Echo Park Lake

Danny and I often take a long walk. 

He drives to Echo Park Lake and parks his car. We walk to an empty bench seat situated on the rim of the lake.

Located about four miles west of the city, it is a little known hidden gem. In the center of the lake is a fountain that shoots two streams of water to a height of about 30 feet. 

We watch the ducks drift silently, their webbed feet paddling slowly. Rented boats shaped like swans give a feeling of serenity to me.

* * *

Aimee

At the north end of the lake is the round temple of Aimee Semple McPherson, little known now, but when I visited it (called “The Church of Latter Day Saints”) she was a pastor. 

For me, it was an unforgettable experience.

The church was packed with her followers. Dressed in a flowing white gown, when she held her arms out, she looked like an angel (that was her intention).

In a persuasive and powerful voice, she gave a sermon, finishing it with a request for money.

“Give to the Lord, you will be blessed.”

She jumped off the stage holding her collection box into the aisle, extending her arm to anyone she could reach. One of those people was me.

“Sir, please give to the Lord.” Without a word, I reached into my pocket and dropped the change I had into the collection box.

“Thank you, sir, you will be blessed, Praise the Lord.” She went down the aisle collecting donations.

On the stage appeared about 10 people, all dressed in white flowing gowns. They were enthusiastically clapping their hands and chanting, “Praise the Lord.”

Soon, everyone in the audience was clapping, including me (When in Rome…). 

The noise was deafening. The white angels on the stage were screaming. They had tambourines in their hands that they were hitting wildly. Soon, all the audience was applauding. Me too. 

Why not?

I only visited the temple once.

Danny and I see it almost every day. The temple now has a bible school. Often driving by, I see students holding books and bibles pouring out of the building. …

One day, Aimee did not show up at the church. A frantic group of people tried to find her, but didn’t. Weeks went by; many of her followers gave up the search.

Then, suddenly she appeared, to the relief of relatives and followers.

“Where were you? Many of us were worried sick.”

“I was with the angels,” she said and told a strange story.

While bathing one day, angels flew into her house and picked her up by the elbows and took her to heaven for a short while and then brought her back to Earth where she was found floating on the water. After a short recuperative rest, she resigned her position at the church.

Reporters checking out her story found it not to be the truth. The facts are that all the time the church was looking for her, she was shacking-up with her lover in a Hollywood motel.

She was a feature story in the newspapers for quite a while, until the public lost interest.

I got married, moved to San Francisco, became so busy I didn’t have time to follow her story. With a war looming, she was no longer front page news. Foursquare Church is still operating.

August 5, 2020

Author: Morrie Markoff

Centenarian (born in 1914) who lives in Los Angeles, and is also a metal sculpture artist and the Author of "Keep Breathing," available on Amazon.com and other book seller sites.