Letters and Guestbook Entries from 2003
Love it. As a kid growing up in Canoga Park I can see we were all pretty much the same. A great generation of kids came from that area, we were exposed to a lot of talented folks. The nice weather also gave us plenty of time to explore our surroundings, especially during summer vacation and daylight savings. The parents and kids in our neighborhood did all the same things. Summertime in the backyard pools, the Santa Ana winds blowing into through the eucalyptus trees at Halloween, all that fun stuff. I remember those TV shows especially Sheriff John. My Grandparents had a beach trailer at the Surf and Sand Club just above Malibu. We used to drive up on Friday nights and stay the weekends in the summer. John had a trailer there and we used to talk to him as he walked on the beach, just like you said a genuinely great person. Anyway, enjoyed your work - thanks for the memories. The song - Laugh and be happy and the world will laugh with you, when people see you smiling they can't help smiling too. If you look out your window to a dark and gloomy day, break out a smile and in a while the gloom will go away. So laugh and be happy all the live... long... day... Later.
Ran across your site while looking up toys I owned back in the halcyon days of my youth (HAMILTON'S INVADERS!) and I could definitely relate to everything I saw there, from the Tarot/Dark Shadows/Monster connexion (though my youthful downfall was The Outer Limits, not DS, and I got MY copy of the Tarot book at a Kroger grocery store, along with the dread "How to Hypnotize")to Captain Russian and Superdud (I remember very plainly the first comic book I ever drew, "The Fantom of Flatwoods Lake", in which my effort to draw a frightened frogman resulted in a monstrosity a dozen times bigger than the "Giant" monster of the title).
All that aside, I saw an artwork of yours titled THE METAL FOREST that reminded me a LOT of the work Ross Andru and Mike Esposito did on a 60s comic called METAL MEN. Didn't see any reference to that on your site, but was it an influence? Just a curious question from a fellow babyboomer...
- Hmmm... now that you mention it, I see what you mean. I was a fan of Metal Men comics as a kid; they were well-written, interesting and original. But then, that's why they were popular. But no, there was no attempted copy or influence I'm aware of. I wasn't thinking of the Metal Men at all when I drew it. As I recall, it was more like a metal sort of city. The fact that I called it a forest indicates I was sort of tentative about the concept...
Hi. Just read your "To the Final Frontier in a Cardboard Box." Excellent ! Ah, to be a kid again. I remember my brother and I built the interior of the Lost in Space Jupiter 2 in my bedroom and spent DAYS playing Lost in Space with all the cardboard panels and wooden laser rifles. Sometimes I'll hear certain 60's tunes on the radio and I'm instantly eight years old again flying in outer space with the Robinsons! And wishing I still had my roto-jet gun! Do you know how much those are going for on eBay today?????!!!!? One went for $14,000 with the box recently!!!! The kid across the street and I pooled our meager resources and sent for the Polaris sub (from the Blazing Combat comic book), put it together and dragged it down to THE BEACH to ride it IN THE OCEAN. Needless to say it disintegrated into a hundred pieces the instant it touched the water (a REAL blessing of course)!
Thanks for bringing back the memories and I guess kids really were all the same back then... (I still have my Major Matt Mason!)
Craig in Orlando
I really enjoy your site. It has brought back a lot of memories. I watched a lot of Star Trek and Dark Shadows. I remember going to Sav-on on the beautiful "Golden Mall" and also the lunch counter at Woolworth down the street on the other side. Thrifty on the corner of San Fernando and "the mall" had a lunch counter, too! We thought it was really cool, when we were in about the fifth or sixth grade, to go there (without parents, of course) and eat a sandwich while sitting on the stools.
High School has a lot of fun memories. Do you remember the little plywood car, painted with a bulldog that used to run around at football games? Also, do you remember the "dog walkers" who walked the Bulldog "Pleasant" at games?
Another memory that your site brought back was when the two high schools had homecoming and Burroughs would drop red dye into the fountain in front of the Burbank City Hall. The Burbank students would get irate and self righteous! (Only because they didn't think to dye it blue first!)
I saw the e-mail from the former Glendale resident which was dealing with Brand Park. I remember the door in the side of the hill that she was talking about. It was located opposite the area where the "Green Cross" statue was originally located. I don't know what it was for either but I do recall seeing it in about 1968-1970. I haven't been up there, behind the reservoir, for about ten years so I don't know if it is still there.
Do you remember "Robert's Drive In" which was located on the corner of Olive and Victory? I remember thinking that it was the height of coolness to eat there in the car.
While my mother did not generally antique things, she did have some rather strange taste in wallpaper. In 1968 she decided that she needed to paper the main bathroom in shocking pink paisley metalic wallpaper. With this we had shocking pink shag carpet in the bathroom. It was frightening! People would go in there and just stand and say "OHHHHH!" They were trying to be polite but mostly were just apalled.
Keep up the good work! It is just great!
Thanks! Never having been to a Burbank High football game I don't recall the little plywood car, the dog walkers or the red dye. I was just out of it... Sorry, but I don't recall Robert's Drive-In, either. - Wes
While I didn't grow up in the time period of Avocado Memories, it was thereafter. Late 70's - 80's, but many of those things still applied. In a strange way, your site reminded me of my own parents growing up, and the silly little things that made it "our family." All the pictures you saved and posted were wonderful! The stories were so charming. I think I was about 22 when I found the site. And It was a turning point in my life. I was able to cherish those stories you put out there, and I have to thank you for it.
As a pre teen in the late sixties I lived in the San Fernando Valley community of Chatsworth, sort of an Avocado-Memory enclave for the "horsey set." Your musings on Burbank life and the period in general are spot on. We had our share of lacquered fruit and resin grapes in spite of my mother's uncluttered Scandinavian upbringing. Most of the Dads on the tight knit block worked in the management ranks at Lockheed or Hughes. My dad drove his Olds Cutlass to Wilshire boulevard every day as a true blue IBMer. We attended the LDS church on Reseda Boulevard in Northridge and I recall some pretty intense PineWood derby competitions there. I watched Hobo Kelly, the obligatory local chldren's programming of the time and my older siblings listened to 93 KHJ. Our kitchen was indeed a festival of avocado and our newly built tract home was so garish in some of its filigree/antiqued/faux Louis details that even my mother termed the style "early Jewish." For much of the time even my hair was green due to extended days in the backyard pool and the super chlorination of the era.
Thanks for a great site and for succinctly articulating an era and lifestyle that is very much a part of what I am.
From one Shasta swilling Sting Ray rider to another,
We were aware that there was an area of Burbank/Toluca Lake "zoned for horses," but I was never sure what to make of it. On one hand, horse-ownership denoted status; that was clear to me despite the fact that I was far more interested in space and super heroes. On the other hand, my father assured me - working with horses at Ft. Riley during World War II - that the smell of horses and the flies they attracted were a major pain. But this seemed to me like the fable about the fox and the grapes.
Lockheed/Hughes: Ah, the great days of the Cold War military-industrial complex in Southern California!
"Early Jewish": Well, this is an interesting phrase! Can't say I've ever heard this one to describe faux elegance in avocado, but I know exactly what you're referring to. Another good phrase is one coined by a reader of this website some years back, "The Mediterranean Torture Chamber." It describes a room filled with that dark, chunky cheap Spanish-looking furniture with massive candles, swords, maces and pikes strewn about. The red carpeting was also necessary for the proper effect, as I recall - I suppose it masked the bloodstains. Kind of like a Mexican Dracula film set. I recall that the major manufacturers offered console television sets in this style!
Back in 1988 or so I helped some people move out of their townhosue and into a detached home that a Tongan family had lived in, and there in the basement was the full Torture Chamber decor, with a wine rack set into a wall to complete the effect. (Rack somebody, have some wine, then use the pliers and branding irons.)
As for the Scandanavian Look, nobody we knew had it. I was always vaguely suspicious of it. It looked like something only an intellectual, socialist or New Yorker would love. Better for us to stay with the Early American "maple walnut" style Mom loved. (Which, now that I know the difference between Quaker, Williamsburg, Chippendale and other traditional furniture styles, I recognize as "kitsch.")
Your web-site sure does bring back some memories. I'm your age and grew up on the other side of the hill near the ocean. Second generation born in Los Angeles
on both sides of the family. My parents paid $65,000 in 1961 for the house I grew up in and they still live in, the only real difference is now it's worth way over a million
(crazy) Went to Burbank all the time to visit my Grandmother who lived on California Street near Pass Ave and you could find me in Van Nuys every cruise night in my
green 68 Mustang fastback wearing out another set of tires. And now I find myself living in Woodland Hills near Topanga Canyon with a French wife and three dogs
trying to buy back bits of my childhood through E-bay one toy at a time.
During your stint in the scout's do you remember Camp Josepho a Boy Scout camp in the Santa Monica mountains ? I do some Volunteer work up there and it's truly a time capsule.
In reference to an e-mail your received from Karen on 5/19/03 she asked if you remembered a toy that resembled a strip of fake fur with two eyes that would curl up when you pet it
and asked if you knew the name of it. Well my older sister had one which I sent into space with a Water Rocket, it was called a Hermy Squirmy.
Thank you for taking the time to remind so many of us how lucky we were to grow up where we did and when we did.
Man, your pages are certainly a lost part of Americana that doesn't exist anymore. Your house reminds me of the house I grew-up in as well. So many things like the aluminum Christmas tree and using batteries for ammo, squirting whipped topping into the mouth! My brother and I did that too! I don't remember having a green Batman sweatshirt, but I do remember the logo. And the ant thing, you tried it all to kill 'em, we also used firecrackers to blow-up their anthills! And the story about your Dad leaving the fridge door open, that's a hoot! I had that model of Superman, too, breaking through a brick wall. My room was filled with models and Star Trek pictures. And I had the Batman utility belt too, should have kept that one as well as all the comics I owned, didn't know they would be worth so much in the future..
Looking at those beer signs you had reminded me of our 'collection', my Dad owned a bar for a while and we ended up with all the electric signs and those wall mounted ones. You know, I did go to the Gemini link and I remember that too, as well as the 7 foot submarine toy. No, I never had either one of those. I wonder what kind of quality they were? Ah, the
good old days... I'll bet you never thought you'd be sharing your home life many years later on something called the internet when you took your pictures. That's a great website, I really enjoyed it.
As of the last few years, I have been collecting Star Trek items from the old days of the first show. I now have a Captains chair and all of the props from the first show. Eventually I'm going to have a 5.5 foot working Enterprise model with all the spinning and blinking lights. Love that show... Yea, just a big kid here...
I cannot thank you enough for the past hour of my life -- spent gazing at your cyber scrapbook of Valley life in the 70's. I laughed out loud several times and at one point had to grab a Kleenex to wipe away the tears of giggling.
Growing up in Sacramento, California, my parents also had a penchant for yard sales (I would wake up each Saturday to find some new "item" in our living room purchased for $20 or less). I don't think my parents ever bought a "new" sofa until this year. It was, instead, a rotating display of gaudy, half-sprung monstrosities that someone else no longer wanted.
Apparently, they were just ripe for our pickins, however. In a difference from your parents, my own parents REUPHOLSTERED the sofas when their already worn coverings showed too much foam and even sometimes put 2x4's underneath to provide more support to a sagging middle. Once the sofa could no longer be salvaged by either fabric or lumber, my step-father would take it apart and use it as fireplace fodder.
You are truly a witty writer and I think this deserves to be published as a lavish, glossy coffee table tome. I would buy it in a second. Honestly. And probably give it as gifts.
I can't guarantee anything will come of it...but I'm sending your site to just about everyone I know in the hopes they will laugh, cry, nostalgize and possibly garner you a publishing deal.
p.s. According to 'TIKI ROAD TRIP' by James Teitelbaum (a brilliant guide to all that is Tiki in North America), The Royal Hawaiian is still in business. He mentions the tikis were carved by Milan Guanko. I don't know who Milan Guanko is...but apparently he had a firm hand with the tiki knife.
It also mentions that there used to be four large outdoor tikis carved by Andres Bumatay, "but sadly only two remain." I don't know any more about Bumatay than I do about Guanko, but must assume that his tikis were either (a) more valuable or (b) more accessible than Guanko's.
I've enjoyed your site for the past five years. In the "what's new" section, I noted the addition of the "resin grapes".
I'm not LDS, but it's my understanding that the Relief Society pretty much had a monopoly on making these in the mid-60s. My best friend was LDS and his mother--who made them herself-- had them ALL over the house. Since I didn't know anyone else who was LDS, I began to think that resin grapes were actually part of their religious beliefs. My mother was "lucky" enough to have had some bunches bestowed on her by my friend's mom (my mom, in the interest of good taste, promptly hid them). I have been told that one could
tell which Utah stake the woman of the house lived in, simply from the unique style or design of her resin grapes.
On a lighter note, my parents are about to part with two beloved friends: a Hotpoint electric range (with an upper oven above the cooktop, where today's over-the-cooktop microwaves now perch) and a GE dishwasher, both in glorious Harvest Gold. They have a pretty tile counter and medium-color wood cabinets, so white replacements wouldn't click. They'll either use black or stainless steel ("the new neutral"). Since they don't make this style of range with the second oven on top, they probably install an electric range
and add an over-the-range microwave with exhaust fan. But not in Harvest Gold. The range dates back to the construction of the house (1972), while the dishwasher is #2, replacing a similarly colored Hotpoint which bit the dust in the late 1970s.
The GE side by side fridge from 1979, also in matching Harvest Gold, is still going strong, but I'm finally getting through to them that they could trim $20--30 off the monthly electric bill. So after 24 years of faithful service, it too may be a doomed species. They'll probably put a new stainless steel (I wonder if people will make fun of stainless steel for being in bad taste in thirty years).
Sooner or later we all have to part with old friends....
Keep up the good work
LOVE your webpage! Talk about a trip down memory lane!
I have a story about an avocado green vinyl couch and matching rocking chair.
My earliest memory of this monstrosity was 1967. It was where my older sister and I sat when watching "The Monkees." This ensured a good view so we could argue over which Monkee was cuter.
The matching rocking chair always squeaked. Even in 1967, when it was relatively new, it squeaked. Nothing helped. WD40, cooking oil, motor oil...my parents tried it all. In the 70's, the couch and chair were relegated to our vacation home deep in the East Texas woods. The high humidity and no air-conditioning in the lakehouse did absolutely no damage this furniture. It was indestructable!
In the late eighties, after finishing college, I ventured into my first apartment. Guess which furniture I got? Yes, the green vinyl couch and chair. HOWEVER, I had it reupholstered to a more, pastel-ish 80's pattern. And the rocking chair still squeaked. Each time I sat in it, I was taken back to the late 1960's.
I finally upgraded in the mid-nineties to new furniture and the last I saw of the old couch and chair, they were sitting by a garbage dumpster. And yes, someone took them.
I hope they don't mind squeaking.
Ha! Great letter...
I grew up listening to the sound of drawer pulls on some furniture my parents had in their bedroom. A sort of tittt-tattt-titttt as a pull gently banged on the brass backing plate.
When Mom died we sold the furniture to some friends who now live in Utah - who still have it. We visited them in January and I demonstrated the sound (again) for them.
Weird, isn't it?
Based on the toys you played with, I'd say we are in the same age bracket.
I had a SixFinger, and a Sooper Snooper, and the Mattell Pocket Knife Pistol. Boy the fun we had in those days! Everything was politically incorrect and just plain fun. Do you remember cap pistols? And those cheap water guns with the little plug in the back? ... now they make water guns that shoot perfect little water spheres up to like 50 feet (two at a time no less).
The 70's was an experiment in ugly house decor alright. My parents "Antiqued" everything in sight. Finally, my father decided to strip all the paint off of everything in the entire house and switch over to that stained wood look. He did everything from doors to baseborads to banisters. One time I helped him carry a solid oak door down tothe basement for stripping. When he was done the door was like 20 pounds lighter. It might have had 20 or 30 coats of white paint on it. Anyway, the wood look worked until the 80's when that look became old-hat but they never changed it. My dad passed away in 1986 and since then my mom has done some minor things with wallpaper but all the wood is still there and she still has a 7 foot dust mop she uses to dust the panelling.
My dad also had a penchant for making radiator covers that doubled as bookshelves (resulting in many warped book covers and smelly books). The other thing he did in the 70's when he wasn't brutalizing some defensless door was that he would make shudders. We had inside shudders with colored plexiglass (kind of like artificial stained glass but only one color) on every one of our 20 windows. Two sets fo the shudders still exists!! One in the room my brother and I slept in and one in what used to be our play room.
Thanks again for the trip down memory lane.
Just stumbled across your 60's tv spy show site, Spy Game. Too funny; it really brought back some memories.
In 1965 I was 8 but I am/was a girl. I soooooo wanted to be Honey West, Emma Peel, or April Dancer! They were just so sexy. I didn't know what that was but I knew I wanted it, too. (And nature - being the hysterically funny bitch that she is - really dropped the ball there!) I'd play Honey West to the neighbor boy's Sam Bolt. Did you ever do anything like that?
Not with girls. About the only thing we did was to spy on them! (Not with them.)
Real low-cost, high-on-imagination playing. Our fingers were our guns (Did you hear about the kid who was recently expelled from school for doing the exact same finger-as-gun playing?)
Absolutely ridiculous! We adapted Lego pieces to create spy gear. Once again, low-cost/high imagination.
And some of those toys you have - how cool!
Being an only child living with two wage-earners did have distinct advantages...
I remember lusting for the Sooper Snooper but the best I got was a blue knock-off periscope from the local Gibson's. But I loved it anyway.
As we are from the same era, maybe you know this. Do you remember a toy that was basically a strip of colorful fake fur with two eyes? You'd pet it and it'd kind of curl/arch up. Remember what it was called?
Wow. No, this doesn't ring a bell at all. Sounds like a girl's toy, which would explain why...
Again, loved the site and it's really got my brain thinking about some of those old toys we had. Record players that shocked you when the knob - inevitably - broke off; plastic goop, metal molds and a hot plate; all manor of toys made of thin metal that would twist and rust; metal, kid-killing, flesh-frying playground equipment; dart guns; suction cup tipped bow and arrows (the suction cup would come off pretty quick so we'd just shoot the sticks without them etc. But we did it without helmets, safety glasses, knee pads, shoulder pads, wrist pads, ankle pads, butt pads - unlike kids today, huh?
Yes, listening to child safety advocates it makes you wonder how an entire generation of children survived.
Thanks for the memories,
You're welcome! - Wes
I had written to you before and told you how much I enjoy "Avocado Memories" and how much it has inspired me in my memory book and scrapbooking. Last Saturday, my 13 year old daughter and I attended a 11 hour scrap in honor of National Scrapbooking Day and I made a layout of my Great Grandmother and told about the Barbie clothes she had made for me. I used some actual clothes in the layout and I won for "Most Creative Layout"... Just wanted to let you that you really inspire creativeness! I have done so much more journalizing because of your inspiration (and I think I may even be good at it now!) Just a note to let you know how much I appreciate all the hard work you put in to this site.
Thank you and God Bless,
For some reason that completely escapes me I was thinking about a book that I had when I grew up in South Carolina. It was about a bunch of kids that lived on What-A-Jolly Street. They had a kindly, old lady named Ms. Apricot who would tell tales about notes in tumbleweed and a young fellow named "Tumbleweed Tommy" who eventually came to visit her.
Anyway, I searched the internet and found your page. Interesting how two guys growing up 2000 miles apart can have such similar experiences. I even had a best friend with whom I built model airplanes and a neighbor named Diane that was older than us and acted as a "big sister".
I suppose that e-mail has become the note in the tumbleweed for the 21st century.
Dear Mr. Clark,
Loved your page "To the Final Frontier in a Cardboard Box." I too spent much time in cardboard, I built submarines and rockets. I also tried to win the Gemini but to no avail. (And get this: the kid who won it gave it away!)
I finally found one in a junkyard, and much to my wife's consternation purchased my own.
Really enjoy your site, Thanks
I have been viewing your site for 2 yrs now. I would just like to tell you that it is a great site; it makes me think back to my childhood and growing up... it is a nice feeling.
Hello! I love your site! I feel as though I already know you, and am surprised that I didn't, as I lived just one block over on Myers Street! You mentioned that your family had moved into Burbank in 1965; mine moved into the 1200 block of Myers in 1959.
I certainly could relate to your childhood memories of the old neighborhood, and would like to add a few observations of some things you missed by '65: The Rexall Drugstore that was on the corner of Victory and Lincoln had a cool "soda fountain" with counter, stools (with the red vinyl seats), and the old, original coin "music boxes" (what were those called?) on top of the counter every few feet, hooked to a "system", with a old speaker on the wall. It was located on your left when you walked in the back door. It was great!
I had to laugh at your observation of the unseemly nature of Erv's Liquor Store! It sure was NOT "kid friendly," and I always got the feeling something nefarious was going on there!
A couple of doors East there was a pretty good "Mom & Pop" Pizza Restaurant, with good crust, sawdust on the floor, (with a liberal amount of peanut shells strewn about), and a great old jukebox! A few more doors down (East) was the neighborhood Barber Shop, with the old "candy cane" cylinder sign. "Flat Tops" were the prevailing style. In '59, Spector's was the ONLY Market, and Ralph's Supermarket had not yet been built. By the way, at the original location of Ralph's, (it has since moved to the West on the same corner lot) is now a Sav-on Drugstore.
The first Ralph's was always having problems with leaks, due to that huge, flat roof. Across Victory from Ralph's was a A&W Drive-in, where you could get a frosty mug of root beer for 5 Cents! Directly across Victory Blvd from Spector's Market, on the entire corner lot, sat the ramshackle ranch house of former Boxing Champ Jim Jefferies ("The Great White Hope"), circa 1914. The place was in ruins, and we kids would sneak inside and explore the rooms... creepy! There were still some furniture covered in sheets, and the "haunted house" aspect was too great to escape our young imaginations! (Jefferies barn had sat across Buena Vista St. on the Ralph's lot.) I too had "Bum Encounters, however we seemed to gravitate to the "Five Points" area, and under the "new" bridge where we would ride our bikes and see the "bums" camping. Later we might stop at "The DIP" (where "Mickey's" now sits?) and get a bag of five Chili Cheeseburgers for a Buck!
"Those were the days!"
Thanks again for a great site!
p.s. Just a note you may find amusing: a couple of guys that I email with, who still live in Burbank, who have seen your site, have both independently begun signing off their Email with the phrase, "Avocado Memories" in place of "sincerely" or "yours truly."
I stumbled across your site while checking out rotten.com's links, and was intrigued. I grew up in the sixties and seventies, and can relate to so many of your musings. My life was a tad different, I also was an only child but was raised by a single parent. My mother who had adopted me at two. We lived in a very rural part of Florida on the Gulf of Mexico, so my childhood was very lonely with no other children to play with. Thus my imagination became a very important part of my life.
Enough about me, what I really want to relate is that your life reminds me so much of my husband's. His father was an engineer that worked for Y-12 in Oakridge, Tennesse, his mother was a manager for J.C Penneys. His dad never threw anything away, accounting for all the jars of rusty nails. He passed away this past December and my husband has been going through a rough time dealing with it. I have urged him to go on your site as I feel this would be a good way for him to think back and appreiciate all the times of his childhood. It would be sort of a cleansing (I know, new wave stuff and all of that).
Again thank you for such a wonderful respite to this crazy world and times. And as other posters have articulated, WRITE A BOOK! I, for one, would be the first one in line to buy it!
I wish you and your family the best and hope you keep writing from your heart!
Hi Wes: I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your website. I started reading Avocado Memories several years ago and try to check your site a couple of times a year. Hope that someday you'll be able to publish it all in book form.
I also thoroughly enjoy reading about your family -- how refreshing to read about a close-knit family. Having heard about the Osbournes (I refuse to waste my time watching people curse on TV), I would much rather hear about families such as yours. Take care and keep writing.
Dalma Ruiz Dickens
BTW, I was reading about your trips to Del Mar w/your dad and noted that he was from Brooklyn. I was raised in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.
I just wanted to email you and tell you that I loved your website about your childhood home.
Even though I was born in 1983, I grew up in a house that had shag carpeting, gold kitchen appliances, and room dividers that were put up in the 1970s. The house is still like that, but I went off to college in 2001. Growing up I was often ashamed that we were stuck in the 1960s and 70s due to our inability to afford any upgrades. Looking at your website, I appreciate it all now. Even though I didn't grow up in the nicest house, with all the professional decorating, I grew up in one that was a home.
My parents to this day still improvise when it comes to decorating, and don't see a problem with finding a decorative owl from the 1970s at a thrift store and putting it up in the living room. It definitely was a unique experience growing up. As silly as this probably sounds, I cried a little looking at your pictures just because it reminded me of the house I grew up in, and even reminded me of the house my mom grew up in. We just sold my mom's childhood home to a couple that totally remodeled it. The basement had a pool table, an inflatable airplane hanging from the ceiling, the same pool table light hanging over it you have in your pictures. Call me sentimental or whatever, sometimes it's just hard to say goodbye. Sometimes it's for the best, it's great when you have pictures to help you remember.
Have a great day!
"Even though I didn't grow up in the nicest house, with all the professional decorating, I grew up in one that was a home." I am now convinced that this is all that really matters. It took years for me to realize this... thank you for writing! - Wes
Just wanted to take this op to drop you a line, to tell you what I thought about your Avocado Memories website. In order to not over word it, let me just say that it hit on a lot of memory endings, and evoked memories, emotions, and feelings of fondness, happiness, and halcyonic vestiges of a youth that, at the core, we all share.
I loved it. Thank God for Avocado Memories, Wes. Thank God for you. I hope you can write me back, but if you cannot, be well and happy. You have a friend here, even though we have never met.
Lay off tarot cards. They are bad news, man. Sincerely.
You're welcome! By the way, I haven't done anything with Tarot cards since I was a kid. - Wes
I am sure enjoying your web site, however, I cannot go any further than the kitchen! I will try later. You have brought back so many happy memories. I was born in 1955 at St. Lukes Hospital in Pasadena and I grew up in Arcadia. I am now living in Tustin, CA. Your writing is funny, sensitive, nostalgic, and plain fun!
Thank you for the memories.
I was surfing the net looking for, believe it or not, info on cracked marble tables, and came accross your website. It was a delightful walk-through of what I think were the good years.
I live in Alberta, Canada.
Job well done.
Whatever happened to the 1011 model? I found one at a garage sale. I paid 10.00 for it and sold it for 600.00. Once in a while you win some.....
Having grown up in Glendale during the 60's and 70's, I was enthralled by your site and the vivid memories it evoked of my "Wonder Years" childhood. There is nothing like quasi-mid-century Valley life - no one here in Connecticut where I now live can understand the pull - avocado kitchens and all!
I also recall hiking over the hill behind the Brand Library to see the first houses that were built there in the early 1970s. When we were kids, the cheap entertainment for our family was watching airplanes take off from the end of the runway at Burbank airport and going to the drive-in near there (what was it called?), all in our pajamas. We learned to swim at the Burbank Y in an outdoor pool, taught by a surfer named "Skip." Bob's and Farrells live forever in memory as the prime teenaged hangouts, along with Van Nuys Blvd on Wednesday nights. Our idea of good clean teenaged fun was toilet-papering people's houses and driving around squirting passersby with water-filled fire extinguishers. I had a Mormon friend who also introduced us to the parking lot atop the hill that you mention, where we staged fake lover's quarrels and impersonated police officers to distract our making-out peers.
Please don't ever let your site lapse, and keep adding pix. It is true that with all the changes wrought by time, you can't go back again but at least you CAN linger for a while in the memories.
Thanks again for a great site,
Glendale High Class of 1975
I stumbled upon your Avocado Memories website. What a great read! We grew up in similar times though I in midwestern-Illinois. In particular, I got a huge charge out of your toys section. I have tried to find pictures of my favorite and had nearly given up, assuming, maybe, my aging brain is misfiring and dredging up things that never really existed. But NO - there it is, the Mattel Sonic Blaster! I'm not crazy. I remember we used to blow cigarette smoke down the barrel. When fired, it made a visible ball of ghostly white which left a tiny trail as it zoomed down a hallway. We also sprayed Raid or my buddy's ugly sister's smelly perfume in it and fired it at the bridge club from the top of the stairs. Got me grounded but good.
Great memories! Thanks a bunch.
J. Mitch Hopper
I stumbled upon your site, and I love it! I'm a year older than you are.
In addition to the profusion of avocado, I especially remember my mother "antiquing" everything in sight. She once antiqued a beautiful bench/hall tree (circa 1880) a beige color, removed the gorgeous brass hooks and replaced them with pieces of wood to form the base of candle holders for the ELECTRIC candles she installed in them. She used to call it "the world's biggest night light."
I also had every camera that you had listed as well. Brought back memories! (I still have the Brownie Hawkeye camera.)
Thanks for the trip back in time!
I like your website!
Anyway, I have been searching the 'net for several years for info on the Brand mansion, now the library... Why I'm looking: I grew up in Glendale in the 40s (yeah, that makes me old) and the mansion was not a library then, but was open for tours... there was a playground and we spent a lot of time there. We went in and out of the house (quietly) because we could, (a little hide and seek) and it seemed no one was ever around!
A schoolmate of mine lived on the property (her father was a caretaker) but I don't remember ever seeing her out there playing, but I did go to her house once in a while. The mystery I want solved (my mystery) was, what was up in the hills behind the house...My girl scout troop hiked up a road behind the house, an authorized outing... and there were peculiar doors in the cliff wall along the road we hiked. We made up stories about those, of course (gold?)...any ideas/knowledge from you? Also, when we reached our (Leader's) destination, there was a little ghost town up in the mountains we prowled around. Movie set? I can barely remember some of the buildings, but we thought it was great! Only went up there that one time. I've found a site with a lot of pictures and stories of the Brand family, and love the pictures... I live in Iowa now and haven't been back to Glendale for years, but driving up the drive to the library brought back so many memories! Sure has changed a lot, but the mansion was the same. I'd like to hear from you...
Wow, Susan, good question! I have been up the trail behind Brand library a number of times in the Seventies and Eighties. Here is what I recall: 1.) A family cemetery; one of the monuments is a pyramid. I was thoughtless enough, once, to have a friend snap a photo of me balancing myself at the apex. (See above) 2.) A cross with a bronze statue of a lady - this has since been moved to directly behind the library. 3.) A (possibly unused) public works water reservoir of some kind. Anyway, it's a big pit with a concrete structure in the middle. 4.) A dirt trail that winds up into the Verdugo hills. I walked this, once. It leads to the top of the hills, where you can see on the other side. I forget the name of the community you can see. Anyway, across the hills from Glendale.
I do not recall seeing any doors in the hills, nor do I recall seeing a set. But, as you suggest, it may well be that a movie was shot there at one time.
Hello, we so enjoyed reading about your stingray riding years. We too are fans. We bought a lil chic at the thrift store for $12.99 and are now hooked. My daughter and husband both have blue 5 speed stingrays. Thanks for sharing your web site, you have a great sense of humor and we thoroughly enjoyed your creative writing style.
I've worked up the courage to write to someone I've never met and no less making contact via the internet. Egads! Last evening I spent six hours visiting your incredible 'Avocado Memories' website. Tears flowed not only from some deep down memory from my own childhood being drawn to the surface, but also from unchecked laughter at your motoring exploits with your buddy Mike.
This morning, however, I experienced an added treat by actually entering your site properly and getting to meet your lovely family.
(I did a Google search last night for retro furnishings and the 'Avocado Memories' site was listed-go figure). Anyway, I spent an
additional two hours this morning catching up with your life. I can say with all honesty that of all the personal pages/sites I have ever
visited on the net yours evoked an emotional response like none other. I won't go into depth here, as I am sure you are a busy
This letter is to encourage you to turn 'Avocado Memories' into a book. Keep not only your memories but countless other children of
the sixties memories alive by pursuing your dream. Although my memories are 'Harvest Gold' (I was born in 1964), the relationships
and characters you have so vividly brought to life in your writings could have been my family and my neighbors in Muncie, Indiana. It's
not that your cast of characters are generic...please don't misunderstand. It's that we had just as cooky, quirky and weird
'humans' in our lives and our home as you did on the west coast. Since transporter technology was not perfected at that time I'm sure
I can safely say that we harvested our own cast of outlandish characters in Muncie.
Your dedication to your site is appreciated by many. Please keep it up. If you decide to write the book you have a sure sell right here
(as long as you autograph it for me). I wish you and your family all the best and continued success. Thanks again for taking the time to
so openly share your remarkable life.......
P.S. We had a desk just like the one pictured in your room. I gave it to the salvage yard behind our machine shop a couple of years ago.
P.P.S. I hope that within your classical music collection you've had the pleasure to enjoy anything by Vaughan Williams, Bedrich Smetana and Zbigniew Preisner.
Dear Mr. Clark,
I believe your wife is accurate in saying the grapefruit Shasta colas was yellow-green. Of course this may not have been til later because I remember it as one of my favorites in my own childhood (mid 70s -80s). And it was available in Washington State where I grew up.
I also want to tell you what an inspiration your website is. Your writing is excellent! It reminds a lot of Stephen King and his more nostalgic work (eg: Stand By Me, Hearts In Atlantis, and It), but not the scary parts. Your writing has style but without pretense. You have a gift for passing on the excitement and wonder of your youth.
I am trying to be a writer and I stumbled upon your website researching some characters for a story I am mulling over in my mind. I will definitely be back to visit and read some more. I think passing on stories of our youth is a vital medium for appreciating and cultivating a history and culture that is vibrant and enlightening. My father spouted stories of his youth to me as I grew up; it told me so much about who he was, as well as who I was. I love to hear other people reminisce about their lives, especially when it has such entertaining details.
Thanks for your terrific Sixties Toys page. I spent twenty minutes or more,
looking at each photo and exclaiming "I remember that!" and reading your copy. I
remember Major Matt Mason and some of the missions he had to endure, as well as
every weapon and spy kit you listed. If I didn't have it, Bob or some other kid
in the neighborhood did.
In fact, I recalled my Dad and I in the toy department of some store (perhaps
the Payless) selecting a Lieutenant .45, and running into our neighbor, Jim. Jim
joked with Dad about the realism of the pistol; Dad said he could just picture
someone taking the toy .45 take one up to the check-out stands and, instead of
paying for it, using it to rob the cashier. Such talk would get the ninnies
My own son had to settle for squirt guns that were shaped and painted black like real guns, but had bright orange barrels. Eventually, we just bought him squirt guns that came in wacky neon colors! But - unlike my squirt guns, these were motorized and had ten gallon canisters. Very effective. - Wes
Guestbook Entries for 2003
Name: Wes Clark
Date: 15-Dec-2003 07:51:22
Regarding confusion between me and the person who is running a (failing) campaign for the U.S. presidency:
1. I had material on the Internet before General Clark. That's why there are so many google hits for my websites.
2. Anybody looking at my pages who can't tell I'm not the man running for president is ignorant about whom he is proposing to make the
most powerful man on earth. He has no business voting.
3. I have a disclaimer at http://wesclark.com. That is sufficient.
4. Hey, remember the First Amendment? My material and websites stay as they are.
STOP THIS WEBSITE NOW. OR AT LEAST PUT SOME SORT OF DISCLAIMER TELLING PEOPLE YOU AREN'T GENERAL
WESLEY CLARK. THIS IS LIKE THE 3RD WEBSITE THAT APPEARS WHEN YOU GOOGLE FOR CLARK. PEOPLE COULD
THINK YOU ARE THE GENERAL AND THEREFORE BE EXTREMELY TURNED OFF AND DECIDE TO VTE BUSH.
PLEASE STOP THIS WEBSITE NOW.
Name: Amy in Antarctica
City: Fairbanks AK
Date: 17-Oct-2003 21:57:23
I love this website. All you have to do to change it into my childhood is to change the city. It is almost the same story as mine. That
is so cool! When I visit the house I grew up in (the first 23 years), you can still see "Amy '73" pressed into the cement next to my
little foot prints, and "Amy 1978" carved into the tree. My house is 70's style and I love avocado green!
Name: mike mucha
great stuff!! I live on Chandler Blvd (soon to be landscaped into a bikeway) burbank hasn't changed much from your time! i gave 2 little
ones that i'm raising.. (one 19 mos, one 2 mos) it should be a fun ride..
City: Lauderhill Country: USA
Date: 23-Sep-2003 10:28:43
This site is awesome, good job, lots of great information. For those who are looking for 70's and 80's commercials on tape, visit www.videomercials.com Thanks, and keep up the great job!
Name: Jodi Lambert-Belke
City: Whitefish Bay, WI
Many thanks for this awesome, unique site! My face hurts from smiling for the last hour! I was born in 1966 and recognize comfortingly so much in your shared memories and photos. My husband is always making fun of my obsession with my youth in the 60's and 70's and all the funny details that goes with it. It's obvious to me now that I'm not alone as I've found so many cool websites like yours and I eat 'em up. Personaly I think he's the one missing the boat on this one! Thanks again for the great trip down Memory Lane. Keep writing, you're really funny !
P.S. I think your mom and dad had pretty good taste in decorating--after all it was the 70's!
Hi Wes! (I feel weird calling you that, cause I don't even KNOW you and all.. but,hey) First off I'd just like to commend you on a brilliant website! The set-up (design, etc) is fab,&I really had fun reading your stories too! I'm a 20 year old from Ireland,and just stumbled upon your site when i was looking for sixties style decor ideas.. such a good idea to set up a kind of memories "scrap-book" online. I'm like
one of those people who wishes they had lived in a different era,so I'm well glad to have had a chance to read about your experiences and imagine the time that you grew up in!
Anyways,I'm rambling on here,so I'll just shut it now.. but I think I'll deffinately be back again. Thanks.x
Name: Martyn Haggett
City: Lancaster, CA
Good job on your web site. A lot of work has obviously gone into it. I grew up in Burbank too and went to Burbank high. Seeing your site
brought back a lot of memories.
Name: Mitch DiSalle
City: Drexel Hill, PA
Add me to the growing list of your admirers, and those whom you have inspired with your Avocado memories. I don't even recall how I got here, but I've been back several times, often leaving with tears in my eyes at the hilarity and memories that your pages have evoked. We could have been friends! I grew up in Southampton, PA - a suburb not too far from the all-famed "Levittown" - a land of cookie-cutter houses in various pastel colors, some later with E-Z-brick faux finishes and added-on carports as we aged.
I'm inspired even more, though in my head it's been planned, after reading your webpage(s) to write my own sort of "journal through time" about my life as "Child 5" in a 7-kid household, growing up with one bathroom, a neurotic mother, and a purple AMC in the
driveway. Thank you for the many smiles and the great peek into your past. It's a gas! ~ Mick.
City: Verplanck, NY
Great job, Wes. Though I'm a couple of years older than you, I could really relate to your sections on spy TV/movies, Lost In Space and
Trek, etc. Excellent cultural history here! And I STILL think Honey West is a babe!
City: Appleton, WI
Thanks for the memories - I had to laugh when I read about the old avocado color now being called sage - it is the exact color I have
painted one wall in my kitchen. I was wondering why it looked so familiar!
Name: Debbie B
Hey I wanted to get a hold of Wes Clark who lived in burbank in the 70's, I think I know you and your brother if his name is Herb.
Please let me know...
Name: Hal Taylor
City: Irvine, CA
Thnx for your Farm House page. You and I made history today-- I was the last person in the world to set out thinking they were going to eat at the Farm House buffet. A google on "Farm House" yielded your page the sad truth. (Although I hadn't eaten there in 15 yrs I mysteriously began craving their fried chicken during the last few days).
Your site is well done and very touching. As compelling as any thing you see on the Biography Channel. Although I'm taking the reverse path you chose-- I grew up in VA (Maury H.S. 1962) and I'm retiring in CA I have been out here since 1978 so the so. CA nostalgia angle is starting to work for me.
City: Redondo Beach
Grew up in Burbank in the 60's - 70's. Any memories of the Burbank Theaters, Cornell, Magnolia ?? Golden Mall ? Those were the (daze )!!!!!
City: Simi Valley
Born & raised in Burbank...my Mom was too & she has lots of her own "Avocado Memories!" Great site!
Name: Barbara Bryan
City: Roanoke, VA
I've been helping a falsely accused Filipino mother who's serving on the Nimitz while local govt. in Calif is ripping off her two children
(baby dtr given unconsented Hep B at Day One in military hospital so fat chance she doesn't get blame for head swelling and children removed) AND I received a series of awful pictures of a flight deck and what looks like a dead body and pictures of a brain (no IDs) but the name www.rotten.com is at the bottom of the pictures. I never found the pictures on the site but on my first visit I found all kinds of
things, eventually checking out links that led me to your updated Avacado Memories. Here I sit in my office with avacado paint on the doors and window frame and part of the very colorful rug. It's still good. It was great to hear from Cari how well the children are doing. Best to you. Barbara
Looking for memories of the Cornell Theater in Burbank, any pictuers of the inside ?
Name: Mike (again)
City: Edina, Minnesota
Oh yeah, just an aside: My grandfather came up with the original Reddi Kilowatt as a lark at a convention down south back when. (He co-founded Iowa Power & Light) Reddi's cool!
City: Edina, Minnesota
Great site! Wow, Shasta Root Beer; "...to be consumed in great quantities..." Indeed, indeed! But CRAZY CLOCK! I loved that game! I had utterly forgotten about it, but I recall every nuance upon seeing again!
Name: Susan Mundy
City: Tustin, California
Thank you for the memories!
you did a greath job: deeply emotional it revived my own childhood when ever in a diffreent place @ a different time i regret not having enough pict lik you to build a same site. We are our memories but dude, it's hard to cope with the passing by of time!
Name: Art Winters
City: Miami Fla
Wow that Miss Johnson was a real "BEEOTCH" I think we all had teachers that we didn't care for but she take's the cake! Wild movement during TV time (Slacker)!
City: San Francisco
Wes, Thank you so much for taking the time to craft such a comprehensive and important piece of culture. As a student and collector of all things nostalgic and/or historical, I look forward to trips to your site as a welcome trip back in time, far removed from the worries of my everyday life. I think as our generation gets older, the study of popular culture is more accepted as a study of traditional history - we being the first true generation of mass media and mass marketing. Your site is a fascinating piece of history, nothing less. Thank you.
I actually have a couple of questions, if I may. I searched your old letters, but found nothing on the topic, so forgive me if you've been asked this before. The television show "The Wonder Years" is often referenced as a comparison to this site, and yet I have yet to see your thoughts on the series. The cast of characters is somewhat different, but the similarity in setting and emotion is unmistakeable. What did you think of the show?
Secondly, I must relate that one of the most memorable memories of my youth was being petrified by the Manson Helter Skelter murders of 1969. It gave me nightmares well into the 70s. I'd love to hear your recollections of the event, being the naive Southern
Californian you were at the time :)
Thank you so much for the wonderful time capsule!
To be honest, I didn't see many episodes of it. I'm not sure why, other than the fact that I don't tend to watch much new broadcast
television; most of my TV watching is on PBS or in the form of rented videos. (And most of those are films 50 years old or more.) I also get a kick out of cable access and local programming.
The episodes that I saw, I liked. From what I could tell it looked like a really well-scripted and produced show with a lot of heart.
I especially liked one episode that was set in 1972, when Kevin was 16. (Which makes him my age.) It was an interesting little story about politics in America, and the youth of the time becoming involved with it.
The Wonder Years was on in the early Nineties, I think, when my kids were younger. (They are now 19, 16 and 12.) I was probably too busy watching video cartoons and other programming with them at the time!
And as for the Manson Family murders, I recall them, but for some reason they didn't have much effect on me. I suppose I was too young and careless (age 13 at the time).
Thank you for the kind remarks...
Name: Dave Bloom
City: Allentown Pa
Hey Wes "Great site" I'm 43 so you have a few years on me but it's so cool looking through your site. I grew up on the East coast Allentown Pa (as in the song by Billy Joel) and it's interesting to get a glimpse into the life of someone from my era that grew up on
the West coast. I was a big Lost in Space fan as well as the Three Stooges and many other TV shows of the 70's. Also a great time for music (except Disco). Your Marine page is interesting as well "Semper Phi Do or Die"
I just wanted to say that I totally enjoyed your website. Ah, take me back to the 60's and 70's! I read your timeline (and yes, I went to
your SEX page; you got me), and I want to know more. I want to see wedding pictures and what you do for a living, etc. How many kids? You took me into your life with your time-warped website, and left me hanging. Okay, so I am a woman and want to know that the knight married the princess and they had a trillion kids, etc. Okay, maybe not a trillion, but I would like to know more. Thanks for allowing me to visit your site.
Name: Mary Alice
City: New Mexico
I lived on Amherst Drive and then Keystone Street between 1955 and 62 and just love my memories of Burbank in those days. I graduated from BHS in '62. Thanks for the memories!
your page really rocks! Nicely done, nicely designed, touches the heart and the funny bone. Good job!
giving a lecture to the students enrolled in introduction to environmental design on perception - will pass an avocado around, sewn
into a piece of black cloth, and have students 'guess' what it is...then will talk about perception and design...we'll see how it goes ~
City: Lakewood, CA
Having grown up in socal in the '60's and '70's, perusing your website is like looking at my own family album! only yours is organized, with
great commentary! awesome job...i've been revisiting the site ever since i first discovered it a few years ago. thank you for bringing back memories that have been buried for 30+ years. southern california in that era was definitely a weird, but wonderful place to grow
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