Saturday morning. Holding a floral print ceramic cereal bowl.
A gift to the family from my Aunt Mary.
The stage was set. Bowl of Freakies cereal. Cold milk fresh from the ice box.
Had a good nights sleep and dammit, me Scooby and the crew were going to solve a mystery. And saturday afternoons were Monte Carlo and Pepperidge Farm days to boost.
Back then Burbank was a simple kind of life. Actors were still contracted with Warners Universal or Disney. Like Cagney or Bogey before, they did their thing and split back to their cushy mansions in Beverly Hills. There were no Starbucks. No wannabee influx crowding our town. The writers came 8 to 5 and wrote tomorrows pictures in their dusky flourescent cigerette suites peaking through venetions at the two way traffic on Olive Blvd. And like the former actors mentioned, bailed out of the Warner Bros gates like elementary school kids after a hard days thought.
They'd scurry onto Barham, pass the " Smoke House, " and rev on the black top leading to Pilgrimage Bridge. An eyeshot from the entrance lights to the Hollywood Bowl. Yank a bridge left. And in minutes they'd be home. Squeezing their perfumed honeys in an Alto-Nino apartment suite nestled north deep in an East Hollywood cul de sac.
..but back to Scooby Doo.
After I solved my mystery and saved the world, Ma said "clean up kids. Get the shopping basket." We were 50's old fashion. Dad was a War Vet. Ma didn't drive.
She had a wire shopping basket with wheels. She bought it from Zody's.
We'd walk to magnolia park and work our way down the grey cement walk. Quite a journey with us three kids in tow. I was seven. Full O ' Life, I thought, smelled yucky back then.
Handi Market. An explosion of fresh meats and produce. Crispy heads of lettuce teardropping from the produce misters. Standards still maintained to this day. Thrifty's. Back when it was on Magnolia blvd and California St. Dad wanted Ma to test the tubes on the black and white Tele. Thrifty's had a tube tester in the entrance by the comic books. Now it's a thrift shop. But the origial tile entrance is still there from the sixties. A bit faded over the years maybe, but It stills reads "Thrifty's" clean as day. And the tile stills feels smooth to the touch like glass.
My manly responsibility was to test the television tubes. When the tester lights were green, I"d give it the "Marc seal of apporoval." Then I'd grab a triple scoop of Thrifty's ice cream.15 cents. Rocky road, mint and chip, chocolate brownie. It always seemed to lean toward one side in its delicious creamy glory. Dripping in my small hand like a hopeless Tower of Pisa.
Then there was Monte Carlo. Big Tony always crouched over the counter with his kalmatta olive and prosciutto stained white apron to give me a bread stick. He'd pat my head. "You takin' care if your Ma?"
" Yes Sir. Thank you Tony."
I'd smile crunching on my breadstick. Then we'd make it to Albin's five and dime drug store. The corner of Hollywood Way and Magolia where Portos bakery now sits. Down the street from Akron's, where Dad bought his work socks. They had a peanut butter maker. You put four quarters in. Looked kind of like a tall cylindrical bubble gum machine filled with peanuts. The roasted nuts would swirl and twist down the bottom grinder into a glass mason jar you could bring from home or buy for fifteen cents. The churn would swirl into your jar like copper velvet soft serve. Wallah! Fresh smooth peanut butter.
Back to Albins.
They had a counter. They served cold tuna dealt out with a round ice cream scoop.Three perfectly round tuna balls on warm toasted cuts of thick rye bread. I'd buy some sort of trinket that was small enough to put in my Levi pocket for the long way home. We'd wait for the old wood train to pass on Chandler. Hear the whistle blowin'. Railway clear. "Let's cross." Ma wrestling the rattling wire basket shopping cart wheels over the steel rails. Her strawberry blonde hair sweeping her eyes in brief frustration.The Warm sunshine on our shoulders. Gusts of warm Santa Ana wind whistling through the tall green pines on Niagara street. You felt alive.
Last stop. Pepperidge Farm.
A little sattelite outlet shop on Niagara and Burbank blvd dedicating everything and anything Pepperidge Farm. We'd get our treats. I'd get the chedder gold fish, fudge pirouette's, chocolate milanos. Check out time. Old black iron cash register with push button keys. Ivory white tabs that pop to view with black ink numbers. Easy for a customer to read. Arrive home just in time to settle in to a one hour two episode "The Twilight Zone."
This was Burbank California. 1972.
The summer days were long. And the nights were short. The vacant evenings when the city noises succumbed to the quiet truth of stillness. And the ivy crickets sung you a lullaby to slumber away the end of a precious day.
...In immediate retrospect, don't really know why I wrote this. Guess I wrote it to remind myself of whom I was. Sometimes the involvement in the every day grumblings of life jade you. Literally rip off those precious memories that formed the original version of yourself which has developed into the version you have become today.
Never forget the roots that soiled.