Oct 20, 2014

THE OTHERSIDE OF THE VOLCANO - Part Two: The one and only, ¨Hooray for Hollywood¨ (and other emotional outbursts)

My family moved to Los Angeles,  mid-December 1957, from the State of Washington.

I absolutely hated leaving the Pacific Northwest. My growing up life had been joyous in Washington  (and visits to Southern Idaho to Grandmas house in the Summertime).  What I mourned most (and I did for one year) and disliked leaving, was the romance I had with the outdoors and I missed my childhood friends too. I loved nature, mountains, fresh water lakes, armloads of Lilacs, apples picked from trees and the beautiful white almost-warm snow in the Wintertime to romp in. I had spent my lifetime running barefoot during shady Summers. Life was ideal and I knew it. I assumed nature was proof there was God and I still do (add a delightful friend or lots of them).  I also loved my accomplices in childhood and I wrote letters to them frantically posted with 3 cent stamps (so they wouldn't forget me).  They did.

Before, in Washington, our beautiful/cozy White Christmas´ were decorated with  EMERALD GREEN pine wreaths, trees and garlands. Christmas trims would soon be replaced with less-lush/spindly and heavily flocked expensive Christmas Trees (flocking came in colors if you wanted to match them to your house. Ug!) shipped in from Canada!   Bougenvillea was in bloom on those stark and Sunny Days of Southern California at Christmas'! Oy vey! ¨Ice plant¨ grew in every parkway and replaced ¨ice cycles¨! No way!  How I hated the bright Sun beating down on me/us at that first Christmastime as we raced to buy gifts for some of the many ¨Clark, Bramley, Cross, Jones, Taylor/etc¨ relatives who had become Californians before us!  I remember the jammed packed May Company, The Broadway and Buffum´s best. My Dad had a brand new, extra spiffy new job starting January 1958.  He had been promoted to Industrial Sales Engineer for all of Los Angeles up to Santa Barbra and had all the very biggest and high volume military and aircraft clients in his portfolio -- life was good as I pouted about readjusting and not finding ANY pleasure (or glee) under the Palm Trees...I hated Los Angeles!

My Mom and Dad made the transition as pleasant as they could.  They made great effort to find  a comfy/modernish stucco home (it needed work) and then proceeded to turn it into a charming place to live.  My parents were great that way with Mom redecorating (including doing all the painting with white fabrics wrapped around her head to protect her coiffed hair) and Dad doing the large backyard garden and front drive and lawns. Dad painted the stucco on the house medium PINK with WHITE trim.  They built a high redwood fence (there was a huge/acres open wild green area behind the property of our house.  We gleamed (we always had, albeit in WHITE with dark GREEN trim in our Northwest earlier life)!   Then, came the patio, the indoor/outdoor living the planting of Dichondra (and the everyday fight with Crab grass). WE were true Californias now. We went to the Philharmonic Auditorium downtown L.A. for Light Opera, visited Farmers Market to shop for giant Avocados, saw West Side Story at Grauman´s Chinese Theatre, ate/loved Mexican Food and leaned to Body Surf at Redondo Beach. My life was about to unfold before me in ways that made me extra glad to be alive...differently! 

Hooray for Hollywood!

Under Len´s Lid, was the name of the weekly column I wrote as Feature Page Editor for the Narbonne High School student produced/journalism class newspaper: The Green and Gold.

to be continued    

Oct 12, 2014

THE OTHERSIDE OF THE VOLCANO - Part One: Remembering far away spaces/places on a Sunday morning in Guatemala

The Fuego Volcano, Sacatepequez, Guatemala

October 12, 2014
Dentro de mi cabeza

Dreaming (day version) about more adventures?  My whole life has been jam-packed with adventure. Real ones, tiny *regular* diversions like climbing apple trees, swimming, fishing, building snowforts and regularly starting neighborhood dirt clod wars at construction sites. My well organized group of childhood friends also enjoyed performing in small, yet extravagantly attempted,  plays/dramas that I produced/directed (I insisted on controlling the *creative* even then) with neighborhood kids on our back carport stage.

A pretend Hollywood or way-off-Broadway?  

No script. Garage dressing room, old Halloween/whatever costumes (Moms make up - would she miss it?) and front center seating, Orchestra and Balcony on the grass (depending on the incline or use of garden furniture). Buttered Pop Corn and Lemonade available (at a price). Oh, the joy of big clear starrynight sky in the Summertime.  I can taste it right now. I can see the stars as I wondered about infinity.  Night has a tasty flavor  in Eastern Washington State where I grew up.  So does the freezing cold, delicious, water gulpped out of the garden hose.  I knew God was up there, high, high in the sky, smiling down on us...who wouldn't? I never thought of why not? Afterall, we were/are fascinating creations of God, every one of us unique! I knew that, I was told! Our show of shows traveled from house to house, night by night, with cardboard scenery, and a loyal cast of actors. We became a road troup immediately after the first nights performance! Premier! RAVE REVIEWS (what else were parents to say about such non-stop cleverness in the late 1940´s into early 50´s? )  Applause! Applause! Applause!

Off we went to the next welcoming backyard the next night (with a potential bigger audience) Bravo!  We had nothing to hit but the heights!  So, we hit ém! Thank you folks!

I love adventure, I love the not knowing, the wondering about what if, the making up something fascinating from nothing. The silliness. The blundering. The overdoing of it all!  Exaggeration could be my middle name! I have quite a vivid imagination and it often takes me where I have never been before.  I´m gifted with what seems to be an extra measure of mind inventiveness. I never ever minded being alone entertaining myself (still) and my Mom often said to me ¨How you DO go on, dear!¨ Yes, I confess, I do (I may be even worse now because I am living in a remote village in Guatemala speaking Spanish.  That Spanishspeaking every day slows my ¨how you do go on¨ way down.  That is, until I am around other English speakers...yak, yak, yak!

  Once upon a realtime, we, Parents/Lenny went to Seattle to visit my sister Marilynn at her sorority on Parents Weekend (University of Washington).  We stayed high-up in a very modern circular hotel by the name of the Edmond Meany. Wow! We had a suite and late at night, while my parents were sleeping in the bedroom I would stare for hours out the huge living room windows with the dazzling view of blinking, nightime Seattle.  What I thought about was people in love.  I wondered ¨how many people were making love in Seattle at that very moment? ¨  I loved the thought that there were tens of thousands of people enjoying romance. I love romance, that has never changed.

I also wondered if there were people like me making love outside the Edmond Meany Hotel...could it be there were other people like me? Blinking in the twinkling night, seeking bliss on a weekend night, Seattle, Washington, 1956.

There were! (I found out a few years later in Los Angeles)
to be continued