Friday, November 13, 2015

Stories from the Past

Some things I don't talk about much were my teen years, I guess because I feel like I'm shallow or bragging that I got to spend so much of my time in Hollywood just acting like a groupie. After living 8-1/2 years in the desert just north of Blythe, California, my parents and I moved to Los Angeles. It was the summer of 1963, and we had moved from 110 degrees to 80 degrees in Bell, California. I was cold, so I put on a sweater. The neighborhood kids asked if I was sick. I told them no, I just moved here from the desert and I'm cold.
"How come you aren't tan", they asked?
"Because it was too hot to lay in the sun."
I don't think they bought it.

We didn't stay in Bell very long. We started out living in a spacious 2 story apartment, but my dad's inability to find work mushroomed into problems. First they repossessed our car, which meant my dad had to take the bus. Job after job turned him down simply because he had bad legs.

When we lived in the desert my dad had massive blood clots in his legs. He nearly died. They stripped the clotted vessels from his legs. After a time (I was little...I don't recall how long) he came home, only to come down with pneumonia, so he was back in the hospital. I remember my dad was in and out of the hospital for nearly a year. My mom didn't drive, so we depended on neighbors to drive us the 22 miles to Blythe to visit my dad.

The story returns to L.A. The leg surgery left my dad with poor circulation in his legs. He wore compression stockings and took medicine. That's why no one would hire him. He passed all the intelligence tests with flying colors, but never a physical. Finally he made his way to Norris Industries. He took all the buses to the end of the line and then walked I don't know how far, a mile or more. They had a government contract, so they had to hire him regardless of physical condition. We were already behind on the rent, so we moved into a tiny house on a huge lot in Bell, California. My parents slept on a hide-a-bed in the living room and I had the only bedroom. It seems we always lived in tiny houses, so much so that spacious ones never feel like "home" to me. (I still feel like I'm staying in a hotel in this 1296 sq. ft. spacious duplex).

One morning my parents were roused by pounding on the front door. Some man was shouting, "Anyone in there?" My mom opened the door to find a man and a crane with a wrecking ball, ready to smash apart the house! Apparently the landlord sold the property and forgot to tell us to move. They had to give us time to move.

We ended up renting another tiny house in Bell Gardens, California. I went to Google Maps and typed in 6933 Ajax Ave. and came up with a giant shopping center, so that residence is history as well. We lived next door to a family with 3 kids and one older son in the Navy. All four shared the mother but the older son was from a previous marriage. We met when he came for a visit. I was just turning 18 when we met. We ended up getting married. He was my first husband and the father of my daughters. But that's another story.

The older daughter and I became fast friends. I also met two other girls from Long Beach at the Teenage Fair in Hollywood. Most of my teen years were spent in Hollywood. It was a fun time, before the bums hit the streets, before drugs ruined it. The girl next door and I would take the bus or the girls I met at the fair would pick me up (one had a car). I saw the Beetles in concert twice. I saw the Animals at the Hullabaloo. Here's a little bit of Hollywood from the Producers Library, KHJ and Wilshire Blvd in the 60's.

I met Mark Lindsay after he did an interview at one of the radio stations. The front door was heavily guarded, with teenage girls trying to enter. I grabbed my girlfriend and said, "Lets go around back!" The back door was unlocked, so we crept in through a back storage room, and crouching down outside the booth, we could see Mark and the DJ. After a few minutes Security found us and ushered us out the FRONT door, much to the dismay of the other girls. After a time, Mark came out and signed autographs. At one point I was standing in front of him. He was so tall, and those brown eyes....then he bent forward and kissed me on the lips, and then he was gone.

The three of us, me and the two girls from Long Beach, used to attend every concert by Sky Saxon and the Seeds. They were so used to us being at their concerts they would scan the audience and wave when they saw us. At one of the concerts the lead singer, Sky Saxon, pulled me up on stage. I was mortified, and my shin was skinned. He took me back stage and cleaned my leg with his handkerchief, and then signed it! I still have it lol

My girlfriend from Long Beach worked as a receptionist at the Century Plaza Hotel. There she met the Young Rascals. The drummer, Dino Danelli, fell in love with her. One day she and I were driving everywhere, having fun. Later she dropped me off at my house and she went home. She was still living with her parents at this time. Turns out Dino had been sitting on her porch for 5 hours waiting for her to come home. She told me they walked by the beach and he proposed, but she turned him down. She didn't want that life.

We used to go to the free tapings of teen music TV shows. We found out you could just write to the studio and they would send free tickets because they needed an audience. It was guaranteed to be a long day because they would tape several episodes in one day. We saw many personalities and musicians.

The last I heard from my girlfriend from Long Beach was many years ago after I had married. She had been unlucky in love, having hooked up with a married man and broken up when she discovered the truth. I don't know where she is or if she married. I have searched, but cannot find her. I guess she didn't want to find me. I'm still in touch with "the kids next door". The youngest girl, a real beauty, sadly passed away from cancer. The brother and older daughter are in my friends list on facebook.

I sold almost all of my KRLA Beats and teen magazines for pretty good prices a few years ago.

1 comment:

  1. I never knew these things about you. Sounds like you had a lot of fun :-)