My life has been very interesting as most lives are. It has had its ups and downs, failures and successes.
I started this website for a few reasons. One of them was as a way of keeping track of some of my more interesting adventures so that my son might read or know of them as I age and lose the ability to remember or tell them. I will turn 71 shortly so I am now middle aged if I were to live to be 142 years old.
My parents marriage was not a perfect one, few are. My father was very outgoing but had a few bad habits. He always liked his alcohol and perhaps a little gambling if the opportunity arose.
My mother was less outgoing than he and seemed to have less friends or so it seems as I look back at them through the eyes of an adult. I may be wrong but this is how I see them.
They were both attractive and had grown up in Mormon families. They left that life style behind them as they matured, sadly. That religion may have improved their relationship and their lives. I guess we will never know what might have been if they had stayed in that highly controlled environment.
My father worked as a lather and plasterer on housing tracts as they sprang up in California after WW ll. My parents lived in a small mobile home with their first born and then my self. The trailer was on the small side and was towed by my father’ pickup as we moved from town to town as his work in one housing development would finish and another started somewhere off in the distance.
I can remember living in Oceanside, San Francisco, Huntington beach and Santa Ana in that small trailer.
My older brother remembers being in Las Vegas before I came on the scene as well. As my brother reached the age of starting school I suppose there was a conversation between my parents about having to move so often and that our life style needed to change either by accident or design.
We rented a house in Westminster across from the bull ranch on Bolsa and Magnolia Street. The house had a large back yard. My father bought a horse and it resided in part of that yard. It was a very rural area back in 1952.
We met neighbors near by who owned a large parcel of land at Trask and Magnolia. They had many animals and a large collection of ancient automobiles. It was always an adventure going to their house surrounded by goats, chickens and those old cars.
I went to five different elementary schools and three high schools. We moved a few times after that rented house but that fact was also the result of new schools being built in Orange county, I believe.
We ended up settled in Santa Ana and leasing a building that had been a bar, dancehall and restaurant for many years. We sold the trailer for money to stock the restaurant with food and drink and began our stationary life at long last. I was perhaps, four or five.
My father took movies and I do remember our many travels through those movies and my own memories. I have seen my self on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco as a very small child and have heard those stories of our many travels. My father’s son from his first marriage joined us shortly before moving out of the trailer. Of course this life was all I knew and it seemed “normal.”
After selling our trailer we moved into the restaurant to live.
At first we lived in a two room storage building detached from the restaurant with no heat or bathrooms. Luckily there was a metal shower in one of the four bathrooms in the restaurant for my parents and older brother. I can still remember my mother bathing me in the large steel double kitchen sink of that restaurant more than once.
When the roof of that storage building failed, we moved into the restaurants and slept on the pool table, or the benches of the dining room tables. That was more pleasant than it sounds as we were children and all of this was just a long and fun adventure. Not so for my mother, I’m sure.
There was an office in the rear with a bed in there as well as a desk and a small black and white television. Color television was still many years away out in the unknown and unknowable future.
I was an over active child and can vividly remember “napping” with my father as he had me pinned in next to the wall of that small room so my mother might take a break from you know who. My father fell asleep instantly most days and so I laid behind him for what seemed like hours, trapped.
I had planned on writing a different story here but with a short introduction to my family lifestyle. That story will come later.
We closed the restaurant on Mondays as it is a slow day in the restaurant business. We had our family days then.
Many Mondays we didn’t go to school, or it seems to me. We would go to Marine Land in Palos Verdes, Disneyland, which my father had lathed and plastered, the Pike, in Long Beach and Knott’s Berry Farm among other fun places.
Our life seemed to careen from good to bad and back again as my father’s ability to stay sober failed from time to time. Having a bar and nightclub didn’t help maters, needless to say.
These were very difficult and unsettling times for all of us and I remember sitting in a divorce attorney’s office at least once. My mother took her vows seriously, it seems.
I have to say that this life style might have prepared me for the ups and downs of life more than a “normal” childhood would and I have no complaints. I am simply telling a bit of my story.
My story is much like Tom Sawyer’s or Huck Finn’s life, I suspect, but in a different century and location. I know that I am not alone in this type of life and am not asking for sympathy. I am just painting an interesting picture, I hope.
The four of us children all ended up doing well in life and becoming productive citizens despite or due to our difficult lives.
We are not promised a long and easy life on this journey. We are simply given the opportunity to exist. The rest is up to us and the decisions that we make, good and bad.
My brother and I often talk about how we should be dead or in prison due to our childhood. But perhaps growing up poor and around drunks and drug addicts doesn’t make a decent life impossible. Perhaps it can be the opposite and lay out a formula or a road map, of sorts, to become successful and sober.
Luck has a great deal to do with how things turn out. I know this to be true, no doubt. There are millions of people better looking than myself who are smarter than me and perhaps some that even worked harder than I who didn’t end up as fortunate as I have.
I am thankful for all that I have seen, done and accomplished and earned.
I my siblings and I are proof of that.