City of Angels (Laura Paterson Memoir)
I don’t know it yet, but we are living now in the mean streets of Los Angeles. When we arrived in the early hours of this morning the only view of the city that we could see was of millions and millions of earthbound stars spilling across the horizon. Appropriately enough for the City of Stars. We briefly glimpsed far below us, through a momentary cleavage in the hills surrounding the 134 freeway, the city lights of Los Angeles, an ocean of lights twinkling below us as if tumbled carelessly onto a jeweler’s cloth, sparkling into the distance as far as our eyes could see. The night sky was an inky jet black and the air was warm and velvety.
We were traveling east past Glendale and heading toward Highland Park, looking for our exit. Our babies had been asleep in their car seats ever since we left Carmel Valley, picking up the I5, the Golden State freeway, east of Salinas and heading south over the Tejon Pass, known forebodingly to Southern California drivers as the treacherous Grapevine. Heavily- laden tractor-trailers screamed past us in the pitch darkness of the late night and early morning hours, bearing to the teeming markets of the Los Angeles basin the abundant produce harvested in the agricultural richness of the Central Valley.
The great Central Valley, known in earlier times as the Golden Empire, provides more than half of the produce grown in the United States. This abundance of agricultural fertility is harvested by itinerant and undocumented migrant workers from Mexico. Harvested by entire families of mothers and grandmothers, children and able-bodied men, bending and stooping and picking the rich abundance of produce throughout the day under the dry remorseless heat of the burning California sun.
These migrant workers are the agents of our sustenance, and their lives are spent in ceaseless labor for the least of recompense. Proximity to their countrymen would be our point of entry for immersion into the culture and economy of the Mexican under-class of Los Angeles, and into an awareness of the social inequalities and injustices which were camouflaged by the intoxicating beauty and luminosity of the southern California landscape. My husband was driving our 1975 chartreuse green Mercury Bobcat Villager station wagon… READ MORE
LAURA PATERSON BIO
Laura Paterson was born and raised in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. In December, 1965, at the age of twenty, Laura bought a one-way ticket to London, England, thereby creating her own personal ‘Canadian invasion’. Laura remained in London for the next ten exciting years. In November, 1969, she was opened in Subud at the Hampstead, London, Subud center, by long-time Subud helper, Halimah Cooke.
Laura married fellow Subud member, Luqman Katz, in 1973 and in 1975 they moved to California. Together they raised two wonderful, amazing children, Harlinah and Hussein Katz. Later they became proud grandparents to two beautiful granddaughters. Laura’s racially and culturally diverse family reflect perfectly her lifelong commitment to and advocacy of social, racial, economic, and cultural diversity, justice, and equity.
For thirty years, Laura worked in the entertainment industry as an executive assistant to studio chiefs and entertainment law firm name partners. Her days were filled with eventful exchanges with such diverse clients as Peter Jennings, John Grisham, Peter Yarrow of ‘Peter, Paul & Mary’, Maya Angelou, and Snoop Dogg. Never was there a dull moment!
Laura now is a resident at the Motion Picture and Television Country Home (MPTF), on the Wasserman Campus in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California. MPTF has its own on-campus, full-service television studio and broadcast channel. Laura’s days now are filled playing game shows with such MPTF supporters as Jodie Foster, as well as producing and hostessing her own weekly BLM social and racial justice and equity program, ‘Raising Consciousness’.
Laura served as National Chair of Subud USA from 1998-2000, during the eight years that she lived in New York City, and was a member of the Subud New York Chelsea Center group. Laura continues to participate in her ongoing Subud activities, which now are zoom and covid-enhanced, and also continues to work on her memoir, ‘City of Angels’.