Letters and Guestbook Entries from 2002

NOTE: Click on the appropriate links for letters archives from 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998 and 1997 Also, various Avocado Memories reviews are here.


12/10/02

Wes, can't tell you how much I enjoyed your site. I savored each page. Having grown up in the '60s (albeit not in CA, but in south TX), every single item of delightful decor was a flash from my past. In my neighborhood, all houses looked like yours, and all was avocado and/or harvest gold. Such exquisite tackiness shall never come again; therefore, it is up to us, the baby-boomers, to keep these grotesque memories alive, for they symbolize the idyllic days of our American youth.

My tiki room is almost finished (replete with a 1958 Zenith B&W TV, pebble art, and the requisite starburst clock) and a tiki garden and pond are being mapped out for my back yard. We owe it to our children to spark this interest in tiki/'60s Americana. How else will they learn better?

Cheers!
Deana


11/14/02

Hi Wes -

My name is Chris Merritt & I have been thoroughly enjoying your site for several weeks now! I am a Southern California child of the 1970s, and even though I think you are about 10 years older than me - I felt a lot of nostalgia for my childhood while reading about yours... Things just seemed simpler then, I guess. Even when thinking about making up adventures with your buddies in the neighborhood & how old toys spurred on greater imagination... Am I rambling? It just felt like the imagination was more stimulated then. Are todayís kids suffering from an overload of stimuli? I donít know. I just remember a time when movies werenít on video tape, and music was records & tapes...

Anyway - I was fascinated when I realized I work very close to your home here in Burbank (same block as Barronís - which sadly caught fire this year & still remains shuttered). So, they are moving our company next month, but before that, Iím making plans to swing by & see your old house one of these days. It will be strange, having read so much about it! (Donít worry - I promise not to bother the current inhabitants!)

Thanks again for all the nostalgia!

Chris Merritt


11/12/02

Hi Wes,

What a trip down memory lane! I was thinking of all the restaurants I used to go to in the 50's & 60's and my search brought me to your site. It is such fun! I moved to North Naomi Street in Burbank in 1951 (brand new two bedroom stucco house; $10,000 I believe is what my parents paid) next to what was then Villa Cabrini, then a Lutheran University and now Woodbury University. We were part of L.A. then but became Burbank in a couple of years. I grew up in that two bedroom house, eventually married and moved to Canyon Country and Encino. I am now back living in the same house I grew up in -- with my elderly parents. Not much avocado around but still some harvest gold. And huge huge liquid amber trees that look like maples in the fall. I think the houses in the area are now selling for about $400,000. My parents made a good investment! Who would have thought that such a quiet little community such as Burbank would become so popular, especially after Lockheed closed. And those million dollar houses even further up in the hills .... unbelievable.

I think of things like the Helms truck, the Skyroom at the airport, The Farm House where we would all go on Sunday, grandparents included and was especially interested in the movie theatres and where they were located. I remember going to them all but with all the new building, just couldn't place their locations. I am thinking that the Cornell (my closest) must have been where Shakey's Pizza is, but I am not sure. I even worked at the Magnolia for a time while in high school. I will keep checking your site for updates on the theaters. [The best web site for Burbank movie theaters is my friend Ron's "Bijou Memories" - Wes]

I love your decorating descriptions. Its so fun to remember what was just so hot at one time and how it becomes the butt of jokes so quickly! Avocado was so much cooler than white .... or at least someone thought so! And shag carpeting was just the best (for a little while).

I don't remember your parents' cafe but am going to ask my folks if they do. They might not, as they thought it was just too far to go to that part of Burbank. It took them years to get to Pavillions -- a whole 3-1/2 miles away from their house.

My daughter is 22 and we have lived on Naomi for the past 9 years. She graduated Burbank High (same as me) and couldn't believe what an old old mess it was. She also did Burroughs for one year. And now they are rebuilding both high schools. They were OLD in the 50's! She thinks Burbank is just so corny. I can't even describe to her what it was like for me -- no mall, few restaurants (which brings up the Skyroom at the Airport ....), few theaters. I am going to suggest she surf your site when she has some free time.

Well, thanks for the memories! Your site reminded me of so many things from the past and also answered my question about The Farm House. Keep working on it. Its really great and I love some of your letters.

Sharon Kuntz Haas Eisenberg


11/5/02

Dear Wes,

I am absolutely stunned to have had the good fortune to stumble across your website. It all started when my boyfriend was trying to describe a favorite childhood snack of his from the 70's - something he was calling "Crunchy-O's" which were a potato-chip-esque circle that had a Frito texture and came in a can. Anyway, in my search for the explanation or picture of this snack, I came across your website and was absolutely mesmerized. You see, I too did "hard time" in Burbank, albeit at a much later date. We moved to Burbank from Sherman Oaks in 1980. To say that it was a culture shock would be the understatement of the century. Burbank was STILL reveling in shag carpet, wood paneling and hideous decor. When I try to describe growing up in Burbank to friends I end it with this, "in high school our mantra was 'when we leave Burbank.'"

I am a huge fan of Lileks, but must now pass the torch of my adoration over to you Mr. Clark as you have done an extraordinary job of capturing what it was to grow up in those smog-filled dog days of Burbank.

Thank you for sharing your childhood in such vivid detail - you have done a brilliant job at explaining the unexplainable phenomenon known as Burbank (or, as my friends and I refer to it as "The Bank").

Fondly,

Maureen Aller

Thanks, Maureen! About mantras... Mike and I always knew that, as tacky as the San Fernando Valley was, it was still home and that we would always be attached to it. So we never had a get-out-of-Burbank mantra. In fact, I remember one Saturday afternoon when my parents took Mike and I to the 92nd Aero Squadron (a theme restaurant near an airport, dressed to look like a World War I aviation site) we sat in the back seat of the car on the way home and made the observation, "Burbank is a nice place to live. We like it here." My Dad - from Brooklyn - turned around and demanded to know if we were nuts.

There's a great book about the SFV you need to know about, "America's Suburb," by Kevin Roderick. It made both my wife and I rather nostalgic for that old stucco-covered, smoggy, tacky homeland of ours. (The feeling quickly passed, however.) - Wes


10/25/02

Hello Wes
I first discovered your site in 1999 and have been surfing back to it here and there ever since.

I too am a child of the avocado generation. I was born in West Covina Ca. in 1967 but move to Seattle, WA. in 1969. My parents were also great lovers of the avocado decor scheme. In the house I grew up in, our living room walls were avocado green, as was my parents bedroom. The bedroom that my sister and I shared had avocado green carpeting. In the living room we had an ugly avocado green fake-leather recliner and matching rocking chair. Our sofa was an orange (itchy) tweed. In the kitchen our stove was also avocado.

Pretty frightening, huh?

Just to show that no matter how hard you try to escape turning out like your parents, you just can't!

In 2000 my husband and I bought what we thought was 'sage' colored furniture. About a month after we bought it I noticed that a tag on the love seat kept working it's way out on one of the cushion. So I pulled it off and to my horror I discovered that the real color that was listed on the tag was avocado green.

At that moment I knew why I was so drawn to this furniture. It was because it reminded me of my youth.

Anyway love your site,
Jeanie Packer

I can only imagine the horror you must have felt when that cushion tag was revealed. I deplore this marketing trick of calling avocado-colored items "sage" or "olive." Do they think we're stupid?

Thanks for writing!

Wes


10/4/02

Hi Wes,

I absolutely love your website! I have to e-mail the journalist in the San Francisco Examiner and thank her for writing the article about it.

I envy you for your Wonder Years childhood. I had a wonderful and very happy childhood too, great parents and 3 older brothers. I was somewhat spoiled being the only girl and the youngest.

BUT we grew up in San Francisco in a small flat. I'm the only one who had my own bedroom, my 3 brothers shared a room and my parents slept in a Murphy bed in the living room that folded down from the wall. Grandparents, aunts and uncles lived below us and across from us in the other flats.

The Brady Bunch lifestyle was my dream. I was 7 when it made its debut on ABC and did I ever want to live in a split level house in the burbs. I had never seen a house like that, or open space where the houses weren't on top of each other like our flats or crammed like sardines. My mom always had white appliances and never used a crock pot or made fondue. We were in the "big city" Maybe that's why I have a fondness for these things today, because I didn't get to experience them firsthand. I did wear the Jan Brady clothes though and I'm still a child of the late 60's/early 70's. Still love to wear those retro clothes and listen to the music I loved growing up, on vinyl and 8 track.

Thanks so much for sharing your pictures and memories with those of us who are stuck in the past.

Susan


6/18/02

Mr. Clark.

Thank-you for your web site. In a word, it's "FANTASTIC!"

Something you wrote triggered a response -

"- Angela and I used to love those Sherlock Holmes movies with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce (who once bought my father a drink!). Some LA station used to play one of these every Saturday afternoon in the early Seventies. The opening animation sequence was clever: I recall a fat fellow, meant to be a bumbling Watson, falling while holding an umbrella, to the strains of Dukas' "Sorcerer's Apprentice." I also recall seeing them aired every Friday night, which I also looked forward to at the end of a long, weary week at Burbank High."

The Sherlock Holmes' movies were a weekend mainstay on KHJ channel 9 ("Your RKO station....."). The animated intro you speak of, a favorite of mine and my father's, was introduced during the early 1970's. The show was forever getting rescheduled, yanked and resurrected during the years as sponsors came and went. I wish it was still on so my chldren could watch it.

KHJ-9 was also the original home to Larry Vincent, aka Seymour, who hosted "Fright Night" - a favorite of yours and mine. (recall many of the strange characters who populated the commercial breaks? such as "Banjo Billy" ?).

"Shrimpenstein", a small Frankenstein - ish hand puppet populated by Gene Moss's right hand was also a KHJ-9 1960's treat (circa 1965 and sponsored by Hormel).

As a historical note, channel 9 was owned by RKO, a movie company owned for many years by Howard Hughes; an experienced insomniac. He would often approve the late night broadcast schedule on channel 9 and was known to call the station and have the broadcast technician re-run any reels he had missed while sleeping, talking on the phone, going to the bathroom, falling asleep, etc. etc. etc.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, graduating from University High School (known as Uni Hi to it's alums) in 1976. Your web site is populated with some of the best memories we all had growing-up in the LA area during the 60's and 70's.

Larry Zehnder


5/30/02

Wes,

I had some great fun rereading your site again, I must have missed the Rolaids page, because It brought back some fond and sad memories of my Dad.

My father was a WWII vet who joined the Navy at 16 (lied about his age) mostly for the food, and his brothers were both serving, so I figure he didn't want to miss out..

My father had rickets as a child due to poor nutrition, as their father died in a farming accident when he was really young. So when he went to war he was this scrawny little kid, with about a 12" waist.. well he must have grown like a weed in the service, he maxed out at 6'2" 180# or so! I think he had a real love affair with food, he was never overweight mind you (I wish I had inherited that gene!) He would eat whatever he wanted and I remember those jumbo bottles of Rolaids in the car and ever present on his nightstand.. He also drank something called Fizrin? it was like Alka Seltzer, or brioschi..

Anyway, my father passed away in 1978, we had gone to see "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" at the drive in, it was a Sunday double feature I think. He wasnt feeling well, heartburn or so he figured. (He was having a heart-attack) and believe it or not, he couldnt find any fizrin or Rolaids in the house! I cant imagine how he ran out, but it was a Sunday and he was really suffering, so he went to my aunt's house, and she was out as well, so he drank a beer to settle his stomach and visited with my aunt.. later that evening he died in his sleep..

Later, heck, even to this day, I will be cleaning out a drawer as you mentioned, and find a lone loose Rolaid roaming around in there. In coat pockets, in his hunting vest, in toolboxes, all over the house. I believe they looked or felt different back then, I could always tell a vintage Rolaid! I often wonder if he found these loose Rolaids and took some of then he would have realized that there was something really wrong with him.. but hindsight is 20/20.

Just wanted to say I love your site, one of the best I have seen on the internet..

Chris

Well, there's a warning if I ever heard one: don't mistake a heart attack for heartburn! I provided an update to the Rolaids page now that Prilosec and Nexium have appeared. - Wes


5/6/02

Dear Wes,

I enjoyed your pages on Ferro Lad and your home in Burbank. They hit home because they parallel my own. I grew up in Encino and Tarzana and I was born in 54.

I too had a corner drugstore where I read far more than I bought. It wasn't a Rexall...at least not the one in Tarzana, but I've done some time in Rexalls all the same.

I once had a collection of well over 1000 comics though, and I still keep about 800 of them in a trunk. They're worth some thousands now, but I can't bring myself to sell them. Among them is that issue of the death of Ferro Lad, although I've since lost the other issue that you included a picture of where the adult legion is featured. The LSH was probably my favorite series back then. I collected them until Adventure Comics was taken over by Supergirl, and the LSH was relegated to the second half. From then on the stories were trivial. There were no more Sun Eater's or Fatal Five's, and I had to go through Supergirl's torture over what her new uniform would look like.

My favorite LSH cover was the one where the legionaires are standing around Lightning Lad's coffin waiting to find out which one will sacrifice their life to bring him back. Even at that tender age I appreciated the fact that the drama lay in the fact that his revivification had a price even if in the end they skirted the issue by trading him for a pet... ha ha.

The San Fernando Valley, or rather the part of it that I knew well, Encino, Tarzana, bits of Van Nuys and North Hollywood are virtually unrecognizeable now. I left it many years ago, finally pursuing an English degree, and I've since retired early from business.

That world of my youth is pretty much gone except for my memories and a few pictures. Thanks for the trip through time!

Mark Tyler
Seattle, WA

Yes, the drama and romance of the Legion of Super Heroes... the D.C. writers and artists were really on form with that run. Funny, your mentioning the angst about what Supergirl's "new" costume (c. 1970) would look like - I have that issue. I bought it for my daughters when they were little. They weren't much interested in it, either.

I always thought of the corner drug store as the Boy's Lounge, or my first real taste of the consumer culture. Comics, toys, ice cream, candy, medications - that place had it all. I'm pretty sure I haven't since visited a store I liked as much.

Wes


5/3/02

Dear Wes,
I don't even remember how I discovered your website several months ago but I love it! I have laughed and cried at some of your wonderful memories. I grew in Southern California (Costa Mesa) and graduated from high school in 1974. I remember the avocado days very well and really enjoy your photos and your style of writing. I am a scrapbook fanatic and have really only concentrated on current lifestyle. You have inspired to go back to those old memories and do some journalizing about my own Avocado Memories. You are a wonderful writer and an inspiration. My husband and I, and our two children moved to rural Oklahoma from Southern California 5 years ago. I am still going through a bit of a culture shock, but believe or not there are some people still living in avocado green here! Thank you for a true memory inspiring site. God Bless,
Cookie Holland
Canadian, OK

I am a compulsive journalist. I have photo scrapbooks going back to the early Seventies - most of the photos are from when my kids were born in the early 80's. There's also about 45 hours worth of VHS camcorder tapes I'll need to get put on to DVD format someday to give to the kids. - Wes


3/4/02

Hi Wes, I found your website from a link on Rotten.com. I have always been interested in American culture and I have been to California twice in the last 4 years. Here in Australia we have grown up on a steady diet of American television. I so much wanted to be a Brady ! I am so suprised at the cost of housing .I have been looking in the Orange County area and we could never even afford the most basic apartment there. We own a 2 bedroom timber house, fully renovated on a quarter of an acre with great gardens and a 2 minute walk to the local plaza. It would sell for AUS 230 thou. which as you know is about 115 US., Looking at your old home I would say you could buy it in my area ( Greensborough ,Melbourne,Victoria ) for about 190 grand. I would be interested to know what the home ownership rate is in California. I really enjoyed you site thankyou
Kate.

Rotten.com is a weird place for a link to be, but you're not the only one who has gotten to AM from there...

I live in northern Virginia now. I probably couldn't afford the same house in L.A. that I live in now. You're right - Southern California is expensive! The house on Lincoln Street: In 1965 we bought it for about $23,000. When Mom sold the place in 1986, she got $139,000. How many people own their own homes in Southern California? I'm not sure. Quite a few. Jobs typically pay more in L.A. because of the higher cost of living. - Wes


2/11/02

Hi, Wes. I discovered your site by, believe it or not, doing an intensive search via google.com for Gilbert Brockmeyer's carob ice cream. I'm trying *desparately* to find some somewhere in this world! I'm born/raised in LA (an original Vally Girl though I ahem er predate that...), raised actually in Woodland Hills. I moved to Florida about 8-9 years ago. Anyway, I remember this ice cream REAL well. Also CaraCoa brand carob candy bars - ohmigod, there have never been any thing so good. No carob product has touched that one brand. So every so often like once a year I search around. Today I emailed the L A Times Food dept (but no guarantees it'll go the the Food Editor) to see if they had a line on these. Anyway I found your site - blew me away! Hey - do *you* know where I can find these?? Obscure, I know... :-))
JR
Clearwater, Florida

I haven't seen Gilbert Brockmeyer's carob ice cream for sale since about 1972. And I have never tasted one as good. - Wes


1/28/02

Mr. Clark,

Oh man. I needed to show a youngster of 30 years a picture of Honey West and Bruce, the ocelot. I stumbled into your site and wanted to tell you thanks. Now I can smell the backyard dirt under the hedge where we used to reconnoiter, safe from the eyes of ubiquitous villains.

But I have to tell ya, the role of April Dancer, the Girl from UNCLE was first choice in our games of pretend. Disregard her at your peril.

/:)
Thanks for the avocado stuff.
Sherry Miller

Yeah, yeah... April Dancer (great name!) was pretty hot.

But for me, there can only be Honey West. That blonde hair/black jumpsuit. That beauty mark. That self-assured demeanor. Ahhhh...

Wes


1/17/02

Thanks so much for the coffee cake and sweet roll recipes. I moved to Northridge in 1970. I went to Patrick Henry Junior High and graduated from Granada in 1976. I LOVED those sweet rolls and coffee cake. They even served them at Pierce where I went for two years before transferring to CSUN. I never thought I would get to taste them again. A piece of that coffee cake with coffee on a cold and rainy valley morning was a treat indeed.Thanks again so much.

Judy in Tahoe


Guestbook Entries for 2002


Name: Karon Robinson
E-mail: karonr@bellsouth.net
City: Fayetteville, GA Country:
Homepage: Date: 31-Dec-2002 16:56:54
Message:

Wes as I was sitting here at my desk thinking that another year is about to go by I started thinking about PTO and wondered if your web site was still out here. My manager told me I could go home over an hour ago and I am still here reading all the cool things you have added since I left. I hope you still remember me, I could never forget you and this website is wonderful!!

Keep up the good work.
I have added it to my favorites list.
Happy New Year!!


Name: Deborah
E-mail: shakeysister@hotmail.com
City: Bremen, OH Country:
Homepage: Date: 28-Dec-2002 20:22:53
Message:

Your recollection reminds me of one of the many houses I lived in growing up. It was a little two-bedroom stucco built on a slab and perched on a hillside surrounded by hundreds of others like it that only varied by their colors and by what side of the house the livingrooms and carports were on. It was in a little noplace town called Johnstown, OH. Ours was white with turquoise trim, the refrigerator was avocado, the stove was harvest gold, and we had an enormous air-conditioner perched precariously in the front room window. It was kid haven, with backyards rolling into backyards, and the only people with fences were the ones with no kids.

I thought it was a big place to live then. I drove past it last year, after being gone for 30-years, and it was so tiny, the houses so close together. But for a short time it was home. Unlike you, I have no pictures to show for it. You have done something far greater than providing cyberspace with a nostalgic respite, you have given your progeny a priceless gift that has inspired me to begin a similar process for my own children. Thank you!

Name: Robin
City: Burbank
Date: 27-Dec-2002
Message:

Oh, I found your site again! I had lost you for a while and now have found you. If you need a 2003 picture, I will be glad to drive over to your street and take a digital pic for you! Just let me know! Heehee


Name: Deana
Date: 10-Dec-2002
Message:

What a great site! Having grown up in the '60s, your pics and text brought back amazing memories. I have bookmarked your site and will return often!


Name: Alma Lopez
City: Whittier, CA
Date: 8-Dec-2002
Message:

This is a great site! I have many unique memories as well of my childhood in the Valley (born in Canoga Park, Reseda first 2-3 yrs of life, then on to Van Nuys till age 9). Keep up the good work! What happened to the Valley we used to know?? Oh, well...!


Name: DAVID A. JURY
City: Yuma, AZ
Date: 4-Dec-2002
Message:

still a great site, i never tire of reading it, hope u do write that book some day, till then keep adding to this site, thanks for sharing and bringing back alot of the same type memorys, semper fi, dave.


Name: John Ax
City: Stockholm
Country: SWEDEN
Date: 2-Dec-2002
Message:

Hi Wes!

I must say that there were something that caught my attention about this site. First I thought ok, "Avocado Memories". But then I realized what a piece of brilliant histroy it truly is. We shuold all have page like this, describing the history from a pair of eyes and people that we never knew existed. I salut you and I must ad that I am know thinking of doing something much the same. Thank you for Avocado Memories. /John Ax


Name: Ronny Davis
City: Blue Springs, MO
Date: 18-Nov-2002
Message:

Wes..I have entered this interesting little tidbit in Local Legends as well. OK...lets take a healthy dose of Ginseng for this. In front of the stretch of Hollywood Way to the side of White Front in Burbank, there used to be an old bag lady (circa 1964-1967) who used to push a shopping cart. She could be seen going either way. Like all bag ladies, there would be something distinctive about her. She wore the most thickness gawdiest loud lipstick (early Gothic perhaps) and the most offcolored hair color (I don't think it was an avocado hue). Yes...plenty of transients, hobos, bums, and bag ladies were also staples of memories in my family's Burbank days.


Name: Wes Clark
Date: 29-Oct-2002
Message:

Here is the latest guestbook for this site. I am always interested in reading your comments! - Wes

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