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I've really enjoyed reading and sharing your tales of growing up in our time.I'm a 56 yr old only child and my parents are gone now.Some of my xmas memories are not so grand, mainly due to alcohol . my parents were in the restaurant business for over 40 yrs and some of that took a toll on them too. thanks -- your site is wonderful and brings back a very special time.
The Kenner Car-Plane... you had one? So did I! And nobody remembers them except me… and you… and that guy on e-bay. One of the best toys I ever had. And kept me occupied on those long family road trips. Thanks for the toy page post. I didn't think I would ever find out what that was.
Hi Wes –
Wow...I almost wish I’d never seen this site. I can see it will take time to look at everything, so that will have to wait until I’m at home, not at work!
I worked as a Numerical Control Programmer at Lockheed in Burbank, at various times from 1966 to 1983. I was working in the B-1 plant, in a couple of different buildings, most of that time. In about 1975, I was working in that big building right at the intersection of Lincoln and Empire, and one of my main memories of that period was some of the men in my department, who had a 30-minute lunch break, literally sprinting out the door when the buzzer rang, to run to the Lincoln Café and scarf down as much beer as they could before running back. There were some drunken scenes after lunch that weren’t pretty, including an almost-fight between one of the drunks and a poor little mousey guy that was ripe for being picked on by a drunken bully. Not all of this was very pleasant, but it has the romantic glow of the past on it now! **LOL**
I never went to the Lincoln Café myself, but I sure know where it was, and I thought you’d enjoy hearing this story!
Regarding your Sargeants entry: I used to eat there all the time with my family when I was a little girl. It was my favorite restaurant (after the Tick Tock). I have this memory of an organ or a piano (?) near the front entrance. There was an elderly white-haired gentleman who would always call me over and ask me to name the tunes he was playing. I couldn't have been more than six or seven, so my memory of this is pretty vague. Do you remember him and can you tell me anything about him? Do you have any more pictures of the interior of Sargeants? Like you, I could have eaten 325 of those fabulous hush puppies; I haven't found any as good since.
I don't recall an organ or a piano near the entrance. I just remember the impressive grandfather's clock I wrote about in the article. As for the old man... I suppose that could have been Graham ("Anthony Quinn"). I don't remember much about him, however, and don't remember anyone ever playing an instrument within the restaurant. Sorry! - Wes
I wrote a few years ago (you remember, right? Yea…) well, I am enjoying your Avocado Memories as much now as when I first found it.
I do have a correction however. On your photo journal of your 1968 trip to NH and Massachusetts, on the photo labeled “Hi!" from Breed's Hill (aka Bunker Hill)” that is actually a picture of the Forefathers Monument at Plymouth, MA. And it is actually a great statue with lots of historical meaning. Not many people visit it today, unfortunately.
And I couldn’t help but think that when you where at Plymouth that summer, I had just suffered under my own version of Miss Johnson (her name was Mrs. Orr) and it was the summer between 4th grade and 4th grade (part 2). Yeah, Mrs. Orr was rough… (I got to pick my OWN teacher the second time around... thank you Principal Sweeney). And you were only ten miles from my house. Too bad we didn’t have you over. We could have blown something up with my Chemistry set.
Anyway, thanks again for all the great memories... please keep it going…
I have corrected the page - thanks for telling me! And, yes, I shall continue to update this as I can. - Wes
Just wanted to let you know that I've had a lovely time trawling through your life! Or was it mine ... ?
An only child.
I grew up in Sydney (San Francisco is a sister city, so I'm guessing you grew up in a similar climate).
We had a backyard pool (a great asset for an only child - always lots of playmates!).
We added a 'sunroom' to the back of our house in 1968. It opened on to a 'patio.'
I have many grainy pictorial records of those times, shot first with a hand-me-down box Brownie and later with an Instamatic. It seems inconceivable now that we had to go into a darkened room to load the film and that indoor shots were restricted because of the cost of those flash cubes. Well, they were outrageously expensive here, anyway.
In those days I don't think anyone much in Australia knew what an avocado was, but we sure did like the colour. I recall we were also pretty big on 'tangerine', especially as a feature wall.
I think your neighbours were a little more colourful than ours!
Anyway, it was a real treat reading about you. I didn't read every single bit - too much in one sitting - but will certainly return to it later. Your writing style reminds me of David Sedaris'.
I think it's a great idea to record such memories, for both your children and their children. Good on you - and thanks heaps for sharing!
I used to work at Standard Brands Paint. I stayed with them until the end. They filed bankruptcy several times. SBP made their own paint. When I started in the 80's they had Degregory, Hide-all, Decade and Premium. The premium was a guaranteed one coat paint. It was also warranted for 20 years. Decade was a ten year, one coat guaranteed paint. For ten bucks a gallon.
Decade was the best paint I have ever used. I recently painted my living room with Behr's paint. It cost over $30 when I bought a 5 gallon can. Its ok paint. Behr's semigloss is worthless. Benjamin Moore, Kelly Moore, Sinclair... none of them are as good as Decade.
I wish they were still in business. It was a great company and great place to work. I miss it terribly.
Your recollection of the paint may be right for the cheap paint, but not the better and best grade.
Thanks for the memories.
As I describe in the article, we were a cheap paint family! I have since learned the truth of the old saying, "You get what you pay for." - Wes
I'm irrationally happy that you still have Avocado Memories up and still going. I wrote to you in 1998 - very hard to believe that this is fifteen years ago.
Keep up the good work.
I was following up on some old webpages and I remembered yours, Avocado Memories, which happened to be the first webpage I accessed on the fairly new (for me) internet, was that the late 1990s? It was such a revelation to me at the time because I had been virtually cut off from my Californian childhood – I left to live in Australia in 1969.
(Ha - I just noted there is my email in your archives 2/9/97, and I can read your responses for the first time, thanks!!!).
I lived at 323 Marine St Apt 19 in Santa Monica and remember its luscious avocado and gold colour scheme, and recall many cultural references including “Dark Shadows” that you wrote about (it gave me nightmares). My friend’s mother had a brand new 1964 red Mustang and I vowed I would own it one day. Still waiting, but I think my daughter has taken a liking to the car.
Although I am now 54 I can still sing the theme songs to “George of the Jungle”, “Milton the Monster”, “Gigantor”, “HR Puffinstuff” , “Jetsons” and many more. Saw “Clutch Cargo” the other day on Aussie TV and nearly fell over backwards (and note its brief cameo in “Pulp Fiction”). These shows didn’t come to Australia for another 20-30 years where they had an entirely new audience. We didn’t get colour TV in Australia until the late 60s/early 70s and it wasn’t widespread until the 1980s.
Did you mention the Monkees anywhere? Shame if not, I was absolutely obsessed with them. I once received Beatles memorabilia and quickly handed them on to a grateful friend – kicking myself now! (note your 1997 comment about Monkees memorabilia)
Most of all I remember the total freedom I felt to skateboard the streets and explore the neighbourhood with friends and visit their homes without a care in the world. I never got home until dinner time.
Just off the topic we immigrated from Toronto Canada to Los Angeles Calif by truck along Route 66 in 1965 – but that is another epic story.
Incredible to think about all these things with fast internet speeds, texting, multimedia, cloud computing, Google Earth and an Android in hand.
Anyway, thanks for the memories.
P.S. Wasn’t "Toy Story" a blast with its nostalgic all-American toys?
What an amazing e-mail! You wrote me an email sixteen years ago, I posted it and responded, and you only now saw the response? Hahahaha!
The Monkees: I see I mention them now and again in these "letters" pages. I didn't care for them much "back in the day" (as my kids say), but my admiration for their music has grown since then. Great pop songs by some of the best songwriters working professionally, and performed by affable, winsome young men. What's not to like?
We can trade further comments in another sixteen years!
I happened upon your web site in search of that very same theme song that has been rattling inside my head since the sixties. I was sure that I would never find it. I started down the same "American Heritage" path you did when I saw your web page and the reference to The Great Adventure. And there was - the song that has haunted me for decades. I hummed it, I whistled it, and now I have found it!
Many thanks for sharing this. I thought I was the only one who had fixated on that song since my youth
Thank you so much for posting the picture of the Kenner car-plane!
Brought back some good memories. Like you I had one....briefly. In the mid-60's my father was stationed at El Toro Marine base. He gave me the car-plane as a present and I thought it was the best toy ever!
Unfortunately, I only got to play with it one time. After its inaugural flight with me at the controls, my father pulled over and asked my mother to take the wheel. He climbed into the back-seat took the controls. I have no idea how fast he had mother drive, but it was evidently too fast for the plane and it broke under his command. Lesson learned that day: never let your Marine Jet Fighter Pilot Father take controls of your plane! I still think of that toy every so often.
Hahaha! My comment from my toys page: I remember playing with this c. 1962 as Dad drove me to elementary school every morning, and thinking that it was a really cool toy. (After all, it utilized airflow and control on a small plane in a realistic way. What's more, it had a control panel, which was always a big hit with me.) The odd thing about it is, unlike many Baby Boomer toys, nobody seems to remember it. For a while I was doubting my memory of it, until an Internet correspondent sent me an image of an ad, and, later, one appeared on e-Bay. Anyway, I seem to recall that the plane part broke off or something, and that I mainly used it without the plane and simply watched the airflow gauge. Frankly, I'm surprised this toy never got banned by local police organizations, who couldn't have been thrilled by the notion of a kid controlling a toy from the side window of a car. (Were these things air-tested at 70 mph, I wonder? I can just picture them flying off cars rolling down the Golden State Freeway.) - Wes
I read the information you have on-line about your father in the 33rd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron. My father, Donald Hammer, is listed on the roster just a few below your father. He passed away in 2006. Like your father, mine didn’t talk a lot about the war. He did talk about some of the boys from out east who hadn’t ever fired a weapon. Thanks for putting that information on-line. I imagined I was reading about my father reading it.
You are about the fourth person to contact me who has a father on that roster; I knew it was a good idea to post that history! - Wes
I just spent a moment gazing at the pix of yourself as a ten-year-old in your bedroom, thinking of your possessions, especially the globe (can't help it, retired history teacher) and the bookcase and in my mind comparing your room to the "typical" ten-year-old's of today.
We babyboomers were blessed.
We respected knowledge and were born, despite bomb shelters and other little distractions, in a comparatively more serene world.
I'm a moderate to liberal Democrat, once I looked down at the Eisenhower years; today, with a tinge of rose-colored glass they seem so much more beautiful (even without e-mail...).
Doubly-amazing as I was brought up in a not-so-serene apartment in Chicago and constantly dreamed of escaping...
It was useful for me to have that globe, although I spent a whole lot more time thinking about space ships and satellites orbiting it than I did about the people and things upon it... - Wes
I'm writing to you because I stumbled upon your website on accident. I was looking for some information on monster model-kits, and your website came up. When I read in the summary the term "Burbankia," I knew I had hit a pot of gold.
I'm a former Burbank/Glendale resident (and often referred to it as Burbankia or the hipper version--Bbank). I read through some of your memories, and while I grew up in the area in the 90's and 00's, was struck by how many similar stories I share with you. In my teens I spent many evenings taking long drives into Hollywood with no particular purpose.
And though I never harassed anyone making out in the church parking lot, I was the poor victim of make-out interruption by other pranksters and even the police a few times. Burbank police can be ruthless.
Reading your site was fun and brought back some of my own memories, so thanks for that! I'm happy that there are people out there documenting its history and their personal stories.
Yes, the Burbank police can be ruthless - but not as much as we were! In all my years in Burbank I never heard it referred to as "Bbank." Must be a recent thing... - Wes
Second email to you. Last one was in 2007.
Did you ever visit Berlin, NH? If so, it must have been quite a contrast to CA. My dad grew up 25 miles to the west in Groveton. At age 79, he still has nightmares that he is still living there.
I visited Berlin, NH in 1988. Early November. Before that, in 1968, as a twelve year-old boy. Berlin, NH and Southern California are as unlike as two places could be!
Sorry to hear about your father's nightmares. Every now and then I dream I'm back in the Marines... - Wes
Happy New Year to Avocado Memories! I hope we have more great content to view in 2013!
p.s. Thanks for all the great stories through the years! Your readers appreciate you.
...and I certainly appreciate YOU! - Wes