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

Beach Music, originally published in the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, is really a tale of two cities: San Juan, Puerto Rico and Santa Monica, California. File it under On the Street Where I Live

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 th…

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Swooning Under the Jacaranda Trees

The Jacaranda trees are blooming again; as I make my daily walk I'm dazzled by the purple haze blotting the sky, the dropped petals sticky beneath my feet. For the walk to do any good, it's supposed to be brisk, and I know I need to keep up the pace, but the lushness of the purple always takes me by surprise, stopping me in my tracks. I take pictures with my iPhone, wishing I were an Impressionist painter, Monet, Manet, I don't care. I just wish I could capture that feeling of being enveloped in an heart-stopping ultra-violet cloud of color. It happens every year in April, there's something decadent, sensual, almost sexual about the assault of purple passion. Sometimes as I drive the streets of LA, I catch myself half looking up at the canopy of blooms; distracted driving just as dangerous as texting. That feeling of being swept away is unhappily, as fleeting as pulse-quickening desire, and if you feel the urge to make love under the trees, you need to act quickly: the Jacarandas only bloom for about six weeks.

The trees are not native to our California; they're subtropical in nature so you'll find them in most south of the equator countries. The theory is that the Jacarandas came to Los Angeles in the mid 1800's by way of travelers from Brazil; in Buenos Aires the trees bloom more blue than our purple profusion. Oh, Jacarandas, you take my breath away.

If you stopped by for the memoir, you might want to head up to the pieces under the On the Street Where I Lived heading. For the month of April I'm diverting from my norm, which is mostly memoir, and posting every day but Sunday as part of the #AtoZChallenge. J is the letter of the day.


  1. Jacaranda trees are absolutely stunning in flower. Such a pretty purple. Carolyn @ Pastimes-Passions-Paraphernalia.org

  2. Jacaranda trees are absolutely stunning in flower. Such a pretty purple. Carolyn @ Pastimes-Passions-Paraphernalia.org


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