NOTE: Click on the appropriate links for letters archives from 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998 and 1997 Also, various Avocado Memories reviews are here.
Though I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and graduated in 1979, the memories invoked by the photos and commentary are very vivid. I thank you for taking the time to share this with those of use who grew up in similar neighbor hoods with similar parents. The past is very precious, and a wonderful thing to pass on.
I both laughed and cried at some of your comments about your mother and father. “Taste” is such a relative thing isn’t it? The time period of the 60’s and 70’s created some pretty interesting “styles” to say the least. I know my parent’s bedroom was an odd shade of pale green with lots of black iron accessories. When I repainted it for my Dad in the last moths of his life (1999), I wondered at what had inspired my mother to choose such combinations. My parents divorced a few years after my brother and I left home. The house was NEVER redecorated after that. It became a museum of our child hood in a sense. I lived with my father the last three months before he died in February. Most of that time was spent cleaning and painting and getting rid piles of papers and paperwork in the basement.
I was amazed that after I dug though the dumping ground of the workshop in the basement, I found our old work bench. Not unlike you and your parents, we got a lot of things second hand. This was an old cloth cutting table/storage unit that a fabric store was throwing out. It had a section cut out in the form of a hanger and a bin shaped the same. It was designed to drop hangers into it so they could be reused in the store. My dad converted this into a trash can that was not emptied very often because how awkward it was. To my surprise, it was still full. As I pulled it out I noticed the remains of a balsawood plane I had built and quickly destroyed in 79. It was my last attempt at building planes as I moved on to other interests. I had spray painted it silver. What a funny feeling to see it again after twenty years!!
I LOVED the section on building cardboard space ships. Jeff Remus, a neighbor two doors down, and I would spend hours creating detailed control panels out of wood and cardboard. Wisconsin weather being as it is very unkind to cardboard that is outside for any longer than a few days. Our attempts at large ship construction failed early on, so we stuck with multiple control panels we could put into Jeff’s parents VW Micro bus – the perfect space ship as it had a “space hatch” sun roof. I also spent a lot of time creating communicators, phasers, and tricorders.
Thanks for reawakening some very fond memories.
hi, thanks for your website. It was just what i was looking for. My sister just bought a house in calif. that the owner lived there since the 60's when it was built. She hadn't changed a thing! My sister bought it "as is" and a lot of the old stuff was left behind, to marvel at. When my sister sent me the pictures of the house i was amazed that she paid, $390,000 for it!!!!! I noticed that your home sold for a lot more in 1986 that the $18,000 originally paid. Now i don't feel so bad for my sister! Also, i was just a kid in the 60's, but i loved it all the same, it was just the best time. So your website was so much fun and i'm so glad you took all those pictures. I just sent your website to my sister and i know she will also love it as much as i do! Thanks again, suzi in misssouri but a California girl at heart
Just want to say how much I enjoy your website and chronicle of your Burbank life. I graduated from BHS in 1965 (little older than you) and lived on Frederic street down from what used to be the A&W. I am sure I walked by your Lincoln street house plenty of times. All your pictures and memories resonate with me. My mother just died in Burbank in 2006 so I have been maintaining contact with the place. I now live in Connecticut and will not get back much but still think about the place fondly. For me, Burbank ended at the Smoke House and once I ventured into that stranger land I never returned. Anyway. have your site bookmarked and will keep up.
It's been at least 7 or 8 years since I last dropped you a line to compliment you on your Avocado Memories site. We're only 1 year apart, and I was born and raised in L.A. and Orange Counties, so not surprisingly your site still brings those days back to me in a very special way, and I appreciate and thank you for maintaining it.
I just wanted to point out something I noticed in the kitchen pic. Knowing your penchant for the microscopic detail of the pics you post as I do, I submit the following without fear of you slamming your forehead and calling me an anal so and so...
Contrary to the alleged frugal nature of your parents, that coffee maker on the counter was one of the most expensive (and still is) domestically produced home coffee makers available: The venerable Bunn Pour-O-Matic, standard fixture in just about any fire station kitchen in Southern California for the last at least 40 years. (I'm a retired firefighter, hence my knowledge of that useless fact.) I wouldn't be surprised if the machine pictured is still in service. The one at our Station 18 had 30 years daily service under its pot and was still brewing great coffee when I retired.
Anyway, I just wanted you to know that your folks made a very wise purchase with that machine. But then again, knowing your family the way I do courtesy of your virtual memories, your Dad could have very well bought it used from Lockheed for a few bucks.
I guess I'll never know! Take care Wes.
That Bunn Pour-O-Matic was purchased by my mother at the Smart and Final Iris store in Burbank, where she used to get supplies for the Lincoln Cafe. Smart and Final specialized in supplies for the local food service industry, so I'm not surprised that she wound up with an institutional-grade appliance. That time. - Wes
I had no idea anyone would document the era in which growing up was so special. Even for Canadians I salute you and your website. A splendid accomplishment!
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
What a joy to find your 60's toy page! It brought back a flood of memories of my only child toy days of the sixties. I remember many of the toys you had, I had also. The Magumba set, Secret Sam Briefcase, The Agent Zero M Radio, Knife, Sonic Blaster and Camera. Guns and rockets and spy stuff beyond desctiption. I can really identify with
your experience. My Mattel cap firing Sixguns, Hotwheels, Matchbox Major Matt Mason (with Crawler and Moonbase) all live in my memories. I too had Captain Action w/ the hero suits( Superman and Aquaman). My Dad was a Fireman and when was dressed in his fire helmet, boots and coat he looked like he could save the world.
Some toys that I had that I thought you might enjoy remembering were:
The die cast Goldfinger 007 Aston Martin w/ working ejector seat (w/ "ejectee" ..the first thing I lost), machine guns and bulletproof shield (Corgi?)
1965 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Playset
Mattel Agent Zero M Movie camera which fired a roll of caps "machingun like". (it really did!)
The Agent Zero M (or Man From Uncle I can't remember) Cigarette Lighter. An over-sized lighter that when pushed exposed a barrel that fired a cap. But...the coolest thing came when you opened the body. There it was, a fake cigarette door that opened to reveal a secret spy radio inside.
The Lost In Space Motorized Robot (I had a friend that had the unbelievable, deluxe Lost in Space Jupiter 2. Made of multi-level, multi- compartment styrofoam complete with chariot and action figures. It was HUGE. Man I wanted one of those).
A huge Green multifunction Rifle that shot grenades and rockets circa 67 or 68 (the height of the war in Southeast Asia). Ithad a detachable cap pistol that fit in the bottom. Probably Marx or Hasbro. I have a picture of me with this somewhere.
There were many others. I managed to keep the "destroyed" (by my cousin) Aston Martin, The Radio Rifle and Movie Camera Machine gun . I was an only child but many of my toys were passed down to my younger cousins or sold in garage sales (a major American tradition in our family).
Thanks for the memories.
I first poked my nose into your site back in the late 90's - and I have to revisit it from time to time; it's poignant and goofy, insightful and silly. I love it.
Maybe you remember this TV program - it was a local show, I think. I don't recall the name of it, but the guy who hosted it was a beatnik/hippie looking guy, and I think he hosted old horror movies (kinda like an Elvira character, except not as slick.)
What I remember most about it was the cheap shlocky set and the music he played - it was the 'I like peanut butter, I like toast and jam' song.
It was kinda creepy and scared me a little. To this day, that song sends little shivers down my spine.
Things I liked about the 60's/70's:
- Ben Hunter program and his oil dripping lamp - I remember wanting one so badly.
- Carpet you could rake. My mom only had high/low carpet (in harvest gold - still there.)
- Thick, soft fuzzy yarn girls would wear in their hair.
- My sister's giant curlers and ratted hair, and the hair dryer that had a bonnet that she'd wear over her curlers. It was pink. The Noxema she'd wash her face with.
- Records and record players and album covers.
- 15 cent comic books. Mad Magazines - except the issue that said not to look at the back of the magazine - that one terrified me.
- My metallic blue Royce Union bike (My parents didn't buy Schwinn - too expensive) with a sparkly blue banana seat and sissy bar in the back, w/ a blue and yellow license plate.
- Gemco, Sears, cuz they would give you free toffee nut samples (hated Zody's and White Front)
- Suede purses with fringe - my sister bought me one for my birthday - it was wonderful.
- Pasting Blue Chip Stamps in the books with my mom and sister, then going to the Blue Chip Store.
- PeeChee folders. Free balloons and book covers from Vons.
- Abba Zabbas and Chick-O-Stick penny candy (my brother and I would scan the streets and stores for dropped change.)
- Wearing hats or chapel veils and dresses to church.
- My mother and her friends playing Mah Jong all dressed up. My mom would smoke, but only if she was sitting down.
- Evening in Paris bottles.
- Knee Socks.
- The Van de Kamp ladies.
- The fact that my dad worked at NCR, which was right next door to Eldon toys.
- My sister's wedding where the guys wore butter yellow tuxedos.
You're a wonderful story teller - keep up the good work.
If I knew the correct spelling of Sargeants, I would like to share a memory of that special place!
We ate there many times when we had 3 small children -- it was comfortable for families. One time my husband's chair gave way and he was dumped onto the floor! Amid sawdust and shattered hushpuppies he attempted to remain composed as a bevy of solicitous waitresses rushed to his aid. Although uninjured, he was a bit unnerved. Someone from the restaurant offered him an "on the house" piece of pie as a good will token [their regular dessert-prune whip? was better than pie]. I was prepared for an offer of our dinners at their expense so I was disappointed Prune whip doesn't sound exactly right; "whip" may be another word.
There's an old lady in Burbank who enjoys your memories and has some good ones herself!
I just returned for a trip to Los Angeles and was spending the morning having coffee in my new L.A. mug and Googling some things we saw and visited. One was Tally Rand, where we had the most delicious breakfast..luckily no food poisoning. From that search I linked to your site and I was reeled in by your nostalgic take on your adolescent environment.
I seem to be the only sibling in my family who ever talks about our old house (I still have dreams about it). I so enjoyed your writing style and the details that you so keenly elaborated upon. I absolutely love Southern California and wish I had the chance to live there in the sixties and seventies. I still can get a sense of that time period thanks to a lot of saved architecture and signage out there.
Thanks for allowing me to time travel with you. I am so thankful to have grown up in the seventies and early eighties when the world was at least a little naive still, aren't you? I wonder if kids today are getting the same experience. Somehow, I think not. We are the last lucky ones.
I figured I was the only guy alive who remembered the IHOP Pancake Man. I've mentioned it to my wife and several of my friends (old geezers like myself), and no one remembers the show.
I'm from Riverside, which is about 60 miles west of LA, and I grew up watching ALL the old shows you mentioned.
I'm pretty impressed that you still remember the song, although I remember it slightly differently. This is how I remember it:
The Pancake Man, the Pancake Man
No more time for the Pancake Man
Got to hurry, time to go
See you on tomorrow's show
At the International House of Pancakes
I could be wrong, though -- it's only been 43 years!
There was an IHOP two blocks away from my house. Once the Pancake Man made a personal visit, but we were late and I missed him by just a few minutes. I never forgot that. Odd how these things stay with you.
The link you provided on your page was interesting. Someone put a lot of time into the site "LA TV Legends", and had a nice article on Seymour, who I watched with irregularity (because he was usually on past my bedtime).
Yes, I, too, remember the Pancake Man. Always enjoyed that show before school. And yes, I also recall a bitter disappointment from childhood: I misbehaved, once, in pre-school and they took me out of the class while they were starting an especially interesting flannel board story! - Wes
I'm just writing to say you've got a really great site! I stumbled across it while surfing through the web and I've spent some hours on it just browsing and getting a good laugh from your stories. It's pretty much the only way I'll ever be able to experience the 60's and 70's, child of the 80's that I am hahaha, so thanks for the vicarious thrills! Looking forward to more stuff on the site in the future.
Your Shasta Summers page says that Shasta cream soda came in blue cans, but that is incorrect. They were yellow with brown lettering. That was always my favorite flavor, and I have a couple of old cans in my display case. They make me think of my grandpa's refrigerator, which was lined with Shasta "pop" (as he called it).
You might also mention that the steel cans were opened with "church keys" back in the mid-sixties. The first pull tabs were introduced in 1963, although they weren't ubiquitous for several years after that. When the pull tabs did come out, we collected the them and made chains that we strung around our rooms. Very hippy. We also stomped on the empty cans and made "shoes," which we then wore around noisely.
Also, while Shasta was originally a California company, ironically, it is now more available in the East, and the company has told me that it no longer markets its products widely in the West.
Thanks for the correction, James - I have updated the article! - Wes
Wes, yours is my favorite website of all time! You must have put years of work into it. What fun I had reading about your kooky family and growing up in the 70's, like I did. I lost track of you for a while (got a new computer and forgot the website's name, etc) and after much description about the guy from California to my brother, who is a 70's fanatic, he sent me the link and I found your site again. I was checking out "what's new" and lo and behold, saw the covered wagon lamp!!! We have one. My husband made it in shop class at school. Exactly the same thing. My older son had it in his room for a while when he was small.
I thought I'd share with you a memory of the late 60's that used to scare the hell out of me...remember the "Johnny Smoke" public service ad? I remember covering my ears and laying facing the back of the couch to escape the terror whenever it came on and I was alone. I think it only came on when I was alone. I barely remember it...(I was probably five), just the feeling it gave me. I couldn't find a video online anywhere of it, but I did just order a DVD of classic old commercials, just to have it. I think I snagged it for about $7.
Have a great day, just wanted to say "HI"! and keep up the great work!
Thanks, Anna! I don't recall the ominous "Johnny Smoke" ad at all. The over-played anti-smoking ad from the Sixties I remember was the famous, "Like father, like son. Think about it." one. I can still hear the music in my head. - Wes
Just a note to say thanks so much for a hundred and one laughs. You are just a *tad* older than me but seeing as how things took longer to make it to Mississippi than California, for example we didn't get Earth Shoes til '75, I can laugh out loud at all of your avocado memories because I have many of them myself. I still remember in 1971, when I was 7, my parents covering our oak floors with harvest gold sculptured carpet purchased at and installed by Sears--except in the bathrooms and kitchen where a multi-color faux tweed look indoor-outdoor was chosen. Yes, you heard me right, carpet in the kitchen. We found out the distinct disadvantages of this when my brother set an entire pan of Ore-Ida shoestrings on fire and popping, flaming grease made terrible black melty spots on the nice kitchen carpet. I don't know what boon in the family finances occurred in 1972 but that summer our entire house (outside and inside) was doused in avocado green oil based paint. Even the fabricated metal picnic table and 55 gallon drum bbq grill were painted that same avocado green color. I still own my mother's ironstone dinnerware in avocado with deep forest green trim.
I am a collector of any memory I find online and when I was reading your site noticed that you were a Shasta fan and thought I would share this photo with you. The Chocolate Cola is especially appealing, don't you think? I have photos of the Funny Face koolaid if you would like to see them as well.
Oh, although my father always went and chopped a "real" cedar tree down for our down-home family Christmases, my husband got a big kick out of the aluminum tree with color wheel featured on your website as they had one just like it. My dream in life is to find a picture of our cardboard Christmas chimney with fat Santa climbing up the side....then my life will be complete.
Thanks again and take care.
I was sent to your site from someone on an 80's message board.
I was born in '65 but I can fondly remember the same type of Avocado Memories that you posted.
My memories are actually Harvest Gold, that's what Mom always picked for stoves and washers/dryers.
My parents had me rather late too, so I had a Korean War dad, and he always mugged it for the camera too. I have many pics of him sticking his tongue out or making some weird face. Especially during backyard barbeques, which all Dads love.
I didn't notice any of the infamous Z-Brick in your house. We had that fake brick background in our living room, along with black leather sofa which froze us in winter and in the summer we would stick to it.
My dad did some creative interior decorating in the 70s. Shag carpet was in, so we had green shag everywhere. He liked green, every house we moved to, he painted the shutters and trim green. Well for some reason Dad decided to also carpet the walls of the hallway. I asked him about it last year or so, and he just said it was "a thing to do."
I wish I had some pics of Mom's Christmas decor. I don't mean aluminum, which is retro-cool. I mean plastic statues with fuzzy outsides that wore off after a few years but she still never tossed out. Stringing garland up the stairwell, then hanging ornaments off it, putting garland around pictures on the wall, etc. Pictures that hung on, yes, a wood-paneled wall.
My older brother ran home to watch Dark Shadows with Mom. I always missed it, plus I couldn't stay up late like him to watch those fun local Saturday night TV shows with weird and/or creepy hosts and awful movies. Dr. Creep was our local ghoul host, and he had a head in a box named Garoro. My brother decapitated more than one of my dolls to make his own Garoro. I would up with a lot of headless Horsmans that way. For revenge I played with his Major Matt Mason dolls in the bathtub.
My worst memory? Well, my name is Heidi. Mom was German. She liked to braid my blonde hair and put me in frilly dresses. That's the setup. Now, remember how much fun it was, each October, going to K-Mart or someplace to pick out your Halloween costume? They came in boxes, I can't remember the name, Ben Cooper I think. You had a plastic mask and a plastic suit thing that tied in the back. One October Mom came home from work excited because she found the perfect costume for me. Yes I was peeved that I didn't even get a chance to see what that year's costumes were and pick my own, BUT to make it worse, she pulled the box out of the sack (Ohio lingo). It was...Heidi. It came with a mask of a blonde girl with braids, which I had to wear, over my own blonde braided hair.. That was the year I went out on Halloween as myself. And I'm still bitter!
When I want to feel like a kid again, I sniff a box of crayons. Strange? Maybe, but it works. better than sniffing other substances to hallucinate in Avocado or Harvest Gold.
I was doing an internet search tonight on the old Akron Store (remember that? it was one of my favorites) and ended up on your letters page. From there is was a virtual walk down memory lane. Having grown up in the 60s and 70s (I was born in 1953) it brought back some fond memories, and some not so fond. :-) I've lived in Southern California (south Orange County) since 1973 but grew up in the San Jose area after moving there in 1960 from my birthplace of Seattle, WA.
Your commentary on "The Carroll County Accident on the Tallahatchie Bridge" and the Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" was perfect. I too share(d) the same questions and thoughts for many, many years regarding those two songs. I know have them on iTunes and as a result finally figured it out a year or so ago. LOL
Anyhow, wanted to let you know what fun it was to check out your site. I wish my mom and dad took as many home and family photos as yours did. My dad was a bit of a celebrity in the Seattle area back in the 40s and 50s as a Golden Gloves boxer, business owner with his own TV show, so there were plenty of photos and newspaper articles on him though. You can check out the site I created in his honor after he died three years ago.
i grew up in southwest iowa and alot of your experiences were things we did too. one thing i recollect after reading through your site was my friend, jimmy davis (always getting me into trouble), had one of those "Mattel's Agent Zero M Sonic Blaster". we had a nursing home nearby and we would wait for the old guys to light their smokes - then we'd blast them. Later jimmy davis decided it would be cool to shoot dog poop out of it . . .
also, i just picked up a 1967 ramshorn stingray fastback - just like the one i wanted back then - i had a hiawatha paperboy bike :(
oh yeah - back then, everybody's dad was in the war - that was cool too
Re: The artwork hanging over your head in this photo: We had the IDENTICAL pictures in our Burbank house at 942 Ontario Street, where my family lived from 1950 until Mom sold the place and moved to a retirement village in San Diego in 2002. (They paid $12,000 for the place. Mom sold it for $350,000 in 2002, but it would sell for double that now. The world has truly gone mad.)
I’m not sure why I remember this, but the pictures were purchased over on Magnolia Blvd at Empire Furniture—over about near Catalina Street. Remember that the store was painted brown, and the “E” in Empire extended over the top of the façade? My folks considered this the upper-end furniture store, and the expenditure of $10 on the painting of the kid with the straw hat was extravagant. At any rate, the artist was Paul Detlefsen, Empire Furniture’s answer to Norman Rockwell. (Hey, the way I look at it, at least the artist wasn’t Walter Keane with those sad, huge-eyed hydrocephalic-looking children—the precursors to those Precious Moments cretins, which, as God is my witness, are sitting in curio cabinets all over Burbank today!)
Thanks for sharing your memories. Inspires me to write some of my own down for my kids, too.
By the way, your website was sent to me by a high-school friend (Burroughs, class of ’68). And yes, I’m married to a guy from Burroughs’ class of 1963. We Burbankers are somewhat clannish yet!
We obtained that picture at a yard sale! Perhaps the original owner got it from Empire Furniture...
This has got to be one of the best websites I’ve ever run into. I spent 3 whole days reading and laughing OUT LOUD! I can so relate to your early life and those polaroids could actually be replicas of my dizzy family. The time and patience that you continue to put into this website is wonderful! Thanks for making me stop and take the time to remember my own *Avocado Memories*…
My name is Tony. I am 45 years old, born & raised in Fairfield Connecticut, a great little town on Long Island Sound. I found your website purely by accident. I was feeling nostalgic, so I searched for photos of one of my fondest memories, the Aurora Monster Model Series. I built them all, I believe there were 13 total. Your photos of perfectly constructed & painted versions of them put anything I constructed to shame. It brought back good memories of my early 70’s childhood in CT. Then I went to your website, and read about your life in Burbank, your parents, and the fun you had. It seemed fascinating that so many of us across this great nation had parallel childhoods of doing the same goofy crap, and having more fun than the kids of today will ever have without a computer or video game. And I want to add something else. I cried when I read about your father’s death, and him missing out on his grandchildren. That brought back some not so happy memories, as my Mother died when I was one, and my Father passed away when I was seven. It seems that you have fond memories of both parents, and that you are appreciative of the life you had with them. You’re probably a really cool guy. Let me know if you’re ever in CT. Thank you for serving our once great nation as a Marine, and thanks for the memories.
Be well, Tony
In a search to find my all time favorite childhood toys, the Aurora slot cars of the 1960’s, I happened across your site and the section on Aurora models. You made my day. Wes, I laughed so hard and reminisced with bittersweet yearning and remembrance of yesteryear thanks to your careful recount.
I too built several Aurora monsters experiencing that same excitement, drama, and fantasy of it all. They were cool and kind of scary at the same time. Being a frequent model builder and painter of nearly all, mostly hot rod cars, I treated the monsters differently and will probably never fully understand why.
The monsters were never painted. Perhaps they were meant to be their original black. Perhaps they were already works of horrific magnificence. Would less than perfect brush strokes of paint be an indignity to the beautifully detailed, sheen castings? Maybe the idea of putting make up on Monsters just made me think twice.
The only sure thing was the fate they would suffer, and that was execution by firing squad. Each was put to a laborious death in the back yard with the assistance of my trusty Daisy pump action BB gun. It was my way doing the right thing and exercising that bit of heroic justice in all of us. After all, they were monsters and monsters had to die. The models are memories but my cherished BB gun survives. (Though it has been long since retired, it could easily be called back in to action should the need for back yard justice become necessary again.)
Thanks for the time warp re-connect.
I have visited your website several times over the last couple of years and I end up losing countless hours there each time. I’m a few years younger than you are, but I share a lot of the same memories. My boyfriend, Steve, who is actually about a year older than you are and also grew up in Southern California has a lot in common with you– especially the ‘70s stereo equipment (and I hate calling him my boyfriend, by the way, because we’ve been together for ten years and at forty-four, I’m too old to have a “boyfriend,” but I can’t seem to come up with a better word) Incidentally, he ended up turning that stereo/music hobby into his job. He now works in the A&R Department at Rhino Records, so he gets to relive the ‘60s and ‘70s every day. But that’s beside the point.
I had to laugh when I read your article about “The Carroll County Accident,” “Ode to Billy Joe” and “The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia.” I swear Steve and I have had the same conversations about the subject matter in these songs as you and your wife have had. I think men, by nature, just don’t pay really close attention to the lyrics of songs (unless something in particular strikes their interest). I do remember spending a lot of time myself trying to figure out what was going on in “The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia.” Let’s face it, that section where the guy goes to the other guy’s house and finds him dead already and then the sheriff shows up takes a lot of close attention to figure out. We were only introduced to these characters one verse before and the wife doesn’t even have a name. She is only referred to as “her.” I remember thinking, “Who sneaked off to Andy’s house and which guy is Andy and what’s up with those footprints?” Anyway, I did eventually figure it out, I think.
Steve and I have also had long discussions about song lyrics that confused us as kids – stuff we took literally or misheard. In my case, “Red Roses for a Blue Lady” comes to mind. To this day, I picture a blue lady. We have also had long discussions about unintentionally scary popular songs: “It Must Be Him” by Vicki Carr used to scare me as a kid - “Oh, Dear Goooood! It must be him. It must be him or I shall die.” Yikes! The slasher strings at the beginning of Cilla Black’s “You’re My World” is another. The beginning of “I Love You” by The People, “The Big Hurt” by Miss Toni Fisher – the list goes on and on. Steve said the “Perry Mason” song scared him to death as a kid.
Anyway, I just had to drop you a note and let you know how much I enjoy getting lost on your website during a really slow workday. It takes me back to the late ‘60s/early ‘70s. Those were good times despite the avocado rugs and harvest gold appliances – and by the way, was there any really good reason for anyone owning a Hot Dogger? Did we really need an appliance dedicated to cooking hot dogs? I think not.
Thanks for the endless entertainment.
Thank you for your kind comments; yours is not the first e-mail I've received where somebody is telling me he's wading through my brain in depth. The moral is that people's lives - even ordinary people like me - have interest.
I agree - society should come up with a better term than "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" for people our age. But it does seem youthful, doesn't it?
I am very happy that somebody other than me was perplexed by those Southern-fried ballads. I will certainly forward this to my wife. Just because the song was a hit, doesn't mean that everyone gets the lyrics!
Perry Mason: Ah, yes, that bombastic theme song - the musical equivalent of the heavy hand of courtroom justice crashing down on some hapless scofflaw. Last summer, at a yard sale, I found an early Sixties LP of TV theme songs called "Impact," by an arranger named Buddy Morrow. It's full of heavy brass and ponderous jazz chords... great stuff. So good I bought the CD re-release. One of the numbers is from a private detective show and features what sounds like a baritone sax blasting out a continuous riff in the left speaker. We just don't score for stereo the way they used to. Anyway, I recall Perry Mason as being the most noirish of TV noirs. Many scenes took place in almost utter darkness, I think. Maybe even gunfights in abandoned warehouses... I don't know. I was never an avid viewer, I just caught scenes here and there. Remember Della Street? I had the later impression that she must have been a real party hearty gal. And then there was Paul Drake, a gray man. And Raymond Burr himself, star of many great films noir. Deepset eyes and ponderous manner, like a legal steamroller. Having brought the whole thing up, I'm now eager to see some old episodes. I wonder if they're on DVD at my local specialty rental joint...
I recently saw some old episodes of "Naked City," another early Sixties TV noir. My friend Jimmy's mother used to watch these broadcast as reruns during summer days, I think. Great show! But when I was a kid I'd see scenes from it and think, "Boring. No spaceships. For adults."
Red Roses for a Blue Lady: I remember that song! From 1965, I think. I used to bike home for lunch and recall hearing that one on the radio one day. It has a really ka-thump/ka-thump bass line, as I recall.
Hot dogger? I don't remember those. Somebody built an appliance dedicated to cooking hot dogs? How... Sixties.
As a faithful reader of "Avocado Memories", this is not my first time at writing. As it turns out, you and I are the same age, and while we grew up at opposite ends of the country, the childhood experiences were the same. One of my earliest Christmas memories is of seeing my Jimmy Jet under the Christmas tree. I was part of a covert neighborhood
spy unit, and always had my trusty Agent Zero M Radio-Rifle close at hand.
The reason that I am writing to you this morning is not about a past memory, but instead, about a new product from Liquid-Plumr called "Power Jet" which claims to blast drain clogs away in three seconds.
The product is new, and Liquid-Plumr has come out with a wonderful television commercial...I hope that you get a chance to see it. (The commercial opens with a beautiful scene at a Paris cafe, complete with a terribly in love couple murmuring to each other with English sub-titles. Suddenly, this horrid, gloppy mass of hair and gunk erupts from the earth and lands square on the lover's table. After a close up of the messy mass, the scene changes to an American bathroom, the husband having just blasted away a sink clog with "Power Jet." The wife asks "I wonder where the clog went?")
The first time that I saw the commercial, my immediate thought was of reading your account of giving the drains at the cafe a zetz.
You can check out Power Jet here.
Not only is avocado coming back (re-named, of course), but we can now blast our clogs away in a most dramatic fashion. As my mother would say, "if you wait long enough, it will be back in fashion." (That gave her reason to keep all sorts of things, but that is another story.)
Keep up the great work with "Avocado Memories." It is a great chronicle of a simpler, yet very rich time.
Dear Mr. Clark,
I am a senior in high school in Marin County, California and was attempting to do some homework when I stumbled upon your webpage "Avacado Memories" and could not stop reading it for the next two hours. I'm not really sure what to write in this email but I just wanted to thank you for sharing something like that. Nostalgia is really hard to share, especially since not everyone can relate, but I wanted to tell you that I think we all can in some way or another. I wasn't there, Mr. Clark, but I sure feel like I could have been. My parents are older than you, they attended UC Berkeley in 1968. I grew up watching the Wonder Years, the Brady Bunch, I Dream of Jeannie, even Little House on the Praire, Green Acres, etc. My favorite movie in the Fourth grade was not Titanic, but Journey to the Center of The Earth. Those 70s remnants of furntiture, applicances and home decor that you have so carefully recorded still exist. I grew up feeling very familiar with the time period in which you have devoted your time. I think the architechture of the period really has a lot to do with it. That kind of architechture still exists (has not been modernized) in parts of LA, as well closer to where I live, the East Bay- El Cerrito, Albany, etc. The in the 80s and early 90s- the time period of my childhood, housing concepts from the 1960s and 1970s were still prevalent. I grew up in little stucco houses with formica countertops covered with ants and in swimming pools with "avacado" green do-it-yourself tiling eating Otter Pops on hot California days (you must remember those). Luckily for me (because you see, I also find that time alluring), the houses and architechture from your youth had not yet been replaced by the time of my childhood. Thank you for sharing that incredible time. I (though I probably shouldn't) find the past infinitely more interesting than the present. Anyway, I dont even know if you'll get this email, but I just wanted to share my appreciation. By the way, absolutely no offense to your high school girlfriends, but from a girl currently in high school, you could have done much better. Thanks again.
Well, thanks, you've forced me to bookmark your page.
Now, granted, my suburban kitchen was graced with "harvest gold" built-ins before the remodel, but oh, the memories you've conjured up.
I'm bit younger than you, born in '63,and grew up behind the "orange curtain", Fountain Valley for the most part, but the similarities are there...
Our pool table was in the two car garage, "Dad's Room," along with a bar, Dad's stereo equipment, and, hard to admit, in the mid to late 70's his CB "Base Station" (one of these days I'll have to ask my Mom what she thought of that ridiculous CB antenna towering off the chimney).
As I think back, I can't think of any our tract home neighbors who actually parked a car in their garages, hell, it's Orange County! My Dad just went a bit further, never sealed up the big door (when it got hot in there we'd just open it), but he did everything else, built the bar, shelves for his books & LPs, built in desk, linoleum on the floor (the 70's, of course!), and, his term, not mine, the "whorehouse wallpaper" on the inside of the garage door.
No pool in the back yard, but a hot tub later (as in one of those redwood ones you have to put together), but our place was the place for the neighborhood/parent's co-workers parties... "Gals," for the most part, in the house, the Guys in the bar playing pool and drinking beer out of the tapper (yeah, Dad had a beer tap set up in the garage fridge - the spigot went through the door).
I've only gotten through your house pic's at this point, which flooded back my memories (hey, a tract house is a tract house mostly), and the decor looks somehow familiar at points. Then the thing that really got me was where your father worked, which kind of brought it all home. My Dad worked for that "other" big aircraft company down in Long Beach (and El Segundo at times), McDonnell-Douglas. I think poor Dad'd roll over in his grave if he knew M-D was bought by their arch-nemesis (and Lockheed's at the time) Boeing.
Thanks again for bringing back some fond memories, your site is truly fantastic. I only wish I had those kind of pictures from my childhood...
I was born in Louisville, KY in 1960. I'm now inspired to create the Southern Indiana version branded "Burnt Orange Offerings." Thank you for your website; it was a teleport!
I stumbled upon your site today and immediately was hooked -- documenting your room, your home, family... too great. This, my friend, is what the internet was intended for. I really appreciate the effort you spent doing this -- it's made at least one person's day brighter!
My older brother Andre sent me your site, and it has eaten up a good piece of my morning! To say that I am wildly impressed is an understatement. We came out from New York to Hollywood in 1965 (living in the house owned by Criswell, the famed fake psychic) and moved to Lake View Terrace in 1968 (where we rode out the '71 quake). Apart from time and location, in so many ways your lives paralleled ours (only my father was the New England French-Canadian, and was very proud of it --- my French is still a sort of battered Quebecois). Anyway, you have captured the locale and the time period perfectly. Keep it up!
Charles A. Coulombe
Howdy Wes, I was doing a little web-surfing and stumbled across your site. Like you I grew up in Burbank, graduated BHS in 1976. What a great trip down memory lane. Brought back so many memories of Saturday afternoons at the Cornell Theatre (watching such great classics as The Abominable Dr Phibes and the Horror Or Dracula for 49 cents), going to the "breathing bush" and the Twilight zone (Near Forest Lawn) to scare ourselves....The San Val and Pickwick Drive-Ins.. and on and on..
I grew up on Lincoln Street near Glenoaks Blvd. I've just started looking through your site and have a bad feeling I may become addicted. I can identify with everything I've read through so far. I've often described Burbanks to people as the Mayberry of the San Fernando Valley. I moved away several years back but get to Los Angeles alot on business. I always take the time to drive by my old haunts (I'm pretty sure the people who bought my parents house think I am a stalker because I usually pull up to the house and stare..lost in memories of those times).
Keep up the great work. The memories are priceless...Need to go pull out my Ceralbus..
I cannot overstate how much I enjoy your website. I have been a regular visitor for at least three years and strangely enough have never thought to email until now. The memories your site evokes, both pleasant and painful are palpable. I'm sure I'm not the first to suggest that you commit your evocative talents to print, it would undoubtedly be wildly successful. The emotional impact of your candor and vivid recollection should not be under estimated.
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