Saturday, June 28, 2008
BLAST FROM THE PAST
or, Life comes at you fast!
My son works for a company that has that slogan along with the saying, ...we're are on your side.
Recently several events have brought the past square in front of me. The first was an invitation to a retirement dinner for a guy who used to work for me part time when he was in high school and college. I looked at the invitation and thought there had to be two Gary H. because the one who worked for me was just a kid! Well, it was the same Gary H. The next event was knowing that my third oldest child was heading to California to attend her twenty year reunion this summer. The third event was the recent passing of my brother-in-law, who was several years younger than me. It's been several years since I've seen him, but the void is apparent. He will be missed, especially by my sister after 30+ years of marriage.
So with these events all coming at me fast, I started reflecting on the good old days, and how different life was when I was a carefree teenager living in Huntington Beach. It was a slower time back then, the town wasn't a resort, and it was sparsely populated due to the lack of employment opportunities. My father was self employed so we were fortunate enough to have a beach almost in our backyard, and the only time there were crowds where on the weekends in the summer, or Holidays.
I thought I'd tell you all a little bit about what being me was about back then, and how I spent my time when I wasn't in school, or doing chores...because we had some real chores, like washing windows, mowing lawns, doing ironing for a family of seven. The kind of things most kids our age did back then. You may think life as a teen growing up in a beach town was a bit different, and it was.
To start, I will tell you what this is, since you didn't guess and missed a chance at the $500 I almost offered as a prize.
It sits on the back side panel of this!
This is the first car Grandma J had. Well, not this car, but one like it in black. It was a 1958 Chevrolet, Delray. The cheapest model Chevrolet made. Seriously. I had to share it with my sister, who was a year younger than me, but it was wheels, and it got us where we had to go. Now, since I was a year older, I had a job, and since I had a job, it was considered selfish for me to take the car to work and just let it sit there doing nothing! So, on my days to have the car, I had to let my sister use it while I was at work, because really? Why should it just sit there! The only problem was, my sister didn't have a job. Which meant my sister didn't have the same cash flow that I had, which also meant most of the gas that went in the car where on my dime....most not all. And hey, just because gas was only twenty nine cents a gallon didn't mean it was free. And hello? Please don't forget to pick me up when I get off work. And, if you have a flat tire, don't hitch hike home and leave the car on PCH. Because someone has to get it fixed, and then pay the parking ticket. Just saying!
The thing is, my job was at night. I worked a dream job at this really cool place called the Golden Bear.
It was many things over the years, but in the early 60's it was a folk/blues coffee house/bar kind of place. I wasn't old enough to serve alcohol but most of the people who came at that time were into the coffee and expresso drinks. The people I met was unreal. Hoyt Axton practically lived there, as well as at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. To those younger readers, he wrote "Greenback Dollar" for the Kingston Trio and "The Pusher" and "Snowblind Friend", both recorded by Steppenwolf.
I got to know Theodore Bikel quite well, and paged for his bigger concerts in large auditoriums. Others who played there regularly were Joan Baez, Ian and Syvia, and Joe and Eddie (they recorded "There's a Meetn' Here Tonight", and "Children Go").
When Grandma J went out at night with her friends, it was to dances at the Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa, which was about 5 miles down the road. Dick Dale and the Del Tones played there on weekends. Dick Dale was known as the King of The Surf Guitar. He had two hits that I remember, "Miserlu" and "Let's Go Trippin", which was the inspiration for the Surfer's Stomp, a popular dance in Southern California. Dick Dale is still around, living in Newport Beach.
So like, is that all Grandma J did? Hang out in dance halls, work in beatnik joints? No way Jose! I was a good student, and eventually got a better job.
Now, this is my granddaughter in Florida, she's an East Coast surfer girl.
These are my oldest daughter's kids, Pooper and Beauty.
and can you guess who they take after? Yep, Grandma J.
OK, so that's not really me.....honest...It's not. But the truth is, I did surf. I wasn't a great surfer. Maybe I wasn't a good surfer. But I surfed. I had my own surfboard. I knew how to refinish it and bought my share of resin and fiberglass...something that had to be done regularly on the older heavier, Hobie longboards. And I used it. Often. That's what girls did if they had an ocean instead of a bicycle.
Today? I still love the ocean, and when I go in the water, it's body surfing only!
"Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing....where have all the flowers gone, long, long time ago......."