Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, August 4, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:3


Mountain View News Saturday, August 4, 2018 

WALKING SIERRA MADRE... The Social Side By Deanne Davis

“Lew Watanabe must hold an image of beauty within 
him. He came into our garden and transformed the 
landscape. Lew found an old stone in the yard and 
upended it to make it art. Then he made the stone a 
fountain where hummingbirds come to bathe. Lew 
highlighted the on-going life of the garden with an 
array of Japanese maples which lose their leaves in 
fall to return with green shoots in spring. Other 
plants he organized in a way that invited a sense of 
peace. Lew brought to our garden the mystery of 
art and with his touch an inscrutable essence of the 
inscrutable East. We are deeply appreciative.” Jack 
& Maude Ann Taylor

 “It was remarkable how Lew constructed the 
garden with its dry river bed, granite water basin 
fed by a bamboo pipe, varied oriental trees, plants 
and grasses with a traditional Japanese gate; all 
without a visible plan as the painting artist would 
create their image without an outline. Lew is truly 
a remarkable creative artist.” Dr. & Mrs. Robert P. 

 So, a couple of weeks ago I found myself having 
this strange thing going on with my left hand. 
No, I wasn’t having a heart attack. It kind of went 
numb but when shaken vigorously, would return 
to business as usual. As I like to hold my Kindle 
book in that hand, it was a little annoying. Taking 
myself down to see our own Dr. John Talevich 
at his Life Works! Chiropractic Center right 
there on South Baldwin just a few steps north of 
the Post Office, I had hopes that he could fix me 
immediately as he has done in the past. I was a 
few minutes early and had to fill out a form - have 
you ever noticed that no matter how long you’ve 
been going to somebody, they always have a new 
form for you to fill out. Anyway, while filling out 
my form I noticed this really nifty coffee table type 
book entitled, “Lew Watanabe...Master of Stone 
and Light.” I promptly stopped filling out my form 
and started leafing through this really terrific book 
about Sierra Madre’s dear friend, Lew Watanabe, 
who is now walking around heaven, no longer 
wheelchair bound, building beautiful fountains 
there. This book, dated 2005, by Kathy Childs 
with Del Weston, is filled with photos of much of 
Lew’s work, and comments by the folks fortunate 
enough to have their very own piece of his work. 
After seeing Dr. T – yes, he made me feel better 
– I went right home and ordered the book from 
Amazon. The copy that arrived for me was actually 
signed by Lew! Looking at these pictures reveals 
what Lew’s particular gift was: the ability to create 
an environment of peace, serenity and tranquility. 

 “Lew took the use of stone to a new level by 
incorporating the stone into the garden and having 
it weep by plumbing the water up through the 
stone, creating a soft overflow of water over the 
piece causing it to sparkle and shine as the water 
moves over the surface.” Stepping stones, ponds, 
Japanese maples, Koi, water plants all add to the 
feeling of peace and serenity

 The work Lew did at our own Sierra Madre 
School, rebuilding the environment there after 
years of vandalism and decay was simply awesome. 
The Goodwill Garden was discovered by students, 
buried under rubble. If you don’t know, here’s the 
story...In the early 1930s, when a new elementary 
school was built at Highland Avenue and Auburn 
Street, the parents in the sizeable Japanese 
community of Sierra Madre created a Japanese 
Garden to thank the city for welcoming their 
children. During World War II the garden was 
covered over with dirt and converted to a Victory 
Garden. In the 1990s because of the curiosity of 
students, and through the guidance of faculty, 
and the talents and generosity of the Japanese 
community, the garden was restored by Lew 
Watanabe. The picture is of Lew with friends when 
the new garden was finished.

 We are also blessed here in town with The 
Weeping Wall in Memorial Park honoring veterans 
of our community. I sat on the bench there and 
enjoyed the peace during the July 3rd pre-parade 
party in the park. There’s something about that 
water flowing over the stone that just calms the 

 I guess I just wanted to take a minute to 
remember a splendid person with a gift for beauty, 
peace and harmony who lived among us for a time 
and left beauty that will last forever. 

 My book page: Deanne Davis 

Kindle books of all sorts and hardcover “Tablespoon 
of Love” are on there, as is “Star of Wonder.”

 Star of Wonder the CD is now on TuneCore! 
Take a look!


 Follow me on Twitter, too!

KATIE Tse ...........This and That



I hope you’re enjoying the end 
of July and staying cool! I’m 
using the heat as an excuse 
to recycle this lightly used article I wrote several 
years ago. Enjoy, especially is you’re one of the 
lucky ones blessed with natural organizational 
abilities. Organization has never come naturally to 
me. As a child, I remember somewhat helplessly 
stuffing school papers into my desk or backpack. 
My parents would question my “filing system” as 
I retrieved months-old crumpled papers. “Hey,” 
I’d say, “I didn’t loose them!” I grew up with the 
adage, “A place for everything and everything in its 
place.” The only problem was that I kept changing 
the places for things, and then forget where those 
places where.

 You’d think that surviving through higher 
education would instill great organizational skills in 
me. Nope! I don’t think my problem is that I can’t 
categorize things, it is more that some things can 
fit into several 
Every so often 
I feel compelled 
to devote 
serious time 
to organizing 
my things. 
However, after 
half an hour 
of shuffling 
through papers, 
I’m no farther 
along than I 
was when I 
started. It’s at 
this point that 
I sigh and stuff 
everything back 
where I had it 
(hoping that I’d 
remember its 
location if I ever 
needed to!). 
Often “where I 
had it” is either 
an overflowing 
filing cabinet, 
or in the case of my work, a burgeoning supply 

 I refer to this storage space as “the closet of 
doom.” On my own behalf, I wasn’t totally at fault 
because it was already stuffed beyond capacity 
when I inherited my job from my predecessor. 
Public schools aren’t the sort of place where people 
pack all their belongings into a tidy little box when 
they leave. (Some do, bless their hearts!) More 
likely, though, is that they leave all their stuff for 
the next person. Of course I was extremely grateful 
for the surplus of supplies available to me when I 
first started out. However, even then it was hard 
walking into another person’s organization system 
and trying to make sense of it. There were many 
things I never used, but felt unable to toss, since I 
figured that they were indirectly bought with tax 
payer dollars. And since the lady before me found 
them useful, who was I to get rid of them? These 
were inevitably stuffed into the closet of doom.

 The door-less closet of doom stayed dormant 
for years. Occasionally its contents would pile up 
around the entrance, creating a potential avalanche 
and fire hazard. I shuddered every time I put 
anything in there. One year, I actually asked my 
mom to sew a curtain to hide the mess, which she 
did (thanks, Mom!). Who knows how long this 
closet could have kept growing if not for a recent 
request from my then new principal!

 My old principal retired recently, and we now 
have a new commander in chief. He’s been very 
sweet. However, it’s always prudent to please your 
boss --especially during the “first impressions” 

 Last week, he casually informed me that a new 
teacher would need to store some boxes in my 
office, and asked if I could please make room for 
say --forty banker boxes. Whoa! I can barely hide 
my own junk! (But that’s not a great admission 
to make.) “Sure.” I emailed him, “Send the boxes 

 Let me tell you, I’ve never embodied the phrase, 
“bust and move” until now! Not only did I clear away 
my own junk, but I excavated specimens from the 
90’s, 80’s, and (yes) 70’s! It was like an archaeological 
dig, without the sexiness of Indiana Jones. At last I 
saw something 
I’d never before 
laid eyes upon 
--the back wall 
of my supply 
closet. I doubt 
it’s seen the light 
of day in thirty 
years. There 
were some 
things I wanted 
to save. So I 
heaped them 
in the middle 
of my office 
until I found 
a permanent 
home for them. 
To anyone 
walking by, it 
looked like I 
had a pile of 
rubble in my 

I wanted to 
“share the 
moment” with 
someone, but admitting my poor organization to 
my coworkers would’ve killed the joy I felt. (I’m 
sure they’ve suspected it all this time, but confession 
would only confirms their suspicions.)

 Finally ready, I called the custodian (who doubled 
as the best tech-support for my campus, but that’s 
another story) to start loading up my closet with 
my new co-worker’s things. He stopped in his 
tracks at the sight of my empty closet and breathed, 
“Whoa....” I was proud.

 “You know, though,” he said, “The board is 
visiting this week, so we won’t be able to load the 
boxes until next week, or maybe the week after.” I 
was still smiling like an idiot when he clarified the 
situation for me, “You’ll need to move all this stuff 
back. By tomorrow.” 

 Even though some of my co-workers witnessed 
the junk heap in my office, I didn’t mind. Even 
though the custodian/tech genius probably thought 
I was too quick to jump the gun, I still didn’t mind. 
I saw the back wall of my closet, which I know I 
would’ve never seen if all this hadn’t taken place. 
If for no other reason, I’m glad it gave me the 
impetus to actually CLEAN my closet. Who knows 
how many decades it would’ve sat untouched 

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