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

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Phone Rat & the Cemetery

Phone Rat was back here in Ohio a few weeks ago for his bi-yearly visit. We covered a lot of ground in 10 days. We visited 6 states and drove about 2,200 miles. One of the great things you see here in the Midwest are old cemeteries with old fashioned headstones. Phone Rat and I drove to Michigan to see the grave of his cousin who passed away last year. We drove north on M19 to a small cemetery called the Memphis Cemetery, which out in the country just before the town of Memphis Michigan.

The cemetery is across from a large open field surrounded by large trees which were just starting to show fall colors. Phone Rat took pictures of many of the old grave markers. I wish I could post them all. To get a feel for the area you can view the cemetery from Google Street View.

Driving through all these Midwest states you get an authentic feel for the country, its people and its land. I witnessed that when we drove back to Ohio in 2006 but it is good to get a refresher course. Even though I am here in Ohio I still have a California, Los Angeles attitude that sometimes forgets there is more to our country. If you have never driven through the Midwest you would not believe the amount of corn you drive by. It seems a crime to use it to fuel cars and not feed people, but that is the conservative in me.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

2nd Annual Demolay, Jobs & Rainbow Reunion

Word has come down that the 2010 Demolay reunion will be in Laughlin Nevada in either January or February of 2010. One of our distant past members will be working in Laughlin at that time. I'm not spilling names but he plays bass guitar and used to throw a wicked softball pitch. As details become available I will post them here. if anyone has questions or suggestions please e-mail at this blog account and I will steer you in the proper direction.

If anyone is a member of Facebook you should know we have a group page called, San Fernando Valley Demolay, Jobs & Rainbow. The page is new and it will become a clearing house for information. Just click the add a friend button and I will let you into the group.

The picture above is from Google and is a satellite view of Harrah's in Laughlin. I used it because this is where we used to stay and it is where we honeymooned.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cohasset Street Elementary School

I realized today I have neglected my other grammar school, Cohasset Street Elementary School, which I attended for the 6th grade and maybe the 5th. You'd think I would remember. I could verify it but that would require a trip into the closet to dig out my report cards. But it's 11:30 pm and I don't feel so inclined.

As usual I am poor on names but recognize faces. Many went on to attend Fulton Jr. High with me. My best friend at the time was Paul Bjork, however he is not in this class picture. His family had a house on the land that is now the U.S. Post Office at the corner of Haskell Ave. and Sherman Way. I recall playing in that large lot which ran west up to Gloria.

I remember Tommy who lived on Dempsey just south of Cohasset Street. Tommy had two fake teeth in the front which for some reason really impressed me. I forget why he had them but I wouldn't be surprised if a fist was involved.

I also recall Debbie who I think lived near me. I have a graduation day picture of her, Paul and me in front of our apartment door. I would post it but I look so damn pudgy, and even after all these years it gives me the creeps.

If anyone remembers names from the picture I would appreciate it. The coolest thing was my teacher in the picture, Mrs. Tremonti lived in our apartment building. She was a very nice lady.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Looking for Mrs. Perlmuter

Last Saturday a few Hazeltine Avenue Elementary alumni from the 1960's had a small reunion. I participated for a few minutes via a speakerphone on a cell phone. It was great to talk to my fellow classmates and my new friend Bob who I had not yet spoken to. The group had a wonderful time and swapped stories, and anytime stories of Hazeltine are shared the topic of the legend that was Mrs. Perlmuter comes us and looms large in our psyche. I was never in one of her classes but I saw her around the school and like many kids ran the other way whenever I saw he in the hall. From what I heard later she was a disciplinarian but not as bad as all of us imagined.

Bob reports that Mrs. Louise Perlmuter had a full life of 95 years and passed away in April of 2005.

With all the memories flowing and recently posted pictures we discovered that no one had a picture of Mrs. Perlmuter. If anyone out there has a class picture with Mrs. Perlmuter or any other photograph we all would love to see it. It is as Bob put it the Holy Grail of Hazeltine in the 1960's. Please let us know if you have a picture and can scan it and share it with all of us. I have left a picture off this post in hope of adding one in the future.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bulletin Board Service, Chat Rooms of the 90's

I was talking with an old friend and the subject of the BBS came up. After I got my first real online ready computer, a Tandy 1400HD like the one in the picture with a 2400 baud modem, this same friend introduced me to the online world. I checked out a few bulletin boards at first but did not really get heavy into it for a year or so. When I did I checked out a number of local boards and finally settled on a couple.

The first board I became an active member of was the After Hours BBS. As you may recall your time online was based on you paying for the service. Sometimes I paid and could chat all I wanted and other times I did not pay and chatted very little. I only ever met one person from the BBS in real life. I did strike up a few virtual friendships that would meet up again a year or so later on the other board i became an active member of, Beeline BBS. This BBS operated out of North Hollywood and compared to many was very friendly and well run. I attended a few events but for the most part just chatted online at night after work or when I had nothing else to do. My handle/name back then was "Katmandu"

Looking back it was an interesting period. I never was one to hang out at the normal social sites such as bars, clubs and so on. For a brief period I had some fun and never had to get dressed up. I finally signed off around 1998 and have never been back to any online chat rooms. I guess I got it out of my system. I had just met my future wife so I had other things to keep me occupied.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

1966 Hollywood High School Ring

While rummaging through some family heirlooms I came across this Hollywood High School class of 1966 ring. As I recall my Mom found it in a parking lot in the Valley many years ago. I came across it again while going through her jewelry after she died. I put it in a fire safe with the rest of the important family jewelry and forgot about it. It resurfaced today while I was looking for something else.

Now that we have this blog I thought I would share the mystery of the Hollywood High School ring and see if it might be reunited with it's original owner. The ring is very small, it only slides up to the knuckle on my pinky finger. The sexist conclusion is it was a girls ring. The inside of the ring is engraved with three initials which shall remain secret for identification purposes. Understandably this is a real long shot but crazier things have happened. If anyone has a clue as to the possible owner please e-mail me at this blog.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Van Nuys Blvd. on Wednesday Nights is Back!

This last June Cruise Night returned to Van Nuys Blvd. on Wednesday Nights. To be specific the second Wednesday of every month. The Van Nuys Cruising Association meets every second Wednesday in the parking lot of Rydell Chevorlet at 6001 Van Nuys Blvd.

Wednesday night cruising was shut down 28 years ago in 1981. Generations have grown up unaware of that special night in the middle of the San Fernando Valley. In those final days of the late 70's and early 80's I used to roll away from the curb of my apartment on Chandler Blvd. just around the curve and merge right into the traffic jam that was cruising night. As I mentioned in a previous post I remember driving down Van Nuys Blvd. when KHJ Boss Radio switched from Rock and Pop to Country music. Looking back on it now it seems as if the decline of Van Nuys Began then. Of course that isn't true but it is the sense I have these many years after.

September 9th at 6:00pm is the next event. Please check out the Van Nuys Cruising Associations website for more information and pictures from past events:


Don't forget the Friday Night classic car event at Bob's Big Boy restaurant on Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake. Celebrity sightings are not unheard of at Bob's. Anyone who has spent time there has seen Jay Leno there. When I worked on San Fernando Road in Burbank we used to see Jay Leno drive by on his way to the Tonight Show. Every day it was some new, old car.

Tina Delgado is alive, alive!

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Class Photos from Hazeltine in the 1960's

Our friend Bob has posted some new class photos he received from a Hazeltine Alumni. Follow this link:


The new class photos are:

April 1960 – Mrs. Flanagan

Nov. 1961 – Mrs. Williams

Oct. 1964 – Mrs. Chapnick

Oct. 1965 – Mrs. Fletcher

Oct. 1966 – Mrs. McGauley

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lido Pizza Afternoon in Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks?

Attention Members of Demolay, Jobs Daughters and Rainbow, word has just come down that an afternoon of Pizza and fun is planned for Sunday September 13th at 2:00pm at Lido Pizza. I am sure everyone remembers where it is, but just in case Lido's is at 15232 Victory Blvd. in Van Nuys or Sherman Oaks, wherever the hell it is now, blame Phone Rat for that confusion. It is on the south side of Victory just east of Sepulveda. Renee is planning this so please e-mail her if you know it. For those who see it here please e-mail me at this blog account: vannuysboomers@gmail.com and I will forward you to her.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Drive-In

Follow this link to a wonderful website with pictures, information and recollections of old theaters including our own valley hangouts:


Saturday, August 8, 2009

August 1969

I just saw online that today, August 8th is the 40th anniversary of the Beatles photo shoot for cover of their Abbey Road Album. Surely some of you remember albums. The record was released in September 1969 about the same time I started Birmingham High School. I have distinct memories of hearing Come Together and other songs being played at the schools cafeteria.

Last night I was watching part of a Fox news special about the Manson family and their murder rampage. Curiously the murders at the Sharon Tate house took place on August 9, 1969, only a relative few hours after the Beatles photo shoot. Another curious connection between Manson and the Beatles.

My family was in Las Vegas at the time of the crime but after we got back I remember the fear that hung over the city until the murderers were found. I read later that the Manson family drove on the 405 to get to Benedict Canyon. Our apartment on Haskell was just across the street from the freeway.

Memory is a funny thing sometimes. Those memories Of Birmingham and the Beatle songs seem like only yesterday, but the Manson family, the murders and the things surrounding them actually feel like 40 year ago.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Voyeurism & Confessions

Last night while in my office I was wrestling with a small bout of boredom. Idle hands being the devils workplace I gave in to one of my baser proclivities. I logged onto Flickr and typed in the words, "office desk". In a split second up came thousands of pictures of home offices, work offices, desks, some neat and tidy and others with papers stacked to the ceiling. I confess, I have always had an interest in where people work and create.

It first started when I saw photos of Picasso in his studio. Being an art major at the time I found it fascinating to look around the creative space. The seed was planted. Years later I picked up a book called, The Writer's Desk by Jill Krementz. Her book is a collection of photos of famous writers at their desk and in their creative spaces. I was hooked and shortly thereafter started searching for more pictures online. Famous or not famous, it did not matter. Soon the addiction took on new forms and I started to Google and Flickr Ham radio shacks.

So as a form of confession I am presenting my home office, the headquarters if you will of Van Nuys Boomers. This is where it all comes together, or sometimes falls apart. It is a nice corner room in the back of our house. I have a door and patio as well as a window. When we moved back here I gave up my wonderful Roll Top desk and well as about four good sized bookcases, and books.

I now have a small desk I bought on clearance at Staples, with a matching file cabinet. The bookcase was bought and assembled by my Dad sometime back in the 1950's. I have a few books out but the rest are in a cubbyhole at the landing for the stairs. So the office is functional but not how I would ideally have it. Since I am too lazy to tie up all the wires I have it facing the wall.

This all has nothing to do with Van Nuys, but it was in Van Nuys that I had my first desk, all my own. It was made of metal and served many purposes. It was for school work, for writing music and for playing on with my Matchbox and Hot Wheel cars. As I still have a few of those cars my current desk has served as a race track when I play with my grandson. And here is another confession, I still like playing with the toy cars!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Jerry Dunphy and the Ram's Horn

When my family lived on Haskell Ave. in Van Nuys our downstairs neighbor was a wonderful lady and school teacher named Lucille Flanders. She was exceptionally nice to me which puzzles me considering how loud I used to blast my stereo, a behavior I have not really modified over the years. In spite of my behavior she helped me with school work and even gave me an old World Book Encyclopedia from about 1959. I loved that set of books and only parted with it when I moved back to Ohio. I wish I still had it. It may sound crazy but I can still smell those dusty old volumes.

One night Lucille was talking about a restaurant bar she sometimes goes to called The Ram's Horn at 16705 Ventura Blvd. in Encino. She then mentioned that Jerry Dunphy and some of the KNXT newscasters frequented the restaurant. Lucille knew the Big News anchor Jerry Dunphy. Well soon after this Lucille and my parents went to the Ram's Horn for cocktails and dinner. That night that got to meet Jerry Dunphy along with Bill Keane the weatherman. If you grew up in Los Angeles in the 1960's The Big News was the news, followed by Walter Cronkite, who sadly just passed away.

Eventually we moved from Haskell Ave. and lost track of Lucille however my parents would often go to the Ram's horn for a drink and to listen to the piano player whose name I now forget. I went a couple times with my parents and it was nice but at the time a little to sedate for me. Now it sounds like just my speed.

In my photo box I have a picture of Lucille in our apartment for one of my birthday parties. I will have to scan it and post it here. But until then thank you Lucille for putting up with a kind of nice, but loud teenager.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mid-Summer Updates

A few quick updates and news:

I hear rumblings of a Demolay/Jobs/Rainbow reunion for some time this fall. I sent out a mass mailing asking for ideas and suggestions for the reunion. If you were not on the list or just found us here please e-mail me at this blog.

We are hearing from more Hazeltine Ave. School alumni. A few might even get together in the coming months. I also posted a link to the Photobucket page with a lot of old school pictures and much more. The link is to the left of this page.

Below the Photobucket link is one to a Reseda High School class page. Many of you might have gone there or know friends who went there. Be sure to check it out. The photo for this post is one I copied from their website. Check out the movie playing at the theater.

Monday, July 20, 2009

SF Valley School Yearbooks & Pictures

Follow the link below to the Photobucket page of our friend Bob Walance who has scanned yearbooks from the following schools: Van Nuys High School 1972, 1973, 1975 as well as Birmingham High School from 1973. He also scanned the complete yearbook from Taft high School from 1973 as well as quite a few class pictures from Hazeltine Ave. Elementary School. If anyone out there has any additional scanned yearbooks or Hazeltine Class pictures, or any San Fernando Valley School pictures please let us know.


I just had a request for a Grant High School yearbook from 1972 - 1973. If anyone has one or has a scan of one please contact us, a fellow classmate from Hazeltine is looking for one.

As well Bob is looking for Hazeltine school pictures from 1965/4th grade, 1966/5th grade and 1967/6th grade.

I personally have my yearbook for 1969 from Fulton Jr. High School to scan and I hope to get to that soon.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Radio Rat Rocks

This past July 3rd Radio Rat had a chance to sit in on drums with the band playing for the capacity crowd at Jethawks Stadium in Lancaster CA. Radio Rat played drums on the Georgia Satellites song "Keep Your Hands to Yourself." A montage of his performance is available on YouTube:


Radio Rat looked back at home behind the drums, shades and all. If I can one day make my way back Radio Rat and I are going to meet up with our old lead guitarist Karl Inman and what damage we can still do.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Builders Emporium Reseda Store #618

My collection of Builders Emporium pictures is thin so I think this is the last photo I have. Of course it was Halloween 1977 which accounts for my fellow paint department employee (Sam) being dressed up as some sort of elf. Thankfully I had left Builders the previous August so I didn't have to dress up at work. I did dress up that night when we all got together. I wore my oriental pajama bottoms and a black vinyl jacket. I wanted to be comfortable. Whenever we had parties I would dress up as Hawkeye from M*A*S*H in a bathrobe and a cowboy hat.

I was just talking to Radio Rat about his previous BE post. It has received quite a few comments which we are grateful for. So far we have only heard from one fellow employee (Jeff)from our Reseda store #618. Radio rat reminded about the Thriftymart that was across the parking lot and how he used to go get a coffee cake for the 10:15 am break. I had forgotten about the Thriftymart stores. He also mention a place called Zig's that had a great bullet sandwich. Does anyone remember it. He said it is still there.

When I read the last comment on the previous BE post I wrote back wondering if anyone had started a BE group on Facebook. I know we just started one for our Demolay days. We look forward to hearing from anyone who worked in the BE organization.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Farmers Market Free Live Music

Every Thursday and Friday night this summer at Farmers Market you can experience live music on the Market's west patio. Not to mention food from the vendors in that section of the market. For years my wife and I used to go on Friday night eat drink, smoke and listen to the music. I'm guessing the PC people don't allow smoking anymore but its still a great time. Most of the bands that play were Jazz oriented but yo also had the Blues, Swing music and a bit of rock. Our favorite back then was a group called Red & the Red Hots. Red Young led the group and they played Jazz, Swing and Boogie for the most part.

My wife worked in Hollywood at the time at a post production company so after the concert we would go back to her work for awhile. The company did all the artwork for Arnold Schwarzenegger's movies. I used to kill time by playing a pinball machine in the lobby for one of Arnold's movies.

Here is a link to the website where you can view the concert schedule:


Thankfully the market still retains most of its original flavor. I have been to the Grove only once and it seemed well done. The changes were inevitable but they seem to have done as good a job as possible. They did remove one section of the market that had rows of independent shops. I remember going to the market as a kid with my parents. We always had to have a corned beef sandwich. At the end of this row of shops was a place that had little plastic models of sports figures. I would always go to check out the new figures. Only once was I able to buy one, it was the great Chicago White Sox shortstop Luis Aparicio. I no longer have the figure. At the time I also had models of all the Universal Studio Monsters. Naturally being a boy Mr. Aparicio had many battles with the Wolfman and Frankenstein. Once GI Joe came along no one stood a chance in a fight. All the figures are now gone but I still have my original GI Joe foot locker, though I painted it black and it now holds some small stereo equipment such as microphones, jacks and 45 inserts.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Summer of 1970

In the summer of 1970 I drove to Dayton Ohio with my Grandfather. While there I fell in love with a faraway girl with long blond hair and a white dress. Everyday I would watch her walk through a nearby field. I was 15 years old, away from my parents and full of summer thoughts and impulses. I remember going into a store and purchasing my first Playboy magazine. It was almost as much fun as being a kid in a Las Vegas casino sneaking coins into a slot machine. Being a reader I then went to a store and purchased the latest Harold Robbins novel. Those of you old enough to remember his novels were not very good but they were full of sex.

Every week or so I would accompany my Grandfather on his weekly trip to a donut shop where he picked up cardboard barrels of old stale donuts. He would bring them back to his apartment complex and scatter them in the back yard. The feeding frenzy was like something out of the movie The Birds.

During my time there we went to the Wright Patterson Museum, and a magazine plant, the name of which now escapes me. On a trip downtown I picked up a Marine Band Harmonica in the key of "C". I now had an acoustic guitar and harmonica, I was on my way.

Finally came the time I had to return home and I deadheaded on a Flying Tiger Line Stretch DC-8 back to Los Angeles. When I arrived home I went to my bedroom to unpack and there I found a brand new sunburst hollow body electric guitar on my bed. I was ecstatic. After I thanked my parents my first question was where is the amplifier. They hadn't thought about that. The next day we went out and picked up a small amplifier, probably at Sight and Sound in Van Nuys. That is me in the picture above right after we bought the amp.

My Mom had been saving up blue Chip stamps so she could get the guitar. I still have the guitar. It is the only one that has survived my childhood. The action is still way too high and the pickups aren't very good but I still love it. I was online tonight and I could only find one website that had a picture of the same model. I have no clue who made it or where. It had been a rough spring as the Beatles had broken up and I was not too fond of high School. But the summer of 1970 was pretty damn good. And I still think about that blond once in a while.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hazeltine 1962

Elsewhere in this blog is class photo of Miss Zober's 2nd grade class from October 1962. Some alumni have been swapping memories of our days at Hazeltine. What someone else remembers will trigger a memory for another. I remember the handball courts and dodge ball back in the dark ages when it was allowed. Another remembered tether ball which I had forgotten about, which is odd because I was pretty good at it since I was tall.

One year later we would hear of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. As I recall I was in a class when a teacher dame in to tell us what had happened. I recall it was the teacher who played Santa Claus. The name Mr. Lane comes to mind but I may be mistaken.

Some of the popular songs in October 1962 were: The Monster Mash, Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry, Surfin' Safari, He's a Rebel and many more. Elvis was still popular that year with Return to Sender.

Right now my Grandson is the same age as I was then and it is fascinating to view it from the other side. Hopefully he will have fond memories to look back on one day. Though I can't say the music now is as good. Though some nights I crank up Smoke on the Water and he dances like crazy as I play along with the song. he says it is his favorite song so maybe there is some hope.

I woke last night to the sound of thunder
How far off I sat and wondered
Started humming a song from 1962
Ain't it funny how the night moves
When you just don't seem to have as much to lose
Strange how the night moves
With Autumn closing in....

From "Night Moves" by Bob Seger

Hazeltine Ave. Elementary School

Here are three views of Hazeltine. The Hazeltine side looks pretty much the same. The other two pictures are from the back of the school which appears as I remember it. The Costello Street side is taken up with storage units.

I still remember the fairs that took place in the playground areas, and all those ping pong balls I tossed to try and win a goldfish. I also remember the Lunch tables, ones for greasers, surfers, Beatles fans and even Dave Clark 5 fans.

These pictures are from Google Street view which I encourage everyone to check out. Be sure to click on the full screen view button and then navigate your way around.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

1973 Van Nuys High School Yearbook Wanted

Google Street view has yielded a few more photos. The house is my current home here in Ohio. My truck is in our driveway. I was on the porch when they drove by but the Awning makes me hard to see which is a good thing. I never liked cameras. The other photo is North Hollywood Masonic Temple.

I also want to thank my friend Bob Walance who bought a copy of the 1973 Birmingham High School yearbook, The Tomahawk. I never had a copy of it, even though my senior picture was in it. Bob scanned the entire senior class and e-mailed it to me. Bob collects yearbooks and is still looking for a copy of the 1973 Van Nuys High yearbook. He would love to buy, borrow, rent or scan the book for his collection. If anyone knows of a copy please let me know. Thanks again Bob.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Google Street View

The other day Phone Rat called me while he was driving past Robert Fulton Junior High School, now middle school, and he told me they were changing some of the buildings. Being the nostalgic type I went to Google Street View afterward to look at the school. It still appeared much as it had when I went there back in the 1960's. It took some time but I finally figured out how to grab an image off Google street view and here are two. One is of Fulton JHS at the corner of Saticoy and Kester and the other is Van Nuys Masonic Temple on Sherman Way just eats of Kester.

I spent the next few hours saving images of places I lived, visited and hung out at. I got snapshots of places I wanted to see before I left the Valley but never got to. I told Radio Rat about it and he said he was going to check it out this weekend. This is what happens when you give an old coot a computer.

Last year I was sitting on my porch when a small compact car with a camera on top and the Google logo on the side door drove by. And a few weeks ago I found that I am now on Google Street view. And it caught me doing what I do best. So thank you Google for the photos. Just click on the image to make it larger.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Jay Leno & Phone Rat

The night President Obama appeared on the Tonight Show Phone Rat drove down to NBC in Burbank to try and catch a picture of him or his motorcade. He arrived too late to catch Obama but he did catch Jay Leno as he was leaving the NBC lot. It is a bit hard to see Jay but he is in the car waving to Phone Rat who called out to him.

Monday, February 2, 2009

New Van Nuys Demolay Mascot?

I was looking at the reunion pictures, again, when it struck me that we did not have the Van Nuys Demolay Bulldog at the party. So, why not adopt a new mascot. He's not a Bulldog but he's a great looking boxer. Whadya think?

We have been hearing from more long time friends the past week. If this keeps up we will need a park for a summer reunion just to hold everyone. Thanks again to Bruce and Dorrie for keeping the food, drink, memories and smiles flowing.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Demolay Reunion Party a Big Success

The Demolay, Rainbow, Job's reunion party was a great success. Approximately 40 old friends got together and shared old and new stories. Many pictures were taken and are in the process of making the rounds. If anyone is interested in copies please email this blog: vannuysboomers@gmail.com, and we will put you in the loop.

Another get together is being talked about for this summer. This will be an outdoor event at a park, so there will be more room for booze, barbecues and Ben Gay.

If you are out of town and think you might want to come to the next get together please let us know so we can decide on good date for all.

As you can see from this picture of Radio Rat, one can always make new friends.

Monday, January 12, 2009