I Remember When…. Memories of my life…Christine Von Lossberg I decided to write down things I remember..not in a chronological timeline..just when I remember something I want to come and write it down..who know’s how long this will be.. . Today is November 7, 2007 A good a day as any to start..
I remember when I was around 9 or 10 I had a great dane named Storm. She was black with a white spot on her chest. She belonged to the family really, but I would pretend she was just mine. She was so big and beautiful. One fourth of July we went to the beach and left her home alone with the fireworks going off in the neighborhood. She went crazy, poor thing. She tore down the fence that Dad had made from bamboo type material. It was before flea collars and I use to have her lay down on the back porch on a couch thing we had back there and I would spend what seemed like hours picking fleas off of her and putting them in a water in a glass and dunking them down until they drowned.
First the Helms man would go by with with his distinct whistle..Oh boy. Donuts! Cookies! His truck would stop and he would go to the back and pull out the drawer with all the goodies in there. The best jelly donuts and those vanilla cookies with the chocolate inside. So great I had a chocoholic for a mother. Then the ding ding ding song from the ice cream man..Had to watch him go by because I already had the donut. Mom said I called him the la la man, but I don’t remember, It must have been when I was a lot younger. We had so much fun just in that back yard. The house was painted barn red and Dad had gone around the edge of it and with a hand saw cut a beautiful design all around the edges of the whole house. It was the cutest house on the street. No one ever had one that color or with the scrolled edges like that. He also did the cupboards like that in the kitchen too. It looked really cute. The house was all decorated like country style. I remember the big picture of the red barn and the spinning wheel lamp. It was a real spinning wheel too. Gretchen and my bedroom was white and had a wooden border. There was this dark green pretty patterned wall paper too. There was ivy that went along the front and up to the sidewalk. Mom had planted it from clippings she got from May co. in the parking lot.
We had our pet rat Sparkey that lived in the ivy. He was a black and white one. Mom would give him food on the step and he would come and eat it. One day mom heard a noise on the porch and went out to look and it was the mailman plastered up against the wall scared to death of Sparkey. Mom just looked him up and down and went and picked Sparkey up. Haha..We use to have a parakeet leash that we would put on Sparkey and pin it to our shoulders and walk around with him everywhere. People were freaked out, but he was just our pet and we loved him. There was the white birch trees that they planted when Gretchen was born in front of our bedroom window and the famous red berry bush by the front porch that Gretchen would stand in front of and pick bees off and put in her hand to hear and feel them buzz. She never got stung either for some reason. Greg and Curt had the other bedroom. There were the bunk beds in there and the cowboy motif.
I remember when Mom came home from the hospital with Curt. I was so excited..she had a baby just for me! I would hold him all the time and feed him and play with him. I loved him so much. I was 11 then. Of course we weren’t the regular family. We were beach people. I remember going to The Lagoon and digging in the sand for clams. There was a big dark green cage thing that contained whale bones, the whole skeleton. There was a place where you could go and do crafts too. I remember kids making these really nice boats out of wood. On the way to the Lagoon, Dad would always scare us by taking us to Airplane Hill. It was the steepest hill in Long Beach. He would go all the way to the top of it and then let loose and fly straight down the hill scaring us all half to death. We would scream our heads off. That’s Gretchen, Greg and even baby Curt. Mom just went along with it. She screamed too I think. The other place at the beach where we ended up going was Alamitos Bay. That is where we went the most. We had our spot right next to the lifeguard shack. It was also by the little wooden pier that we would jump off and swim to the rope that was holding the buoys. I remember my feet feeling the green moss that was on the rope and loved how it felt. I could balance myself on there pretty good. I would watch the boats go by and wonder who lived in the big houses across the bay. Mom and Dad were the big deals at the beach. Dad was the Tan Man. He soaked up the rays and would be covered in baby oil, his big secret. Everyone would rotate their towels with the movement of the sun and God forbid you would stand in front of him and make shade. Then you would hear about it. “you are blocking my rays.”I heard many times.
I had a friend down there, Liz Motsinger. I had gone to elementary school with her and they had moved to the beach. A real nice beach house on Ocean ave. right across from the ocean. I loved going over to the ocean and seeing the waves. The sand was so soft and white too. Her mom was a abstract artist. I loved to see and smell the oil paints in there. I loved to do art when I was little. I remember sitting on my towel with my backrest and drawing the women who were tanning. Mom would always make sandwiches and bring chips. Warm tuna mmm. There was a place called Woodies Goodies that was a hamburger shack. I can still smell the burgers and fried onions. We use to get frozen Milky Ways on a stick. They were really good and would last pretty long. There was also the volley ball courts and paddle ball courts. The tennis courts too. You could check out paddles and balls. I loved the ping pong the best. I never was athletic, so ping pong it was for me. There I was going at it with my white zinc on my nose and my one piece bathing suit.
Later on we would go to Corona del Mar. That’s where we would bring our mats and surf in the ocean. I remember driving past this one bridge along PCH and it was the rotten egg smell there. Then we would go past the Date Shake shack. Soon we would get to the beach. One time I remember being out in the ocean with no mat, just body surfing I guess. I saw a five dollar bill in the water. WOW! I had to go for it. Everytime I almost got it the wave would hit and flush it down to the bottom. Then it would come up again and I would have to try to get it again. I was really getting tired and didn’t realize that I almost drowned. This man in a white bathing suit saved me and brought me to mom and dad and told them what happened. I got the five dollars..Yay.. There were also the caves there. You had to walk and climb over the rocks to get to the cave. There were tide pools with the little sucky things that I would put my toe in and they would suck on my toe. HA.. finally I got to the cave. There was a little cave in the big cave. That is where I would kiss this one boy..I don’t remember who he was. I remember kissing him though in there.
Gretchen and I shared a bedroom. We both had a twin bed. There were book shelves and a dresser and the closet. Also, the clothes rack that would give me nightmares at night when I thought it looked like a buffalo in the dark. Besides that The Queen of Outer Space lived under my bed. (I saw the scary movie with Zsa Zsa Gabor and she had a monster face under her mask} That was as scary as it got for me. I also saw Godzilla. He wasn’t that scary. But House on Haunted Hill was. Besides that, I thought my shoes were going to walk out of the closet by themselves. I was weird even then. I remember the movie that really got me..actually three movies. No four. The first was when I was twelve. I went and saw West Side Story. My uncle came and picked us up and I cried all the way home because Tony died. I was beside myself. Also, I cried really bad in Spartacus. We saw that at the drive in. Mom would make hot dogs and wrap them in a towel to keep them hot. It worked too. We were in the Chevy Nomad. 56 I think. It was the copper and beige color one with the silver line things on the back. All the cute guys would come up and check it out. Dad was a car fanatic and there could never be a crumb or a handprint. We had to crawl back there and wipe things off. He would also fart all the way and make us keep the windows closed and smell them. What a sicko.
I remember driving all the way to Hollywood and seeing It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world. That was a funny one. I loved it. Plus, it was in Hollywood. We also saw Paint your Wagon there too. I remember the house on Nipomo it was 3509 Nipomo. I still remember. The red house. There were lots of kids on the street. Lots of friends. Next door were twins that didn’t look alike. Kathy and Carol. Kathy looked like the dad, dark and dark brown hair and Carol looked like the mom, red hair and freckles. Our birthdays were real close so we would have parties together sometimes.
I remember this one party mom did..It was the one where we all made hats from tissue paper and pipe cleaners and glitter and paper plates. It was so fun. All of us girls made real cute ones with some help. I think that was my 9 birthday. We always had fun birthdays. I remember Greg had the real Chucko the clown come for his with his little merry go round and everything. That was a big deal. I remember being over at Cathy and Carols house and making a fort. We took the blanket and covered the space between the beds. I remember having a big crush on Ricky Nelson. He was in the movie Rio Hondo and was so cute. Somehow I had gotten a picture of him and put on this hot pink lipstick and put it up backwards against the light so I could see his face and kissed the back of the picture with my hot lips!! Hahaha..He was so cute.
I was also a dancer, yes I was a ballerina. I took lessons and everything. I could ple aye with the best of them. But secretly I wanted to do tap dancing. I remember going to my classes and seeing the tappers come in after our class to do theirs with their clip clapping black patent leather tap shoes. I do remember Mom making me wear saddles with taps on the bottom to make them last. I did like to clip along. But I didn’t like the big saddle shoes with socks. I never told my mom I wanted to be a tap dancer. I was to be the ballerina..Yes, I did a big show too. I wore a light green tutu with light green satin top. I wore red lipstick too. Even matching ballerina slippers. It is so vague the actual show I did. I was so chubby. I guess I did okay..it has almost been blanked out of my memory banks. There is a picture of me in the get up and one of Gretchen wearing the tutu and it was falling off of her. So cute. The one of me is hilarious..Shoulda been a tapper.hahaha..
Down the street was my friend Connie Klein. She was kinda tall for her age and had brown hair and a big round face. We started a club and would make things. I remember the most making from jars salt and pepper shakers. We hammered hole in the tops and made felt faces on the jars. Mom used them for years. I remember Christy, the blonde across the street from Connie. Her sister was Gretchen’s friend. Kathy. So, I remember one time Christy asked me to cut her dolls hair. So I did. It was over at Connies house. And did I get in trouble for that. Her mom Gerry was my moms best friend. She yelled at me and asked me why I did that and I said Christy wanted me to. Gerry would make pies and my mom would make cakes. I remember that Connie also had a pomegranate plant where we would eat them and spit out the sucked off seeds in the planter.
I remember my dad came home with all these railroad ties and made a fence with them in the front. But the rest of them went behind the garage where a giant black bee made his home. We would be terrified of the bee. He would fly around the backyard and we would run in. One day , Greg locked the door when Gretchen was back there and the bee was chasing her all around the backyard. She was screaming her head off. Me and Greg looked out the window and were laughing hysterically..How mean we were, but it was so funny. Poor Gretchen was so mad. Another time, we got a cage with two chipmonks in there. Chip and Dale of course. It was about 3 by 3 foot square, maybe bigger and there was a 1 foot square where you could put your hand in and pet them. We couldn’t find Greg anywhere. He was in the cage with Chip and Dale plastered up against the side. Crying. Mom laughed at him it was funny. How he got in there we don’t know, It must of taken him a long time to squish himself in. She got him out, but the next door lady thought mom was mean for laughing.
Rose and Paul lived on the the other side of us. I loved Rose. She was a nice older lady and I would help her in her garden. She had roses of course in the front and I would go and pull the weeds. Then in the back it was fruit trees. Apricot, peach, orange. I loved it. I remember this little drinking fountain that was hooked on to the hose spicket. I just loved to get a drink from there like a real drinking fountain. It was green. We use to make things in Pauls garage from wood. We would hammer things together and stuff. I remember Rose would say Trick when we said trick or treat on Halloween. So we would have to do a trick for our candy. Mom told me later that Paul killed Rose. I think he overdosed her. He ended up with some teenage black girl living there with him. She was very young. He was a child molester. I remember her Johnny Mathis record. How sad. He would have been really busted today, just in those days I guess they didn’t do anything to people like him. I don’t know. I really loved Rose.
Halloweens were really great. Mom always made all of our costumes by hand. I was so many things. I remember being a princess with a blue dress with a red vest and a pointed princess hat that had a scarf coming from the point. Then I was a flapper. I had a red dress with cut fringe layers. Real High heels and false eyelashes and a head band. Plus a cigarette holder and a cigarette (maybe a candy one). I was also a Geisha Girl. With a real kimono from Japan and my mom made me a wig from black tissue paper. It looked like a real geisha wig even with the little dangly silver barrettes and flowers. The kimono was white with red flowers and birds. I also wore the traditional tabbies and shoes. My dad had been in Japan for almost a year. He sent back all these things. Greg got a black jacket with a dragon on it. Gretchen and I also got real Japanese dolls in cases. We also had the pillows and mom had kimonos too. We got a lot of things for Christmas that year. But back to Halloween. I remember when I had my Geisha outfit on that some dumb boy hit my Japanese hair and made me mad..One year mom made me a apple with my arm sticking out and it was the worm. I had green tights on and green crepe paper leaves. I got to wear the red lipstick and rosy cheeks too. One time I was a scary witch with a black dress and witch hat and scary makeup that made me old with lines. Mom did the makeup. I don’t think I liked that one very much. One time Greg was the muscle man Vic Tanny and had on a leopard thing and long johns with muscles in there and weights that said 1000 pounds. Then remember he was Zorro too. That was a good one with the black hat, cape, mask and mustache. Then of course the sword. I remember Curt was a clown one time with a purple polka dot top and a big cute mop wig and cute make up. Then one time Greg was the worm. He had a long trailing worm outfit with dots on it. I am having a hard time remembering Gretchen’s outfits. I have to ask her. Oh yes, she was also a geisha girl and a apple too. And Curt was also a hobo once with a black beard drawn on and a hat with patches on his clothes and a stick with a scarf tied on there with stuff in it. We use to have parades at school with our outfits on and walk through the whole school looking so cute. Then we would knock on all the doors at night trick or treating and getting all the candy. We always made pumpkins too. That was so fun to carve them and they would all have a candle put in there to light them up and they would sit on the porch. We loved going through our “take” and picking out all the good chocolate ones. Mom got them too.
Across the street were all the boys. There must have been at least 7 boys. They had tomato plants in the backyard and there were those big green tomato bugs that had the hook on their tail. I was afraid of them. I remember one time I was over there and I had a loose tooth and the dad tied my tooth to a string and then to a door and slammed the door and my tooth flew out! Didn’t even hurt. Next door to the boys was my friend Jordan. She was pretty and had blonde hair. I remember she use to play the violin. She was a Mormon and wanted me to be one too. I didn’t do it though, but she gave me the Mormon book.
Down the street were the Pohls. Danny, Tippy, Jerry and the rest. The older sister was Dianne. They always had a baseball game going on the street. We would sit there and watch and with our magnifying glasses melt the tar from the telephone poles and roll it in balls. One time Greg was playing with a golf club and hitting the ball and something happened. Someone hit him on the back of the head with the golf club by mistake and it made his head bleed really bad. He ran home crying and I was crying behind him hysterical that they had killed my brother..I was so scared. I remember the back of his neck was bloody from it. Later on when I got a little older Danny and the brothers decided to play grownup with me and we were kissing and stuff in the garage. My mom found out about it and told me Dianne wouldn’t do something like that. That was when it was the fifties and the teenager girls wore the big skirts and scarves and the boys wore the leather jackets.
There was the one kid across the street that was a only child and his parents had bought him every toy imaginable. He even had a electric car. I remember going over there and the whole garage was shelves going through the whole thing full of his toys. No one was allowed to play with them. How sad for the little boy. There was a girlfriend down the street, I can’t remember her name now. She had a play house that was really cute. It had a little bed and cupboards and a sink. I use to like to go over there and go in it. Christy and Kathy had a play house too. It was really nice and had the little play kitchen in it. We had fun there too.
Next to them was Johnny who was my boyfriend later. He had dark brown hair. I wanted to stay all night there and our mom’s said no. I didn’t understand why..haha. I remember he had the record..A hundred pounds of clay and would play it a lot. He would come on my bedroom ledge at night and we would talk about things.
There was the rotten kid who would torture kittens and everything. We hated him. When they moved we all sat on the curb and clapped and yayed when they drove off. I remember his dad backing up and yelling at us. We didn’t care he was gone. He was really a bad boy. Then there was the nerdy guy with the glasses on the corner who played the accordion. He would practice all the time. I don’t remember his name. Then there was Marty who lived next door to Johnny. He had a big fat mom who was so nice. His dad made a real wooden roller coaster in the backyard and we would go for rides on it. It was really great. His mom was named Frankie. Mom told me one time that we went somewhere with Frankie in the car when I was around 7 and I asked Frankie why her legs were so fat. I embarrassed mom.
My best friend at school was Penny Gros. Her mom was divorced. She lived with this boarder, a man. He had these playing cards with naked ladies on them. Penny would show me them..Woo woo. We never saw anything like that. Then Penny would take me to the store next door and show me the naked lady magazines too. They were with all the other magazines. They were just black and white ones. So funny. We were getting our boobs and would put toilet paper in our little bras to make big boobs. I would stay all night with her. The boarder was probably a freak now that I think about it. Nothing happened though. We were just getting our own boobs and were so fascinated about them I guess. The other friend I had was Nancy Byler. She was friends with Penny and I too. Her mom was a nurse. Nancy stoled cigarettes from the store and we were smoking them and showing off to the boys. I didn’t inhale them though. Then her mom had a Dr. book with all kinds of weird diseases on people. There was the icky penis in there with something on it. That had to be the first one I saw..ewwww. My other girlfriend was Judy Foster. Judy and I were the first ones to get boobs in the sixth grade. She and I had big ones for our age so we thought we were so much older. Plus, I was the first one to start my period at 11 years old. That was horrifying. I remember going into the stall with Penny and looking at the blood in my panties and panicking. I went to the nurse and she put a kotex on me with the bummer strap and hook things. She called my mom and she wasn’t home so my dad had to come and get me. I was so embarrassed I could of died. Then when it came time for us to go see the movie about sex in the auditorium with the whole sixth grade there. The teacher tells the story how someones father had to come and pick her up..It was me…I knew everyone was looking at me and I sunk in to my chair with embarrassment. I just died I thought. My other traumatic event was when they told me I needed glasses. Oh horrors..I was going to look ugly I thought. I got these brown ones and I never wore them. I still don’t..how vain can I get..jeez.
I use to do a lot of art. I remember drawing the Flintstones, Indian babies that I copied from this Indian artist, I drew a chinchilla and a mouse. I also did a painting of a girl sitting on a the ground with a bird in a tree and a picture of Jesus praying in the garden. I did a picture of the India leader Mahatma Ghandi too. It was a water color painting and I won a award for it. Honorable mention. It was a city wide competition. I was so proud of that. I don’t know why I choose him to paint though, I must of admired him for being a peace leader.But I do remember making naked pictures and selling them to some of the boys at school for 50 cents. HAHA.
I remember going to Knotts Berry Farm and seeing the Indian and the donkeys. Also, the little school house. There was also something there that had miniature things and there was a 2 inch working TV in there. I was amazed. Then I remember walking away and around the corner and there was a man with no nose..Scared me. Poor man. Then I remember the panning for gold too. And the crooked house to walk in and the bottle would go up instead of down when they rolled it. Then there was the guy in jail and he would know your name and talk to you. Then there was the dance hall and the dance hall girls and cowboys. We went and had the chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and the famous boysenberry pie.. It was so good.
Of course Disneyland was the ultimate. The whole thing was so wonderful, we went when it first opened. I remember the house of the future. It was white and looked spacey. There was a weird stove and other funny kitchen things. The real modern furniture too. Then I loved the Story book land with all the little houses and the castle and mr. moles boat in the water. The submarine ride was so great. I remember my face glued to the window and being in awe of all the underwater plants and fish. Then came the tail of the sea serpent.. It would go forever until you came to his face and wow he was funny looking. I liked the tea cups and going in circles real fast. I liked the Peter Pan ride especially when we flew over the city and you could see the little city and all the lights. I remember the flying man too. He would fly around with his pack on his back that was so neat. I loved the Matterhorn too. Going so fast on the sleds through the mountain was so much fun. I liked Main Street too. There was the Mr. Lincoln where Abraham would talk to you. I don’t remember what he said though..I adored the Jungle ride so much with the hippos and all the animals. I didn't like it when the guy shot the alligator though. The gun was so loud and scary. I loved the Tiki Room with all the singing and talking birds and plants..so cute. I also remember Tom Sawyers Island. There were caves and there was this rope bridge that was really scary to cross. The Indian canoes where you could paddle a real canoe. The stagecoach too. I also loved the big white steam ship, it was really great. I hated the Mr. Toad Ride and the Snow White ride too. They were scary. The green witch would pop out and say “ want a apple” There was also the singing of America where the stage would go around and different animals would sing to you. It was great. I LOVED the parade too. It was so wonderful. Then they got the Swiss Family Robinson tree, that you could climb up and see how they lived. With the little beds and the library and the kitchen. I think the Pirates of the Carribean came later but I loved it when it did..So great with the animated pirates. I loved the little shanty house in the beginning with the fireflies. Then the big drop and it was pirate world. The big piles of gold and jewels. So great. Then the fireworks at the end of the night. There was so much to see.
We went to Marineland. what a terrible place. Whales and dolphins in these little dinky pools for us to see. They must have been so miserable there. I remember this black pilot whale just floating there so sad in his little pool. And the dolphins the same thing, I would pet the dolphin and tell him it would be okay. Thank goodness they closed that place down. It was not a good place for such incredible beings.
There was the Pike too. It was down at the beach. It was so fun. Like a big carnival. There was this one little roller coaster called "The Mouse" that me and Gretchen went on and she screamed so loud the whole time I put my hand on her mouth..Then there was the big round room that you stood against the wall and it would start to spin so fast, the floor would drop down and you would stick to the wall while it spun around. I remember the floor coming back up and the back of my tennis shoes getting stuck and I panicked. Then the floor dropped again and I was free. There was a funny man across from me going sideways and pretending to play the guitar ahahha. There was the giant roller coaster too, we didn’t go on it though. But we did go in the Fun House. There was the big laughing lady in the front. Then the house of mirrors too. You kept banging on the mirrors trying to get out of there. We always got pink cotton candy and a hot dog and a coke. It’s gone too. So is POP Pacific Ocean Park another big fun amusement park that was at the beach.
We also did the zoo a few times. All the animals to see. I remember going to the San Diego Zoo and driving through it on one of those trams and the man telling us what animal was what in their little space they had to live. I also remember going to the LA Zoo and seeing all the animals there. I remember the pink flamingos in the beginning and wondered why they didn’t just fly away and the Monkey Island with all kind so monkeys there. I was so fascinated with all the animals and could of spent days there. Especially watching the gorillas.
We also went to the Train place at Griffith Park and saw and played on all the trains. I took my kids there too. But the funny thing was at Griffith Park at the pony rides when I was around five. Mom told the guy to put me on the slow ones and he put me on the fast one and he started galloping and was holding on for dear life bouncing up and down . Mom was cracking up of course so funny. But the other funny time on the pony is when I took Adam and he was on one and as he went around he kept saying “I’m going to throw up…I’m going to throw up..His black horses head never went up and down, it just was steady as poor Adam bounced along. There was this place by the Nipomo house called Spinners. It was a place where you could ride horses along the ditch. I remember getting on a horse and I had bare legs and the horse reached his head around and tried to bite my leg with his big teeth. I was so scared. I rode him for a long time thinking he was going to get me. Gretchen was the little cowgirl in the family. She got a red and white cowgirl dress once for Christmas and never took it off. It had the white fringe on it. She loved it and would gallop around the house like she had a horse. So cute.
We would spend time with our cousins too. Danny, David and Mike were a couple blocks away. Then Jenny, Randy and Dennis were a couple blocks the other way. I remember over at Jenny’s. She had a clock on the wall..one of those Felix the Cat clocks that the tail would go back and forth and so would the eyes. I remember her and I holding the boy next door down and kissing him. Haha. We played Dr. too.. We were so curious about our bodies. I remember I shaved my legs and my Auntie Evelyn told my mom I did it. I had such hairy legs I thought and just had to do it. I must have been 11 or 12. I just shaved them from then on. Auntie Evelyn and Uncle Ray (my dads brother) and Jenny, Randy and Dennis and us would all go to Mexico too. They had a trailer on the beach, at Estero Beach by Ensenada. We had so much fun there. I remember the Mexican boys making kissing noises in the air at me and saying ooo mommie to me. I was so embarrassed. But I liked it. I thought the Mexican boys were so cute. I was around 13. I remember the big song was Rag Doll by the Four Seasons. There were horses on the beach that you could ride. That was fun riding these horses along the ocean. It was funny because they would go for so long and then automatically turn around and go back at a certain point and you couldn’t turn them back. My dad would fish right on the shore and they would go and catch lobsters with a stick that had a clamp thing on the end. I remember one time dad caught a big fish and told me to take it to mom. He said to put my finger in the fishes mouth instead of holding it by the tail. I was freaked out the whole time, I could feel his little sharp teeth on my fingers. I don’t know why he didn’t say to hold it by the tail. Made me mad later.
I remember when we were driving on the way there and Curt had to pee and went in a bottle..Then for some reason the bottle ended up at the camp and Greg took a sip of it and spit it out ewwww.. We went there a bunch of times and always had fun except for one time when my stupid uncle got drunk and hit my aunt. Also, my dad and him got in a fist fight too. They hate each other to this day. Usually it was a good time though. We bbq’d and ate the fish. Slept in sleeping bags and smelled the ocean with our sunburns. I think there was a baseball field too and I watched the Mexican cute boys play ball. I remember going to Tijuana too. The many colorful stores with all the wonderful Mexican things, the red clay painted pottery, the big paper mache painted animals and silver things, the piñatas hanging from the ceilings. The donkeys painted to look like Zebras with a cart that you can take your picture with, with the sombrero on your head. The tacos and mixed fruit on sticks. The poor ladies with their children tagging along selling chicklet gum. Then leaving and people selling the colorful piggy banks and funny painted plaster of paris sculptures and the striped blanket ponchos. Coming up to your car with all their wares begging us to buy something.
I remember the cardboard shacks that I saw there too that the extremely poor people lived in. It was so sad to see it. It was the first time I saw real poverty and I remember feeling so bad for them. We always had a nice, beautiful clean house, a nice car and clothes and toys. We never had poverty.
I remember eating our meals in the kitchen at the table in there. When we were bad mom would make us stand in the corner in the kitchen. I remember Greg falling asleep standing there. We also would get it with the belt sometimes. Mom would wear the belt around her neck and say we were going to get it if we didn’t knock it off. I only remember one time comparing welts and saying mine were the worse. Usually she would tell us Dad would spank us when he got home. Sometimes he would. I remember because he worked nights I would hear his car come up the drive way and run to the back porch where the washer and dryer was and he would come in the door and I would say BOO. Then he would carry me to bed and cover me up and give me a kiss. Those were good memories of him that I had.
We also had a black and white guinea pig named George that lived in the backyard. He was so cute and fat. He would eat all the dichondra and leave the blades of grass. He would wee wee wee noise when we picked him up. We also had a poodle named Pepe le pew.. We called him Pepe. He was curly faced not shaved there. He was so cute. We had two Siamese cats named Lucy and Desi too. They were the light colored Siamese. They both had a extra toe. So they looked like they had big feet.
We would have bbq’s in the backyard and do hula hoops too. I loved doing the hula hoop. It was the big toy then. There was a cute wooden picnic table and benches under the tree in the backyard. Mom had painted some cute flowers on it on the sides. I remember picking up a big rock back there and found baby salamander’s living under there. It was a mind blower to me to see them under there alive. They were a little bigger than a inch big. Years later when I was a young teener my mom and dad let me have a party back there with the boys and girls from jr. school..made sure there was No kissing!
I was also in two different dance classes at 11 years old. One was Plaids and Petticoats..Square Dancing class. There were a bunch of kids in there. We all learned how to square dance. I could alabam left and everything. I had a blue square dance dress with little flowers on it and a permanent in my hair. I really liked it. It was fun to dance with the boys and everything. Two boys liked me Andy Sanderson and Don Horn. I think they came later. There was the next dance class we did which was fancy called Don’s and Debs. This one was slow dancing and different dances. My teacher there was the one and only Bobby from the real Mickey Mouse show. I must of been at least 11 or 12. I remember Mom made all the tags for everyone. Real nice ones.
She was also our Brownie leader. I was a Brownie too. I had my little brown uniform, beanie and Brownie Pin. It was fun being a Brownie. Mom would always come up with some cute thing for us to make. She had us make these turtle pin cushions one time. They were made from a half of a styro foam egg, then we put the head and tails on made from felt and made the eyes and faces and toe nails. Then the bottoms with felt too. She was so creative and was involved in all the activities for us kids. PTA and everything. I was also a Girl Scout. I had the green uniform and the tam. I had the saddles with the taps on too. I liked the Girl Scouts. I remember going camping and making porcupine balls with hamburger and rice and tomato soup. It was delicious. Then we made smores with graham crackers, marshmallows and Hershey bars melted together. We had a real good time camping up in the mountains and going on a hike too. We saw a foot print of something. We thought it was a bear.
Earlier when I was around 7 I would tear home from school to watch the Mickey Mouse Club. It was the best thing. I would never miss it. I was in love with Spin and Marty. The cowboys. I loved all the mouseketeers. They would always dance and sing and play instruments. It was such a great show for us kids. Another show we watched was Sheriff John. He would have his birthday song and a cake for the kids whose birthday was that day and sing “put another candle on your birthday cake, you're another year old today” I liked him a lot. Then there was Engineer Bill. He would have us sit in front of the TV and we would have our glass of milk. Then he would say “green light” and you would drink, then he would say “red light” and you would stop. He also had a little train that would climb up the track on a hill and it would say “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” then he would make it and say “I knew I could, I knew I could” We also watched Romper room. That was even earlier. This chubby nice lady would have a mirror she would look through it and say “I see you..Johnny, Mary, Cindy on and on. You would wait for your name to be said so she could see you too. Then there was the Bosco Dog..chocolate..and snap his mouth shut loud. Jingles the sidekick to Wild Bill Hickock. He was fat and talked funny.
As far as school goes there are many memories. I remember being in kindergarten and taking naps on mats. I remember one little boy wet his pants and the teacher put her coat on him. I remember making hand prints in clay and putting ribbons on them for a present to our parents. I remember being told stories and making things with blocks. I remember drawing pictures with fat crayons. I remember being in first grade and reading Dick and Jane and Spot the dog book. Learning how to write my name on the paper that was big and had the three lines in blue to help us write the right way. Learning how to do arithmetic a little. I didn’t like the numbers.
But I did love mom’s great and I mean great home made chocolate sauce that she would make us and put on our ice cream. There was also the shaved walnuts and whipped cream to boot. Sometimes even a cherry. The next day I would go to the semi hardened chocolate in the pan and take a spoon and scoop up more chocolate and savor it like heaven. We all loved it so much. One time I took the can of whipped cream and squirted it in my mouth and got a stomach ache from the gas in there..thought it was from the whipped cream and wouldn't eat it again for years!
It was so much fun going to Nanny and Grandpa’s house. It was a small two bedroom built in the 40’s. It was on the corner 1100 Ohio in Long Beach. I loved them so much. They were the best in the world. The house was wooden and had a nice porch. It sat under a humungeous avocado tree that had the biggest avocados you ever did see. Mom would make guacamole and we also would have avocado slices on crackers with salt and pepper. There was a long stick with a metal slicer thing on the end that would snap off the big green avocados. There were big fat palm trees in the front too. They lined the little street. There were always palm tree berries on the ground. Grandpa looked just like a actor named George Gobel. He had a flat top hair style and wore glasses. He was so nice. I adored him. He played the ukulele and sang funny songs, did great magic tricks..I remember the one where he made water come out of a quarter. He would make me orange juice with juice from the cherries so it was orange and red at the bottom. Then I would mix it up and it was really good. He would make his famous egg nog at Christmas and we would slurp it up . There was the one for the grownups that had the rum in it. He had his beautiful bottles of whiskey (mom still has them with the same whiskey in them} There was a darling painting I remember of a funny looking man who is holding a white hankerchief with a lipstick mark on it. It was so cute. I remember Grandpa’s garage with his bait eggs in jars in there. He was the consummate fisherman. There are tons of pictures of him showing off his big catches all strewn around him. He had his boat that he would take us on and it was so much fun going on the ocean and down below to the galley. There was a little bathroom too. It rocked back and forth. And it was cold. I wore a scarf and a coat. Grandpa always had a song or a joke or a trick to show you. He also was a Ham operator and had his bedroom all fixed up with all these radios with switches and dials. There was a big map with pins all over the world where he would talk to people. He would have Viet nam soldiers talk to their parents there too. He sure would of loved computers, they would have been his thing. He had a huge antennae that hovered above the house. It had to be at least 40 feet tall. He got reception all over the world. He even had a Ham radio in his big white car. His room was painted a dark maroon type color. He must of liked it dark.
The frontroom was a bright blue with this beautiful old fashion wall paper that I loved. Like a old Norweigan style or something. The couch was gold leather and the big round coffee table had a lazy susan in the middle with fake fruit on the wooden lazy susan and there was always a bowl of nuts to crack with the nutcracker. White pretty curtains in the front window. All Nanny’s touches. She was an amazing artist. She would make all my clothes when I was a baby, plus she made all mom’s clothes growing up. Beautiful clothes. Even all the doll clothes..She would make the most darling Christmas vests. They were made from red felt with all these cute little designs on them. She designed these beautiful Christmas bulb holder things. She would take hangers and put them all together then fan them out so they could hold bulbs and then she would decorate the top and bottom with beautiful things, then it would go on the wall. She made amazing wall hangings too using felt and old Christmas cards cut out. Always was making something This is before all the craft shows, she made all these things up herself. There was something good to eat too when you went there. We use to go and visit all the time. Then on the way home we would stop at Uncle John’s Pancake house and have our chocolate chip pancakes.
To be continued!