May 3, 2024 admin No comments exist

Guard Hall

After our introduction we started to date but it was not long before the new romance blossomed and Guard moved into my Camrose cottage soon after. I was captivated by his stories about the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Viking Mission to Mars he worked on as an aerospace engineer. Following the earlier Pioneer program, the Viking program consisted of two identical space probes; Viking 1 and Viking 2, launched in 1975 riding atop Titan IIIE rockets with Centaur upper stages. They entered Mars orbit in 1976 to return images used for choosing the landing sites after which the orbiters and landers detached. The landers entered the Martian atmosphere and soft landed at the chosen sites; “Chryse Planitia” and “Utopia Planitia” deploying scientific instruments on the surface. The orbiters continued imaging and conducting other scientific operations. Many amazing images resulted, one of which displayed the controversial Cydonia “Face on Mars” but contrary to the theory of astronomer Percival Lowell, maintained for years, there clearly were no canals dug by Martians on the planet Mars. Biological experiments showed definitively that there is no evidence for life on the red planet.


I awakened to the heavenly fragrance of gardenias…coming home after his night shift Guard had plucked a flower from the grounds at JPL and held it under my nose, a wonderful way to start a new day. We had moved into a Japanese style house on Mount Washington belonging to one of his colleagues. Built in a U shape around an inner courtyard it was surrounded by giant bamboo and to my delight it also had a built-in easel facing a 12 feet tall window with northern light! Since Guard worked a rotating shift I had all the time in the world to paint more than ever and with renewed energy and inspiration I had one of the most productive periods in my life. During the “Open House” at the Von Karman auditorium at JPL I got to see prototypes of various spacecraft and Guard also showed me the space where the banks of engineers including himself performed their tasks. It was all very interesting!

Shiva-&-Self-with-doxiesNobody can avoid pain nor sadness and during this time I found my beloved 15 year old longhaired dachshund Amiga lifeless in her basket one morning…we buried her under a pine tree in the front yard wrapped in a rainbow blanket…Her offspring Bambina was still with me though which was a small (she was very tiny) consolation. By 1977 because Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune were aligned in a way enabling the “gravity assist’ technique (that happens once every 175 years), the Voyager spacecraft 1 & 2 were launched and completed highly successful fly-through encounters of the Jovian system leaving the world with astounding photographs of the outer planets and their moons over the following years.

Fantasy Art Outer-PlanetsGuard’s parents were progressives, his father Kenneth Hall worked in a pharmacy and was a hydroponic gardener, his mother Marjorie was Aldous Huxley’s widow Laura Archera’s assistant and we often spent time at her house in the hills above the Hollywood sign to swim and have lunch. Laura had adopted the nine year orphaned granddaughter of her best lady friend after she had passed away and little Karen spent a lot of time with us over the years.

AbundanceGuard was also a keen gardener and we always kept an organic vegetable plot. He was raised as a vegetarian and by choice I had not eaten meat or fowl since I was 4 years old. This was an aspect of our relationship I much appreciated. I delved into books on organic gardening with gusto, learned a lot about horticulture and enjoyed it as much as he did. It was hard work but great exercise and I loved to see the work rewarded with the sprouting of luscious beauty that tasted good too. As a minister in the Universal Life Church Guard’s dad married us at his parents Pasadena home in 1980. It was a simple ceremony and only Guard’s brother Brian and sister Dawn were present as the witnesses. We celebrated with champagne and an almond cake his mother had baked.

IrisesAround this time my investment banker friend Charles Brent introduced me to Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley’s wife Ethel at their mayoral residence; “the Getty House” in Brentwood Park. When the Mayor arrived home I was honored when he warmly shook my hand before disappearing to take care of more important matters. Ethel Bradley proudly showed me the residence and walk-in closets with her collection of fancy gowns and accessories and while we had tea looked at my portfolio of paintings. She fell in love with my work and offered to patronize an upcoming show scheduled that year at the gorgeous Spanish style home of my friends Naomi Jones (a model on the “Let’s make a Deal” TV show) and her husband, actor Val de Vargas at the foot of Laurel Canyon.

Ethel-Bradley&-MarijkeI busied myself preparing for the big day in the summer of 1982. Mrs. Bradley arrived in a limousine accompanied by two secret service agents. Naomi’s cute little girl Vanessa presented her with a pretty small flower basket while the hostess seated her at the place of honor. Many interested parties and friends showed up and it was a huge success. Even my favorite foster brother (my first art mentor) Evert van de Pol came all the way from Amsterdam, which brought me to tears…I was thrilled he spent a week with us and we visited most of the Los Angeles museums to satisfy his love of art.

Evert-&-Marijke--at-Getty-MuseumOne of the museums we visited was the South-West Museum of Indigent Art, in Highland Park where we admired many incredible artifacts of numerous American Indian tribes. The visit inspired me to paint two large canvases; “Hopi Kachinas” and “Ishi, the last of his tribe”. My old friend Ray Schmidt knew the director of the museum, Dr. Carl S. Dentzel and when he saw the two canvases he offered to give them a permanent place in the museum’s archive which I gratefully accepted. It was a huge compliment.

Ishi,-Hopi-kachinasAfter 4 years the owner of the house we rented wanted to sell it so we moved to Zorthian’s Ranch. Nestled in the foothills of Altadena. The 27 acre ranch was acquired as a 90 year lease from the BLM by Armenian Genocide survivor artist Jyrair Zorthian, a crusty old character. We rented a cute one bedroom cottage and a very large studio above the barn from him. There were about a dozen boarded horses in their paddocks and I soon obtained one of the horses, a gorgeous 9 year old grey Arabian gelding called Captain from my new friend Serena who lived in another house on the property with her friends. I became longtime friends with Serena and her mother Anne Grindley. It started a whole new episode of my life wherein I would own and live with quite a few horses.

Marijke-&-CaptainI took hunt seat/jumping lessons down the road at the Eaton Canyon Equestrian Center from trainer Roxanne Tallman and made a lot of new friends. Patricia Jones whom I rode trails with commissioned murals from me at her home. When she and her husband Sam invited me to a dinner held in honor of the Chief of Police of Pasadena I was seated next to Judge Gilbert Alston of the Pasadena Supreme Court. The judge and I got along great and he was so interested in my art that he invited me to exhibit several very large canvases in his courtroom! This was very exciting but when we transported them they did not fit inside the elevator so we had to put them on top of the ceiling of the elevator and precariously ride up to the second floor that way. They were displayed on the courtroom walls for all to see for the next 6 months.

Judge-Alston's-courtroomThrough our friend Richard Jones, a gemologist I had known since my London days and who was a dog walker at the Laguna animal shelter, Guard and I had adopted an abandoned 10 year old Great Dane called Chesterfield. Ches loved our miniature Dachshund but all things must pass and little Bambina soon passed away at 15 years old. We laid her to rest under a walnut tree by the vegetable garden. After several years Zorthian had other plans for the place we rented and we had to find new digs.

Marijke-Chesterfield-&-BambinaLuckily Anne Grindley knew just the place for us; her neighbor in Mission Hills in the San Fernando Valley owned a one acre horse property with a nice house for rent so we could bring Captain with us. The landlady Melvia Dunham was happy to have us in what used to be her mother’s house and the garden had many unusual trees and flowers that had originally been planted by a horticulturist. Feral green parrots would fly overhead and nestle in the trees, the place had a wonderful ambience and Captain was happy with his space and horse friends belonging to Anne that he could communicate with over the fence.

Denzel-Patches-Captain-Anne-&-MarijkeAfter Chesterfield passed away three years later we soon bought another longhaired Dachshund puppy that we named Denzel Cruickshank because his tail had a little crook in it. We also adopted another Great Dane from the shelter, a bitch called Patches who had been abused as a breeder. Of course we always had two or three cats around as well. During all this time besides creating easel paintings, which were much harder to sell, I contracted enough commissions for murals in people’s homes and commercial buildings to financially contribute to the household. I had met two ladies, Judy and Cheryl who successfully designed interiors in Pasadena and San Marino who acted as my agents, which worked out quite well for a while.

Interior decorsWe had a good and happy life, taking trips to Yosemite and Catalina and entertaining old and new friends. When Captain contracted chronic laminitis after getting into a bag of molasses and could not be ridden any longer we bought an older off the track thoroughbred mare called Cherie. She was a good girl, a chestnut, bright as a penny, easy under saddle and Captain liked her too. Pretty soon Guard wanted a horse as well and we found him a handsome, big, very dark bay quarter horse, sturdy and well trained, called Black Jack. It was more fun to ride out together…This was the kind of life I passionately embraced. I loved the constant closeness with the horses and taking care of them in all ways. Mucking the stalls was my meditation time.

Cherie Marijke Linda & BlackjackBy 1988, because Guard was able to easily get a mortgage through a G.I. loan and we had saved some money, we decided to buy our own small ranch. We looked at many places and found a cool two acre place in Mira Loma, Riverside that we called Blue Bird ranch. Pat Jones was always happy to help transport the horses in her trailer and we soon enjoyed a whole new environment. It had an old fashion two bedroom clapboard farmhouse with a large barn, three horse stalls and a huge arena. The shallow lovely Santa Ana River was nearby with endless trails. An old friend of mine, Linda Dalton, lived nearby in Lytle Creek and we happily spent a lot of time together.

The Phoenix, Lady Godiva

I had excellent light in the large living room and continued to paint easel paintings but we were quite isolated and I was not able to sell anything so I took a part time job at the Natural History Museum in nearby Jurupa creating installations and dioramas and learning a lot about evolution, natural history, paleontology and geology, all of which continues to fascinate me to this day.

Stabled HorsesDuring the summer of 1992 Guard told me the Jet Propulsion Laboratory instructed him to work in the Mojave desert’s Northrop Grumman’s Stargazer operation for several weeks at a time, on and off. I was used to the rotating work shifts so I thought nothing of this new development, but life is full of surprises…

Guard & Marijke By the end of the year everything fell apart…the Rodney King riots were raging on television while I found out that Guard had given his heart to another woman. There was an often repeated telephone number on the bill and when I called to find out whose it was a woman’s voice on the answering machine informed me: “Hi, this is Guard and Teresa, we are not in, please leave a message”. I was dumb struk, the floor fell away beneath my feet… When I confronted Guard he begged me not to call the number, she didn’t know he was married! The Stargazer job was a lie, he was living a double life. And who am I to deny anyone their freedom?

Blue Planet, Temple Bridge, Poseidon After 14 years my wonderful husband turned out to be a two faced Janus and the Blue Bird of happiness flew away… Guard stopped paying the mortgage and I needed a new place to live with 3 horses, two dogs and three cats. Guard made me sell Black Jack and I rented a house in Altadena to move into. This was not horse property but my good friend Anne Grindley came to the rescue once again. She allowed me to board the two remaining horses at her Mission Hills ranch and helped me get my life back together.

Last of the Centaur RocketsAfter the eventual divorce I never saw Guard again but in August of 2022, his brother Brian called to inform me that he had passed away…

Guard & Brian

To be continued….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *