Because I've seen so much.
I was a little girl in the early 1950s. My mom and I would clean the kitchen from breakfast and turn on the radio so we would not miss the Arthur Godfrey show every day, and I can't even begin to describe how excited we were the day you could hear Arthur Godfrey on the radio and watch it on TV at the same time, on our brand new Television Set. Yes, I'm old enough to remember the transition from radio to TV. I sang along with the McGuire Sisters.
Then I watched Mickey Mouse Club in black and white every day when I came home from elementary school and dreamed of someday becoming a mouseketeer.
I'm so proud that just this morning I was able to grab my backpack and run after a bus. I read and absorb a screen of copy on my laptop in about twenty seconds. In fact, I think losing my family money in 1997 and having to work into the years most people retire has actually caused me to get sharper in old age, believe it or not.
In my life I have seen, part 2
We were coming home after dinner at a downtown L.A. restaurant, but it was the drive home that was the Big Event of the evening. The Pasadena Freeway, first freeway in the United States, had just opened, my dad announced, and we were about to drive our brand new 1955 Ford from one end of this breakthrough futuristic highway to the other.
The road curved and my mom marveled at the floral décor that glowed in the light. We drove with windows open even though the night had a chill, because we were still relishing in the dry sweet air of Southern California since we arrived from Illinois a few months earlier.
You could smell the ocean in the air back then, even as far inland as Pasadena.
In my life I have seen, part 3
One part of L.A. was “unincorporated,” though it was full of action in the 1950s. The area from the 9000 block of Sunset east to La Cienega and then south to Wilshire was L.A. County only back then, under the rule of no city law. As a result there was a kind of recklessness along Sunset Strip and down Restaurant Row.
My parents had met in 1930s Chicago, after coming of age in the Roaring Twenties then the Great Depression. I've seen pictures of my mom in her Chicago Art Institute years. She was a flapper. She was a genuine flapper. Then in 1929 her family lost all its money and the spoiled Polish princess got a job as a waitress at Hardings, where my dad was night manager while going to law school by day. Lucy Jendrzewski nee “Jendre” batted her eyes at my dad, a “good catch” as girls called a guy like him back then, and after they married my mom never had to work outside the home at a job again.
She still had the flapper inside her now in Los Angeles where the family suddenly moved in 1955 right after my dad met with Chicago Archdiocese lawyers about what Father Horne had been doing to two of his daughters.
Now we were Californians.
I think the wild side of town on Restaurant Row was one of the reasons my dad and mom wanted to come to California.
My parents would leave our house in the San Gabriel Valley in the early evening and end up after hours at the clubs on La Cienega Boulevard, where Sammy Davis Junior and Frank Sinatra and the like would go after other night clubs closed. There in the middle of that crowd would be George and Lucille Ebeling eating and drinking and carrying on until five six in the morning.
Then, inebriated like F. Scott and Zelda, they’d get on the Pasadena Freeway and drive home. My mother would wear hats with little feathers on these nights out...
More to come