From the photographic archives of the Clark Family comes this image, previously poorly viewed because it was so badly exposed, but now Photoshopped as best I can to bring out the details. It looks like a party (New Years?) at my parent's house with my Dad, Mom and a family friend named Paul Ferriter. It is rare because Mom is holding a can of Hamm's (Dad's fave) - I don't ever recall her drinking. In fact, that doesn't even look quite like Mom. I wonder if she had too much to drink...
Paul is reaching over to do "bunny ears" behind Dad but not quite making it; Dad wears an indulgent expression on his face. My guess is that this was taken 1959-1961. It's too bad we can't make out what's on the tables.
Paul wears a silly party hat - my parents do not.
Paul Ferriter. As you can see, booze was no problem at this little soiree - there was lots of it. Which is one reason why Dad had to battle alcoholism when I was very young... Dad's drinking ended one night in 1964 or so when he had to be rushed to the hospital due to internal bleeding of something or another. I was never given the details, only that he nearly died.
I have no idea whose hand that is with the cigarette. I remember that little grouping of pictures near Paul's head - those are antique cars.
The family lore is that Paul had a volcanic temper, and the only person who was ever successful at talking him down was Dad, who always had a calm demeanor. Paul's daughter Debbie was one of my play pals when I was three, four or five. I am pretty sure we never saw the Ferriters after we moved to Burbank in February, 1965.
Here's the house we lived in at the time: 620 Robinson St. (you can see the "620" over the door), in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles. We rented it. The house isn't there anymore. Some time around 1966 or so it was torn down to provide additional parking space for a nearby moving company. The windows you see behind my parents in the photo above are the ones closest to Dad, on the right - the living room. My bedroom was behind the windows on the left.
For some strange reason I was always wary of that vent in the middle of the porch. I suppose I was afraid some bug would leap out of it to get me. When you consider this and Dangle Man, it's clear that I was a pretty fearful kid!