MT. ROYAL DRIVE, 1959
The garage door—
atop which my father
placed a basketball hoop,
its backboard sawed, drilled,
painted and hoisted
by his own hands,
dodgeball epics played out
among siblings and neighbors,
we dashed in races that
began north of the driveway and
careened to the back fence,
I smoked my first cigarette,
nervous as the homing pigeons
who pecked warily in their coop above
(another father-built project born of scrap wood and love).
place of hiding & seeking,
caroms & checkers on
idle summer days,
where the parents retreated occasional Sundays,
locking the door with an air of authority that
required no “Do Not Disturb” sign for 8-year-old eyes.
(Two surprise sisters products of those languid afternoons…)
The breakfast nook—
Site of pancake fests and
endless torments by an older sister
artful in the ways of clandestine kicks,
where I developed an early sense of
justice and outrage and the love of
light angled just so on the faces of
those I hold dear.
Deep appreciation to the photographers! Unless otherwise stated, some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing.
Elizabeth Haslam, whose photos (except for the books) grace the rotating banner at top of page.
Library books photo by Larry Rose, all rights reserved, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Garage door by Sergio Feria, Berkeley, California https://www.flickr.com/photos/sergio94707/
Lovely! Glad we both share the experience and memories of coming from Eagle Rock during that era. A wonderful time to be a child!
Indeed, Susan, a veritable embarrassment of riches…
LOVE “where I developed an early sense of justice and outrage.” !!!! Dinner table for a large family was so fraught. Took me years and years to actually enjoy meals without kicking into outrage or (in)justice. A book’s in there, for sure. Plus wads of paper napkins with half-chewed bites of liver. Jeez the stuff is visceral.
The shadow of the Eagle on the Rock, Occidental College, Yosemite Park, the corner of Eagle Rock and Colorado Boulevards, Townsend, Figueroa Street, Hill Drive on Halloween, Our High School, All-Star Lanes, Tommie’s, track meets at Patterson Field, Moon over the Glendale Freeway, the alley between Armadale and Munson, Anderson Field, the Eagle Theater, Bob’s Big Boy in Glendale, Sparkletts on York, Homecoming at the Rose Bowl, Eagle’s Scream, the Northern League, Morey and Chuck, The Gym, RC Colas and Twinkies after basketball, Graduation at Oxy’s Greek Theater…and all our memories and friendships.
Jeanette, y’all needed a good quiet dog under the table for those liver scraps! I could abide the liver OK, long as there were plentiful onions, but my battleground (besides my devious kicking sister whom I love dearly anyway…) was asparagus (yep—canned!). I recall hours at the table, my mom insisting, me whining & retching with the few bites I finally forced down myself. I love it today, of course…
Robert, that’s a Whitmanesque list you’ve got going there. Reminds me of the Theodore Roethke line in “The Abyss”: “Be with me, Whitman, maker of catalogues.” Great line, though it denoted a kind of desperation as Roethke called upon the spirit of Whitman to help him face his “abyss” of nervous breakdown.
Little League baseball on the rocky fields of San Pascual, outdoor hoops courts at Yosemite Park, the wonder of evening 3 par golf at Arroyo Seco course, college hoops at the old Oxy gym, endless over-the-line games on the fields at Oxy, those epic 1/2 court games at ERHS on Saturdays and Sundays, the chlorine smell from the Yosemite pool. Glorious, glorious times they were.