Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
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from Echo Park

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Secrets at the echo-spot*

On Avon near Ewing there's a hollow, and in that hollow is a spot. And in that spot, there's an echo. I walked over it hundreds of times, and the little spot kept its secret. But then one day I walked over it while talking to my daughter and heard the echo. That was the magic key. I heard the echo, and now it's a game we sometimes play -- my daughter, Madeleine, and I -- when we're walking the dog. We find the echo spot and speak loudly. We listen to the faint throwback of sound, like a muted bell.

So, it's special place, but we thought it contained only one secret. Then, this past Sunday, our friends Mia Trachinger and her daughter Lotte, came to visit and we walked the dog to Elysian Park together. We forgot about our special echo-location, though, because right there was a display of paintings -- good ones -- in a driveway, and a sign hanging from a tree that read "Driveway Gallery."

I have been walking in front of this driveway since 1999, and I never knew it was a gallery. Not only, but I never knew the inhabitant of the adjacent house was a painter. I learned his name is Bill Rangel. I knew him by sight. Usually because I saw him driving past. But the hundreds of paintings carefully stored in the lower level of his home have been keeping their own silence to a passerby. We talked for a while. I thanked the painter for the earth globe and basketball he and his husband put out on the street and other items that we've picked up and used over the years. And then Madeleine, Lotte, Mia, and I went on our way toward Elysian Park.

We walked longer than we meant to, and it was almost nighttime when we once again passed the special place where there was an echo and a gallery.

The gallery was still installed, like an exhibition in itself -- it was lighted now. But the painter had departed. The following day, of course, it was all gone. But it lingers in the mind.

*Edited post: Updates the artist's name.

More by Jenny Burman:
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Secrets at the echo-spot*
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