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A Local Hardware Store Helps Save a Family Heirloom

This week, we examine the skills of the local Crown City hardware store in North Central Pasadena.

Some of us are sentimentalists, some aren’t.  I’ve heard tell of those who don’t save anything!  When an item has served its purpose – OUT IT GOES!!  Old love letters – Out!  Baby’s first sleeper – GONE!   Little girl’s first doll, boy’s first truck – KAPUT! 

I have admired from afar those people, and been in wonder of their clean houses and ability to unclutter.  When it comes to me? Sentimental as charged!  It was for this reason that I ended up in need of assistance, and found it at Crown City Hardware on Allen Avenue in Pasadena.  Let me explain.

While I am not a hoarder (don’t ask my kids), I do have sentimental attachment to “things”.  There was an interesting thread amongst my friends on Facebook about the subject this week.  Some talked of saving special things for their kids; others saw no reason for it.  Maybe I am the way I am because of my parents…..yeah, let’s blame them!  My Dad used to say that he and my Mom had a special style of interior décor.  Not French Provincial, or Danish Modern, it was “Early Everyone Else’s”. 

I moved away from Ohio and came to California to go to college.  I got married and stayed out here, so it wasn’t easy to get hand me downs from relatives.  I started from scratch with garage sale and thrift store finds.  I loved to spend time poking around for bargains in Old Town Pasadena back before it was hip.

 That changed on a trip back to Ohio.  My Grandma decided to give me a lot of her treasures.  Maybe she knew that it would end up being the last time we would ever see each other. We packed up many things, and with each one; she told me the story behind it.  One of them was a wall lamp that always hung in her kitchen.  All my life, I thought the lamp was either white or off white.   I’ve used a lot of her things, but the lamp stayed tucked away.

 A few years ago, I spotted it and decided to take a closer look. While looking at it, the lamp slipped from my hands and it chipped -- or so I thought.  It actually chipped one of the many coats of paint that my Grandma had painted over it.  In my Grandma’s world, there was nothing you couldn’t cure with a roll of Scotch Tape, a coat of paint or ten!

 Upon examination of the chipped area, I discovered that under the layers of paint was a glazed painted surface.  Over the next few years, I carefully worked on it when I had time, carefully lifting the paint to reveal a beautiful piece of Ohio art pottery!  The base is a lovely green with red strawberries; it has a curved metal piece screwed on to it which holds a deco looking light switch.  However, the switch didn't work, and the cord had to have been circa 1930!

For a few years, I did nothing with the lamp, but after a recent makeover of my bedroom, I decided that my new room needed a bed lamp and immediately thought of my Grandma’s.  I took it to one local hardware store and they were very helpful.  They told me that they could fix it for $15 plus parts, but they would have to replace the light switch and the old deco socket.  Being the sentimentalist that I am, I didn't want to do that.  Then I remembered Crown City Hardware.

In the 35 years that I’ve lived here, I’ve learned of most all of the local salvage and restoration places.  I actually subscribed to “Old House” Magazine!!  I had gone to Crown City Hardware several times for different items over the years. They are celebrating their 90th anniversary this year, and I hoped that they would have just what I needed for my lamp!

 I went in, clutching my precious cargo, and asked the men who worked there if they could help.  The first man I talked to directed me to another one sitting behind the counter.  His name was Jashin Hasbon, and he is wonderful. He really likes fixing lamps.  He understood that I didn’t want to change the light bulb socket and switch, so he fixed the switch and changed out the cord and plug.  The price was less than $10, including parts and labor, and he fixed it while I waited! 

I was thrilled that I could finally use my Grandmother’s lamp!  I made a quick stop by one of my favorite thrift stores (to be reviewed later) and bought the perfect lampshade for $3.  I couldn’t wait to get home and hang it in my newly decorated room! 

It looks great, it works great, and every time I turn it on and off, I think of my wonderful Grandma.  I like having something that she touched so often nearby. Sentamentalist?  Yeah, that's me!  

CROWN CITY HARDWARE

1047 N. Allen Ave.

Pasadena, CA 91104

626-794-1188

Website:  restoration.com

Hours:  7am – 7pm

Leslie Aitken April 23, 2011 at 03:55 PM
My grandma would be very happy!!!
Nina Malone April 23, 2011 at 06:50 PM
I'm the same, I love having pieces of my family, friends, and travels around me rather than new store-bought items. I love being able to have memories ignited, "oh that was made by my grandpa"; "I got that when we went..." etc. Nice article Leslie and you're right, they are the place to go when you can't find just what you want.
Leslie Aitken April 24, 2011 at 06:44 AM
Especially if you have an older house and want to remain true to its original style!
Ron yatteau April 25, 2011 at 12:06 AM
Crown City Hardware seems like a great local hardware store. Support your local hardware store. House Hasson Wholesale Hardware http://www.househasson.com

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