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The Ignored

November 28, 2010

Find the face

During my Saturday morning walk, one thought kept passing through my mind: “Where the hell are my gloves?!”  That was because it was only 36º out, and no matter how deep into my pockets I put them, my hands would not get warm. As is my custom, I ended up at the Coffee Bean just before 7am for a red-eye — I was never so glad to hold that too-hot paper cup. Warmed finally, I wandered, waiting for the farmer’s market to open at 8am. Circling the Mission Inn, I took note of one of its most interesting, if seldom noted features: the stone faces that are embedded in the brick wall that surrounds two sides of it. In the photo, above, you can see one of the faces in the wall’s upright support at lower left … Easy to miss, I know.  A rough, moon-faced visage so worn it takes close scrutiny to even make out, it’s one of nine  …

Stone faced

With the exception of the grimacing grinner at the top left of this group, the faces seem distinctly primitive or unfinished and very, very old. I haven’t been able to come up with any information on the origins of the faces, but some seem to be based on Mexican — maybe Aztec — styles. Some seem so worn, it makes me think they served as elements in some other edifice before ending up here guarding the perimeter of the Inn’s Mexican restaurant. Surrounded by ivy, the face at lower right seems hooded and monk-like, possibly a study for a larger piece. I love these guys, yet I’ve never seen any other person taking the time to engage them in a stare-off …

Holiday dressed

Near the east entrance, a feminine-faced stone ponders the Inn’s seasonal accessorizing. Friday night, in search of decaf, I was engulfed in the opening night hoopla for the Inn’s holiday lights display. Impenetrable crowds chomped kettle corn and funnel cakes, ooh-ed and ahh-ed fireworks, and moved in thick waves all over downtown and around the main draw … I passed the faces in the wall along with the hordes, but like them, didn’t pay them any mind …

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 29, 2010 4:07 am

    Cool…I wonder who put them there, and why…

    • reubix1 permalink*
      November 29, 2010 4:37 am

      That makes two of us! I plan to investigate further …

  2. November 30, 2010 5:21 pm

    Growing up in Riverside (actually out of town in Glen Avon) I was always fascinated with the Mission Inn, a cultural anomoly in an otherwise mundane town. I remember always seeing something new whenever I walked by. Once in the 70’s I took a private tour (by accident) inside the Inn. What a fascinating place!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      November 30, 2010 5:36 pm

      It really is fascinating … in the 70s a friend and I spent lots of time exploring what was then a decrepit, underused space … many of those areas are closed off to the public now, but I plan to find a way inside, if only to take pictures to post here. Thanks for commenting, Ann

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