The Back Yard - Probably 1969

In Hollywood, this would be called an "establishing shot." I took it from the top of the chimney, looking down on our back yard. I probably got up there without Dad noticing me, and then yelled for his attention, which is why he's facing the camera.

During the summer he used to sit in that position for hours on end, listening to the transistor radio and tanning - the forlorn hope. Despite the fact that he used to buy a different tanning cream or oil every time he went to the grocery store - he had a collection of at least twenty or so which he kept on top of the dryer - he never became what one could call tan, merely red. He was perpetually sunburned on his face, like he'd been bobbing for french fries, or something. Looking back on it, I'm surprised he didn't die of skin cancer.

The pine trees in the back haven't gotten to their full size yet; they later grew to well past the level of that adjacent rooftop and kept the sun off of the pool. (Which meant that the pool, not being heated, became somewhat cooler.) They blotted out the sun in the neighbor's back yard as well.

On the right border of this shot you can just see a tiki torch. I had a great time with these, lighting them up at night and making the yard look like some sort of garish pagan ritual ground. (I also liked using the fuel for other pyrotechnic experiments, most often involving my World War II model fighter plane collection.)

This is a rooftop shot of Mom's rose garden. These were actually quite nice, and they grew abundantly with our care and unique watering system. We ran the washer discharge hose out of the back house onto the ground near the flowers. Mom cut irrigation ditches so that every time she did a load of laundry the roses got watered. They didn't seem to mind the detergent in the water, so the system worked out quite well.

Mom was very proud of these roses and worked hard at pruning and tending them. Nevertheless, one day she decided they had to go, so she ripped them all out and replaced them with low maintenance bushes. The bushes didn't provide the desired ground cover, so she planted roses again. Our yard was always a work in progress.

That corner to Mom's left is where the gazebo with the hot tub would later go. On the other side of that little gate is where we committed our environmental outrages of dumping used motor oil, behind the back house where the neighbor could view it. (We didn't really want anything growing there anyway. And who knows? Maybe some species of flora would have loved used motor oil the way our roses loved laundry water.)

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