and Mary are here in sunny Los Angeles. The weather has been beautiful. Not too hot. Our apartment is small, but cozy. We live within a few minutes walk of the Family Search Center where we spend our days: helping patrons, attending classes, and learning what is expected of us.  There are 4 full-time couple missionaries (including us) and 3 single sisters, along with some church service missionaries. The temple has been closed for cleaning and will reopen this Tuesday, so we will get a lot more patrons then.  There are also missionaries serving in the Visitor's Center, in Public Affairs, and as Ordinance Workers in the temple.  One of the couples serving in the Visitor's Center is Donna Jensen and her husband who used to live in the 37th Ward.  We learned today while talking to one of the missionaries serving in Public Affairs that part of their job is to work with foreign consulates located in LA to secure visas for missionaries.
Visitors' Center from the back. This building also houses Public Affairs, the Mission Office, and the FHL.

LA Temple from the back
We live in the housing provided for temple patrons and missionaries.  We have a walk-in closet for only one person at a time, so we have to take turns.  It also is the hallway to the bathroom.  There is a kitchen and a small balcony where I'm going to grow herbs and other plants.  We bought a small table for our computer, but we don't have any room for a TV.  Today we are going to have the senior sister missionaries from upstairs come to dinner, so they will have to bring a chair.  Our bed is in the living room.  At night it is very light, even with the curtains closed, because there are security lights.  We love the cool breeze that comes in through the windows and balcony door.

Our new parson's table for a computer desk
Our sleeping area











Mary in the kitchen

Our sofa with an Afghan made for us by one of the missionaries.










One evening we walked two miles round trip to Ralph's which is associated with Smith's and uses their rewards card.  It is a good grocery store, and we like to pick up food for dinner from their deli.  Below Ralph's is Target. Parking is at a premium in this city, so you have to get a validation.  If we're getting a week's groceries, we take the car.  But the day we were on foot, we stopped to see a small cemetery which has graves of many celebrities: Eva Gabor, Merv Griffin, Farrah Fawcett, Ray Bradbury, Truman Capote and Marilyn Monroe, to name a few.  Marilyn had a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers on her crypt.  Other of the graves had cute epitaphs.  Peter Falk's said "I'm not home. I'm home with Shera".  Billy Wilder's said "I'm a writer, but then nobody's perfect."  Rodney Dangerfield's said "There goes the neighborhood."  Jack Lemmon's said "In".  Merv Griffin's "I will not be right back after this message." and one other, "Finally under par."

Last night we went to an all Tschaikovsky performance of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in the Hollywood Bowl. It seats 18,000 people.  It was great; they played movements from Romeo & Juliet and Swan Lake and at the end they played the 1812 Overture, along with two visiting Drum & Bugle Corps, with fireworks. The way they park the cars is called "stacked," that is jammed next to each other.  So we had to wait a long time for cars near us to get out first. (Max went exploring the area while we waited and said the barn next to us was the site of the first film made in Hollywood, directed by Cecil B. Demille. Then we saw a real live skunk on the porch and we moved away fast.) We didn't get home until 11:30 and the gates all around this compound were closed and locked.  We had to call Security to let us in.

We attended the Westwood First Ward this morning at 10:20. It is part of the temple complex and has a large softball/soccer field next to the building. It is very close to our place. The people are very friendly. We can attend any ward we want and may decide to go to one of the needy branches in the area.

We send our love to all of you.

Mary and Max