Various Avocado Memories Articles and Reviews
Discovered mainly by typing "Avocado Memories" into search engines and seeing what turns up!
From http://etsyvintage.blogspot.com/2011/07/living-vintage-life-in-shades-of.html :
Jul 31, 2011
Living A Vintage Life: In Shades Of Avocado
Spanning 1966-1980, Wes shows us with bare honesty and humor his childhood in Burbank, California, the changes inflicted upon their little ranch home and the suburban lifestyle of the era. A period when a true patio was decorated with Tiki gods, whether it be in Burbank or Honolulu, and family dens were decked out in drinking memorabilia and anonymous farm gear.
Leafing through WCAM will not do it justice - you must slowly journey through, as though walking through a long buffet line. Scroll to the bottom of each page, click every link and taste every morsel Wes has to offer: the 8mm movies, the school cafeteria recipes, the locomotion, Kraft cheese and more! It will take days, and you may need to take a break just to check the calendar once in awhile, but the journey is worth it.
Fortunately he started adding more pages after the initial site was built - there's enough here to keep you busy the rest of the summer so slather on some Coppertone (or baby oil with iodine for dark, homemade 'tan'!) and grab a glass of Tang and start your Avocado vacation!
What a great site! I can so relate to all this - not because I'm deep into my 40's, but because my brother is. Since he's ten years older, I got to experience everything that was 70's even though I was born in 72. I'm such a classic rock junkie as a result! Thanks for sharing this and putting this post together!
..that was hiarious and CUTE! The guy can write!It sorta reminds me of what the backgound info would be like for a "STAND BY ME" movie...really enjoyed this...GREAT JOB....! Kathryn
Thank you for sharing that site- It's a gem!
cindy-the vintage hat shop said...
Ahhhh, memory lane. Cutting edge yesterday, vintage today! Thanks for sharing.
nora - treasurehuntvintage said...
WOW!!! Such a GREAT post. Hoping to have time to delve into Wes' sight soon. I grew up in SoCal in the 60s / 70s, so it will really hit home! :~)
From Burbank High School Class of 1967 Blog:
Wes Clark's Avocado Memories
If you haven't already, be sure to check out Wes Clark's Avocado Memories which is an amazing website giving A LOT of Burbank history etc etc etc!! We met Wes and friends first at Bob's Friday night and then saw them again at the Centennial. PS Also check out Burbankia by Wes and Mike McDaniel!
From tvlamps.net links:
Wes Clark's Avocado Memories
Everyone has childhood memories, but few are able to share them with the same poignancy as Wes Clark. His tales of youthful exploits and the accompanying photos can be hysterical at times, but above all Avocado Memories is a fond recollection. This is a trip you want to take.
From metafilter.com community weblog:
June 17, 2003
Avocado Memories. It's more than a photo collection and group of essays about his parents' failures with interior decoration; it's a nostalgic website brought about by Wes Clark's impulse to let his children know what it was like growing up during a more innocent age.
posted by debralee (9 comments total)
Daddy a wonderful guy but never got around to teaching sonny that object of prepostion calls for objective case:
"between my father and I"--between my father and me.
ah, who gives a hoot, right? only academic slugs like Postroad do.
posted by Postroad at 11:19 AM on June 17, 2003
I don't think it was a more innocent age or that we were more innocent. it was just that we were expected to get hurt from time to time and to get dirty and to be able to create things from whatever was around. Far from the common cry that "kids of today have it so easy, why back in my day ...", I feel sorry for kids of today (my own included) who will never feel the thrill of a weekend stretching out before them endlessly, with nothing but their own version of fun to be created.
posted by dg at 4:17 PM on June 17, 2003
September 02, 2005 - Wes Clark's "Avocado Memories" - I found this site years ago and LOVED it. I laughed so hard I nearly injured myself. Check it out for yourself. It's like a flashback to the worst of home decorating in the sixties and seventies.
A heartwarming & hilarious blast from the past: a virtual tour through a Southern California home in the 60s & 70s. You can almost feel the shag carpeting. - Posted by Ash at November 12, 2003
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 (wesclark.com/am).
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.
A family album is a precious thing. A collection of photographs, it is a record of our past reserved for the posterity -- so we believe.
But a moment of thought reveals a phenomenon far from our assumption.
A photograph of me from my childhood, for example, shows what I looked like, say when I was seven. Anyone who knew me then will recognize me and remember what I then looked like; anyone old enough to have lived those years in the same milieu will also recognize the style of my clothes then in currency, the objects surrounding me, and perhaps even the particular place where the picture was taken. When I look at it, I, too, remember what I was like and also recognize the setting. The photograph, furthermore, brings back to mind the circumstances in which the photograph was taken -- those bygone days and various events related to the picture -- a weekend picnic, a day in the country visiting a grandmother, a New Years Day, or even just another day. Not only that, an old photograph may trigger a memory of a series of events far beyond what it shows. Nostalgia is what a family album elicits, and it is always pleasant. Sometimes the picture shows me at my worst; sometimes it records an unhappy moment -- like when our car got stuck in the mud out in nowhere in torrential rainstorm and Mother with that funny hairdo which was so fashionable then. Whatever the event, the picture evokes a feeling of longing because it alludes to what is no longer here.
I came across recently a wonderful website by Wes Clark that lovingly comments on his family album from 1970s and substantiates my point. But here is a curious thing. When we look at a picture in a family album, we are not looking at a record of the past. The picture does not bring back the past. Rather, we recreate the past from the vantage point of the present. We relive a past event looking at a picture but reliving it is never the same as the actual living of the event that had taken place in the past. When we look at our childhood picture at fifty, it is different still from we saw in it at thirty. When we reread a book at fifty that we had read previously, say, in our youth, it is often a different book, or, I dare say, always a different book. And so it is with photographs. Even a photograph from a trip taken a few weeks ago is no longer the same as the actual experience because we are here and no longer there and that event is no longer here.
Nowadays, families are more likely to make videos rather than still photographs. We may hastily think that videos reproduce the past more faithfully because the image captures movement and therefore events as they happened -- life as it was lived. But video images are also photographs which, when we view them, force us to recreate the events rather than merely observe them as though we were innocent bystanders just looking. Even if the pictures were not our own, even if they were pictures of total strangers, like Wes Clark's photographs, we develop our own stories and recreate the photographed event in our own way from our vantage point.
It is not realism but nostalgia, so it seems, wherein lies the special power of photography.
20 August 1998
If I had to take only one book on a desert island, I'd take one on how to build a boat. If I had to take only one web site along to a desert island, it might just be this one. Wes Clark grew up in Burbank in the Decade of Ugliness -- the 1970s -- and he meticulously photographed every avocado appliance and every hideous shag carpet in his house. Now he shares it all with the world via Wes Clark's Avocado Memories.
[ 4.10.98 ] This site is one of the most pleasing and creative that I have come across in a long time and I haven't even finished going through it yet. Proof positive that it is content which makes a good web site. It is one man's memories of growing up in Burbank, California, in the 70s. A really fun site that I'm sure you will get into. It's called Avocado Memories.
Children of the avocado era find a home
If you remember "Dark Shadows" and stretch-necked Pepsi bottles, you were most likely a product of (or at least cognizant in) the '60s and '70s.
Today, Webby takes you back a couple of decades to a typical stucco home on Lincoln Street in Burbank, California, with Wes Clark's Avocado Memories.
As you travel through this site, a combination of a family scrapbook and a personal diary open to all, you may recognize much of your own childhood -- if only your childhood had witty narration:
"The picture on the wall illustrates the founding, heyday, abandonment and ultimate corruption of a Western Gold Rush town. We got it at a yard sale. What did it have in common with anything else in the room? Nothing. It did, however, have the same attraction some women have for some men: It was available. (One time, Mom bought a plastic lemon with plastic daisies growing out of it sideways at a yard sale.
"This item was placed on the table in the patio and, for a time, provided the lemon yellow color inspiration for the seat covers and other items in the room, not to mention Mom's collection of Jean Nate toiletries. Did the lemon yellow go with the avocado? No, but items of that color were available.)"
In the kitchen you'll meet up with Harvest Gold paper towels. In the yard, there's that pond project that never quite worked out, and of course, tiki lamps.
If your parents had a Martin Denny L.P. collection and plastic furniture protectors on the Stratoloungers, come on home. At worst, you'll get some insight into the era. At best, pick up some timeless decorating tips.
-- Dorian Francel, sacbee staff
How amazing the Web can be. Wes Clark is just some guy who, like millions of people, took pictures of his room, his neighborhood, the family cars and his parents as he grew up in the '60s and '70s. This site celebrates the Wonder Years as Clark experienced them at his house on North Lincoln Street in Burbank, Calif.
From The Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune
What color are your memories? Some are avocado
Published Mar 19 2000
Wes Clark grew up in Burbank in the Decade of Ugliness -- the 1970s -- and he meticulously photographed every avocado appliance and every hideous shag carpet in his house. On his wonderful Web site, "Avocado Memories," he's used those photos to painstakingly reconstruct an entire house and, by association, an entire era. Touring through his site feels like paging through an old family photo album you've completely forgotten about. The Clark family didn't have a ton of money, or, as Wes will be the first to admit, a heap of design taste. In short, they were like most families of the time, when shag carpeting was mod and avocado was the new black.
If Avocado Memories was just a batch of one man's photos, there wouldn't be much reason for anyone who doesn't know Wes Clark to surf through it. But it's more than that. It's a time machine. Not everyone's father tried to carry out a Polynesian theme in the back yard, or framed and displayed Old Spice labels, but all of us are carrying around some cherished memory of bad décor. (Except maybe Martha Stewart's daughter.)
Maybe we didn't think it was bad at the time, but looking back... why did they put orange-and-red shag carpeting in my room? Were those pink plastic daisy stickers in the tub really necessary? Did avocado really ever go with anything? If the photos on Avocado Memories don't stir up recognition in your brain, you probably didn't live in America in the 1960s and 1970s.
Clark never over-Hallmarkizes his memories, but there's no doubt that he enjoyed his childhood, and loved his family. His fondness comes through in the short copy that accompanies each photo as well as in a set of essays about his childhood, covering everything from reading comics at the drugstore to his mother's own individualistic way of speaking, which he dubs 'Madeleinese'.
I've probably surfed through more Web sites than any person should be allowed to, but I always come back to "Avocado Memories" to see what Clark has added, or to just let his photos and memories take me back to my own. The Clark house -- and my own house -- would never have been featured in Architectural Digest. But if your memories of that time are good, avocado can be beautiful.
Avocado Memories: I've raved about this site before. Wes Clark grew up in Burbank in the 1970s in a house that looks horribly, fondly familiar to anyone who remembers avocado appliances and orange shag, and his online photo album pays tribute not only to a lost time, but to a warmly remembered childhood.
From First Person Particular:
Listen. I really didn't mean to go off on this high school reminisce; I think it must have been brought on by reading Avocado Memories yesterday. What a family. I couldn't help but think that someday Jasper will write something like that to amuse the masses with his own weird upbringing and his family's strange decorating sense. My only consolation is that he doesn't take pictures. While I was reading, I couldn't help but remember my own mother's obsession with an avocado and gold decorating scheme and resin grapes and macrame and various craft projects. His parents were charmingly loopy, though, while mine were, well, not.
From Fruits and Nuts:
I'm dizzy from spending the last few days in the 1960's, completely absorbed by the magic of Wes Clark's Avocado Memories, a web site that pays homage to the decor and lifestyle of suburban living during that wonderful time. I'm sure it has a draw for children of all ages, but the author and I were born a year apart, and his outlook isn't far from my own. Add to this the fact that he and I are both only children who grew up within 40 miles of each other, and you may get some idea of why his site has been so mesmerizing for me. Go check it out.
TOP TEN POP-CULTURE WEB SITES
Something special for my birthday. I'm listing and discussing my top ten pop-culture Web sites. Ever. Of all time. The ten pop-culture Web sites I would take with me to a desert island if -- um, wait. Scratch that. Anyway, some of them have been mentioned here before, some haven't, some will be familiar to anyone savvy enough to wield a mouse, others may be new. They're all stunningly well-written or well-conceived, and I'd like to thank their creators for all the work and love they put into them. Note: Sites are in alphabetical order, not order of preference.
Avocado Memories: Wes Clark grew up in Burbank in the Decade of Ugliness -- the 1970s -- and he meticulously photographed every avocado appliance and every hideous shag carpet in his house. I've thought a lot about why I love this site, and I think the very completeness of it -- how he has reconstructed an entire house and, by association, an entire era -- tugs at my heart. It helps that Wes's family didn't have a ton of money, or a heap of design taste. In short they were like most families of the time, when shag carpeting was mod and cool and avocado was the new black. In addition to the wonderful house tour, Wes includes a variety of well-written essays (best title: "The Death of Ferro Lad in the Corner Drugstore") about his times in the house.
If you read only one page on this site, read: "The Patio Culture and the Promise of Joining the Adults' Club."
From Trudy's Wicked Wicked Web
One man's tale of family atrocities committed with avocado paint and an antiquing kit in Burbank. While I'm sure he loves his parents, what has been wrought is inexcusable, especially know that some misguided fools seek to remember and pay homage to this troubled time through their modern dress and decorating style. In the immortal words of someone or another - it didn't look good back then and things haven't changed. Now sculpted shag carpeting is something completely different...
Wes Clark's Avocado Memories. A Large Site that can devour your Entire Afternoon.
From Art and Artiste Links
Wes Clark's Avocado Memories is probably the greatest personal website I've ever encountered: the guy has plenty to say about growing up in Southern California on the nerdy side of the tracks. Perfect for anyone with any working memories of the 1970s.
From Paramecium Parachute, (Thursday, May 15, 2003):
Sweet and Sentimental Avocado
If you knew me well enough, you would know that I'm a total 80s freak and that my favorite slice of life was 1978-1985. You would also know that I like writing about my experiences during that favorite slice of life. You would also know that I can't stand avocados, because as a kid, we had a huge avocado tree in the backyard, and that I stepped on decaying, smushy avocados constantly while playing out there. But here's an avocado that I truly enjoyed biting into. Wes Clark has done a great job of compiling his experiences growing up in Burbank, CA in the 60s and 70s. He names it Wes Clark's Avocado Memories. After reading through a few pages, you'll understand why he named it so. Yes, it is chock full of faded, old photographs of late 60s / early 70s life and living. Quite a tasty complement to my Big Mac combo. Perhaps some day I can do the same with my late 70s / early 80s photos and memories. Truly inspiring.
From Let the Finder Beware
Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - Avocado Memories: "I was born in the mid 1950s, so I can especially identify with Wes Clark's Avocado Memories: Growing Up in Burbank, California in the Sixties and Seventies. This guy has tons of family photos - a meticulously documented childhood - and a colorful way of writing. You can spend hours at his site, wandering down Memory Lane."
From Links for the Discriminating
Irresistible Burbank, CA. A superb example of "genius in the details." This may be the greatest web site of all time. Awe inspiring.
From Meridian Magazine
Excerpt from "The Key to Your Personal History" by Paul Bishop
Recently, while web surfing for unrelated information, I came across a web site titled Avocado Memories. The creator of the site, Wes Clark writes eloquently of growing up in the Los Angeles suburb of Burbank during the sixties and seventies. As I read his memoirs of this time period, I was completely transported back to my own youth growing up about ten miles away during the same time frame. His points of reference - TV spy shows, comic books, hated teachers, the kitsch avocado interior decorating of the period, etc. - all rang common chimes within my own experiences.
I had no idea who Wes Clark was when I clicked into Avocado Memories. However, by the time I was done meandering through his site, I knew he was a lot like me and was thoroughly enchanted by the brief glimpses he provided of his life.
What also made Wes' memoirs enjoyable was the clear and concise manner with which he wrote. If you want your memoirs to be effective, then it is important to make the effort to make your writing the best you can. Does this mean you shouldn't write unless you are at a professional level? Of course not. What it means is making an effort to produce your best work.
From the earnest little cartoon guy blog
Chris said... I love that website.
f said... I forgot about it and I am so very glad I found it again. It's awesome.
There is a website I found a few years ago, titled Avocado Memories, where a man named Wes Clark takes a fond look at some of the photographs from his family album - mostly of his 'parent's failures with interior decorating' while growing up in the Los Angeles area during the 1960's. Of particular interest to this list is that Wes's father was very much into the tiki/Hawianna spirit, enjoyed Martin Denny, and tried to turn his backyard into a tropical paradise. He only partially succeeded - and it is a bit fascinating to see the slow backyard decay over the years - all documented with family photos. The following link will take you to the first of the backyard photos .... click through the series .... about 8 photos later you will see some very interesting back wall paintings of tiki gods, circa 1961, in the L.A. Silverlake region. There is also a page about a backyard tiki hut that Wes's father built in the early 60's. Interestingly enough, I later discovered that Wes Clark now lives only a few miles from my current home. I've met him, and plan on inviting him over to see my own current tiki room. - Vern
It's really great to see the "real thing"; photos actually taken in the 1960s of tikis in the common man's backyard. I just stumbled onto another such place this weekend. My cousin and his wife, who live in Signal Hill have a neighbor whose split-level 1960s modern house has a full tiki pool-room on the first floor. Maybe some day he'll invite me in and let me take photos. I checked out the links you provided. The tiki painting on the patio wall looks like it was taken directly from the menu or matchbook of the "Islander" on La Cienega Blvd, in Los Angeles. - Sabu the Coconut Boy
Wow - I just wasted an hour (on the clock!) looking at this site - so very cool! I can totally relate to the feel of this site (even though I grew up in Orange County in the 1970s) - when I found the page with a picture of "The Farm House" - it brought back so many memories! It's funny how things like that remind you of your childhood - we just don' t seem to have things that make an impact like that anymore... - Tangaroa
eilirj rated 17 months ago
This is a wonderful personal history of growing up in Burbank, California in the Sixties and Seventies. Very well written with plenty of period illustrations. Poignant and interesting, a history of a time and place that already seems lost and far away. A million miles away from the usual inanities of Personal Sites and Family Histories of unremarkable people with nothing to say. This is an online autobiography in the form of a photo essay.
IRob rated 6 months ago
There are so many things on Mr. Clark's website that remind me of my own childhood, particularly his toys and games! Very well done.
From Anne Altman's blog
Tuesday, 11 September, 2007 - I Love Wes Clark: "I stumbled across Wes Clark's blog, Avocado Memories one evening while I was no doubt googling something vintage, and I'm so glad I did. Not only is Wes hilarious and full of clever descriptions and stories about growing up in Burbank, but the pictures he's linked to his site are fantastic. They're of amazing quality and Wes clearly went to a lot of trouble to scan, organize and explain them just so. He's also got a few other blogs, so check out Mr. Clark's stuff. He's awesome. So was his dad, apparently."