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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 …

Throwback Thursday: The Boy Who Took Out His Eye [memoir]

Last week’s Ben Ghazi hearing put Tripoli, Libya on the tip of my tongue and the forefront of my mind. Today’s #TBT post is a piece about the time I spent there as a small child in the 1950’s. It was first published in 1993 in one of those local freebies, the throwaway newspapers you used to find tossed on your front walkway. And I was thrilled to make it into its pages.

That’s me on the back of the camel, 
cowering behind my big brother Russell 



The Arab Boy Who Took Out His Eye


When I was five years old we lived in Tripoli, Libya just outside Wheelus Air Force Base. We weren't military, we weren't even American but my father, formerly with British Intelligence had been hired to infiltrate the PX as a manager and investigate the cause of the store's outstanding financial losses. My dad was a great manager, in fact he was responsible for bringing the hoola hoop to North Africa, holding a big promotional party with hoola hoop demonstrations, clowns, balloons and lemonade in the parking lot.

And he found the embezzler too, a good friend of his, he was sorry to say. Back then, (it was 1958) the base boasted one of the largest airplane hangars in the world and we went to a giant Halloween party in it. I went as Minnie Mouse; my tin foil tail trailing behind me and eventually tearing free. The older boys next door dressed up as women with huge breasts fashioned from pillows and great big red lips. I think my brother was jealous because he had played it safe and just done himself up as a hobo. He was a fine tramp though with his burnt corked face and sweet blue eyes gleaming.

Read the rest of the story [The Arab Boy who Took Out his Eye]

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