PO Box 3
Altadena, CA 91002
I am Michael Haussler, Astrid's oldest son. I am writing
to tell you a smidgen about Astrid's Massachusetts days, because they are
largely unknown at this end of the country.
Astrid loved architecture. In Boston she designed the house in which we lived, on Larchmont Lane. It was a beautiful house, cedar and glass and sweeping panoramas and delicately selected snapshots like the view outside my bedroom window of a Blue Spruce. I still dream of that tree.
After the divorce sent us back to California we lived off Christmas Tree Lane
and its line of famous deodars, lit end to end each year at Christmas. As I
started high school at Muir and had luaus with my new friends in our enclosed
back yard with its swimming pool, Astrid adjusted and grew into the community
you described in your article, creating the legacy here for which she is
I have not partaken in this legacy except from a distance. My brother Steve
has been quite involved. For my part I remember Boston days, my growing up
years, Astrid taking me to stay at an old New England Inn, Halloween in cold
crisp air smelling of winter coming, raking together and jumping in piles of
autumn leaves while she watched and laughed. I remember her fighting in the
Civil Rights Movement, and Mary Peabody and Ralph Abernathy coming to dinner;
Quincy rednecks throwing a brick at her car. I remember her taking me to
Freedom Marches, and feeling a growing conviction in the rightness of living
a life in which social justice and truth mattered. Astrid sent me to summer
camps on the lakes in New Hampshire. She let me canoe on the Concord River
and swim in Walden Pond. After twenty-three years teaching in Los Angeles, I
am so grateful. Too many kids here have nothing but strip malls and mean
streets and the endless glare of the sun bouncing into their young eyes from
a paved over desert and myriad glass and metal surfaces. These are among the
things I remember my mother for most vividly, a part of her legacy to me.
All in all Astrid had a remarkable life, at both ends of the country.
Thanks for taking a minute to read this.