I must have been around seven or eight years old when I started to get an inkling that it might not be socially acceptable to have junk lying around in one’s yard. My mother frequently and emphatically expressed this sentiment in reference to my father’s many mechanical projects sitting in our yard in various stages of (in)completion.
The offending items were not in the front yard, of course; my mother would not have allowed that. In our yard on Pico Street in San Bernardino, this meant that the junk was, for all practical purposes, safely hidden away in the back yard (unless one peered straight back along the left side of the house and had the experienced eye to spot the outlines of a car chassis). On Lankershim Street in Highland, however, this concealment ploy was not so successful. The lot was a deep one, with our house, similarly long and narrow, situated lengthwise somewhat to the side so that on one side you could see all the way to the back of the lot, where there was usually at least one nonfunctioning vehicle. And you could always tell that the vehicle was nonfunctioning, whether from its obvious great age, bad paint job, or position atop blocks.
Below is a picture of this lot (and that's my Dad working on the driveway): on the left from front to back are the corner of our house, the garage, and a rental house in the vary back, and in front of that house is the obligatory “heap of junk.” A different “heap of junk” can been seen in the picture of me with our dogs accompanying my post, Memory Monday: Pets, Part I. (I believe the truck in that picture actually ran.)
Then there was Dad’s tractor. As far as I remember, he built it himself. He must have acquired the parts from junkyards; Dad was the kind of guy who would have known all the local junkyard owners and scrap dealers on a first-name basis. The picture below was taken at our house on Pico Street; though the ostensible purpose of the picture was to show off my Easter duds, one’s attention cannot fail to be lured to the tableau of my father and my brother Don celebrating Easter in their own preferred way.
Some people have fountains, statues, or other types of “lawn art” in their yards. I guess you could say that we had “mixed-media” sculptures in ours. As they say, some people’s junk is other people’s art.