NOTE: Click on the appropriate links for letters archives from 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998 and 1997 Also, various Avocado Memories reviews are here.
Howdy there Mr. Clark! I found your website, via a site about old gas pumps, then to a site about an old gas station in Lincolnton, North Carolina...and then to the links from that site. The link had something about TV motion lamps...and there was a photo of you and said lamp in the background. I just had to read your website. My word, you had me in stitches. I'm 45, but I certainly do remember the "avocado 70's" and some of the late 1960's as well. In fact, you mentioned the Union 76 car aerial antenna balls in one of your photos. I remember my late father keeping one of those Union 76 balls on the antenna of his 1972 Chevrolet Cheyenne pick-up truck. I hadn't thought about that in years...until I read your site.
And yes, like your mother, I'm a hopless collector, too. Just google "Dirk Allman WRAL" and you will see a news video about how I'm a "packrat for history." (Although I do help out local museums...but that wasn't brought up in the story. I'm told that I look like an episode of Pickers on the History Channel.) The room you see is the living room...of the same ranch house my late father and mother bought in 1952...for about $10,450.00 dollars. (It's sitting on a 3/4 acre lot in an area that's now slowly starting to go up in value. A light rail line was built nearby. For years our block was going downhill as local renters engaged in illegal activities. But the police have just about cleared out the area now.) My mother is 81...and I'm her caregiver. I am happy to say that I have cleaned up the house a little better since that news story was shown. At the time, my mother had just been in a bad auto accident, her neck broken...and I was helping her recover. (Thankfully, she has.) And well, as you will see in the video, my house cleaning had gotten away from me. We just fixed thousands of dollars worth of termite damage last summer. It's any wonder we didn't fall through the floor.
I'm the youngest of three brothers. So, yes, Dark Shadows, Batman and Lost In Space, were part of our lives. I still have pieces of our old 1962 Curtis Mathis television set out in the shed. I remember it taking forever for the tubes to warm up.
Back in the winter of 2009, when my mother was recovering from the auto wreck, I decided to start a website about all of the old stuff I had collected over the years, from World War I letters to 78rpm Halloween recordings. And yes, like my email says, I'm a World War I doughboy re-enactor in our city's Veteran's Day parade. It started out as a Halloween gag nearly thirty years ago. I did it in honor of the fact that Snoopy was the World War I flying ace in It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. All that information is on the bottom of my homepage. My website is titled www.carolinahistoryproject.com . Although I do talk about Carolina history, I guess I just can't help talking about what all I've done and seen...right down to the minutae of life, in such a small little corner of the world. I think you will relate. What an excellent website you have. It ought to be a movie! Your celebration of the mundane....is sublime! Thanks so much for putting it up there. It's about time that the social history of ranch-style house living was explored and honored. Have a good night/morning. (I stay up late a lot.) I am
Charlotte, North Carolina
I'm very interested in 70s architecture, and love it when I come upon a site that catalogues someone's personal experiences of where they grew up. I loved the back yard with the Hawaii theme. You know, in those days, a lot of our domestic architecture had what was called a Tiki theme (though you probably already knew that!). I absolutely adore that era, and I don't think it will ever come back. It's interesting: when we see Art-Deco architecture, we call it classic -- even beautiful. When we see Tiki architecture, or anything that comes out of the 1960s/ 70s era, we call it "dated." LOL. Someday I may very well design my own house in with some sort of neo-tiki design! I love you Southern Californians. You're so nostalgic about that era of the American landscape.
All the best,
Going back now about 11 years now, I was living in an apartment, now got a house, and before computers I had a web tv which I spent a lot of time on. I had websites on geocities, tripod, etc... oh yea angelfire, anyhow the geocities communities etc.. had forums etc... and one day I seen somewhere that your website Wes Clark's Advocado Memories won for best website on geocities for the month or whatever. So I checked it out and loved it. Another fav later on when I got my 1000 dollar windows 98 crash box computer was Snarg which was a website about nothing. It was featured on the news or something and made by a group of college kids with windows popping up etc... and today's browsers would halt all the fun.
Anyhow, My Mom would have gelled with your Mom. She made crafts such as masking tape ripped off pieces taped all over wine bottles and then shoe polished, baloons at Easter where she took string dipped in paste and covered the balloons like an egg then when dry pop the balloon. oh yea the string was first dyed.
Mom loved garage sales and even trash picked if seen "good stuff" I always thought other neighbors were richer than us but Mom instead of saving you some money (We didn't have a lot) and buying new furniture seemed to enjoy Lions Club thrift store or yard sale stuff better.
Mom's cars were always real shot, and Dad's were always 2 door ones that were a real squeeze for the kids to ride in the back. We had a early Valiant Station wagon and the floor was gone in the back and Dad finally put down some paneling squares. We used the station wagon at drive in movies with a blanket on the roof.
I had a Thing Maker- Creepy Crawlers which my Uncle bought me one yr. at Christmas. Before this my friend had the coveted Fright Factory which the glow in the dark skeleton rings and shrunken heads (A lot of Voodoo stuff!) was the favs!
I grew up in 60s with Monster Craze of local shows (NJ) Creature Double Feature and Doctor Shock played Dracula etc.. Godzilla on Saturdays.
Hey here is Tacky remember all the 70s Contact paper. Mom could easily revamp the insides of the kitchen cabinets or even the kitchen walls with some floral design contact paper. It could just get gooey if too near the stove.
Well I enjoyed your website and at least once a year I guess I pull it up and look through and tell a few folks about it.
Favorite parts are you saying about neighbors across the street that outdid you in tackiness. THEY DID! and how car leaked oil and all the deep human studies of your family.
Maple Shade, NJ
I just wanted to drop you a line saying how much I enjoy visiting your Avocado Memories webpage. I've also read Hal Lifsen's book 1966. Looking forward to hearing from you and hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Terrific site you got there. I was born in 1968 (grew up in Idaho) so I came of age in the eighties, but I remember the mid to late seventies very well. Especially starting around 1974. Thought you might get a kick out of the knowledge that I posted a link to your site in a forum dedicated to the old Heston movie The Omega Man. As you probably assumed many of the forum members are from your age group and topics having to do with all things about the seventies are popular. Here is a link. Thought you might enjoy it. Proof positive that even middle aged adults with jobs, families and bills don't always have a life.
Good write up on "When Did the Seventies Begin?" I guess that it has to do with what you experienced.
From my own personal experiences, the 60's culture started in early 1964 and lasted until the end of 1972. My remembrance of what I experienced as 70's culture spans from January / February 1973 thru 1980. After 1980 for some reason the 80's, 90's, and whatever you would call 2000 thru 2009, (the 00's?) all seems to blur together probably because as I became older, I paid less attention to popular culture, and my focus transitioned to family and career.
Anyway good observation on the 70's.
Been a while since I wrote but was just looking at the bundle of updates you added since early this year.
Here's a flashback for ya: I see that your first car was a 74 Beetle. Mine was a 71 Camaro coupe which
I bought for 800 bucks. All cash, saved up by working with my dad roofing houses in Philadelphia during the
I always wanted to get another 70s Camaro if I could afford it. So last Fall I found a nice one over in
Ft. Wayne, IN about 3 hours away. I ended up buying it and now have it safe in my garage and am enjoying
it on weekends and on evening cruise nights in the area.
Glad you are still updating your site. It has been a blast to watch. Thanks for all the fun over the years since
you started, and have a nice Summer too!
Just wanted to tell you that you are an excellent writer - you had me laughing out loud and soaking up your philosophy on life and growing up. I hope you have, or are writing a book.
I was born and raised in Glendale, CA but spent lots of time in Burbank (born 1953, grad. from Hoover High in 1971, moved to Oregon in 1988 where I now live). My sister lives in Burbank where she has lived in the same house on Clark since she was married in 1975. She is very involved in community activites - maybe you know her. Her name is Karen Sartoris. It's a small world sometimes.
I wanted to tell you that I loved looking through your old photos at "Avocado Memories" at your website! So much fun to review those times! I grew up in the 60s in Philadelphia and remember a lot of similiar things going on on the east coast...especially the spy-007 rage!
Take care and have a great summer!
Your page is fantastic. Being the same age it brings back a ton of memories (and the wish that I'd saved all of that stuff). And you were right to begin saving those memories so early. They really are a treasure, not just for your kids, but for yourself.
When you talked about the soldering iron I cracked up. [See below - Wes.] I used to have a thing called a Vac-U-Form, which was used to make plastic parts that you then cut up to make toys. I can still smell that plastic. It was the cousin to the Creepy Crawler set. Both got hotter than a blowtorch. It's a wonder any of us lived. And I had one of those Japanese metal toys, mine was a tractor. It shot sparks out of its smokestack.
Haven't finished reading it all, but have enjoyed it.
Keep it up.
From my toys page:
My favorite gun couldn't be had at a toy store. It was the Weller soldering gun my parents kept in the original cardboard box. It looked black, industrial and somewhat futuristic, had two lights that glowed when you pulled the trigger and a tip that hummed and got very hot and could melt plastic and cardboard, in addition to metal. (After all, this gun plugged into the wall.) It was a distinct improvement from the Wham-O Air Blaster.
I just had to drop you a line after browsing through your web page. I was just looking for some inspiration for a piece I am writing and wanted to see some pictures from the 60's when I stumbled upon your blogs in a google search.
While I am only 23 years old, my mom is a couple of years older than you and grew up during the same time period. I love looking through her old yearbooks and old family pictures to learn about what her life was like back then. While looking through your photos, I felt like I had stumbled upon a rabbit's hole to the past and was watching your family's life play out before me.
I was also fascinated by the avocado paint. My grandmother (my mom's mom) was obsessed with the same color as well. She has an avocado green stove, sink, refrigerator, floor, shag carpet, drapes... the list is never ending. We lost her on November 18th of this past year. Her house still looks very much the same with all of the green. Whenever I see the color, I think of her. You had me laughing right along with you through out the changes that happened over the years.
I do hope this email reaches you. I feel almost as if you're a long lost friend. While I wasn't born until '87, I always felt I might have missed my true era by a few decades. I always have had a special connection with yours and my parent's generation. Maybe because they introduced me to the artists, music, shows, emotions of the time and it was what I grew up with so it makes me feel comfortable. I'm not sure. What I am sure of, however, is that I really enjoyed reading about you and your family.
Best wishes (and avocado memories),
I've been poking around in the assorted chapters of Avocado Memories with much enjoyment, perhaps especially so because we're the same age and had most of the same interests back in The Sixties -- also, I lived in North Hollywood from '68 - '70 and attended Walter Reed Jr. High.
Anyway, I found your site while doing some research on Hollywood, and the same research led me to a picture which I am attaching to this email. The caption from the archive where I found the photo read: "COMIC BOOK HEAVEN-Rick Durell, El Segundo, left, operator of a gasoline station, and Burt Blum, manager of Cherokee Book Shop, 6607 Hollywood Blvd., look over comic books in store, largest center for them in the country. 1965"
I hope you get a little thrill out of it!
Regards, and keep up the good work,
A little thrill? More like a BIG one! Look at those comic books! And.... BURT (grrrrr). Thanks! I have linked it into my Hollywood Boulevard article.
Greetings Mr. Clark
I'm Phillip, a life long resident of Dallas born in October 1961. I came across Avocado memories several years ago and have enjoyed your website very much ever since- thank you for going to the trouble.
My parents also had a number of avocado colored furnishings, and my mother still has the green Wurlitzer upright piano my father bought in 1969.
Earlier today I was looking for some 60's TV shows, toys, etc. and came across this site and thought you might enjoy giving it a glance yourself. Hope all is well, take care and I'll continue visiting your site periodically.
Your website just really made my night.
I don't know why I felt so connected to your pictures, or even what I Googled to get me there, but I was stuck, and looked at everything.
Your writing is amazing, and the pictures were awesome. I wish I had such good photo memories of my past.
Anyways thank you very much, it really did make my night and my week.
What a great site.
Reading your story and being a kid from the 70's, brings back alot of great memories.
I've been visiting Avocado Memories for about 2 years now, and continually keep checking back hoping to find new articles. Looks like you added a lot in December!
I grew up in Canoga Park in the 50's and 60's. The Valley was such a great place back then. Keep up the good work. You are helping to keep those memories alive for all of us.
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