Margaret Hadfield is standing in front of her childhood home, which is now part of the Alhambra Historic Homes tour. There are a number of people milling about the threshold and they’re pointing at various features of the home that her father had paid to be built when she was a little girl. Hadfield, who was born Margaret Divine, moves up the walkway and is greeted by a tour guide who says, “Welcome to the Divine home, built in 1926.”
“Well,” Hadfield says. “It was actually 1924, I remember, we moved into it before the floors were finished and my family had to sleep in the garage. I’ll always remember that.”
The Alhambra Preservation Group’s Historic Home Tour featured six homes along Alhambra Road, all of which date back to the early twentieth century. Dozens of volunteers from the neighborhood greeted guests and tried their best to paint an accurate description of the homes and when they were built. But one couldn’t have asked for a better tour guide than Margaret Hadfield, who lived at the Divine home until she was married in 1944. Two years after the home was completed and the Divine family moved in, Hadfield’s mother, Lucy Divine, passed away.
As Hadfield and current homeowner, Lisa Delgado, make their way to the backyard, a large avocado tree planted by Hadfield’s father lumbers over the yard. There’s a smaller tree, planted by Hadfield’s mother and Hadfield swears that it’s so much smaller today than she remembers.
“I guess everything looks bigger when you’re a child,” says Delgado, who was married in the same backyard in 2007.
Joyce and Oscar Amaro, husband and wife members of the Home tours, found Hadfield coming out of her childhood room and began to interview her. She stood at the top of the stairs and began to tell the same stories again, but the repetition did not seem to bother her.
Three blocks over is the pastoral Sturges home, also on the tour, adorned with a stone fireplace and built in 1909. There’s a servants' pantry in the kitchen, a number of rustic-looking furniture pieces and music emanating from the backyard. Musician Ian Whitcomb and his Bungalow Boys are playing music from the turn of the twentieth century. The sounds of a warm accordion, a steel guitar, an upright bass, a piano and their voices float throughout the neighborhood.
Alhambra began as a small farming community, where orange orchards outnumbered the houses, like when Hadfield first moved in with her family. After Hadfield said her goodbyes, she walked out into the street where she grew up, the palm trees practically arching overhead, and said, “I have only good memories here – nothing has changed and yet it all has.”