February 12, 2017

Photo Essay: Valentine's Day In A Vintage Victorian

I tried to drag myself out of my apartment around the time last year to visit the Grier-Musser Museum, an unusual collection of nostalgia in a restored Victorian home, but I couldn't manage it.

Even though I was on a roll, having visited for both its Halloween and Christmas open houses. Even though I'm a completionist.

I don't even remember what I did instead.

Fortunately, the Historic-Cultural Monument still stands in Westlake, near Downtown Los Angeles.

And I made it there today, just two days before the onslaught of sweets, hearts, and sweethearts.

To say that Grier-Musser shows you how people celebrated the Feast of Saint Valentine at the turn of the last century is only partially true.

After all, its owner and curator, Susan Tejada, is still collecting as we speak.

But there are plenty of Victorian-style valentines on display throughout the Queen Anne-style home...

...reminding us that Valentine's Day isn't just for couples.

Remember doling out valentines to everyone in your class at school? We gave them to girls, boys, teachers, or anybody we felt some affection for—not just those we liked like that.

I'd like to go back to those days. I could use a good Galentine's Day festivity.

This was my third time at the Grier-Musser Museum, but it's so full of figurines, dolls, and other tchotchkes that I'm constantly discovering new items...

...or forgetting familiar ones I'd evidently already seen.

Sure, I've already heard Susan's spiel about the colors of the walls, the ceiling ornamentation, and the parlors...

...but this place is overstimulation to the max... I could always use some reminders.

Susan puts an incredible amount of care in mounting and switching out each of these displays, which actually rotate every month depending on the season and when certain holidays fall.

The house stays the same, but it appears vastly different when it's festooned with hearts and flowers instead of cobwebs and zombie heads.

It's terribly sweet and sentimental. But I guess sentimentality is one of the luxuries of advanced age.

I find Valentine's Day, like many other holidays, to be needlessly exclusionary. If you're single, you might feel obliged to explain why you don't have a sweetie or aren't one yourself.

You might even be inclined to avoid it altogether.

As for me, if I'm going to successfully avoid regret, I can't hide from much in this world. So, I usually take myself out to a nice, expensive dinner on Valentine's Day. I brave the prix fixe meals and the overpriced champagne and desserts.

I no longer feel compelled to find a companion by the end of the night, if I haven;t started it off with one.

And maybe most importantly, I'm not one to hold back my feelings no matter what the season or holiday. I tell the people I love that I love them—and I do it all the time. (Sometimes I wish I could keep my stupid mouth shut, but that's another story for another day.)

I may not be in love, but that doesn't mean I haven't got any love.

So, to my furry feline love (who's truly the love of my life)... the loves I left back in New York... and the loves I've found in LA... have a happy Valentine's Day.

Who loves ya, baby. (I do.)

Related Posts:
Trinkets and Treats at a Victorian House Museum
Photo Essay: The Spirit of Christmas Kitsch

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