Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Melancholy Day in Beverly Hills

Will Rogers Memorial Park, Beverly Hills

I hadn't been to this beautiful Beverly Hills park since one of my art classes met here to paint on site in the late 1980's.  It is one of the most lovely parks in the City, right across the street from the historic Beverly Hills HotelThe park, originally known as Sunset Park, opened in 1915 and was the city's first municipal park. A few years later in 1926, celebrity, Will Rogers was appointed the first "Honorary Mayor" of Beverly Hills.  As a tribute to Rogers' commitment to the city, Beverly Hills renamed the park, 'Will Rogers Memorial Park', in 1952. 
1937.  Security Pacific National Bank Photo Collection

On Sunday we met with old friends at Will Rogers Memorial Park.  The event was called, "Sunday in the Park with Joel."  There are many photos and videos on this Facebook site of the event.  Long-time Beverly High music and choral director, Joel Pressman has been diagnosed with cancer.  He's been fighting the disease for a couple of years.  In June Joel retired from his teaching post of 38 years at Beverly.  Joel attended Beverly Hills schools and his family has been a fixture in the community for decades.  
Joel's sense of humor is intact

The gathering on Sunday was a way to say hello and goodbye to our friend.  The bonus was being able to re-connect with so many old friends from Beverly High and from Idyllwild.  Joel is a brave, upbeat guy, he was in rare form on Sunday, even conducting an impromptu song with decades of madrigals and minnesingers present.  He's planning a trip to Hawaii in the next few weeks!  Our best wishes to Joel and his family during this time.
Best friend, Buzz Holmes, hugs Joel
Buzz, interviewed by Phil Savenick and Lawrence Cohen for Beverly Hills Centennial Video Project
 above photos at BH Park by Larry Underhill, unless otherwise stated

It was great catching up with old friends at the Park, especially Julie and Buzz Holmes.  They live in Idyllwild, so we don't get to see them often.  Joel, Buzz, Julie and I, among others, were counselors at Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts waaaaay back in the 60's and 70's.  We've had a few reunions, but they are few and far between.  Buzz is the music conductor and artistic director of the Idyllwild Master Chorale and Julie is an accomplished cellist who performs throughout the region. 
Since they don't get to the Westside of L.A. too often, we took this chance to introduce them to our preferred deli, The Nosh in Beverly Hills, after the park gathering. 
 There is no lox in Idyllwild!
Ridiculous Matzoh Ball Soup, The Nosh.
Julie and Buzz, Beverly Hills, 2013
Julie and Buzz in Idyllwild, 1971.
Joel in Idyllwild, 1972

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