Letters Out Of The Blue Are Amazing...

Memories And Recollections Of Days Gone Bye!

From Out Of The Blue Some Emails Dropped In

An Email out of the blue...

Hi Paul,

 My name is Bob and I found your homepage by doing a search on `Hoppyland`.   As I read I realized that we had so much in common as we both grew up in West LA and are about the same age, I am 57. But your age was really a mystery. I read about your visits to Hoppyland and your memories of it, I visited Hoppyland also but was very young and only remember scattered memories of it. Then I saw your first car a 1962 Chevy and read that you had visited your Grandparents in Arkansas. This threw me off as my first car was a 1957 Ford sold to me by my dad. Then I found the “How old am I?â€? page and realized we were about the same age.

I grew up at 8327 Loyola Boulevard Westchester the street that leads from Manchester to Loyola College (then called). My dad worked at North American Aviation as a stress engineer during the war building B25s and Mustangs. The first plane I remember him working on was the F86.  As a kid I crawled all over the church at Loyola Univ that was being build on the bluff that adorns the high steeple you see from Culver City. I looked at your section called Drive-ins and was hoping it included the Drive-in Restaurants. As a young kid I remembered my favorite on Lincoln over by the Skating Rink smack dab in Culver City. It was called Picadillies. Also I remember the first drive-in where you could actually take a hamburger home with you. That was the Hamburger Handout at Sepulveda and  Centenala.

I fished off the bridge at Ballona Creek many a day. My doctors office was on Jefferson near Culver. I had even snuck on the back lot of MGM and played on the sets before they were torn down. I can even show you where the outdoor Tara set stood, it backed up against the old Desilu studios that was then the studio that produced GWTW. Also being a fan of Laurel and Hardy I smile when I see locations used in their shorts, mostly on Main Street in Culver City. Actually the first house I lived in was in Culver City.

Things we have in common:

My mom died in 1990 Grand parents from Stuttgart Arkansas (Lived in Memphis when I was a small child). We used to drive in a 1952 Studebaker, 1955 Pontiac, 1957 Ford and 1959 Ford down Route 66 most of the way to Memphis in the summer. Visiting Memphis was fun when Elvis was alive.

Stationed in Del Rio Texas I met the Wolfman. Re-met him in the early 70s when he was tapeing Midnight Special. That was a funny story he was eating breakfast across the street from NBC at the Copper Penny after tapeing, it was about 2am. I walked up to his table and went into the old Air Force story about meeting him there in Mexico. He was nice and said he remembered, but I knew he didn't.

Helms Bakery. The one thing I disagree with you was that we KNEW what to order when the truck came buy. It was those Glassed Donuts. For years when people used to ask me what were my quests in life, one was to find that perfect Glassed Donut that I had in my childhood from a Helms bakery truck. Krispy Kreams come close but who can replace that perfect memory of a child but nothing will be as good as a Helms Glassed Donut. My favorite field trip in school was the Helms Bakery….I am sure your school took you through there. I only wished I still had one of those cardboard cut outs of the old trucks they would give out that day, and one of those Glassed donuts right out the baker’s oven.

Do you remember the airport at Sepulveda and Slauson? How about the Jalopy Derbyrace track at Lincoln and Culver? That is where Dick Lane used to announce and the Dead-end Kids did one of their movies. You do know that the current condo complex on Jefferson called Tara is on the old set built for GWTW, it was Atlanta, the Tara set was across Balonna Creek. They also have a lake in that complex (that they were smart to build around and keep)  that is called the Tarzan Lake. It is where Tarzan used to jump off a rock into the river. The rock is still there, surprising how Plaster of Paris lasts. I remember as a kid driving over by that site and seeing all the old cars they used in The Untouchables that they had wrecked. Basically a junk yard of 1930s cars. It was really strange.

I feel real bad when I see what has happened to Venice. When I was about 13 my family moved to Manhattan Beach. Venice was far away for a boy that age. The next time I had spent some time there was at POP then later at The Oar House when first 21. But so many strange types have changed Venice that I recommend any of my out-of-townvisitors only visit my town Manhattan Beach and stay away from Venice. I tell them that those are not Californians but transplants and most looser looking for an acting gig. Manhattan Beach has not gone untouched either. Money has come in and changed the town I used to love. I now live in the mountains above LA and love it….but society is now even finding me here. Next step…well probably give up on California.

I had better go now. It was fun reading your web page and thanks for freshening some of those memories. I had thought I was the only one who had lived as long as I have.

Sincerely, Bob Bowen

Dear Dave (or Paul):

I only knew you as Dave in 1959.  I am a very minor, minor character out of your past.  But, I have really enjoyed your web pages....and I am very excited to know that Mr.
Brown is still on this side of eternity.  Thanks for finding him!  I went back to Hamilton High in 1987 to find out about Mr. Brown and they coolly ordered me to leave the office...not very friendly...drugs have changed the attitude of educators.  In their eyes I was some kind of possible danger to humanity.  All visitors are unwelcome.

Anyway...I wanted to reminisce with you about the famous K6CXI Test Field Day...not held on the real field day.  Anyway, do you remember when Hughes Aircraft invited Mr. Brown and the whole K6CXI Hamilton High Ham club to come up to Hughes' Baldwin Hills radio test site shack, overlooking Culver City and West L.A.?  You were there running some portable equipment. And you invited me to come along, even though I was only a junior high kid, at the time...but very interested in radio.

Well, anyway, Hughes had said to Mr. Brown..."you know.. you guys are welcome to use the equipment in our building if you like"... Mr. Brown, being the smart man he was and knowing the Hughes equipment would possibly be a lot safer out of our reach, kindly waved-off the generous offer.  Anyway, as the day progressed, and we were making all kinds of contacts somebody from Hughes came up and let us see inside the building. To our surprise there was a full Collins S-line, I believe, if my memory serves me correctly.  Suddenly everyone kind of wondered if Mr. Brown had made the right decision.  But, I know he was wise and that equipment stayed in it's pristine condition, out of our reach.

I often visited your shack and my eyes always fell out of my head in wonder.  I was not a ham at that time...but later, because of your influence I became WB6BZV, WBzeroKXU, WB7NPT and finally KD7NK.  Just last year I purposely let my Advanced ticket lapse.  I too have become too interested in Computers and also...ham radio isn't what it used to be.  I enjoyed the days of Heathkit, Globe Scouts , Hammerlund, S-Line and build it yourself.  The bands just got too clogged up for my taste with angry people and poor taste.  But I was involved for 38 years as a ham.  My first receiver was an NC-300...I couldn't afford a 303 like my friend Dave Liles had...but the 300 was good enough.

I do owe you a big "thank you" for being such a hospitable young man and taking an interest in me.  You were an unusual teenager even in that better era.  Because of you I went on into Ham radio and almost became and electronics engineer, even did a
stint at NASA as an engineering student trainee.

By the way...you won't probably remember me...but I was that annoying Herald Express (later the Herald Examiner) news boy who would park his bike outside your shack and sit mesmerized as you worked skip on 20 meter sideband, while my customers wandered through their yards looking under bushes for a paper that had not arrived but was parked at WA6CJC's shack.

After you moved away in 1961, I believe, I went on as the newsboy until 1962...and still remember pedaling my bike by your house and sadly missing all the fun I used to
have stopping and watching you.

I remember when you had a Gonset Communicator III , or had borrowed one.  You were on 20 with one hand and chewing the rag on W6MYK, the Mount Lee A.M. 2 meter
repeater, with the other hand...oh, those were the days!!!

Did you ever get on the Venice bus and ride to downtown L.A. to "J.J. Glass" to look at ARC-5s and all the other World War II surplus radio treasures??  That was one of my favorite activities back when it was safe to go almost anywhere in L.A. on a sunny day.  I sure loved walking the isles of J.J. Glass!!  Or, if bus fare and time were a bit tighter...I would sneak over to Henry Radio to wander from one radio room to the next.  If I was lucky somebody would be making a few contacts using that super 80 foot telephone pole with a tri-bander perched on top. And, if I was really lucky...and nobody was looking I might even become a dumpster diver and surf through the treasure trove of rejected resistors and capacitors in the metal Henry Radio electronic freebie can outside in the back next to the 80 foot telephone pole.  Yes, those were the days!!  To bad I didn't recognize it at the time!

And, I carried my ARRL General Class questions and answers everywhere I went.  When I was bored I could always memorize another answer.  Let's see, a triode has a grid, a plate and a cathode, GOT IT!

Then there was the two famous trips to Downtown L.A. to the scary F.C.C. office for the big test.  Oh, I was downcast that first time when I flubbed the code.  But, 30 days later, VICTORY!!!!  At 15 years of age I walked out with my General Class license and no money for a rig...but at least I could call CQ in the shower and drive folks at home mad!

Clint Stetson (former KD7NK )

Here is a nice note from a friend a few years younger than I .  He also remembers "the good old days"....

Dear Paul,

Whooboy! I just returned from a trip back to 3357 Laguna Ct. Riverside Ca. I was 9.  It was 1963 and I walked out with Mom to buy some bread from the Helms Truck, grabbed a donut too.

Building forts with Anthony (Tony) Bevins, falling from trees and getting hit in the eye during a dirt clod fight with the Cook brothers, Jerry Harding, Louie & Eddie and Butchy, stopping by ol Mr. Jorgensens field to see what he was growing and being utterly fascinated by the fact that he looked like stepped right out of the film "Grapes of Wrath" or bugging Mrs. Clydesdale to pet Smokie, (a grey horse that bit). Her barn was always filled with old stuff and we always snuck in and out, ditching church and picking up the flyer to prove that we actually went inside and prayed,  walking to school 3/4 mile when I was 5....did I mention that Craig Hermann and I stopped the So. Pacific RR Freight train one day by seeing how close we could get to it as it sped by.....? (We were 5) I was the youngest in my family to get mentioned in the Riverside Press. We never realized just how many police cars could show up in one spot and up until THAT DAY, neither one of us had ever talked to a REAL Train Engineer (except one named "Bill"), but we did that day, how about being called in from playing because "Star Trek" or Bonanza was IN COLOR that night. My kids always wonder how I know the things they are about to do....should I tell em....? (someday)

Reuben Quezada
So. California

Hello Paul and Sue

I was doing a search for info on Louis Pastuer Jr. High, when I stumbled across your website (seems I do a lot of that lately; stumbling, I mean...but age is creeping up). Anyway, what a great surprise to discover your truly amazing site. I too, grew up in the neighborhood and lived about 7 or 8 long blocks from your Comey house, at the corner of 18th and Point View (right across the street from Pasteur. We moved there in 1953.Went to Crescent Heights, of course Pasture and then Hamilton, class of '65. Thankfully, my folks STILL live in that same house (going on 52 years now), so I get to make my annual tour back through the memories (the blocks have gotten much shorter)

Virtually everything you've created about being "back in the day" is still alive in my memory banks. From the pictures of the Cowboy outfits and six shooters ( the Fanner 50 became my personal favorite) to the Mickey Mouse Club to the stories of just roaming the neighborhood and they brought back memories of the  great adventures and discoveries we made (like looking for treasures in Bologna creek or waiting up on the old tracks to pull the next great train robbery ( this was, of course before the Santa Monica Freeway).Of course, I wasn't "allowed" to cross Venice at the time. but sometimes the pull was too great. I spent virtually all of afternoon yesterday just going through the website and all the tribute areas are super as well (Engineer Bill says "Green light")

I've been accessing Classmates.com a lot lately and have even posted a message on the message board referring those who grew up in the '50s and '60s (and anyone else) to go to your site (hope that is not a problem). Do you remember Howard Goodman, or Richard Bucky or Dennis Angel from Pasteur or Hamilton days ? They all lived either on Crescent Heights or Point View St. and I think may have been in the same year class as you.

Anyway, again just wanted to tell you that I appreciate what you've created. Since yesterday, I've been looking for the milkman to deliver our 4 GLASS bottles of milk and am waiting for the Helms truck to make his rounds (Yum-Yum)

Best regards..Greg (Nairn) Thomas..Pasteur- class of '62....Hamilton--class of '65

Hello Paul--

I feel kind of stupid because after I emailed that question I kept on exploring your website and came across the answer to the question,  with your map.  I never heard of Comey Av., probably because my turf stopped at the projects at the end of Crescent Hgts. Blvd.  I currently live in the Sierra Foothills in Calaveras County, near Angels Camp. 

Whenever I return to L.A. I get sick to my stomach when I see all the graffiti on the buildings that used to be my homeland.  I sure do remember Baloney Creek though; used to hunt lizards with a kid named Paul Marantz who lived in the "rich" area, i.e., Beverlywood.  Did you ever ride your bike up La Cienega and hike up to the reservoir in Baldwin Hills?  That was great fun!!  Also, are you familiar with the novels of Bruce Kimmel?  The Kritzer series?  Great nostalgia. 

My turf  pretty much stopped at the street, forgot the name, that now borders the Kaiser? hospital.  The one that now has a Chevron gas station on the corner of La Cienega.  However, my dad worked as a prop man at MGM from the late '20's to 1970 so I explored Culver City a little bit.  I used to drive him to work at 5:00 a.m. right after I got my driver's license so I could have the car to go to Hami. 

Used to stop at Mary Eveleyn's Donut Shop in CC often, and of course, as a kid frequented the Culver and Meralta Theatres.  For a year or so I also worked at Balian's Market on Venice as a box boy.  (This is going to be a rambling narrative, so please excuse me) Paul and I would take the lizards we caught, fence swifts and alligator lizards, to Beryl's Pet Shop in CC and trade or sell them. 

And who could forget the Helms Bakery and the Helms trucks going around the neighborhood with that distinctive whistle and the wooden trays of goodies that the driver pulled out for us to view products?  Remember the paper (light cardboard) Helms trucks we got and put together? 

Interesting, when I focus on a particular area of my turf, see a visual image of it as a child, so much comes back.  I faintly remember a shop teacher at Pasteur who also owned a plastics company on Venice, probably near you.  We cut pieces of sheet plastic, laminated them various colors, and made things in that shop.  Purses, medallions, etc.  I remember using a buffing machine to bring the edges of the plastic to a high shine.

That pretty much takes care of that area of town for me.  Most of my adventures took place North of there.  Of course I remember Thriftown? Market, but my family shopped more at Daylite and Big Town?  I remember Big Town before they cut the door into the common wall between it and Ralph's 5 & 10.  On your website you mentioned an alley or road near you with businesses such as Bic and a sheet metal shop?

I have no recollection of that area at all.  What else was around it that I might remember?  I'm going to sign off now, but the 25 minutes I have been on the computer jarring my memory represents maybe 2% of my experiences.  Next time I'll travel North on La Cienega an hit such places as Marty's Bike Shop, Adhor, Piece O' Pizza, etc.  If you have time, write back with some of your memories.  I'm sure I'll have many in common.