Seeing Green

by Anne Crump, The San Francisco Examiner, 10/01/2002

The Web is such a beautiful place. Where else could you find a how-to on cat grooming, some really raunchy porn and a loving tribute to childhood kitsch all within mere clicks of each other?

The first two you'll have to seek out on your own, but if you want a pictorial exploration of suburban Burbank circa the 1960s and '70s, head on over to Wes Clark's Avocado Memories (

Wes is nothing if not detailed in his chronicling of his father's efforts at interior -- and exterior -- decorating, his mother's counterstrikes, and his own awkward development and dalliances with the fashions of the eras.

He describes his Avocado Memories as documentation of "the changes we inflicted on our little stucco-covered Burbank home," and says he hopes it'll give his kids a clue about what it was like for him in the lifetime that predated them. But, recognizing the impossibility of such a nostalgic treasure remaining private, he adds, "If it's entertaining enough for complete strangers to wander through, so much the better!"

And let me tell you, it is entertaining.

Not only is Wes good-natured enough to ridicule himself, he describes people, places and things with such glorious detail you might start to think you were there. The cast of characters is as good as any you'd find on "The Wonder Years" -- mom Madeleine, dad Wesley Sr., best buddies Mike and Bob, dreamy gal pal Angela, girl next door Viki, and assorted other supporting players.

And the visuals, well, they just steal it all. The quality of Wes' photos isn't top-notch, but that's part of the fun. We see the Stratolounger with borrowed arm protectors, the poolside tiki murals, the homemade fish pond built into the patio, the portrait of Vlad "The Impaler" of Wallachia painted by Angela, the one-car-garage-turned-"pool hall" and many, many more enchanting features of the Clark homestead.

It's so classic, you almost wish you had lived there. Almost.

A cyber-tour will suffice.

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