Monday, May 25, 2009
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
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
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
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
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.