The Back House - 1969

This dumpy little building was our "back house" at the Burbank home. The photo says it's July 1969; we built the in-ground pool in June 1969 but the back house doesn't yet have Angela's tiki gods on it, or Dad's netting, antiqued avocado painted door or various other decorative touches. Note that the door doesn't have a pane of glass at top. The reason is because about the time we first moved in - February 1965 - I was throwing D-cell batteries around in the back yard, and hit the glass in the door. (Why a d-cell? Mainly because expended d-cells were handy, and had a good feel and heft for throwing.) Anyway, it got cold in there in the winter!

The inflatable raft leaning against the house was Dad's sunbathing raft. He would sit in it for hours in the pursuit of sun-darkened skin.

The only real use for this house was to house the washer and dryer. It also provided some storage space.

My parents had ambitious plans for it, but I probably got more use out of it than anyone else.

In 1965/1966, when we first moved in, it was used as a place to set up my Sears Lionel train layout.

In 1966/1967 it was my Thingmaker factory, where I used Plastigoop to make insects. At one point, shortly after ABC TV's premiere of The Green Hornet in 1966, I painted the bare light bulbs green and turned it into the Hornet's hideout. The Testors green enamel cooking on the bulb really stunk up the place.

In 1968 it was the "Haunted House" in the backyard rides I gave the Gardemann girls across the street. (Click the Viki Gardemann article to read about those.)

That year it was also where Richard Springer and I built plastic models of World War II aircraft. That long, triangular bar-top leaning against the house (I do not recall where we got it) served as my desk. I'd sit in a discarded reclining chair and prop the bar-top on the arm rests.

In 1968 it also provided housing for my last cardboard spaceship, my version of the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise. (Read about that here, towards the end of the article.)

We put faux walnut paneling up on the walls in the early Seventies, and installed a big outdoor fireplace taken from the Alibi; we also put down carpet squares. This was intended to turn the back house into a guest room of sorts, but we never had any guests. (Also, since we never repaired the door, it remained too cold during the winter.)

The next use of the back house was to house the various neon beer signs Mom got when she started working at the Alibi, and, later, from our own business. I plugged about ten of them into various outlets and made a sort of neon display.

The house was finally used as mere storage. My comic books, kept in a big trunk, were kept here, as were various boxes with discarded dolls, crafts and other items.

One would normally think that a place like this would be an ideal bedroom for a teenage male, but I liked being within an easy, warm walking distance of the kitchen and bathroom.

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