2011 Letters



Do you remember Engineer Bill and playing "red light, green light"? "Go on the green, and stop on the red, because no engineer would ever run a red light"

Sheriff John - I forgot. and the birthday song - WOW.




Thank you so much for posting Bugles, Daisys and Whistles! I too have struggled to remember what the other ones were, besides bugles. I was getting tired of getting blank stares from people, when I tell them that there were originally three snacks!

I remember that the Daisys had a scratchy feeling to them, and made your mouth hurt after a while. Kind of like Captain Crunch! I sent this picture to my sister, so she could also relax!! Thanks, again, love your website!!!

P.S. I recently got my 1965 Schwinn Stingray Slik Chik bike back, after loaning to my girlfriends' sister, 40 years ago! Her parents had it in their garage all these years. It's gold, and still has the original slick tire on the back. I'm working on restoring it, and have bought NOS handle grips, and tail light. I'm just looking to make it pretty again, and then will hang it on my garage wall. When I googled 1965 schwinn stingray, one of the links that came up was your website!


I knew I wasn't the only one to remember the three snacks! By the way, you know what they spray on Capt. Crunch to keep them from getting soggy in milk, right? It's the stuff that coats them so they scratch the roof of your mouth: liquid fat! - Wes


Hey Wes,

Been meaning to contact you for a long time.

Been visiting Your Wonderful Site more than I have been visiting the grave-site of my dear departed Uncle Gorlic! (...just kidding.)

 You are right 'on top' (of that freshly-dug grave) in keeping us Monster-Kid Fans excited!

I'm forwarding this out to a lot of blogspots and websites. Wanted to get into your 'hairy-claws'... the following News Press Release!

Monster Man Dan


Wes, ran across your lime green sting ray. I got one new in 1964 when I was in the 5th grade' same color. I thought it the best looking bike made. I seemed to be the only one in Cleveland, Tn. You are the only person I have found that had the same bike.

The 1963 Corvette Sting Ray split window was the first car to wow me as a kid, then Schwinn can out with the bike!

I live in Cleveland, Tn today and am age 58. I own a company called Check into Cash and have about 150 locations in CA. I am on lots of the tv ads.

Enjoyed your site.

Cleveland, TN


Hi Wes

One of the first places I remember living in the late 50's (I was about 5-6 years old) was in the Glenfeliz area. I remember being able to see the back of Mt. Hollywood from our yard. We called it "our mountain". My mother told me that we would go to Glendale and Burbank frequently for shopping. The only grocery that remains in my memory from our neighborhood was a King Cole market. We also had very large palm trees in the parkway, and the fronds on the bottom 2/3 of the trees were cut off, leaving excellent hand-holds for climbing. Another of my most vivid memories of the period was climbing part way up one of those trees and discovering a loose palm frond stub. I worked it out and found a stash of marbles some clever child must have hidden there. Ahhh...treasure-hunting in the San Fernando Valley.



Dear Wes,

I was amazed to see the picture you have on your website Avocado Memories. I grew up in the house next to the Bill's Ranch Market Sign. We were great friends with Paul Lonergan who owned the Realty business next door. We had apricot trees in the back and side yard of the property. I wonder if the big tree was one of them.

I hated that stupid Bill's Ranch Market sign so much. I remember when it was installed in our front lawn(we were renter and didn't have any say in the placing of the sign) I use to get a blast of light at night into my bedroom (the lone window on the second floor)from the sign, so I covered the window in modeling clay which was not a good thing when my parents discovered it. Your website and your stories about growing up are almost a perfect match to my memories. My mom was a little odd when it came to cleaning products as well. She would spend all day cleaning and all I could smell was Clorox bleach for two days.

Thank you for saving your memories of the 50's thru til present day.

I can relate on almost every level. (My brother and I owned Monkey Patrol stuff as well as numerous toys you mentioned.) I was born in 1954 and loved in Burbanks til the mid 80's and always long to come back (I currently live in Utah) But like you say "You can never go home."

Thanks again for the terrific and insightful website.

Richard - a Burbankian forever


Hi Wes,

You are doing such a wonderful service to those of us who reminisce about growing up in Burbank. Thank you so much! I've enjoyed Avocado Memories and Burbankia and am amazed at all that you've brought together. Today my sister and I were talking about Jeffries Barn. We remember it as a dusty old barn when we lived in the neighborhood from 1950 on. I left in 1963 and Sis left a long while after that, we lived at 1624 Niagara a few houses south of Victory on the east side of the street.

I googled Jeffries Barn and was smiling and surprised to see all of the information from the great Burbankia historian, Wes Clark! Thanks for sharing that Jeffries Barn is at Knotts Berry Farm, we'll all look for it at our next visit.

I've heard that 1 out of 10 people share their thanks - it might be 1 out of 100 - so please know that my voice of gratitude joins many others who may not have let you know.

Thanks Wes,



I wrote to you several years ago about "super elastic bubble plastic", that gooey, "make your own balloon" material that, I'm sure, was highly toxic... to me it smelled like a solid, malleable form of gasoline. I must admit, I'm fascinated by the toys and other items of the same era that you regularly feature on your website. Like you, I was a space nut during the "golden age" of U.S. space exploration... most particularly, the Gemini, Apollo and Skylab programs. Unlike you, however, I did not save the models, cardboard cutouts and imaginary space ships that thrilled me as a youth. I sure wish I had! Although I'm a bit younger than you, I'm 48, much of the same things you enjoyed as a child, I did as well.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for bringing back another childhood memory with your solar system chart. After many years in the broadcast industry, I decided to begin work in a local high school about ten years ago. In this job I work with special needs high school students and I often use visual aids to help my students grasp a particular concept or idea. I used your solar system chart as a simple decorative item on the front page of a Biology book that I have to download (not enough money in the budget for books for everyone so I have to get one online, chapter-by-chapter). A student saw it and began asking questions about it. I then "blew up" the chart, printed it out and framed it. Ever since, this freshman student, who was difficult to reach, has become quite inquisitive about astronomy, the planets and all things space related. While it is not exactly biology-related, we are now entering into a chapter about the biosphere and there are some interesting tie ins with the chart.

Isn't it odd how something as simple as this old chart, a momento from your childhood, can have a postive impact, even today?

I wanted to tell you this story and to encourage you to continue to post these types of things on your wonderful website.

And let's face it... that chart is just cool!


Thanks, Mark... that's great! Sadly, however, I didn't save the items you list from my childhood. I just found images of them on the Internet. There are only a relative handful of things I still have from my childhood... and the memories, of course! - Wes


Hi Wes,

Several years ago I emailed you saying how much I enjoyed your site. I seem to revisit every year to see what's changed, and back there again tonight. I am in Australia and can relate to some of your experiences, despite the cultural differences.

These days my best mate Adam and his American wife live in the US. And they eventually ended up living in Burbank. Adam works in film so its proximity to all his work is good. In 2009 I finally got to see Burbank for myself and even got to see some of the things you mentioned on Avocado Memories and Burbankia. Visiting also made me appreciate your site more.

I have to say I really enjoyed it there and can't wait to visit. I would rate it one of the nicest urban spots close to LA. So glad to see your site is still online and being updated. Just love the stories and looking at the old toys, appliances, cars and furniture.

Thanks for keeping me awake late yet again, always worth it! Take care and I hope your family are doing well.

Paul R.


LOVE that poster. My brother had that poster as a print on a zip up binder he carried to and from third grade in 1961-2. Three years younger than him, I was a total space nut, too... and when I got very ill in first grade the next year, he decided that it was 'too worn out' for him and had Mom buy him a new, plain binder and gave me the wonderous space one! I used to unzip and flatten that sucker out and just pour over the print... redrawing my own version over and over in red felt marker (a new invention that my mother said 'smelled like bedbugs'). Thanks again for a link to my own childhood, Wes!

Leslie H.

"Bedbugs"... hahahaha! I bet none of us knew what they smelled like - until recently! (I am fortunate. I do not.) - Wes


I was born and raised on Long Island in 1957. I have 5 brothers. Our bedrooms looked like your bedroom,the toys you had we also had. A lot of similarities. I'm not sure how I stumbled onto your website, but I've been enjoying it. Brings back memories.


Dennis D.
Levittown, Long Island, NY


Dear Mr. Clark,

Just a note to say thanks for the great page at http://wesclark.com/am/toys.html. I was born in 1960, and I remember almost all of the toys you mention. My sentiments regarding the toys are almost exactly the same as yours. Modern toys are dull compared to the Mattel Thingmaker and the Wham-O Air Blaster! I used the transformer from my electric train set to make a giant electromagnet with which I screwed up the screen on our new color TV. Boy, was my dad mad about that.

I do remember a couple of other toys from that era with some fondness: Incredible Edibles and Toot Sweet (which came out after the "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" movie). Do you recall either of those?

Again, thanks for a fun and nostalgic trip down memory lane.

Brad F.

Brad: Thanks! I recall the two you mention, but I didn't have them. I think they came out later in the Sixties or even the early Seventies. Funny story about the TV! - Wes


Wow! Just spent the day and had an absolute blast on your amazing website. What a GREAT vibe your wonderful recounting has given me. Wanted to sincerely thank you for that and tell you specifically how special your life is and this site are. What priceless treasures your life was filled with growing up. It seems, and you did a magnificent job of conveying this fact, that your most personal, heartfelt ultimate treasure of growing up was your parents. Now that, my friend, is enough to over fill anyone's heart with true joy. Thanks for inspiring me!

You Rock!
Jeff D.
Born in Pontiac, Michigan, 1962

PS, yeah, my mom put up the mirror tiles in my bedroom too. Mine were a mix of the gold vein with offset classic car mirror tiles mixed in. Even had the hanging lamps with chains! :-)


Hi Mr. Clark,

I have been reading your site for many many years. Your look back at your life growning up on the website is such a candid and light hearted account. It is such a hoot. I, too, was an only child growing up (34 year old Gen X) and alot of what you talk about reminds me of my experiences. In fact there are some parallels. What fun to look back at them.

The bit about getting stuck in the goodwill container reminds me of what my Mom used to do-she called it dumpster diving and her with her partners in crime dodging cops. I was, fortunately, smart enough not to go with her despite her pleas.

While Pops had some class to him, it was Mom's poor taste in things that were cheap or free, fragile, lacking any real decorative substance that prevailed. So my house growing up was almost as bad as yours, but not quite as "interesting." Mom did, however, have a very green thumb and literally make anything grow, anything. If it was not able to survive the Texas summer or winter, she could make it not only survive but thrive. I remember the banana tree she had.  It would survive the winter every year. It even had bananas on it every year. I was too scared to eat any, not sure what kinda chemicals she fed the plant to make it do what to me was impossible.

My Pops, while not a WWII Veteran, is a Vietnam Vet. Mom, while not from way up north (I actually lived very close to Berlin, NH a couple of years ago - Jaffrey, NH near the Mass border and man it was too cold for me!) she is from the mountains (of Tennessee).

Last Summer I flew into Irvine, California the day before an interview with a pharmaceutical company and had most of the day to kill. I got a rental car and drove around Orange County looking around. I guess I got bored around noon. Luckily I had brought along my GPS and thought to myself, "Maybe I can Find Wes' house up in Burbank." I could not remember the address to save my life, but I remembered Lincoln Street. So I punched in a street number randomly and off I went. I not only lucked out with the number it was the number of a house right next to your old childhood home. So I was able to make the "Pilgrimage" that all Avocado Memories Fans should make. Hahaha.

Anyway, it is always a fun time reading thru your memoirs.

Your Fan,

Mike T.


Standard Brands: The Fresno outlet of this chain provided me with happy hours of pouring media as I lived out my 1969 Jackson Pollack phase. I still have some brushes from that store. Thanks for the evocative rep. of California as I remember it. I left in 1971.


Jacob L.


What a great site! I spent a painful week going through my mom's stuff... and one thing no one wants, and we hate to toss is out is the famous Bellows Table!! I was trying to find one to see if there is any value to the old thing... or even if ANYONE else had one. I saw yours, and they looks exactly alike. Ironically, we lived in Inglewood... and my dad was a doctor. BUT... the top, entire thing, is solid walnut. The reason my sister in law won't take it... too many bruised shins from it... even if it DOES still have the two notches where my brother knocked out his two front teeth!! It was funny to see someone else had one and had the same complaints! I hated having to clean that thing when I was a kid! Alas, tonight, my son said the only thing he wants is, yes, that dang table. And since he is 22 and has applied to graduate schools, it means I get the bruised shins and the "conversation piece" for a few years. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Sue M.

Sue provided this youtube link of the bellows table in action... and has this update:

"Update on the table... we just moved it to our house, and under it is a stamped carving: "Handcrafted Original by David Scher, Van Nuys, CA"! So, you can tell Dave of La Crescenta, CA, I have one of the tables his cousin made. Still could be something to your mom's story... My dad was a doctor, and these were later manufactured and sold in furniture stores. There may not be many of the handmade ones his cousin made in his garage!"


I grew up in Magnolia Park from 1945 until 1953, and of course I remember just about everything mentioned on your site, including snow in Burbank in 1949. But, you also brought back memories in your section on Hollywood. I worked at Pickwick Bookshop in the 1960's and at Wallich's Music City at Sunset and Vine.

I used to take my allowance and buy used comic books from Harry and Gene, the owners of Cherokee Book Store, when it was in the Cherokee Building on the Boulevard. Back then, in the late 1950's and early 1960's, I would buy new DC comics at the newsstand on Whitley Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard and used ones at the Cherokee Book Store for five cents each. On day, Harry, who called me the "barefoot boy with cheeks of tan," let me look in the back room where he had stacks of older comics, including Batman and Detective Comics from the 1940's. He said I could buy any I liked, but they would cost more: fifteen cents each. Years later, when I wore shoes on a regular basis, and when I needed rent money, I sold them to Burt in the new location for a much higher price, but not as high as they would be today.

Great memories.

Steve S.


Hi, I have been reading your website for a while and enjoy all the stories. Some bring back similar memories. A friend of mine told me about the site and we even were laughing the other night over one of the stories --- I dont remember which one.

But I just read the story of the Tumbleweeds and 365 Bedtime Stories. I had about 3 copies of that book -- I had many copies of thje same book or record because all my relatives would get whatever record or book they thought would be good for a birthday or Christmas present.

I remember that I had unending copies of Rusty the Dog - oooh look a 46th copy of Rusty the Dog ---- or umpteen copies of Disney 45s --- most notably Spoon Full of Sugar/Jolly Holiday (which not understanding the cockney accent well enough, thought the line, "when Mary 'olds yer han' yer 'eart starts beatin like a big brass band ---" was actually talking about a lady named Mary Olgeran and couldnt figure out what that had to do with Mary Poppins.

I thought 365 Bedtime Stories was one of the greatest things to come along -- the stories were short enough to not bore you and exciting enough to hold your attention.

The two that I remember reading over and over was The Story of Kate and The Secret Room. As an adult in my 20s (30 years ago) I happened to mention the book to a friend of mine and she said , "Oh we had that. My favorite story was The Story of Kate. I remember that took two days --- I think --- because night one was setting up the story of the storm and the bridge and the train and the 2nd night was the actual saving the day by letting the train know the bridge washed out.

I found out this actually was a true story -- but long ago forget exactly where this took place. I dont recall exactly what The Secret Room was about -- but in my MId to late teens my folks put an addition onto our house and while part of it was done ( a new bathroom and my own bedroom) there was the unfinished part that stood behind a piece of plywood--- and I always referred to this area as The Secret Room (altho probably more of Dark Shadows overtones than Mrs Apricot)

The character I remember most in the books was Mrs Apricot and I thought she had to be the neatest person in that town. I also liked how the inside cover was the map of the town and showed who lived where.

As an adult I have often asked people my age if they ever had 365 Bedtime Stories and most of them give me a blank look and say, "Never heard of it." Thanks for bringing that memory back and how I would sit and read whatever story I thought was fun --- no matter what day it was --- I dont remember what story my birthday was (Mar 24) but I dont think it was that exciting -- of course not ---- probably something about that dog or one of the stories about no one just about the spring weather or something.

Rusty J.
Bedford Hills, NY (near NY City)

I agree... the 365 Bedtime Stories book was a great idea. I found a copy of the one I had on e-Bay and bought it. I used to read stories from it to my youngest daughter when she was little. I've got it set aside for grandchildren... - Wes



I was sent a link to your site and stories about ole WILDABEAST, by another MONTEREY alumni. Thank you for documenting this so wonderfully! Your missive had me laughing so hard and crying too! So...

Here are a few of the lines from my CITIZENSHIP RECORD:

10-1-64 Stepping on peoples feet
11-2-64 Jump rope tying
11-3-64 Restroom trip during class
11-20-64 Waving to 5th grade
3-15-65 Tripping David
3-15-65 Not playing in game during recess
3-15-65 Shooting Bananas at Bonnie Sue
1-18-65 Pen obedience
2-4-65 Being "smart" and Discourteous on the way to religion class.

There are plenty more...

Don't ask me why... however I made it through school, the College of Hard Knocks and have been realtively productive... all without a night in jail, nor have I committed any transgressions (since) that would warrant another page in my "book."

All the Best
Ron G.

Yes, I had an idea she had inflicted pain and suffering upon previous classes of boys... you had her just before I did. My lamentable introduction was in September 1966. She had no business teaching. Well, not boys, anyway. My own kids are all through public school now and they never had to put up with anything like her. I simply wouldn't allow it. Thanks for filling me in! - Wes


I just spent about 2 hours reading your entire website wesclark.com what a treat that was. And I don't think I'm done but I have to go to bed now. Really really loved it. It's strange, but I too actually revisited the house I grew up in but didn't have the heart to go inside. Like you, the people that took over didn't really take care of it well.

Today I live in Los Angeles, not too far from the In & Out you and your friend would end up at after doing "the cruise" and believe it or not, my favorite music is that of Martin Denny. I actually go record hunting for exotica records second hand at Amoeba or any garage sale- are you aware of the current exotica revival going on?

Anyhoo, I feel a strange sense of "knowing you" even though it's probably a strange understanding people can have even though the grew up millions of miles away from one another or even on two different dimensions apart.

Socks Off (via Facebook)



I LOVE your web site! I was born in 1964, so I'm a little bit younger than you, and was born and raised in Albany, NY, far from the west coast, but I'm surprised at how much of a common experience I had growing up with you. From pretending to be James Bond in Thunderball in the backyard swimming pool, recreating the bridge of the Enterprise, Dark Shadows (yes, I did the graveyard recreation too!) playing guitar [sort of] being an A/V geek, etc. That 1972 book about Dracula, the pool hall and beer signs, even the antiqued, avocado paint, and so much more!

Of course, I wish I had the photos to preserve my own family growing up during the 1960s and 70s, but in a way Wes, your memories, while very personal obviously, are sort of memories for all us boomers. Visiting the Clark household from the 1960s and 70s is sort of like visiting our own homes, and our own memories, in a way.

One request... as something of a fan of domestic mid-20th century architecture, I think an interesting addition to your website would be some diagrams of the Clark household, sort of like blueprints. I think it will help your viewers visualize the home a bit more.

Thank you Wes, and God bless!

Jack U.

Thanks for the kind words, Jack! Okay, you had a backyard Dark Shadows inspired cemetery as well? I'm crushed. I thought mine was unique. Oh, well... I'll take your advice and post a layout of the house. Thanks for the suggestion! - Wes


Good Day Mr. Clark,

Just a note to tell you how much I love your site and how sad it makes me. Love it for the history lesson you've compiled, sad for the fact I didn't document my childhood for my son. Never thought I'd have kids!

Warm regards,
Chris A.
Lincoln, Nebraska

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