Pomona Beach

Vertumnus is the patron of gardens and fruit trees. He has the power to change himself into various forms, and used this to gain the favor of the goddess Pomona.  He turned himself into an old woman and proceed to offer Pomona advice on who she should marry.   Pomona is an interesting goddess because she centers on the flourishing of fruit trees rather than the harvest.  Sort of the romance before the feast, if you will pardon my own interpretation.   What also makes her a unique Roman Goddess is that there is no Greek counter part.  She is normally depicted as a young maiden carrying a cornucopia of fruit in one arm and a knife in the other.  It is this image that I remember growing up in Pomona, California.

My mother (yes it always goes back our mothers some how) had a statue of Pomona on our family room mantle that looked very much like the one depicted above.   It was given to her for volunteer work she had done for the human rights commission.  Now remember, this was the sixties, human rights commission at that time focused on discrimination of blacks, not gays.   Anyways,  where was I going with this, oh yes the knife, no not really, although  a strong image of my mother coring an apple did just come mind.

So here it is…. I am a fruit from Pomona.   Bet you didn’t see that coming.  Also, my life was not unlike the goddess.  There was lust, trickery, fruit….  Okay so it was nothing like the goddess.  My mother sent me to a shrink because she found out I was having sex with a man.  He went to prison for arson.  Imagine being 20 years old and having to explain to your mother why your “friend” is on the front page of the local paper.   Incidentally, I still have that newspaper.  But that is a long story that will not be told here.  Mainly, because it is an unfinished novel I have been trying to write for 30 years.

Anyway, my mother did great work for the commission focusing on fair housing.  They setup a sting in which a black family attempts to rent a house and then a white family.  This was back in the days of redlining.  Realtors and landlords were involved in keep “them” out to our neighborhoods.   The commission’s job was to catch the landlord in the act and make them pay a fine.  It all seems a little odd today.  People are desperate to find any buyer or renter in this market.  Interesting side note here.  There was a gay black man on the commission that my dad accused my mother of having an affair with because they went out to lunch together.  I think my dad was joking but I know he was clueless that the guy was gay.

(P.S.  The photo of the statue is missing the lower part because I could not bear to see that wicked knife.  Also we laughingly refered to our city as Pomona Beach because if their big earth quake ever came L.A. would drop into the ocean and we would all have beach front property.)

2 Responses to “Pomona Beach”

  1. Your Mother’s job sounds interesting. Or was interesting. Anyway, I’m glad to learn more about you.
    Your friend, m.

  2. Ponoma is also the name of a winery in Southern Illinois – the apple wine is particularly good.

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