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Showing posts from June, 2014

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#11 BEACH MUSIC: A time of tans, blonds and hot pants

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IT WAS A TIME OF TANS, BLONDS AND HOT PANTS, WHEN THE ENDLESS SUMMER WAS JUST A SHORT WALK DOWN A HOT SIDEWALK
Beach Music, an On the Street Where I Livestories is really a tale of two cities; San Juan, Puerto Rico and Santa Monica, California. It was originally published in the LA Times Sunday Magazine.


Beach Music We came to California from Canada, with a detour to Puerto Rico that lasted one endless summer of a year. A year in which I turned 15, and my hair turned blond from living in the sun. “Psst,” the boys and men would call after me in the blue-cobbled streets of San Juan. “Psst! Hey, blondie. Psst! Hey, cutie pie.” I was devastated when my parents said we had to go, that it was time to leave the island so that my older brother, Russell, could get a first rate education. The plan was to drive cross country from Miami and settle in San Francisco so that my brother could finish high school before going on to UC Berkeley. But, once we got there in the fall of 1968, we found that …

Swept Away

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I thought he was God. Or Robert Young on Father Knows Best. Take your pick. Except that in my eyes my father was even more glamorous than Robert Young. I didn't know about God.

He and my mother met at the tail end of World War II when he was home on leave in England. He wooed her in French, Italian, Spanish, and Arabic and he danced like a movie star. They fell in love and then he went away again, back to the western desert, back to the end of the war. Her family, her friends, all warned her about him. He was no good. He'd been around. She was only twenty. He was thirty. Forget him, he was too old. At thirty, her grandmother pronounced, he would have done everything already. He would be jaded, world-weary, they'd have little to share together. Forget him.

She couldn't forget him. He sent stockings, Italian shoes, and letter after letter from the prisoner of war camp in North Africa where he was coaching the Italian prisoner's football team. He came home and three yea…

Graduation Day Redux: A Familiar Trip

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I'm deep into my high school head space right now - the last bit of memoir I wrote and posted this past week, " I Was Just 17 " takes place the summer before my senior year, and since it's June I've got Graduation Day on my mind. I wrote this almost twenty years ago with the class of '95 in mind; it's painful to see that the essay, published in the Daily Breeze in 1995, shows that the issues I struggled with back in high school are the same issues I struggle with to this day. What a waste of time. It's possible that if I spent less time flailing with self-doubt and spent more time honing my skills I might have not have given up, I might have something to show beyond a handful of old publishing credits. Again, I say, what a waste of time! Do yourself a favor, don't waste yours. 




A Familiar Trip


We were the class of '71 and believed that graduation day (now over 40 Junes ago), really was the threshold. Bold new worlds to conquer. Exciting new vist…