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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 …

Twenty-four and counting


Edward Good 1915-1992

Weird how things creep up on you. I was thinking about David Bowie, dying at sixty-nine. Sixty-nine seems young when you yourself are sixty-three. Then it hit me that my dad was seventy-six when he died and that it was twenty-four years ago today that I was in a hospital room in Sherman Oaks, California with my brother and sister and our mother, waiting for my dad to die. I’ve written about my dad a fair bit but I still havent quite hit that day yet, my sister throwing herself on our father’s body when they pronounced him dead, my own throat rough and raw with the ache of a thousand smoked cigarettes. But I did write a short memorial to him a couple of years ago.

Swept Away

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.


Read the rest of the story ...]

Comments

  1. I love your story, Sim. I lost my dad three years ago and it seems like yesterday. Someday I will tell you my parent's story of love and marriage and 6 girls. So glad that there are memories that remain like imprints on our brain.

    Fond thoughts to you,
    Genie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thnx Genie! I look forward to hearing it ... 6 girls! That’s a Bridesmaids movie sequel right there!

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