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

Search This Blog

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Wonder Years Tour

A little over 2 years ago Phone Rat, Radio Rat and myself went on what I called "The Wonder Years Tour'. I was moving out of town and wanted to visit some old friends and hangouts before I left. I wrote up an itinerary and one rainy March morning we went back in time.

Our first stop was in Burbank to pay allegiance to our tours namesake by visiting the house used in the TV show The Wonder Years. A picture I took of the house is on my Flickr site link to the left.

Our next stop was Van Nuys Masonic Temple, site of our Demolay meetings, installations, and band gigs. Here is a picture of the dinner and dance hall. I took this picture in 2006 but it could be 1971, it hasn't changed much. Here our band played on the stage as kids danced below us. When we weren't playing we were those kids out on the dance floor.

Next we drove out to Canoga Park to visit Gary who now rides around in a bright red truck with a long hose and a siren. We swapped old stories and new ones. Mostly we talked about old girlfriends and cars. We love our wives but part of us never gives up the ghost, and that is ok. After that we picked up Radio Rats sister and drove to Bob's Restaurant in Toluca Lake for lunch. After lunch we checked out a few more places and then made our way home.

It was sad to imagine moving away from the town where we all met, bonded and went out to take on the world on our terms. For me these relationships are the most powerful of my life. These are the friends who were there with me through many important rites of passage. It is to these friends that this blog is dedicated. Thankfully this blog keeps the Wonder Years Tour alive.

We might be accused of living in the past but I don't believe we are. By staying in touch we keep the past vital while still living in the present, where we make new memories. So this blog has brought some old friends back into our lives, and given us support through some trying times. Call up an old friend this weekend and meet them for lunch and a short trip around the old neighborhood. Perhaps one day we will all meet again for a sequel.


Radio Rat said...

Thanks...i totally agree and appreciate this blog. it was a great day. going to the temple was a major highlight, and yes...it was taken in 2006, but it is stuck in a time freeze of 1971. As you have stated, the friends and relationships we made back in those early 70's were forged in the prime of our young lives. i thank all of those folks for those times and am grateful for those who we can relive those days in the present. Great Blog...thanks and thanks for putting this site together.

Scarlett's Mom said...

I remember many a Wednesday night. sitting in the Lounge at the Masonic Temple waiting for the DeMolay meeting to get over with to see if we were going to go "cruse", go to Bob's or Farrels. What silly inocent fun we used to have.

Anonymous said...

Phone Rat remembers...This building / dining hall was a major part of my life between 1968 and 1975. I joined Demolay in 1968. A year later I lost my Mom to cancer. It was wonderful to have the support from friends in the Chapter, and support from the parents. Some had been in the same situation. But I always knew that I could bend an ear if I needed to. .... I still live in Van Nuys and drive by the Masonic Center (not Temple anymore ) several times a month because it's on the way to Albertsons Market. I visit the Center four times a year as part of my job with AT&T, for service related issues with the Building Manager, who, by the way, was a Past Worthy advisor back in the 70s in Canoga Park. On my service calls, I still check out the hall and see the color wheel hanging by the double doors. The lounge is being redecorated. The phone booth,that was just out the entrance, is gone. If the lodge room is opened, I walk in and look around and remember friends, family, and sometimes a date, participating in some kind of Installation or meeting. Installations were fun, but scary at times, especially when you spent the last six months memorizing thirty pages of installing officer ritual and then showing up on Saturday night, in front of three hundred plus people, to give your performance. What an experience that was. Panic for ninety minutes. And forget the ritual, how about introductions.
Remembering everyone's name and what organization they belonged to, and what office they held, and most important is remembering to introduce your date for the evening. I thought we all looked pretty good with our fancy white dinner jackets and the girls with their formals. And then the dining hall became the focus for the rest of the evening. Dim the lights, crank up the color wheel, and start the music. It was dancing till 11:30pm and sometimes off to a fancy steak house on Ventura Blvd. The Samoa House was my favorite.

I think back on all those years of being a part of an organization that gave us the tools to prepare for life ahead, and the support of so many Mothers and Fathers that helped us along the way. For all of their hard work, their time and support, I will forever be grateful... Thank You.
And by the way, does anybody need a ride home?????

Dorrie said...

Sounds like a reunion needs to be planned!!! ????? We vote yes.....and would love to help !!! Dorrie and Bruce

Guitar Rat said...


We agree a reunion would be a great thing. I was just talking to Phone Rat and he would love to work on it with you guys. You probably have his e-mail so you can reach him there or just send it to this blogs e-mail and I will see that he gets it. Since he is 2400 miles closer than I am he's the guy. Good hearing from you.

Dorrie said...

Thanks we did send an e-mail to phone rat....if we are lucky and get this going what time of year is good for you ? We are open....Dorrie

scarlett's mom said...

Hey Dorrie,

Didn't we try a reunion about 12 years ago. A few of us showed up at the Burbank Hilton. Interesting.

Dorrie said...

Hi Scarlett's Mom ??? Not sure who this is???? Guess I am getting old...I dont remember....12 years ago...or do I ??? Please refresh this for me ... I think a reunion now is a great idea big or small....so many people I wonder about and would love to meet again... what time of year would be good for everyone!! Dorrie

Anonymous said...

Hey Dorrie, it's Joanne. Remember the Burbank Hilton around Thanksgiving? And I think it was more like 15 years ago. Scary when you can remember 15 years ago. Did you check out the youtube, it's great. Yeah
Guitar Rat.

Dorrie said...

I was wondering if it was you!!! How have you been ? It is so good to have this site .... I dont remember what time of year it was but I do remember some things... but not much!!! Bruce and I are having fun talking to a lot of OLD friends!!! Bruce has talked and e-mailed so many guys from 30-40 years ago....Lots of interest from everyone...hope we hear from more old friends soon....

Anonymous said...

My e-mail address is scarlettmom1@wmconnect.com. Send me a note.