My Todville Mansion Story

My Todville Mansion Story

We snuck in through an open area, where the brick wall was not yet completed in the atrium. The murder of Bill List had not yet happened and the place was under construction.

My friend Gary and I were in 5th grade. The year was 1980. I know the year because we lived in Pasadena at the time, and I recall that my dad would be picking me up later that day to go home and I did not want to go. I wanted to stay another day with Gary and his grandparents.

The house and grounds were still under construction. We only entered the north side of the house, closest to the road but adjacent to his grandparents back yard. Their cul-de-sac neighborhood was called Gay Vista at the time. The tiny turnaround street is now called Bay Vista. Because of what happened years later at the mansion, they must have changed the name for obvious reasons.

It was mid-morning on a Sunday, and we knew the watchman slept in a tiny camper near the back section of the house. We had seen him around the day before. We basically just wanted to see what it looked like inside the mansion. We didn’t get very far. As we mired at the huge basement bar, filled with gaudy cocktail lounge furniture and fixtures, not yet set up nor decorated, we heard a door slam and someone coming to the entrance. We had made a bit of noise when we knocked a box of nails from a counter. We ducked behind some tables and booths, and tried to hide or wait out our fate.

“Come out you MFs! I have a gun and I am going to call the Po-Leece!”. The room was dark, but from our hiding spot, in the doorway about 40′ away, we could see a long haired redneck guy holding a length of chain in one hand and a tire iron in the other. He screamed this time, cursing us to come out. I guess he thought we were probably adults or teenagers at least, who were there to steal.

I begged my friend not to go out, but in an instant, Gary shouted, “We’re comin!”. As we climbed over kitschy cocktail lounge furniture and fixtures, the man must have had a sigh of relief. We were just kids, he saw.

He yelled at us some more, and made us leave. “Next time I am calling the cops, and they will tell your parents”, he said. We walked off unhurt, our curiosity somewhat fulfilled, yet we were a bit shaken. We were 11 years old.