2019-2024 E-mails

NOTE: Click on the appropriate links for archives from 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998 and 1997.

Hi Wes

Not sure if you will get this message, but I wanted to commend you on your Avocado Memories Website. I think it is really high quality and a useful archive of history. I was especially drawn to the info about your father, his wartime experiences and military record, and am grateful you have curated all this stuff for posterity. Your parents seem to have been good-hearted decent people and I would have really been honored to have been able to speak with them, especially your dad. Alas, in some other plane of existence, perhaps.

Another segment that sticks out---your Marine Corps days. Commendable that you went into that when you probably could have done other things, especially at that (anti-military) time in US history. Also striking are some of the characters you have been fortunate enough to come across and interact with in your life. One who stands out in particular is Erv Dence, and I wonder why he was not afforded a more prominent place in the web page of your youthful memories. Was he a military retiree? What was his job when he was working with you? I don't know why, but he too strikes me as someone you probably learned a heck of a lot from in your younger years. He was a member of a special and positive generation whose lives changed the world. Did you keep up with him in the years since you left the service? It would be interesting to know what became of him (imagining he may no longer be with us on this plane). I think a lot about the guys of that era, and it is saddening to think that that cohort is slipping away. I'm not trying to be morose, but indeed, something precious is in danger of being lost, as you say, and it is appreciated that you tried to preserve some of it.

I hope this book-length email has found you well and happy. Didn't mean for it to be so long, but quality content generates great interest. Again, I appreciate your site and plan on going back to it again. Three more questions to wrap up---

1) whatever happened to the matchbook sketched by Picasso? How did your dad come across him and why did he not hang onto the sketch (assuming he didn't)?

2) Do you still have that autograph from Pappy Boyington? That's gotta be worth something.

3) On your summer trips to Del Mar with your Pop, on any occasion did you ever see Bukowski the writer (not that you would have known him anyway)?

Thanks so very much.


Thank you so much for the many kind comments!

Yes, Erv Dence was an amazing guy. Not a USMC retiree - he wasn't in long enough - but a veteran, and, yes, I learned a lot from him. He could repair just about anything. We did keep up after 1978, when I left the Marines. In fact we met in Virginia in 1985 when he was on a family vacation.

I, too, miss that G.I. Generation.

The Picasso matchbook: I've never seen it. I suppose it was lost in subsequent moves my father did. Boy, oh, boy I wish I had it, yes.

Yes, I still have that autographed photo of Pappy Boyington. It's in my USMC scrapbook. How much is it worth? I don't knwo, but it doesn't matter. I'm never giving it up!

Never saw anyone named Bukowski while in Del Mar.

Thanks for writing me!



Hi Wes,

I'm Matt, and I've written to you before. I stumbled onto your site many years ago, and was transported back to my 60's childhood. To this day, your name pops into my mind occasionally, and I pay your site a visit. Thanks!

Be well, Matt



Times Have changed! I respect the right for people's choices. But I saw Doom Patrol on TV... first, its not for kids, first 3 minutes, Boom! in your face sex scene.

We enjoyed trading comics, talking about who could beat who in a fair fight, why Marvel was better than DC and what are those other comics companies?

Yep, we sold 10-20 newspapers at 3 cents per paper and you could each buy a comic, Coke and a Milky Way with change back! Nice summer memories.

Yes... I've seen an episode or two of the Doom Patrol. Not a fan! - Wes


It’s been quite awhile since I’d paid a visit to Wes Clark’s Avocado Memories and happened to find myself there this morning perusing the Clark Family’s old Christmas photos and enjoying the vintage decor.

I’m an early discoverer of your AM site, having found it back around 1996 or so when I was raising my own family in Tucson Arizona. I remember it was the afternoon of Halloween when I first discovered it and I had to force myself to break away from the spell your website had over me so I could carve our Jack-O-Lantern and help the kids get ready for Trick-or-Treating that evening! I have, thru the ensuing nearly 3 decades since, occasionally poked my head back in and have spent an accumulated several hours getting acquainted with you and your family from afar.

My interest comes from my own sweet memories of having spent the first 10 years of my childhood in Orange County California — Buena Park specifically. It was a 4 or 5 minute walk from our home’s front door to the old Knott’s Berry Farm. I say “the old” Knott’s because it was then UNFENCED and free to walk thru, which me and my brother and a few neighborhood friends frequently did (parents didn’t have to worry about their young kids running around all over the place back in those days).

We’d go over there on summer days when school was out, walk across that long covered bridge to “Jungle Island”, pay our 25¢ and spend HOURS there playing hide-and-go-seek, tag, and pretending to be pirates or the Swiss Family Robinson kids. Other days we spent hanging out around the big “duck pond” that had the little train going around it. We’d sneak in the train tunnel, ignoring the “DANGER: DO NOT ENTER!” sign. We’d hop on the big ol’ covered big-band merry-go-round while it was going, trying to avoid getting caught and run off by the ride operator. Other times we’d wander the Old Knott’s Ghost Town stopping in to talk with Sad-Eye Joe who’s been locked up in the ol’ jail there since 1940 (I don’t reckon they’re ever gonna let him out!).

Those memories and SO MANY MORE. Good memories from my youth that come roaring back to me every time I peruse those old “Avocado Memories” of Southern California that you write so eloquently of.

The first time I emailed you nearly 30 years ago (it seems like it was only yesterday!) and had mentioned my youth in Buena Park, you responded back with your memory of the big ol’ windmill that stood there by the freeway alongside the old “Farm House Restaurant” there in Buena Park. Oh, how those old memories shimmer and gleam like PRICELESS GEMS to our mind’s eye! Thanks again, for such a gift Brother Wes!

—Randall Todd

Has it really been that long? Yes, it has. I started AM in February 1997 - it seems like a long time ago! I'm very glad you've found this page entertaining all that time!

Your playground sounds idyllic! Illegal - but idyllic. Knott's has always been a cool place. There's 8mm home movie footage of me and my dad there when I was three or four.

Hahahahaha! The other night that giant neon Buena Park windmill appeared in a dream!

Thanks for writing!



Hi Wes,

I hope you and your family are doing well. Congratulations on your retirement. Out of the tons of letters you get I'm sure you don't remember me. I'm John, your faithful reader from Mississippi - now living in Branson, Missouri for the second time.

I've been reading AM again (no matter how many times I read it I always seem to find something new it seems) and it got me to wondering about your interest in Dark Shadows. I started at the beginning and I'm watching each episode in order...free on Tubi. I was wondering if you still like to watch YouTube clips or even full episodes. I truly love that show and still think it's the most original daytime drama ever. Also, what did you think of the Johnny Depp movie? I HATED it, I truly can't believe that was the best they could do.

Oh, I once mentioned to you about a autograph convention I was going to in Burbank (I guess that's what it's called). Anyway, I think I got the name of it wrong. It's actually The Hollywood Show.

Thanks again for leaving AM up all these years. It's still my favorite blog ever.

Take care.

Dark Shadows! Yes, I still watch it occasionally. A few weeks ago I was watching the last episodes from the 1795 storyline, where Barnabas gets trapped in his coffin by his father. The original series was campy and corny - but wonderful and very entertaining. I have always liked the incidental music by Robert Cobert. Never cheerful, sometimes suspenseful. It really set the mood of the series. Back in 1969 I bought the Lp.

That production with Johnny Depp was awful. The less said about it, the better.

I retire 12/31/22... which is almost here!

Thanks for writing... - Wes


Re.: The Carroll County Accident

I didn't see mention of Walter Browning being the father of the singer. "The county ordered dad a marble monument. I lost him in the Carroll County accident." The singer is dealing with losing his dad and also keeping the affair a secret to protect his mother and his dad's reputation. This was my favorite song as a child. Sounds strange, but my dad was a huge Country music fan. I played this over and over on his old LP.

I like your page and I still dont know what Billy Joe and the girl threw off the bridge. I always assumed it was a stillborn baby and Billy Joe had jumped from grief.


The movie adaptation of the song makes it clear what went over the bridge... check it out. - Wes


Dear Wes,

I just did another browsing on your website as I often do whenever someone brings up Avocado Green and Harvest Gold appliances. Your website help be to bridge a gap in my family history even though we’ve never met and we’re from opposite sides of the country.

I was born in 1979 and for 17 days shy of 9 years was the youngest child. My older brother was born in 1968 and my sister three years after him. When my family moved in 1977 I had the misfortune of having little contact with members of my family or others who fall in the gap between my brother and my parents. I see things that are familiar in the vaguest sense, things that my brother picked up at various yardsales, and things that are entirely new to me. The way you describe the sights, the sounds, the laughter, and the joys are incredible.

I pray for the continued happiness of you and your family and thank you for allowing a guy a to paint a more vivid picture of that time in his mind’s eye.

God bless,

Drew (who lived with Harvest Gold appliances until we moved in 1991)

Sorry for the late reply... Labor Day weekend was BUSY. Thank you for the very kind remarks about AM. I really ought to submit that to a publisher again... - Wes


Dear Wes, I just discovered your Avocado Memories site this week. Oh my. It gave me goosebumps. Although I grew up in suburban Maryland (yes, Bethesda!) our childhoods were so similar. Mom stayed home with me, an only child, and Dad went to work everyday for the Atomic Energy Commission (before it became the Dept. of Energy). Hallowed, halcyon days of drug store soda fountains, 5 & 10 stores, bicycles, toys and endless possibilities.

Photos of Christmases, birthdays, cook-outs, long gone relatives, and long forgotten little playmates – wow, that’s all I can say. The nostalgia of it all hit me hard. Thank you so much for sharing your childhood with us.

Best regards,

Thank you! Over the years I have discovered that if you were raised in the 1960s and 1970s somewhere in the U.S. the simularies outweighed the differences - and this even applies somewhat to outside of the U.S. I found this surprising...


Well, happy new year, everyone! 2022 represents 25 years on the web for Avocado Memories. Golly! Where does the time go?

2021 E-mails


I discovered your site sometime around 2005 if memory serves me right. Although you predate me by about 8 years, and I live on the opposite coast, your site took me back to my own childhood memories. Thank you for sharing those memories.

What a magical time childhood was. I still talk with some of my childhood friends and we tell the same stories everytime we meet. Unfortunately for our spouses they have to hear them all over again. Many of the toys and monster models on your site, I too had. It was a much more creative time than the video game age we live in.

I never had a pool, but the apartments we lived in had one, and my friend that lived in the houses as we apartment dwellers referred to them had a pool. Our summers revolved around those pools, bike riding, skateboarding and exploring the woods. Most of which are long gone and are now townhouses.

Reading your stories was like going back in time for me. I just wanted to send you a note, thanking you for a fascinating trip in your time machine that let me make a stop into my own past.On a side note the apartment complex we lived in had all avocado appliances and large clear plastic faceted orb in the dining. Tacky as it was, I still love 70s decor.

I visit your site on occasion when I want to escape the craziness of the world and to see what you have added. The site is definitely a labor of love and it shows. Well it was nice chatting with ya. Take care

Sincerely, Anthony

I know how you feel, obviously. I'm still fond of 1970s style, as horrible as it could be. It says "home" to me. Thanks for the note! - Wes


Hello, I hope this email finds you well.

While sorting through my husband’s grandfather’s special things I came across an Indian Chief belt buckle; I dropped everything & have spent the last 2 hours trying to figure out its history. That’s how I found you! You have a picture of the very same buckle in your "Holding up my pants” essay. It’s the only one I have found with the shaped clasp, I think that’s what it’s called, lol. Can you tell me what kind of metal it is & anything else you know about it.

Thanks for taking the time to help a gal out!

Make it a great day!

Urbana, OH

The only thing I can tell you about this belt buckle is that it was manufactured by Bergamot Brass Works, Inc. (they are still in business) and that these were popular in the late Seventies. I have no idea what material it is or how much its worth, etc. There is one just like it on e-Bay presently for $27, if that helps. There are also variant styles on e-Bay where the feathers are colored. Sorry, that's all I know! - Wes


Something piped in my mind today and it was Standard Brands paint and I found your article about the place and your memory of it was just like mine going with my Dad there in the Sixties. Mine was in Downey, I think, on Florence. The building is still there... thanks for the memories... Mike.

The article in question is here. Many a fine hour spent at Standard Brands! - Wes



Thanks very much for this detailed account of Wes Clark in the 33rd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron. My Grandfather was also in the 33rd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron. Thomas H Nedderman (Mom's father). As far as I know he was in France-Germany in late 44 just after the invasion. Previously in Africa. Trying to piece together his movements in Europe. Reading about Wes's experience really showed how fast they moved and how much went on back then. A lot of moving parts! Lately I'm trying to find more info and request certain documents about Granddaddy's experience. Hopefully I too can piece together something close to what you have presented on the website.


I had an idea that scanning and publishing my father's unit history would be a good idea. You're about the fifth person who turned up a family name in that index at the end and contacted me. Very cool. Glad I did it! - Wes


Hi Wes. I have mailed you several years ago and have just gone back to your Burbank memories pages.

Everything you have written is like reading my mind. I recall almost all of your adventures, having lived through them myself.

My family moved to Burbank in 1947 at 10 months old. My maternal grandmother worked at Lockheed during and after WWII, and my mom wanted to show off her new son - me. We drove to Burbank in a 1939 Ford sedan. My dad owned it for quite a few years after that trip. We had just survived a very bad winter in Iowa and once in Burbank, my mom and dad decided to move there permanently.

Housing was short in 1947 so we rented a trailer in a trailer park just off Hollywood way, right across from Lockheed. There were vineyards around the trailer park at that time. That place folded as Lockheed expanded, building the A1 plant on the east side of the road. The parking lot took out the trailer park.

We relocated to another trailer park between San Fernando Rd. and Scott, just east of the Coca Cola bottling plant. That lasted a few years and I-5 came through in 1955. I remember standing in the front seat of my dad's Ford and shifting the gears when he said to make the change. He drew the shift pattern on the dash in a red pencil. He would work the gas and clutch, I would move the floor shift lever.

Fortunately, my folks were able to buy a house then and we moved to 1220 N. Lamer Street. I went to Monterey Avenue School and then to Luther Burbank Jr. Hi. In 1962 I started at Burbank High School, graduating in 1964. I am on the next to last page of the class photos.

Many of my friends and classmates worked at Lockheed. I worked at Weber Aircraft. While I was there we were building B-52, F-106, and T-37 ejection seats. Also the Apollo capsule seating, tons of lavatories, seating, and galleys for every major airline. We made the front airstair for Boeing 737s and the United Airlines B-727 QC floor for their combo freight/passenger planes.

All of your adventures in the big dirt lot by the SP tracks north of Pacific were exactly like mine. I too explored the wash from the end of the tunnel at Lincoln street toward Lockheed and downstream to the big wash all the way down to Olive Street. I too hiked above Stough Park to the building at the road at the top. It was just a frame when I was there - must have been 1962 or so.

I live in Bardstown Kentucky now and have not been back to Burbank since my mom passed away in 1994.

I could go on forever, but you brought back my childhood. Thanks.


You're welcome! - Wes

2020 E-mails


Hi Wes, just wondering what you have been doing during this year of Covid?  I wish you had filled all of us in since I am sure you are stuck at home like the rest of us.  I sure miss your Avocado Memories.

Please consider writing again, I so looked forward each checking into your blog and your wonderful memories.  I too am from the Valley and once lived in Burbank for a few years, mostly North Hollywood since 1942 and I was six months old upon arriving to N.H.

Bye for now, please think about it.

Your fan,


How kind of you to write!

“I sure miss your Avocado Memories.” Avocado Memories is always up here on this website at wesclark.com. But if you mean you miss the 1960s and 1970s, yeah, I do, too.

As for Covid, I maintain a nearly daily blog that describes what’s going on. But it’s mostly sitting at a computer, teleworking. We haven’t gone on any vacations. I haven’t been in a pool for a swim for the first summer since 1997. Kind of BLAH, really.

As for writing, this year I’ve been managing a newsletter for my Harley (Davidson) Owners Group Chapter that is way beyond the baseline for a simple newsletter. It’s more like a magazine. But I haven’t entirely given up the idea of converting AM into a book.

(I have a book that somewhat like that. It’s Growing Up in Burbank: Boomer Memories from The Akron to Zodys. That’s as close to Avocado Memories as my publisher would let me get!)

Thanks for writing…



Hi Wes, just wanted you to know that I have sooooo enjoyed reading your life's adventures.  Loved meeting your friends and laughed out loud all by myself so many times.  I, too, grew up in North Hollywood and ran around in Burbank and worked at Lockheed from 1961 to 1992, (best place I ever worked and loved every minute of it.) You had such a wonderful imagination, I had just one child and she too was an only child but was like you and enjoyed her life so much. 

The Valley was a great place to be raised in.  Hope you continue with your life stories, they bring great memories to all especially those of us who grew up in the Valley.  

I have been writing my life story for my grandkids and I love every minute of the memories it brings back to me while writing it.  

Again, thank you so much.

Bye for now, Sharon
still misses my North Hollywood even though I know it is not the same anymore.


Hi Wes,

      I'm John from Mississippi, the guy that has written you a few times over the years about your website. I keep all of my emails and I forwarded this just to prove that I was telling the truth and that I'm not some crackpot just trying to take up your time haha. 
     I still read Avocado Memories from time to time and like a book being reread I seem to find things that I missed out on the previous time I read it.
     I noticed on your page about local TV you mention Lucy Lawless of Xena but you have it spelled Loveless. Also, the link to your Picasa USMC pictures no longer works.
       I hope this doesn't seem like I scan your blog only looking for errors because it's not that at all, I simply have OCD and possibly catch things that others might miss. 
     I truly love your blog and I have for years and I hope I haven't offended you. I am a Christian and a all-around nice guy and I would never want to offend anyone.
     I still hope that you turn your blog into a book one day and I still have plan to buy your book about Burbank, I just keep forgetting - one of the things that happens when we reach our upper 50s.
   I'm making my first trip to Los Angeles and Burbank in October for The Hollywood Studios; are you familiar with it?
     Thanks again for keeping your blog up and running and take care.


Well, I'm not at all offended and I am grateful that you told me about some errors; I have fixed those. Thanks! The Hollywood Studios? I'm not familiar with those but I am familiar with The Burbank Studios. I'm sure it'll be fun... - Wes


Hi Wes,

Hope all is well and good. 

You may or may not remember our short correspondence about Avocado Memories, where I was able to discover more about Burbank and So Cal in your website. I wondered if your father was a Yiddish speaker, thanks to his use of the word "zetz," and because he was a native New Yorker. Then, I discovered that he was not the only non-Jewish Yiddish speaker in NYC from that era. Here's something you may or may not have seen.

You may think me weird, but I still go back to the Avocado Memories site when I need a gentle reminder that there were, are, some good people and places left in this world. 

I remember reading about the Dip, and your acquaintance with the Rosens (wonder if they spoke Yiddish?) and their influence on you. I have often wondered about them, in a way that you wonder about acquaintances who disappear, never to be seen again. In a weird way, they, and all the cast of Avocado Memories, have become acquaintances as I have read your pages.

And, lest you think I have wasted my time, I will let you know that I have learned a lot of history, not just about Burbank, but about much of America.  What got me back to your site again was when I was going through my late grandfather's old military stuff and war records, etc.

I reminisce a lot when I read your site. I reminisce a lot, and that's not a bad thing. 

Anyway, I get a lot out of your site. It has led me to an interest in public and architectural history (two subjects I never thought I would embrace, but am so doing.

Your site has reignited a latent interest in history so much that I recently decided, after 20 years of being out of school, to get back in and get the graduate degree in the subject. Don't ask me what I think I may do with it. I'm still thinking outside the box on that one. I'm told it's a worthless degree, or pretty close, but I'm still an optimist in the worst way. It will all work out.

Alright, I didn't mean to write a whole novel for you, but I almost did. I hope all is well with you and yours. Thanks for the site, which remains refreshing after all this time. Hope to hear from you---

Have a good one!


2019 E-mails


Wow! Someone mentioned you on Facebook re a post about the defunct Burbank open shopping mall, and I just Googled you and found your website. I absolutely cannot wait to sit at my computer and immerse myself in family pics and history. I applaud your foresight and wish I had had as much. I anticipate having a blast looking at your history.



Hi Wes,

I write to you every so-many years, usually after reminiscing about my 1960s-1970s childhood, especially the toys. Its cool too see that your site is still here after all this time. Personally, I stumbled upon it accidentally at least 10 or 15 years ago. I revisit it from time to time, and I always enjoy it. I was born in '61 and I had a Zippy The Chimp.

Matt Faccenda
The Reverend Matty F

Zippy the Chimp was an odd sort of thing to give kids. It's face was mildly frightening. It seems to have been my very first toy. - Wes


Hi Wes
My name is Sue. I just (March 7, 2019) sold my Burbank home that my family owned since 1957. Very hard and feeling so sad for saying goodbye to Burbank I perused all things Burbank this morning. I have read things from your site before but this morning I really spent time with it. I was born in 1959 and I am sure went to all the same schools as you. I know I was at Vickroy park around the same time as you making the gymp thingy's.

Anyway I am wondering, while you were in Sav-On, if you remember a colorful lady named Tibby? Orange hair, wild cat eye glasses and too much blush? Probably in her late 50's early 60's then. This was my aunt Tib.

Great stories in your ode to Burbank and I loved it all.


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