Going through your web pages brought back so many memories. We moved to Burbank from Spokane, Washington in 1965. The first place we lived at was called "The Trapper's Lodge"; man, what a dump! But with six children and two adults, it was about the only place to stay. Then we stayed at a place further down San Fernando Road near Lockheed, after that we moved all around the valley. But I remember the olive green and gold, shag rugs and the rest - I felt like I was 12 years old again. I really enjoyed your site, you are a very humourous and articulate person. Thank you for letting me visit!
From Spokane, Wa ( I moved back after I graduated from San Fernando High)
The Old Trapper's Lodge, for those of you not familiar with it, was an amazing place. A folk art fan's find... I do believe that had the place not been torn down years ago it would today be on a California Notable Sites register of some kind. The front yard had a collection of really wild homemade statues of Homeric proportions. The one I recall best was a white man in a fight with an Indian - the Indian had buried a tomahawk into the guy's back and garish red enamel dripped down from the wound. (The artist - John Ehn, "the Old Trapper" - didn't spare the enamel when he painted up this one.) I think I also remember a giant statue of a bear in a cage. Also, there was a well with a sign that read "Pontiac Spring." Looking down the well one would see the automotive leaf springs to, presumably, a Pontiac. The decor can only be described as boyish; whomever did it must have been a kid at heart. Combine a Mad Magazine mentality with an unquenchable desire to create art (whether schooled or not) and you'll get an idea of what the front of the Trappers was like.
The place was decidedly seedy, all right, but it was nothing if not interesting from the outside! I'd imagine it was a real hell hole to stay at, however, like another one of Burbank's finer institutions, the downtown "Hotel for Men." (This may have been the Savoy Hotel.) The neon sign that proclaimed this could be seen from the Golden State Freeway, as I recall... I once had an occasion to go into the lobby for some reason and realized it was like walking into another world. The room looked like it was primarily occupied by bums and tramps, and smelled like, well, like nothing I can describe adequately. There was a sort of newsstand just outside that had an amazing collection of porn and horse racing papers, and a tobacco counter.
Do places like this even exist anymore?
GOOD NEWS!: Suzanne F. Hackett of the Valley Cultural Center pointed out to me that the Old Trappers statues have been preserved and maintained, and are on display at the Roadside America web site! Click here to see the Old Trapper's artistry.
Avocado Memories is being linked through the entire Cox@Home (cable modem) network in their "web waste" section. Don't take that as an insult, a lot of neat things can be found there.
Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your site. Made me a bit misty. Sitting here now thinking about my dad (The KING of innovation) and how he once made us a coffee table from a single board which he stained with strong coffee. We were SOOOOO proud of him! He's gone now, too. . . to the harvest gold and avocado heaven that generation would have found tasteful.
Thank you for going to all the effort to make so many of us smile and retreat for awhile into our childhoods. It's . . .keen! :)
What a site! It really brought back memories! I'm only a
year ahead of you and grew up in So. Cal (San Clemente)
also. What a couple of characters your folks were. As mine
were. Sadly, like you, I've lost both of mine. But what a
great idea for a website. After my parents passed ('95) I
left good ol southern Cal behind and moved to Spokane where
I can enjoy the novel treat of four seasons and snow. And
clean air. Now I've got a place to show the young'ns what it
was like to be a late 60's early 70's geek.
Thank you for the memories.
Your Site is THE BEST! I may have grown up in Tacoma, WA., but I
experienced many of the same things as you. I guess its just a rousing
case of nostalgia. (I always thought my folks were a bit 'weird' talking
about the "Good Old Days"-- now I know...)
I also had a red '69 Karmann Ghia -- Henrietta -- She was my first
purchased car, and I ended up putting 100K miles on her! I dont think I
ever had problems going ANYWHERE in that car. Who needed an SUV when you
had this amazing little Run-About that got 40 mpg?
I not only ate at Jack-in-The-Box, I worked there for 5 years!
I was the Queen of the Drive-Thru during the Graveyard Shift. That time
in my life was an entirely CRAZEEE Circus full of Characters and Events,
probably never to be duplicated in this (or any other) lifetime! In
fact, I thought they had "Sold Out" when they changed to "Monterey
Jack's"-- I was outta there! The food became merely expensive, not good
and greasy like in the old days. Officially: The End of Civilization
began when they quit making The Bonus Jack.......
Thanks for the trip through the Dusty Curtain in Time.
Mary Jo Blackford-Davis
I was still half asleep on a Sunday morning, coffee in hand and turning
on my computer to see if there's any mail. "Avocado Memories" caught my
attention and I clicked onto it. Heh, there it was on my home page and I
had no idea what it was but it's a great title because those of us who
were around in the 70's all have avocado memories.
Yes, I've discovered that by the letters I've gotten from people!
Even when we were out
buying our first fridge and stove, it was either avocado or harvest
gold. I live in Toronto. Up here in Ontario (Canada not California) our
memories are very similar. My former mother-in-law lived in Riverside,
California, and your house reminded me so much of hers. I loved it--the
pictures, the stories, the memories. Now that we've reached the big 4-0
(and there are a lot of us!), we're into nostalgia.
Well, I've sort of always looked back, even when young. The past is one of my hobbies.
My kids love being
entertained by stories of what it was like when their parents were
growing up. It's fun to reminisce and laugh at ourselves. You can write,
you have a great sense of humour, your website is immensely
entertaining, and yes, it's material for a coffee table book that would
be a great gift for all of us boomers. Why are publishers so
short-sighted? Good luck, Wes. And thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
You are very kind, thank you! As to publishers... well, I'm probably going to try, try again next year with a different agent. I've received enough letters of this type to believe this material has commercial potential. - Wes
Great Page! I stumbled across it and am glad I did. It brings back a
flood of memories from my childhood growing up in a suburb of Chicago.
I think no matter where we were born or grew up it's still a small town
Burbank had a population of about 90,000 during the years I lived there. - Wes
I was surfing the web and I found your site...I absolutely love it. It's so Wonder Years-ish (that's a compliment) Then you have that final scene from the Wonder Years in it too...love it! Well I just wanted to let you know that you have a great site there Wes. Keep up the good work.
Wow, all I can say is thank you! I have spent the last three nights
looking at your site and enjoying every second of it. It brought back
many fine memories of my own. I didn't grow up in southern California,
but I had relatives who lived in Pico Rivera and I remember traveling
there in my dads' 1960 Chevy station wagon. Can you imagine three days
in a car with six kids? I remember our car broke down as we were coming
through a desert and we ended up spending the night there. The next
morning a trucker gave my brother a ride into town where he bought a
fuel pump and brought him back and fixed the car so we wouldn't have to
bear the heat when the sun got high in the sky. Have you thought about
putting this into print? I can't imagine it not selling.
I applaud your
tribute to your parents, I'm sure they were very proud of you.
Thanks again. Pat
I tried earlier this year to get this manuscript published; I got a literary agent, and five or six different publishers reviewed the text. No go. I may try again next year. - Wes
Enjoyed glancing through your site. I reside in Dallas now, but was born
in Burbank (1947) and raised there. In the fifties bikers and San
Fernando cruisers were a big thing. Our neighboorhood had families of
12, 9, 5, 5, 5, 4, 4. There were kids everywhere.
I just saw your tribute to growing up in the 60's and 70's. While I was a 70's and 80's child myself, I can still remember the wonders of Avocado
green, harvest gold, and that rusty brown color my parents used to call "baby turd." I sure hope that's not its real name.
No, but it certainly is widespread. I've heard it referred to as that many times!
In one of your living room pictures there is a coffee table, wood with three marble tablets, the outer ones slightly smaller than the inner. My parents have (yes still have) one exactly like it. the center tablet is cracked, my sister was tap dancing on it while singing "I'm a little bit country..."
Ah, but did you have a bellows table? :)
I think that marble-topped one came from Sears, and was part of some sort of Euro collection.
In the 80's (pretty much the whole decade) my mom planned to replace the cracked piece with a counted cross stitch backgammon board. Like I said they still have the table, and the center slab is still cracked. We measure the family epochs by my mother's crafts. There's the De Copage (sp?) era, the cross stitch era, the latch hook era, the photography era which leads us to today, the digital photography era, the product of which takes many forms. T-shirts, scrap books, RV tour books, and greeting cards.
My mom had a similar progression of epochs with crafts and collections: poured resin plastic objects (ashtrays, lighters, grapes, swag lamps), demi-tasse cups and saucers, Avon bottles, knitting, making dolls, sewing clothes for dolls, L-1011 models, safety pin jewelry, quilts, macrame and hanging plants, counted cross stitch on canvas, cross stitch on plastic, tin boxes... am I forgetting any?
It is all my fault though. Life was simpler until I explained multitasking and object oriented philosophy to her.
I never tried! The closest my mother ever came to computer technology was when I showed her how to play solitaire on the PC!
Thanks for the memories,
Thanks for the comments!
I (1962-) grew up in Glendale, so I can commiserate/rejoice to some
extent. But that's not why I'm writing. I want to recommend a book
to you. No, I want to force you to read this book. You won't
believe how well this book describes our upbringings. It's called
Class, by Paul Fussel, 1983. (Or maybe it's Fussell.)
Read it, dammit! You'll love it.
I did, I do. Here is a little article about it. - Wes
I'm in search of recipes or food ideas from the seventies for a party in
October. I was hoping your Lincoln Cafe page was going to have a copy of your
menu on it. If you have any ideas, or a place I may find ideas write me back.
Thanks...I enjoyed your site...
Oh, the only menu we had at the Lincoln Cafe was hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, something called a "patti-melt," and grilled ham and cheese. That's it; no party ideas, really.
Carrot cake was an early Seventies thing (fatty food masquerading as something healthy). You could offer a "diet plate" of a hamburger patty and cottage cheese - I remember that back in the 60's and it persisted through the 70's. (Once again, fatty food masquerading as something healthy.) For authenticity you'd want to serve 7-Up and not Sprite. Sprite was around back then, but 7-Up was the market leader until the 80's. Gilbert Brockmeyer introduced "all natural" carob ice cream back in 1971/1972 - I could eat a big container of it easily. It was the first time I ever heard the word "carob." Is there a health food carob brand you could serve? You'd also want to serve granola, which came in during the 70's. (My friend Angela used to eat those Quaker Oats granola cereals, which I called "squirrel droppings.") And of course there was naturalist Ewell Gibbons on TV ads, claiming pine nuts were edible... I think this was in ads for grape nut flakes, but I'm not sure.
Let's see... Bugles? They were introduced in 1966, along with Daisys and Whistles. Captain Crunch came out in 1964/65 as I recall. Hmmmm. Avocado dip was a 60's thing as well, but the color is certainly correct for a 70's party.
How about red, white and blue "bicentennial" Jell-O? (Good luck finding white.)
I've about run out of ideas, I'm afraid.
Hey There Wes,
Just revisiting Burbank's golden "avocado" days (from today's Tucson,
Arizona)- I found your AM pages last October '97- the day of the 31st to
be exact. I remember because I was later getting the kids out
trick-or-treating than we had planned! All because of the strange spell
your goldish orange pages with the avocado colored title had cast upon
me. I wrote you then as well- probably November 1st, the following day.
The spell your pages spun for me on that Halloween day was enhanced by
the fact that of all the days of the year, it's Halloween that pulls at
MY avocado memories the most. Trick-or-treating the houses and haunting
the streets & sidewalks of a particular neighborhood in Buena Park each
Halloween from 1960 - 1970 are memories cherished. You had my full
attention Wes... and almost made us miss Halloween of '97!
Well, I'm sorry about that because I really enjoy Halloween as well! My firend Mike McDaneil and I used to decorate his house - perhaps "decorate" is the wrong word - we used to wire it for lights, motion and sound. It was pretty cool, for an amateur production.
You did write back a few days later... My having grown up in BP had
reminded you of a picture or postcard you said you had of the old
Farmhouse Restaurant and its windmill there at Hwy.39 (Beach Blvd) and
the 91 freeway (am I correct on the location?).
Yes - I remember. I went to Disneyland last month and while driving to and from I looked for the neon windmill but couldn't see it. I guess it's gone.
My golden "avocado"
neighborhood wasn't far from there... at one corner of our neighborhood
stood a small apartment complex- on the other side of those apartments
was the Int'l House of Pancakes (still there) at Beach & La Palma (right
close to the Aztec Bowl and across the street (Beach) from the old
Alligator Farm (later a ceramics/pottery shop).
Oh, I remember the Alligator Farm! We never went there but I always wanted to. My parents weren't the least bit interested. (We didn't do Lion Country Safari for the same reason.)
This IHOP is diagonally
across the intersection of Beach & La Palma from the corner of Knott's
Berry Farm (still there (-: but not in the form I remember it as )-':
And for any old (we're not really old ...are we?)
"You're only as old as the girl you feel." - Groucho Marx
avocado/gold era (and
much earlier) Buena Park folks who might read this, they should remember
Mr.& Mrs.Bacon's avocado orchard just north of the IHOP a stone's throw
on Beach Blvd, and across the street from The Movieland Wax Museum. Us
kids absolutely COULD NOT- WOULD NOT stay outta there. It was a real
forest to us city boys! The best climbing trees around!
In Burbank we used to throw lemons from the trees. We climbed other, more substantial, trees.
The Bacons and their orchard were Buena Park homesteaders who were among
the 1st to settle BP along with their longtime neighbors and friends
Walter and Camilla Knott who grew berries and served home-cooked chicken
dinners out of Camilla's kitchen. The Knott's berry farm and the Bacon's
orchard were there on Hwy.39/Beach Blvd when #39 was just a dusty dirt
My parents used to tell me about those days in the 40's.
As a kid living there in the '60's, my favorite time to be in the
orchard was Autumn (Halloweentime) late in the afternoon after school
when the low sun's golden light was streaming thru the old avocado
trees... quietness, peacefulness, paradise... I DO REMEMBER! These
memories all tie into my fondness for Halloween. And having found your
golden avocado website from the same era and from the same area-
containing so much I could relate to -AND HAVING FOUND IT ON HALLOWEEN-
really strengthened my avocado & gold memories of my childhood (I think
I'll make it a tradition to do an annual pilgrimage to the Wes Clark's
Avocado Memories site each Halloween :-)...
How nice of you! Well, for my part I promise to keep maintaining it. (In fact I have a few new photos I need to add.)
Yes, we also had alot of the "Avocadoness" of the times (I think I just
coined a new 70's word) decorating our home's interior as well (those
grapes, my father's harvest gold recliner, my brother's and my avocado
colored bedspreads... but the Old Spice bottles were displayed on a
little wall rack in the bathroom rather than a wall in the living room
Somebody once wrote to me and described a father doing exactly the same thing! (I'm pretty sure that letter exists on one of the letters pages...) So he wasn't absolutely unique.
But I was lucky enough to have a real avocado orchard bordering the
neighborhood of my southern California youth... and because of that
orchard, the word "Avocado" means much more than a passing southern
California decorating color fad to me. But then it's also much more than
that to you -and judging by your mail and website hits, it's more than
just a wore-out color scheme to alot of other folks.
I guess so - nostalgia is a wonderful thing. I'm sure everyone's memories of youth are golden, but for those of us who grew up in the 70's it was especially so, I think. (What with all the earth tone colors that were in decorating vogue.)
Tasteful or not,
that color "Avocado", and those other ones so often paired up with it in
the 60's and 70's- "Inca Gold" and "Aztec Gold", carry with them warm
memories of our parents and our childhood spent with them, and our
carefree time spent with childhood friends surrounded by an era painted
Avocado & Gold.
The 50's may have had their tasteful black & whites (and patterned
wallpaper), and didn't the 20's or 30's have some nice pastels in pinks,
oranges, and greens? (and patterned wallpapers)...
I once checked out an interior decorating book from the library, and there was a section on color fads through the decades. As I recall, the Twenties were characterized by dark, bold greens and purple. Understated beige and creme colors were the fad in the Thirties and Forties.
Of course pink, coral and turquoise were big in the Fifties. People have pointed out to me that avocado really came in about 1967 or so, but only gained general acceptance in the 70's. I recall avocado and charcoal black being clever colors for house trim back then.
The Sixties colors were wild and psychedelic - I remember kids showing up for school dressed in lime green shirts... "robin's egg blue" (a vivid electric blue) was also a popular color for men's shirts.
The 40's elude me
(but I'm sure they had decorative wallpaper!)... The 80's- do they even
have a flag to wave?...
I recall maroon, white and navy; it being a "preppy" era clothes wise the traditionalism also extended to decorating. Personally, the 80's was my favorite era for clothing - I'm very much a traditionalist. (All of this came to an abrupt halt when "Miami Vice" came on the air in '85 or so, then art nouveau and pastels - "no earth tones" - became all the rage.)
'Course the 90's are waving their neutral
Well, avocado is back, sort of, but it's a sort of olive this time. Clothingwise, however, the Seventies have come roaring back in. My 11 year old daughter and her friends are all heavily into Seventies style.
But it's that Avocado and harvest Golds that stir this
boy's heart, and the hearts of those of us raised in the 60's and '70's
(ESPECIALLY in southern California). And tacky or not- whether we use
them or not- our hearts are INSEPARABLY bonded to 'em.
On a more personal note, as I mentioned in my November e-mail, I'm also
LDS and am a return-missionary (Jan.'79--Feb.'81).
I noticed some reminicing in your letters section about "Cissy" from the
old 70's series, "Family Affair". You might find it interesting to know
that I had the priviledge of being in the MTC at the same time that
Johnny Whitaker -"Family Affair's" "Jody"- was there preparing for his
mission. I remember one prep.day my companion and I were eating lunch
with he and his companion and then the 4 of us heading over to the
bookstore at BYU to do some shopping. Wow, it's hard to believe that was
nearly 20 years ago...
I bumped into him in the Wilkinson Fine Arts Center on the BYU campus when I was there - in 1983 it must have been. I was talking to a secretary when she announced "Why, it's Johnny Whitaker!", and this adult red-haired guy walked in, looking a little sheepish about the introduction. Being used to his appearance as a kid seeing him as an adult was something of a shock. (But he's certainly grown up more gracefully than fellow redheaded child star and Partridge Family member Danny Bonaduce.)
I'm wondering if he's related to the Wetzel O. Whitaker who produced church films from the 50's, 60's and early 70's. ("Johnny Lingo" being perhaps the most well-known, but check out 1959's "Up In Smoke" - it's a classic and the youth in my ward love it.)
There was still just a little "Avocadoishness" in
the air back then! Hey, Wes, we've got another new 70's term here! :-)
Well, thanks for introducing it and thanks for all the nice comments!
I just want to let you know how much I am enjoying your site, and am trying
to eat it in little bites rather than devour it whole...I grew up in Torrance,
so I know whereof you speak.
Even at the tender age of 31, when I bring up things like my Suzy
Homemaker toys and shag rugs, I get very few understanding looks.
This is the Pepys' Diary of our age.
I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. I wasn't able to concentrate
on my work until I clicked on every site in your memory list (I work in
a library--one of your favorite places).
I applied for a job in one of the Burbank libraries when I was 15. I didn't get it because I wasn't old enough. A pity - at that time in my life I spent most of my days with books and learned to truly love them. Burbank would have had one heck of an employee.
The funniest story is the one
about doing the fozberry flop (sp?) onto couches and chairs--something I
still do and get yelled at by my brother for my lack of respect of
I did this not long ago and broke my bosses' bosses' sofa at work.
I consider most personal sites to be boring,
self-serving and egotistical, wondering why in the world someone would
think we would find them so interesting, but you write about your own
personal experiences with such fondness and warmth that we are all
reminded of our own glory days.
Thank you! For my part I am amazed how universal my experiences seem to be.
I remember cruising and the nerds in the
audio-visual department and eccentric parents and tacky home furnishings
and wish that I could go back to those times for just one day. Please
keep remembering and writing.
It's publishing I'm trying to accomplish now!
Yes - to return for just one day would be a nice break, wouldn't it?
I was going to write you an e-mail telling you how well-writen your site is
and how much I enjoyed it, but after reading your 'letters' section, I
noticed that I'm not alone, and that everyone else has already said what I
...pretty much. I only wish the publishers would read this stuff! HELLO! ARE YOU THERE? IF YOU'RE CONSIDERING BUYING MY MANUSCRIPT, READ SOME OF THESE LETTERS!
I came across "Avocado Memories" via a link from DeeT's 70's
page and stayed up two nights in a row until 5:00 am (I get home from work
at 3:00 am) reading it from front to back. You are a very talented writer
and your site has been an absolute pleasure to visit.
Wow, thanks! You must be a real night owl!
I grew up in Buffalo, New York until I was 9 years old, and then lived in
Suburban Atlanta, GA until last year. I was born in 1964, so I have a lot
of similar memories, although for me they are from when I was a little
younger than you were. I seem to remember Avocado peaking as a hot
decorating color about 1972.
Yeah - it persisted until about 1977 and was gone with the Eighties, when it and bell bottom jeans became passe.
In May of 1997, my wife and I moved to Burbank, living for a year in
Lakeside Apartments (which they are currently completely rennovating) at
the corner of Pass Avenue and Oak Street, across from the Warner Bros.
Ranch. A few months ago we moved to a rennovated mid-rise in Toluca Lake,
on Cahuenga Boulevard. We absolutely LOVE it here - Burbank has a
nostalgic charm like no where else I have ever been.
Reeeaaaally? "Nostalgic?" In what way? (That's one word I've never been able to fit to the place, actually.)
Suburban Atlanta has
a very stuffy, status-oriented atmosphere that I really grew to hate. When
we were looking for someplace in LA to live, it only took a few minutes for
us to choose Burbank. I work on Van Owen and Valley Street, very close to
Empire Avenue and (formerly) the Lincoln Cafe. I visit the Jack In The Box
on Buena Vista about twice a week!
So you're a big Rolaids customer, then.
It may be that I am a little naive only having lived here for a year or so,
but I don't think the gang problem is as bad in Burbank as you have
My friend Mike reported it.
Downtown Burbank (San Fernando between Olive and Victory) has
been transformed into a successful shopping district, and my wife and I
always feel safe there even at night. We never see anything that even
looks like gang-related activity. If there is a big problem, which there
very well may be, I guess I just don't see it.
Maybe they're stealth gangs or maybe they don't really exist - I don't know.
If you ever want me to take any photographs of any of the locations that
you are most fond of, let me know. I just bought a new camera and I
already have enough pictures of my cat!
I'm flying in this Saturday, camera in hand. On vacation - by myself!
By the way, Rocky's Hamburgers is
still there, and it looks like they recently re-did the entryway with new
stucco and a new door. That area these days has quite a few video post
production facilities located there, as well as other industries. I always
wondered what used to be in that big vacant lot!
Lockheed's B-1 plant and a host of memories.
Thanks again, Wes, for a very enjoyable experience.
Toluca Lake, CA
Thank *you* - glad you enjoyed it!
I saw your web site listed in my local newspaper (Hartford Courant, Hartford, CT) and just finished checking it out for myself. I liked the idea of it, irreverent, kind of silly, and probably a lot like everyone's childhood of that "era". (It reminded me of my own "geekdom".) I thought it was a bit wordy though, and some of the photos were hard to really see that well. Thanks for the "trip" back, though.
S. Mayock, Northern CT
I've come to grips with the wordiness aspect of it: I quit adding to it! Remember, however, that I originally meant for this to be a record for my children, and their children. I wanted it to be complete in a way that I've never had for any genealogical information I've ever found...
The photos are the way they are because of disk space limitations - I had to do some compressing. (That and the fact that the 1960's < a href=instamatic.jpg>Kodak Instamatic format didn't produce what we'd call really sharp images!)