Christmas in Los Angeles 1946 | via Vintage Los Angeles on Facebook
I never tell anybody how much I love L.A. That is — the vintage Los Angeles. I remember.
I was born there in 1967 and lived there until July 1974. Over the last 35 years I’ve returned about a dozen times.
During my first return visits during the late 70s, I was amazed by the familiarity of it all. I was still a kid, maybe eight, then 10, then 12. I was oddly comforted by the lemon and avocado trees, stucco houses, cinder block walls and bougainvillea. I did not know I had memories of Southern California stored on the hard drive of my brain. Those first trips were important exercises in memory retrieval.
Alison Martino is helping a lot of people retrieve memories of Vintage Los Angeles. A Gen Xer born in L.A. in 1970, she’s spent 20 years gathering artifacts and photographs of the city. In 2010, she started a Facebook page to celebrate its golden era and to discuss her favorite subject: “things that aren’t here anymore.” Today, the page has more than 53,000 fans.
Martino is so perfect for what she calls a labor of love. Her father is the late Al Martino who played Johnny Fontane in the Godfather. Growing up she had the opportunity to experience a lot of wonderful things in L.A. It sounds like her Facebook success might lead to a TV show about Vintage L.A. as well as a line of merchandise.
Santa’s Village | 1965 | Lost Angeles, California | Source: Vintage Los Angeles on Facebook
Is there a Facebook page featuring vintage photos of your hometown? If not, maybe you should start one. In Oklahoma City, we have Retro Metro OKC, which Steve Lackmeyer, a reporter with The Oklahoman, helped organize. It’s also an impressive nonprofit focused on promoting and sharing the history of Greater Oklahoma City.