"From the Desert to the Sea, to All of Southern California." - Jerry Dunphy

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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wednesday Night

This past Wednesday night Van Nuys Blvd. entertained two of its old road warriors. Gone were the muscle cars, vans and crowds of kids on the sidewalks. Wednesday night on the boulevard is now like any other night. Gone are the days when the boulevard looked like the 405 at rush hour, only more fun. Those days are a memory. For us Boomers Van Nuys Blvd. is better known now as Memory Lane. So it was that these old friends from the past found themselves cruising Van Nuys Blvd.

I was sitting at my desk working on a song when my cell phone rang. I picked it up to hear the voice of Phone Rat telling me he and our old friend Duane from our Demolay days had just left Coco’s and were taking a brief trip down memory lane. Before long we were remembering the old days, two bodies and one in spirit driving up and down the boulevard once more time.

Places and traditions change and so do people. The faces and facades change with the passage of time but the spirit lives on inside us. I hear that Los Angeles does not honor its history. To a large extent that is true. But the past does live on as a kind of ghost town. For Los Angeles the ghost town is Hollywood. Hollywood is as much legend as reality.

So it is with Van Nuys Blvd. It is still the main artery through the middle of the San Fernando Valley. It has seen better times and it has seen worse. I read and hear criticisms about the condition of the boulevard and Van Nuys in general. I understand them and have made many of the same criticisms. However distance and perspective over the past two years have made me realize it can't stay the same the way I want it or remember it. The memory is alive in the people we experienced it with. We old timers had it for a short time and that era still belongs to us. It has passed on to another generation. That is life in a big, vibrant city. While it is tough to watch your hangouts slowly disappear, in the end we keep it alive in our hearts and minds and that is how it should be.

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