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The first house I owned was in Topanga, CA, choice of my then-wife, Char, who had wanted to live there since she was a child. The house we chose, based on what was available and my income, was a disintegrating repossessed cabin type house, initially built when access was only by horseback, which had been added onto by prior owners; and similarly became a constant maintenance and upgrade task for me. We had to build a footbridge just to get moved in, as the neighbors closed the bridge which former occupants of our home-to-be had used for access; it took me another 4 and a half years to get the bridge upgraded enough to drive across. Lots of adventures there, such as being evacuated several times in fires, and rebuilding after a landslide pushed in the 20 foot wide back side of the house in a major storm. Its front yard largely was the canyon which was 13 feet deep and 40 feet wide and most of the time has a trickle of water running through it, enough so that it had been an Indian campsite long before that; and provided home for a frog chorus much of the year. And at times the canyon would be raging full of water clear up to the top. After we lived there for 6 - 1/2 years, essentially the last half of our marriage together, it had to be sold as-is as part of the divorce settlement. So here are some photos of that residence and experiences there.
A sketch I made while contemplating how to build a bridge to the house sufficient to carry a car's weight. It needed to utilize the remains of the abutments of a former bridge located there, and for construction efficiency would need to utilize the parts of the initial footbridge built so we could move in.
Here is my sketch of my dream bridge for the place, drawn in 1967.
Here are our 1967 Datsun pickup and camper shell, and our 1956 Ford station wagon, parked alongside road before bridge was able to carry a car's weight.
Here Paul trundles across the footbridge, in a wheelbarrow.
Here Bryce is held by his grandmother Ethelyne Cline; the footbridge is also visible in background.
Here is a Christmas photo showing, among other things, myself, Paul, and my mother (Ethelyne Cline) and our Philco television, an interesting design.
Left to right: My dad Milford Cline, Bryce, Char, Paul, JED Cline (me), and Dia, in 1971 photo taken inside our home in Topanga, CA.
Here are Dia, Bryce, Char and Paul.
And Dia, Bryce, myself (J E D Cline) and Paul, same place at house end of bridge.
There had been lots of good times at this home. Here I am with Bryce, who was born shortly after we moved here.
Here is Bryce and Dia.
Much of my attention when at home was on construction principles and practice. Here is my sketch of a simple cheap rainshed as I planned it.
And here is the rainshed as built. It rained a lot at the location, and things left outside needed to be waterproof or sheltered.
Detailed planning as I worked toward getting the footbridge site made strong enough to drive across. Per local regulations I had to build it myself, not easy.
4 - 1/2 years later I had finally driven my little Datsun light pickup truck across to the house side as seen in this photo.
Here is a photo of me and my Dodge station wagon on center of the bridge I built. It was taken with our polaroid camera, and the original photos have not been found to scan yet, but this one was from the Polaroid negative peel-off which I had fortuitously coated and saved, and right now is the surviving photo of that era. I used software to reverse the image to be normal view. The inverted-kingpost design can be seen here, the half-inch cables under tension supporting the four jackposts in bridge center, made a very solid feeling bridge with 26 foot clear center span. The many years of reading library books about bridge design and construction around the world, and into basic materials concepts and construction principles, eventually blended with my space intersts to later express as my Mooncable concept and KESTS to GEO concepts among others.
And about the last photo I have of the bridge while it still belonged to me, as a friendly JPL co-worker's old caddy was being used to haul out a heavy power generator I had bought surplus but never used, and now gave him, the house being almost sold. Note the use of the rebar skeleton of the former rainshed being used here as security for the sides for walking across the bridge.
As my wife was an excellent organist, so my providing an organ for practice was part of things. A big Wurlitzer dual keyboard is in back; and the refurbished Beethoven Pump Organ in front.
After the wife left and took the wurlitzer organ with her, I was left with the pump organ, shown here. A related photostory in 2003 can be found here: BeethovenPumporganrestore which also relates to photo below.
Here Bryce and Dia by the pump organ, when they were visiting me as a "weekend daddy" prior to the sale of the house. Dia now owns the pump organ.
Here I am with Dia, posing in front of the reinforced wall built after the landslide which included bookshelves built out of the hand-sawn redwood planks I found inside the original wall. The oil heater can also be seen here. This would have been last half of 1972 as I started smoking a pipe again, after the wife left; probably a "weekend daddy" photo.
I made a journey back to the place in April 2002, taking me along the PCH Pacific Coast Highway, which had been part of my work commute for many years long ago.
Old Topanga Canyon road still looked much as it had when I lived here, as I approached the former home.
Subsequent owners had put up a strange fence alongside the canyon in front of the house location, visible here
As I drive past the driveway, part of the bridge entranceway can be seen along with the house. These photos were taken with my first digital camera, a little OS YCam, which was slow as can be especially seen by the odd motion changes in the photos here and in one below.
A backward glance.
An Escalator Hi page titled 905OTCR by J E D Cline started on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 8:32:17 PM US/Pacific
Copyright © 2008 James E. D. Cline. Permission granted to reproduce providing inclusion of a link back to this site and acknowledgment of the author and concept designer James E. D. Cline.