Just another apartment complex in California

Thursday Doors on Friday: The Norma

I guess it’s a thing now: in my universe, Thursday Doors happens on Friday. You know, maybe I could learn to use the handy dandy Word Press post scheduling function . . . or not. Maybe next week.

Anyway, in honor of Norm 2.0, who hosts Thursday Doors, this Friday’s post is about the Norma (and its doors). “The Norma,” built in 1954, was the name of an apartment complex on Madison Avenue. Madison Avenue in Pasadena, that is. I lived there when I was a postdoc at Caltech in the mid-1990s. As you’ll note, the building was pink back then.

Happy Halloween from a woman with a very large pumpkin and a not-very-black cat

I moved into this apartment after a long-term relationship ended. It was the first and only time that I lived by myself with no other humans, just a cat. (I met my now-husband a year or so after this picture was taken, and we moved together to Brooklyn New York after we were first married).

My apartment, a 1-bedroom, had one door to the outside: the one in the picture. It surprises me now, after many years living on the east coast of the US, that there is no screen or storm door on this door, but hey, this was Southern California. My little cat, Zooey, scratched at it to be let out and she made a pretty awful mess of the rug on the other side. She was popular in the complex, though. The neighbors knew her. She sometimes met them in the carport and meowed at them.

Since moving back to CA last year, I haven’t yet been down south to see what’s happened to my old haunts. But these days you don’t have to leave your house to do research like this: we have Google maps! Apparently the building has been repainted and is tan now.


Also, I believe the name used to be written on this side of the facade, facing the street. (My apartment door, as shown in the picture above, would be on the right side of the building, around the corner, in this view). The curlicued white letters have been removed and an awning has been added. Otherwise it’s nice to see that the old Norma has gotten a facelift!

16 thoughts on “Thursday Doors on Friday: The Norma”

  1. What a cool little bit of your history. Doors without storm doors… We’ve been puzzling over that here as we’re considering getting a new door. I guess the all-weather ones really don’t need them. But I like to have my regular door open so I can look out. Hm… Still trying to decided.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I visited my old house – a 140-year old Victorian – when it went back on the market and I was saddened by how they’d closed everything back in to make it look original when we’d worked so hard to open it up. Alas.

    Was your cat named after the J.D. Salinger story? I had a cat named Zoe, which is Greek for “life.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! She was indirectly named for the story “Franny and Zooey.” When I adopted her (from a shelter), she first seemed like a shy wallflower, hiding in the corner, but when I came in she warmed up and came out and was very friendly. At the time that behavior reminded me of a character in the movie, “Strictly Ballroom,” named Franny. I almost named her Franny because of that, but the Salinger story is one of my favorites and somehow Franny led to Zooey.


  3. Going back to an old abode can go either way, that’s for sure. I enjoyed seeing (the outside of) the house I grew up in, but the house we lived in for 27 years after we got married and where our girls grew up, I don’t plan to see again. I don’t want to see what it might look like now. 🙂


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  4. This makes me want to googleearth MY house in Oxnard, CA. Missing my west coast home that was my first away from east coast roots. Thanks for dropping by my site and glad I found yours and this idea to visit my old front door…Happy Friday to you K.L.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! But a warning, sometimes a visit like that is more bittersweet. I stopped by my old house in the Boston area this past spring, and it was a major construction site, complete with porta potty in the driveway. The new owners were totally redoing the kitchen, and that made me a little sad, because I loved our old kitchen. We had redone it ourselves in 2006 and it was a little outside of current fashions. It had very light wood, appliances, and countertops, but that was helpful in an old house that could be a bit dark. Our new kitchen in CA is more current, with dark cherry cabinets, stainless steel appliances and granular stone countertops and I find it kind of institutional. I don’t like it nearly as well as what the buyers of our old house ripped out and threw away. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just saw my old Oxnard house…and it looks very similar with some excellent neighborhood upgrades. The beach is calling me back for a (cold!) dip and a visit to the wonderful restaurants nearby. So far, my visits backward have all been good ones. I’ve yet to go inside, however. Perhaps one day…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We’re going to Oxnard for Thanksgiving. Staying at the Mandalay Beach resort. I stayed there a couple of times when I lived in So Cal back in the 90’s. I loved it. It has apparently become an Embassy Suites now, but seems to be reasonably priced (at least for Oxnard). That area was an underrated gem 20 years ago.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Actually, since you mentioned wonderful restaurants, could you recommend a restaurant in Oxnard that’s open on Thanksgiving? We were planning to just go to the Mandalay Beach buffet, but would be open to something more unique and local. 🙂


      4. I was referring to neighborhood dives that served great dishes! I remember Mandalay being nice…you could go farther north up the coast? I’m too long removed from the area to be a good source for a nice Tgiving meal. Hope you do find a good place.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Cool! And you look like you’ve hardly aged a bit since then. It’s nice to see Norma has been all prettied up.
    I shudder when I look back a pics from my younger days. This takes me back to lots of fond memories of my first apartment.
    Great idea for a Thursday Doors post 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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