Letters from 2001

NOTE: Various Avocado Memories reviews are here.


Dear Wes,

This is just a short note to let you know how much I like your Avocado Memories site. I can't remember how I got there - just idly browsing in a quiet moment at work... probably via some music site or other, since we share an interest in real music. Mine started when I was 6; my father bought a tinny litle record player and joined the World Record Club. The first two records we had were "Sunaround" (Rolf Harris - I wonder if that name means anything to an American?) and the Tchaikovsky violin concerto played by Milstein. I remember one day when I was 7, the second subject of the first movement of the Tchaikovsky had been going round and round in my head all morning at school, and I dashed home at lunch time, rushed up to my room and burst into tears. My poor mum hadn't a hope of understanding why... My first personally owned LP was (I think) the soundtrack to "Mary Poppins", a seventh birthday present, followed by an EP of the 1812 overture, bought I think with birthday money. I remember sitting with my ear pressed up to the speaker on the little record player, because it couldn't go loud enough to do the cannon justice - and yet it was still really exciting.

Anyway, Avocado Memories is charming and funny and I shall let my friends know where to find it - thanks for putting it there for us to enjoy.

Nick Marshall
(born 1957, grew up in Chatham, Kent, and Norwich, Norfolk)


Although I swore I would never do so, I just bought a ranch-style home (from 1959) similar to the ones I grew up in. I was searching the web for decorating ideas, when I came across your website. Six hours later...

I can't remember when I've been so entertained. I'm about your age, and your memories really took me back. I grew up in Texas, but we lived just down the street from you tastewise. Although my mother never allowed my father free reign to fully indulge his love of things "exotic" in our home decor, I do remember him embarrassing her by wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a plastic lei to accompany her grocery shopping and one of their ongoing disagreements was my father's beloved hi-fi recording of "Bolero," which my mother -- more of a Gunsmoke fan -- referred to disparagingly as "that hoochy coochy snake charmer music."

Fortunately -- at least for those who later bought our house -- nobody in our family was inclined toward "do-it-yourself" projects. But I do recall one of my brothers antiqueing a desk in, of course, avocado.

Thanks for the memories...

Pat Dougherty


Hello, my name is Ryan, and I have visited your site and was wondering if you could help me with something. I have been told I would have been the perfect flower child of the 1960's and the 70's but the problem is I'm only 20. Anyway, I was wanting to decorate my apartment like the 60's and 70's and was wondering if you could give me and tips or suggestions that I could use to create the perfect flower child apartment. Thanks for your time


Your desire for authenticity is admirable!

Flower child apartment accessories:

1. Bean bag chairs
2. Wicker furniture
3. Incense
4. Black lights and black light posters
5. Indian (subcontinent of, not American) art/fabric/throws
6. Stick-on flower decals
7. Loud wall paint colors

... that pretty much ought to do it.



It's a masterpiece.

I spent much of my day today hunting for old toys on the web and finding a couple that I had not seen in over twenty years. The haunting sensation of seeing that toy I loved so dearly, mingling with the strangeness of so much time having passed and that part of my brain having to fire up again and deliver the memory it was almost certainly sure it would never again have to access... so strange!

You web page captures the magic of that time of childhood. The all encompassing universe of the backyard. The intimate and intense understanding of the place that adults cannot begin to fathom.

Thank you for sharing! It was a delight to navigate through.

Bradford deCaussin


Your Mom reacted a tad different than mine did in terms of a "paint" story; although my paint was turquoise, not avocado, I decided one day to paint my playhouse. My Dad had built my playhouse onto our existing house so that from the outside, it appeared as an addition (small as it was). Anyway, Mom goes to the grocery store (for "milk, bread and cigarettes" - it was sort of her mantra). I get the paint out along with a roller or two and me, my brother and the two kids my Mom watched after school began painting the playhouse. WOW! It was turquoise! And we did it in like, 5 minutes! Now for cleaning the rollers...I, being the brains of the group, knew that turpentine cleaned paint. Therefore: lots of turpentine would clean paint faster! SO - why not POUR the turpentine all over the patio and ROLL the rollers in the turpentine! Shaw! Really, really clean rollers in no time AND surprise!! A patio to match the playhouse. Awesome!

"I will never use the paint again." That's what we had to write 100 times!

Yours in the 60's,
Sheryl Turner


I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed viewing your website. I think it's really cool to write about your past experiences and family. It was real interesting reading. The photos were really great and when you were talking about everything being avocado color, I began to think about the avocado kitchen I currently have in my home. I am the proud owner of a 1968 mobile home which came with an avocado colored sink, stove, and refrigerator. Amazingly, the refrigerator works like new. Even the furniture is vintage but of unfortunately, furniture doesn't last forever. I have to get rid of them because they are so shabby but at least I still have the other vintage items that were left behind. The old woman who lived here before me and my wife even had an avocado vacuum cleaner which we use today. Isn't that a hoot? hehehe. I thought it was kind of funny when I came upon that. Well, that's all I have to say. I don't want to bore you to death. You definitely have a dynamite website. Take care!



Just to let you know, your website was listed on a list serve for teachers who teach English as a second language- worldwide. International teachers were asking for sites that glimpsed into American culture and someone mentioned yours. I took a look, and while I could relate to a lot (like the Avon bottle collection), I'm wondering if a lot won't be lost in the cultural differences from group to group about what constitutes taste, beauty, etc. (I lived in Europe for many years and they have their own equivalent of the bobbing Hawaiian Dancer, etc.)

Anyway, the teacher who mentioned your site sugested a class project about their home homes/lives, etc. I'm off to read the car stories now which came particularly recommended.

Are your parents alive? How do they feel about the "poking"?

Maria Spelleri
Sarasota, FL

I will be the first to agree that Avocado Memories may lack something in translation to other countries! But I am happy to hear about this - it is as honest and as representative of an ordinary American childhood as I could make it.

Mom once briefly thumbed through a paper copy of AM; she found it before I posted it to the web. (She died in 1995 - I posted AM on the net in the following year.) She called it "Mommie Dearest" - not because of a tell-all nature of it, but because of my wording in the dedication. Frankly, I'm not entirely sure what she made of it! But I'm pretty sure she wouldn't be offended.

Dad died in 1983 - about five years before I started to assemble the Instamatic images in the binder that would later become the web site.



Great site, Wes.


You not only have a wonderful memory for detail, but you sound like a decent human being.

Aw, shucks...

I appreciate the balance, humor, and intelligence you demonstrate as you go about telling the story of your parents--and the story of American culture of that era, in general. Your gratitude to your parents is rare for members of our generation, but certainly well-placed. Our parents did the best they knew--just as we as parents do now.

Yes, the vast majority of parents in American society now, I feel, are good ones.

As I read your site and look at the photos, it's hard for me not to believe that you're adopted. First, you not only look nothing like your parents, but have such different tastes. I don't see how either of your good-hearted, hard-working parents could have possibly passed on your early interest in classical music and reading history.

This is a pet theory of my wife's, who sometimes calls me a changeling. I guess I'm Exhibit A in the case of Nature vs. Nurture. As far as classical music is concerned, I credit my father with that - despite the fact that I never observed him listening to classical music, ever. But he had some classical LP's in his record collection, and that set me off. I was seeking to emulate him as I imagined him in my mind.

Many small children suppose they were adopted, and I was no exception. I used to wonder about it when I was five or six. Perhaps it doesn't show in photographs, but physically I take strongly after my mother, especially with the nose and eyes. (Also, I am tall - 6' 4" - and this I got from my mother's side of the family. Her brothers were strapping French-Canadians.) She, in turn looks like her brothers and sisters, and her family seems to have gotten its looks from her mother - who died when she was very young. I seem to inherited by big chin from my father's side of the family. So... my genealogical research persuades me that I am not adopted!

Then there's the issue of . . . well, ethics. I'm not saying your parents were criminals, but throughout the site you tell stories of them stealing things (like decor items) from their workplaces, of your parents telling white lies and performing petty vandalism (stealing from a borrowed cabin, I think?) as part of normal daily living. You comment on these happenings sort of matter-of-factly, but it's clear that even as a child without religious instruction you knew this behavior was not quite right.

Well, I wasn't a saint, either. That behavior is often passed on by example, and I was looting things from the U.S. Marine Corps myself. (I never did any store shoplifting or anything like that, but I'm not proud of my high moral values in my early days.) In my early twenties I came to realize what a mistake it was - fortunately I changed my ways before I had children of my own. But all though Avocado Memories I have tried to paint an accurate picture of my upbringing and parents so my children (and their children) will understand. Being an amateur genealogist I thirst for information about my family...

At one point, you show a picture of your young mother standing outside a New York restaurant with some semi-shady-looking characters in trench coats who you claimed she wouldn't talk about.

Ah, Mom Noir. Yes.

Isn't it obvious, Wes? One or both of your parents used to have mob ties as young people. They might not have been in it themselves, but they were in that orbit, and at some point a kind "uncle" gave them a ticket to California and said, "Look, kids, head to a small town out West and make a new life for yourselves!" Isn't it possible that the mob gave them little Wes as a baby, a baby whose mother was a blue-blood (thus your taste in music and literature) who had gotten mixed up with some members of "The Family" and was accidentally killed during a hit operation, so they took you in and raised you as their own? Just a theory!

Gangster chic, eh? No... I don't think so. My dad used to talk about mobsters every now and then, but only in conjunction with observing them at the racetrack, where they stood out like sore thumbs. (Or at least they did to he and I.) Dad's only criminal record had to do with being picked up for the occasional bender - once, memorably, on Christmas Eve the year I was born. As for Mom, I wonder, but not seriously. She never gave me the impression that she once moved in circles of power - legit or not.

I grew up on a North Dakota wheat farm, but I can certainly relate to the decorating trends of the time--my parents tried to furnish and live as suburbanites, and largely succeeded. One of the things I can most relate about you is a statement you made somewhere on the site (can't find it now) about how you're an artist at heart, but you decided to go into engineering because it was a more practical way to make a decent living. This computer support technician in corporate America knows exactly what you're talking about!

I call it the Charles Ives Thing. Ives, one of my heroes, was the Grand Old Man of American classical music - a trained musician who wrote some incredibly advanced music long before the Europeans were doing it. His stuff was generally considered unplayable, and he would often pay to have it performed so he could hear what it sounded like. Anyway, when he married he realized he wouldn't be able to raise a family with his music, so he got into the insurance business to make ends meet. Every now and then he'd write music which he stored in his barn. When he retired he was a very successful New England businessman - and was eventually discovered by musicians and performers. As an old man he won a Pulitizer Prize for one of this symphonies. His comment was, "Prizes are for boys." Great story.

Before I go, I'd like to recommend to you Thomas Hines's wonderful work on the style and sociology of architecture and design, from post-WW2 to the early 60s: "Populuxe." Hines invented the word to mean "Luxury for the masses" and added the "e" on the end, as he puts it, "just for class."

It's not a long book or a deep book, but it is a fun and insightful one with lots of pictures to illustrate what Populuxe means and how it came to be. Read and review! You'll love it.

Oh, I'll have to find that; thanks for the recommendation!

Technician Tom
Overland Park, Kansas


I have been scanning through your web site all evening it is really phenomenal.


I have so many similar memries/experiences to yours growing up in Encino. My parents bought their house in 1963 and still live there. It's quite amazing to have that kind of legacy in my life. They recently repaired the waterfall in their backyard, which was built by the original owners in 1953, or thereabouts, when the house was new. Their last name was Wimsatt, and they were in the cement business.

Well, when you think of it, it is a type of historical preservation! (At least California cultural historical preservation...)

The house is now almost 50 years old, but still looks great. I used to talk about the house and the neighborhood on my radio show all the time. You would have appreciated it, I am sure.

Now for the BIG news..

I have a rebuilt, almost mint condition LIME GREEN 1965 Sting Ray!!

I. Am. So. Jealous!

I found a guy named Dave Cardonna, who rebuilds them and uses original Scwinn paint and stickers and everything. I have a red and a blue one also, they are the 1969 models, withthe larger sprocket, whcih makes pedalling much easier.

I had the Lime green modified to have a two speed kick back option, because the small sprocket they were using then is very diffiuclt to pedal when you are forty years old, as I am now.

I'd imagine fitting on one as an adult is a real challenge, too! (It would be for me at any rate. I'm 6'4" and 260 pounds.)

The bike is really incredible and brings back unbelievable memories for me.

I would love to do a site of my family's home and history like yours.

So, do it! Start with what you've got... take photos of your parents' home. And give me the URL when you've got it done.

I loved BATMAN in 1966 and actually had the GREEN HORNET Halloween costume in October of '66. I have a 1966 Chrysler IMperial like the Green Hornet car, the Black Beauty.

As you can see, I am pretty serious aout my 60's nostalgia.

Do you remember Wil Wright's ice cream? Hard to find anythng on that place. It was great though. I remember they had one in Palm Springs ad one on Ventura Blvd and Van Nuys Blvd.

Yes, my Dad and I ate at the one on Ventura Blvd. once. But most of the time we ate at Baskin-Robbins. They were closer.

What are your Ventura Blvd. memories?

Hmmm. Well, once, in 1968 or 1969, we were driving to Las Vegas in our 1966 Mustang, and we passed a station wagon that was broken down, with a couple of people milling around it. My parents decided to back up to see if we could offer any assistance, as it was a long way to a gas station. We were literally in the middle of the desert, and it was very hot. So, we offered to drive the husband and wife to the nearest gas station... they were rather big people, and I recall it was very, very cramped in the back seat of that Mustang! (My mom and dad, sitting in the front, were pretty big, too.) Anyway, when they disembarked they said, "We won't insult you with an offer of money, but here, take this," and they handed my parents a business card from a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant they owned and managed on Ventura Blvd. A month or so later we got a huge chicker dinner out of our good samaritanism.

Also, my mother once took me to a hair stylist on Ventura Blvd. I was 12 or so, and I can't recall feeling so uncomfortable before. There were the usual gay male hair stylists flitting about the place ("Oh, that looks heavy! Have one of the boys help you with it!" "Yeah, right," I thought.) and I wound up with hair spray in my hair - a new and unsettling experience.

Other than that, that's it. We didn't spend a lot of time on Ventura Blvd.

Did you spend any time in Encino, Tarzana, or Sherman Oaks?. I currently reside in Sherman Oaks.

Well, no. But for some reason my family had the opinion that the worst drivers in Southern California were to be found in Encino.

I loved every minute of childhood...my drum set...(I still have the "butcher blcok" finish Ludwig I got in 1973) my toys, my clothes, going to the Mall (remember Topanga Plaza in the 60's?) , the radio (KHJ), local TV..the whole thing..

I look forward to hearing from you...

Hal Lifson

Yes, Dad and I used to visit the Topanga Plaza quite frequently. When we first discovered the place, in about 1969, it was done up in the then-fashionable reds, oranges and yellows. What really impressed me was the centerpiece: what looked like thick fishline was strung in circular pattens from floor to ceiling (and this was fifty feet or so), and what I supposed was mineral oil dripped down the nylon lines. Now that I think of it, it was bizarre, but at the time I thought it was ultra-cool. There was a bookstore in this mall that I used to haunt - they sold tarot cards, which fascinated me. There was also an ice-skating rink - but that was an entirely different world to me.

There was also a Wallach's Music City there; in 1972 I paid $7 for an LP of the West Side Story soundtrack, which I thought was really over-priced - but I wanted that music badly. In 1975 my mother bought me a white Fender Telecaster from Wallach's, with a hard case, for about $315. Un played for years, I sold it in 1987 for $350 - and used the money to buy a 20 MB hard drive for a computer! Now my son wants an electric guitar - why didn't I keep the Fender?



I am glad someone out there still remembers good old Roller Games and Ronnie Raines.  I used to think he was the coolest. The best part about Ronnie was when he used to hit himself in the head with a toolbox or when he would get on the rail and pretend he was swimming or no maybe it was when he used to take that wad of gum and stick it in his eye. I am just glad to know someone still remembers. 

Penny Hall


Oh my! I was visiting your website and I must tell you how amazing it is...I had goose bumps. You are hilarious...I cannot believe you took all those pictures...funny but I did some photo taking myself...we have some similarities and I must express them to you...green walls and red sofa..okay no big deal..very sixties. How the rents' kept the place up--now we are talking. The way you describe it is like so surreal...actually it was my life growing up...I cannot believe it. Now the mom thing is amazing. When I read your commentary about your mom, well it could have been my mother you were describing..unbelievable. I mean my mom was always moving huge obstacles around. We would come home from school and the furniture would be re-arranged (huge pieces) and a new pond with a waterfall would be built in the backyard. It was god's own mystery how she moved all that stuff. Same with the dads I mean exact..my dad had a million tan lotions and would bask inthe sun for hours. Hilarious! I am so surprised another person had such a similar experience as myself...I love it! My brothers have read it and they were roaring as well. Does that just seem like another dimension compared to today or what? Anyway your site is entertaining and fun! Kudos to you.

Thanx for the show,
Babette DeBenedet

Thanks for the kind words. One thing I've learned by throwing my life onto the Internet in the way I have is that my childhood isn't as unique as I thought. And, probably, nobody else's is, either. Still, I am a little surprised to hear about your Dad's tanning lotion and the fact that your Mom also moved big, heavy pices of furniture around...




Great site. Thank you. I lived in Northridge from 1964 to 1975, aged 6 to 16. My Grandpa worked at Lockheed too and also drove one of those electric carts.

The Cushman!

His house close to the San Fernando mission was very comparable to your Burbank home. Grandpa had some big blocks of foam rubber in his back yard (scanvenged from Lockheed) that we liked to play with. At the time, it was a totally new material and very cool.

Across the street form the Standard Brands paint sotre in Burbank was a place that did the foam fillings for cushions, etc. I liked to go in there and bounce around in their waste foam pit. The owners weren't real thrilled about it.

When he & my Grandma upgraded their living-room furniture they got a matching set: Sofa, armchair & recliner from Sears, with flower-patterned plastic upholstery. We used to go to their house and watch Laugh-In together.

A note about Paddy Clark, Ha Ha Ha: The quoting thing is just the English style: they preface dialog by dashes instead of quoting it. Because the American market is so huge, most british books are released here in 'Americanized' editions that use the quoting style we're used to. Sometimes they even change the text substituing 'truck' for 'lorry', etc. I wish they wouldn't.

I didn't realize it was a "regional" thing. So I agree - they shouldn't. The story takes place in Ireland, why Americanize it?

Paddy Clark is depressing, yes, but no more than the history of Ireland. Roddy Doyle isn't making this stuff up, I think he's one of the best authors alive today. Try The Misfits for a lighter read, fun even if you've seen the movie. Haven't seen Button Wars but will look for it.

He also wrote the Commitments, which I recommend to rugby players as a great rugby movie. (There is no rugby in it anywhere, but the culture is similar.) Fortunately, Ireland seems to be undergoing a economic and cultural renaissance of sorts these days; my opinion is that it couldn't happen to a nicer country.

I also grew up reading the Penrod stories. Don't neglect 'Stalky & Co.' by Kipling for another take on the students vs. teachers thing. It's truly wonderful but you have to forgive Kipling in advance for being an unapologetic imperialist.

I'll look for it!


Paul Mackinney


I loved your site and memories. I'm about 3-4 years younger than you, grew up in a small town in Northern Wisconsin, and yet my memories parallel yours to a large degree. (No pool, of course) I remember thinking I would never see anything that hadn't been antiqued or painted avocado green! Our house was built in 1960 with dark brown flooring in the kitchen. During the kitchen remodel in the 70's we got avocado green flooring with bright yellow sunflowers on it! An improvement!?  

We played a game named ditch-um. Yep, cops and robbers car chases through this little town of 4,000. My best friend Barry had a Saab Sonnet. Tiny 2-door with a fiberglass body. Didn't weigh a thing, powered by a decent 4 cylinder with good ground clearance and firm suspension. Our favorite trick was to head full speed down an alley that we knew ended with a high curb before the street. We would never slow down, just fly off the curb. With the light weight and ground clearance we never had a problem. We relied on this trick when being chased by faster Mustangs, Cameros, etc. Never could rely on speed to win in the Sonnet!  

Hope you find your friend you're looking for. Barry and I still keep in touch for which I'm happy.



Okay, okay, I wasn't going to write. BUT...the mention of "SOO HOO's STORE", well, I just had to!!

I don't know how I stumbled on to your page (lord knows you must have every topic under the sun covered for search engines!) but, I saw that you went to Micheltorena and, well, here I am!

I went there in...wellll, I don't know. I'm about a year younger than you I guess so we may have been there at the same time. I was in Mrs Finleys class for sixth grade, Mr. Lee's class for 5th, etc etc ad nauseum. But I remember SOO HOO and to this very day, my brother and I are addicted to SEE MOIS!! did you ever have them?? wax lips, ginger, RC cola...thank you SOO HOO for the diabetes that I may someday have!!

Oh, and I moved to burbank in 7th grade, too, I went to Jordan and graduated from Burroughs (1979).

Whadda think of that??


Well, well, well... I suppose I should have expected that someday I would get e-mail from somebody who remembers Soo Hoo, but it surprises me anyway!

Search engines: I think what happens nowadays is that the page gets indexed by a robot and most of the words get included into a search engine. I really made little effort in supplying index words for search engines. I think they do it themselves.

I left Micheltorena in February 1965, when we moved to Burbank from Silver Lake; I was in the 4th grade. So if you were there prior to that, you and I were there at the same time. Interesting that you moved to Burbank as well! Do you remember the statue of the little girl in the covered outside lunch area? Last time I was there it was but a formless mass of what looked like concrete. The women in the main office asked me if I remembered it...

Do you recall the swastika put into the wet cement near one of the ground level building vents?

See Mois: Yes... an Asian candy of some kind that looked like a big chunk of bubble gum and was oddly sweet and sour at the same time. Apparently you can still find them in Asian markets because a guy here at work gets them. (They're also called crystallized fruit, apparently.) Can't say that I like 'em much anymore, though! My other big Soo Hoo's candy were Pixy Stix, Sweetarts and Jolly Rancher sticks.

Okay, here's one for you: Do you remember the Pulver candy machine at the entrance to Soo Hoo's, and the clown that used to move when you bought a one cent gum? I see those machines for thousands of dollars on e-Bay. And remember how we kids used to swarm into Soo Hoo's when class let out?




Based on some initial research (which I did since you responded), I think you've got two years' costumes mixed up. There was a company called Ben Cooper, and a company called Collegeville, but they are not the same. I have been unable to find if either one was actually in Collegeville, PA. However, I do seem to remember a costume store on a weird road down the street which may be the last remnants of the (definitely now defunct) Collegeville costume company. Here are excerpts from the information that I was able to find:


Most of the costumes come from two companies, the royal masters of Halloween wear: Ben Cooper and Collegeville. Ben Cooper was the McDonalds's of Halloween costumes, their name branding all the most popular outfits: "Star Wars", Hanna-Barbera, Disney. Collegeville certainly came in a close second (call them the Burger King of collectible costumes), with such great characters as the Visible Man and the "Electric Company's" Easy Reader, the latter being the only Halloween costume modeled after a character portrayed by Morgan Freeman. Halco, Bland Charnas, Super Star and Kusan also ventured into the Halloween business and their costumes were certainly more audacious, more bizarre than the ones created by Ben Cooper or Collegeville. For proof, check out the frightening transparent masks of Halco's "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." outfits, the stone-faced U.S. Astronauts by Bland Charnas, the Village People's Leatherman by Super Star and Kusan's gender-bending David Cassidy costume.


My initial research taught me that there were three major halloween costume makers: Ben Cooper, Halco and Collegeville. I also learned that they have been making costumes since at least the late '50s and that Ben Cooper was still making costumes as late as the early '90s. Most of the costumes are based on TV and movie stars but some are generic like a pirate, witch or a devil.

William Mill

Doing a search on e-Bay, it appears you are right and I was wrong. In the Seventies, the Ben Cooper Co. was in Brooklyn, N.Y. I thought that in the sixties I recall seeing, "Ben Cooper, Collegeville, PA," but I think you're right - I'm probably confusing two different companies. (It seems unlikely that Ben Cooper would move facilities from the Sixties to the Seventies.)

That link you gave for the Halloween costumes is great! I'm putting it on my links page. Thanks!



Hello wes,

I thoroughly enjoyed browsing your site, spent a few lost hours on it, when I really should have been doing something else, but I don't regret the time.

we're the same age, and have a lot in common, though I'm a northeast yankee. One thing that did strike a strong chord: the Man from Uncle, and your disdain for Mission:Impossible. Here's my question: I remember being offended when Mission:impossible came out because I felt convinced that they had ripped off the Man from UNCLE theme music. Does this ring any bells with you?

you have obviously made your website a labor of love - have you backed it up onto cd's for your kids? somehow i can't see the internet as a reliable long term archive...

please keep up the wonderful, and hard, work

scott marks

Thanks for the kind words!

Yes, I have backed up AM onto a CD. No, I don't trust the Internet as a storage medium, either...

As to the famous Mission Impossible music: no, I don't recall thinking it was a rip-off of the Man From UNCLE theme. Both were written in the cool jazz idiom of the era that had the connotations of intrigue and sex, which I recognized as being part of the genre. I've never seen "In Like Flint" or any of the Matt Helm films, but my guess is that they have theme songs somewhat like the two we're talking about. Or, they have the more bombastic style of music used for the titles of "Get Smart" or "I Spy."

I recall the ad campaign that preceded the first episode of Mission Impossible airing. It was very well done: quick edits of images of the cast performing spy activities with the music playing. No announcement, no text, just that. It was very provocative and sold the show well.

By the way, when I was a kid I came up with lyrics for the Man From UNCLE theme. It went:

U-N-C-L-E da da da duh/U-N-C-L-E da da da duh (then the flute came in - I didn't bother coming up with lyrics for that).




I really enjoy reading the info on your pages about the 70's. I logged on looking for the amswer to a specific question, and haven't found it. I'm sure you know. What year was the worst part of the gas shortage when we had loooooong lines and then a limit on the gas?

Please write to me; just a number will do so it isn't too onerous a request.

Thanks in advance,

Lance Hoopes in Sonoita, Arizona.

I recall two big years for gas lines: 1974 and 1979. While the long lines were newsworthy in '74, for some reason I didn't have to sit in any. I think the gas crunch then must have been of shorter duration. At any rate I was driving in that year, so I would have experienced it - but didn't.

I recall being in a line for a gas station in Burbank with my friend Mike that stretched all the way down into a residential area. On that occasion I recall filling up gas cans to put in the trunk as well. I think we were waiting for about an hour.

So my vote goes to 1979.

Oh, yes, gas was more expensive in that year, too. I had a 1968 Lincoln Continental that only got about 7 miles to the gallon around town. My gasoline bill was about $40 a week. Not much, it seems, now, but at the time it was a lot of money!

Anyway, as a child for years I recall that gas in Southern California was about 29 9/10 cents a gallon. (And a new VW Beetle was about $1,900.) In 1978, when I drove a black Porsche 914, it went up to about 79 cents a gallon. In 1974, when I bought my new Super Beetle, it cost me about $3,800. In 1979 my wife - then fiancee - was looking at a convertible Beetle: $9,800 - much more than we wanted to pay!



I just visited your homepage & saw your review of the book "Class" by Paul Fussell. I've been reading this book recently myself, and I pretty much agree w/your assessment. This book is quite depressing as I hoped to aspire to a higher class level. The section on higher ed. was particularly depressing as I've been attending a state univ. I would hafta say I'm in Category X too - I came from a prole background but have academic aspirations. Well, thanks for giving me an opportunity to email you. Hope you're doing well. Take care.

I'm glad Fussell gives us an out. If we aspire to status that we cannot legitimately claim (my grammar and table manners are still suspect, even after twenty years of careful tutoring by my long-suffering wife, who comes from a higher social class), we can always opt out of the system by claiming we're too eccentric, creative and individual to take part, as I have done.

Good luck at the state university, and don't lament too much that it's not Harvard or Yale. My opinion is that after you use the college to get a job it really doesn't matter much, for the rest of your life, where you went to college. - Wes


Hey Wes,

Just cruising around and came across your site. I'm a few years younger than you and was born and raised in La Mirada. So many of the things and items you mentioned reminded me of what my childhood. Even some of your TV shows jogged the memory. We had a green Amana side by side frig. I think we got it about 1966. It even had an ice maker inside! When mom wanted new linolium floors she got something that had a greenish tint to it to match the frig which promptly died. Your pictures reminded me of my neighborhood as a young boy.

Thanks for making me smile


Guestbook Comments

Note: The Geocities guestbook system is hard to manage and cuts off user entries. Nevertheless, here are the comments I got in 2001. I think I'll look for better guestbook software to link to this site! - Wes

Name : Denise White
URL : hubs-o-hell@mindspring.com
Comment : I adored your page! Some of my fondest memories center around my friend Lisa's house,which was remarkably similar to yours! White shag carpeting, velvet flock wallpaper, lavalamps, fiberglass furniture...yum! Great site. thanks

Name : Ronny Davis
Comment : Wes, I just spent 4 days in the Valley...San Fernando Valley that is. I was there on a training session due to my change of jobs. I jumped at the chance at going because, as you know, my roots are there. I thought I would pass some interesting informat

Name : Andrew
URL : Too many to list
Comment : This is a GREAT site... and inpiring too. I grew up in Vista / near Fallbrook, the Avocado capitol of the world about the same time - thanks for the memories! (How did I get here anyway?) Loved the Utah baby names collection too.

Name : david jury
Comment : wish u would add more every week, i keep checking to see if u have, great site, thanks for the memories.

Name : Yvonne Janssen
URL : http://weezenhof.nl.eu.org/yvonne
Comment : Hello Wess, I enjoy your homesite very much. I've been exploring it intently since 3 days and still am. I grew up in the fifties and sixties and in Holland (a small country in Europe), but I recognize the athmosphere. And now I finally understand why

Name : Judy Stuart
Comment : Hey Wes-- Your website is a "favorite." I checked out your new "sex" page: that is the best yet! Thank you!

Name : Sudhir Kekre
URL : sudhirkekre@yahoo.com
Comment : hi wes, at the end of the day, with nothing much on hand, i was aimlessly surfing on the net when i chanced upon this gem.i was touched. touched by your sentiment. i am sure your children are lucky to have such a sensitive father. and u r a wonderful nar

Name : michael.calcaterra@home.com
Comment : Life becomes Art and Art becomes Life.

Name : Matt McDougal
Comment : I lived in California St. Just off Clark very near the rail rd tracks - I graduated from John Burroughs High in 1964 where I met my wife and had 2 Kids - We moved to Oregon in 1985. Just wanted to Thank You! Bringing back wonderful for me and my family.

Name : sherri
Comment : I found you from "cruel site of the day" your site reminds me of another cruel site of the day page by a kid at JMU http://www.schuminweb.com/main-page.htm

Name : Dave baker
URL : daveatrectory@aol.com
Comment : What a fantastic site! Huge memories and a worthy project to hand down. Your humour is on a par with my own! well done and keep up the good work! Dave

Name : ~faith
URL : http://www.geocities.com/celtic_friends/home.html
Comment : I stumbled on your site and have spent the last couple hours roaming your pages. I just wanted to tell you what a great site you have. I laughed until I cried at some of your parents "decorating" techniques -- but the truth is, my parents weren't a whole lot different from yours.

URL : ahnastacia@aol.com

Name : Anat
URL : http://anatandfriends.tripod.com/
Comment : Hi, I was just doing some random site surfing, and when I came across your site I thought it was too good to pass by without leaving a note for you. So - I just wanna say : "Shalom!" You've got a super site here, come pay me a visit.... Greeting from Israel.

Name : MOE
URL : http://wtv-zone.com/moe/moesboomerabilia/index.html
Comment : Cool site, Wes. Although I'm Canadian, I, too, grew up in the 60s and my site is called MOE'S BOOMERABILIA, with 50 pages of pop culture from 1950s to 70s, with drive-ins, soda fountains, Woodstock, counterculture, Tim Leary, the Beat writers, Harley history...

Name : N3N Virgil
URL : http://n3n.tripod.com
Comment : Aha--Yes--- Bright bellbottoms, mirroed walls, high handlebars and avacado refigerators. Great place thanks for your time and effort. ---Virgil

Name : Joxxy
Comment : What, this is one friggin' stupid site. You coulda' wrote about anything in the whole world but you had to pick avacodo styles of the 70's! Way to go! Jesus Rocks

Name : alysia
URL : http://www.alysia.net
Comment : I don't know how I stumbled across your website but I once I started reading I nearly clapped my hands in delight and was sucked into the world that was yours as a child. I love your site, it's so refreshing and different.

Name : tim k
Comment : i'm sure it's been suggested more than once but, when are you going to just turn this site into a book?! i love the content, but hate reading online.

Name : Hoo-hoo Dilley
Comment : What honestly made you think anyone would care?!!

Name : Walt
Comment : Got here by following a link for "Major Matt Mason". What an unexpected bonanza of a memory flood the toys page released--I had a lot of the same toys when I was a kid, but what really took me back was the guns. I too had a toy arsenal.

Name : sherri
Comment : hey wes, you know you can view old toy commercial online @ http://tesla.liketelevision.com you might find that toy you're looking for.

Name : kathy
Comment : I Loved this site - bookmarked it for my husband - he had some of the same toys you did. My Parents decorated a lot like your parents did - We had those stupid plastic runners all through the house. My dad used an old garage door for our patio awning.

Name : 1967 Baby
Comment : I have been coming to your site for a year and a half now, and I never tire of it. I always get such a kick out of the pictures of your childhood home. But unlike you, I have avocado night mirrors! My parents painted our living room walls avocado green.

Name : Diane
URL : www.chrisknight-now.com
Comment : Hi!! Enjoyed looking at your web site. Love all the memories from the 70's!! Grew up watching all the old shows like Partridges and Bradys and now have a web site dedicated to Christopher Knight. Like to look at all the 70's web sites!!

Name : Dave W
Comment : I grew up on the east coast Allentown Pa. I graduated high school in 1978 and can really relate to your upbringing (The Adults Club) was a riot. I also love the 60s, toys and was a total Superman freak. Thoroughly enjoy your site.

Name : Dave W
Comment : Another cool site you might want to check out is Stuck in the 70s by Julie Fidler. It is the true account of her life in the late 70's as told through her personal diary.

Name : Bonnie
URL : www.geocities.com/truthseeker54
Comment : I happened upon this site because it was linked from another site. This is a hoot and a half! I am really enjoying this journey into your past... with some alterations, mine as well!!!!

Name : DEBBI

Name : Noel
URL : http://www.angelfire.com/music2/BednazStudios
Comment : This website is awesome. It's very well put together and the photos are interesting to look at. Great website design too.

Name : Mark Asadoorian
URL : nvmtgman
Comment : Wes, I remember that neighborhood! We moved from hollywood in 1978 to 325 s catalina st and i attended stevenson elementary, we then moved to parish st below alameda and then when i graduated from burroughs 1990 i moved to las vegas. Great site thanks

Name : "R.J."
Comment : Cute site! I'm a bit older than you, maybe by about 10 yrs but could see it from a parents perspective. My wife and I did a lot of the things your parents did form a "decor" standpoint. The mailaise must have been one of the "times", and even of a continent.

Name : Karen
Comment : Wes, here is a site I thought you might like... http://toonhead.tripod.com/sears.htm By the way, I am almost certain my grandparents had a bathtub in one of their bathrooms in avocado..Next time I go out there if it's true, I will have to take pictures.

Name : Karen
Comment : Hi, tried to email because this guestbook cut off the end of my message but the mail bounced back...is your email still valid? I was wondering how the antiquing process is done to antique avocado-painted stuff.

Name : Dawn
URL : http://www.geocities.com/lyecoathaeos/index.html
Comment : I was looking up other geocities homepages and this looked interesting, and it really is. Born in 76' I am interested in the 60's and 70's and your insight into the past is wonderful. I do hope your kids appreciate it as much as I do:)

Name : Thom Vandenbeld
Comment : hah! An absolute blast! I loved it!

Name : Chris R
Comment : Right on man!

Name : Adam Campbell
URL : abcamp@yahoo.com
Comment : I love your site...please include me on all your lists. Thank you, Adam

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