‘The Box….And Friends’

2/12/13
I smile. I laugh. And then my mind rewinds back to so many laughable moments growing up. With my sister Patti packing up and moving to Canada in mere days, I have been looking through the box of personal items that she dropped off for me on Sunday. My personal trinkets. She has no idea why she had possession of them in the first place. So I stare at an assortment of pieces from my life and just think “Wow!” Rifling through the box, I saw my Catholic School report cards and remembered how on the day we received them, the priest would come in to our classroom and READ aloud our grades! I’m thinking this is where my humility developed! I’m dead serious here. There are my polio vaccine records that were mailed to my parents when I was a tot (with a five cent postage stamp) and I can still picture our duplex on Mansfield Ave. in Hollywood , where the mail was sent. I lived there from when I was an infant up until age 6.

After my first blog, I decided to ‘lighten‘ this one up a bit.

Searching back in time, I know that my wussiness began during these young years. My poor mother held my hand everyday when she would take me to kindergarten at Melrose Ave. School, and everyday I would hang on her at the gate at the school, and scream and cry hysterically. I truly felt like she was ditching me and I would never have the comfort of being around her again. This went on from the first day of school in September and did not end until the last day in June. Once in the classroom, I would cry for an hour or so and I remember the teacher had NO patience with me. At all. Can you blame the poor old woman? And she was OLD. Isn’t it weird, but I remember her name (Mrs. Nugent) and how she dressed (very formal for a kindergarten teacher). And she always had a tissue tucked in the cuff of her sleeve. Figured that one out soon enough. The tissue was always given to me to wipe my tears away.

I began the journey of thinking back to laughable, happy memories of my good friends -that weren’t in the box. The majority of the good ‘ol days happened with Sheree. Good grief, we were happy-go-lucky girls and had some wonderful moments! When we met, it was in junior high. Her brother was my boyfriend and I met Sheree thereafter. When her brother and I broke up (in junior high that is a given), Sheree and I were still joined at the hip.

There were the dirt bike riding years that we ripped all over the hills up in Bouquet Canyon. On the weekends, we’d take long rides that led us to nowhere, really. We saw small houses way back in the hills and I’d imagined they were hideouts for serial killers. (Who would live miles back here unless you were part of the Manson family? This is how my 13 year old mind worked.) We saw a sign out at a mailbox on one of our rides that said ‘Pig Farm’ and also the name of the resident who lived there. Shortly after that, back in school, Sheree and I had the same art class together and the teacher was a man named Mr. Golden. I viewed him as being uptight and not a whole lot of fun. Kind of snooty. I knew the guy didn’t care for me and after my semi-outburst in class one day, it was now a fact. For some reason, I don’t know WHY, I blurted out and asked him “Do you live on a pig farm?” I remembered the name on the sign at the pig farm we passed by while riding motorcycles and itspelled out the name ‘Golden.’ Sheree was sitting there looking at me like, “What are you doing? Have you lost your mind?” Oh, Mr. Golden was not impressed and from then on, I didn’t have an easy time in his class.

Dirt bike riding was about the only thing to do back then so we took full advantage of it. I’d ride my little Honda 70 and Patti would relent and let Sheree take her tiny, lime green Honda. I can’t for the life of me remember the name of that fast flying bike. We’d act like we knew what we were doing (Ha) and followed ‘biker guys’ (dirt biking ‘dudes’) when ever the opportunity arose. Which was often! We went to this race track that was created by some of the people who rode bikes back in these hills, and like the crazy teens that me and Sheree were, rode on the track going in the wrong direction! We were an accident waiting to happen! And it would have been a horribly, gory scene. We soon realized what we were doing and fixed it quickly before we were chased away from this track permanently. Then there was the day, which Sheree reminded me of recently, that we decided to take out one bike, riding double and I brought along this stupid, stuffed dog with a transistor radio built inside. As if we could hear the music playing through out the roars of the bikes out in the hills! Somehow we dropped the dog (we hadn’t realized it) and this guy on a large bike was chasing us. I immediately assumed this guy was bad news, out to ‘sully our reputations’ (ha), and just all in all a pervert. He caught up pretty fast, seeing his bike was a large engined one, and was shaking the dog at us, trying to hand it back. One of many embarrassing moments in life. I think that Sheree and I were involved in stuffing a banana (or bananas) into a muffler of a guy named Tom’s, van. It was parked next to her house and we ‘just did it’ one evening. Then we had the nerve to refer to it as ‘the banana mobile’ for the next couple of years. “Hey there goes the banana-mobile.”

When I had mononucleosis in 9th grade and was laid up in bed for almost a month, Sheree would call me after school and we’d gab for as long as my incredibly irritated and raw throat would allow me to talk. We each had a Sears catalog in our homes and we’d laugh over the poses in the men’s underwear section. Yes, we would tell each other what page to look on and laugh uncontrollably over some good looking guys wearing tightie-whities or speedo underwear while carrying a ladder over his shoulders. Or carrying a lunch box! Who would dress like that and carry a ladder or lunch box I would alway ask. We’d have this ‘underwear’ searching, laugh out loud routine in the catalog down pat. Innocent fun.

My dad (who I love dearly) was one strict individual. I was the one who got the brunt of having to follow the rules because, let’s face it, I was the first born and that’s how it was. I don’t know if Sheree remembers this, but there were several occasions that I was yelled at and told I couldn’t ‘go riding’, or wasn’t allowed to go to Magic Mountain, and I recall saying to Sheree, “C’mon, follow me” heading to my bedroom after grabbing the phone book, and looking at the yellow pages trying to see if there were any available foster homes taking in kids! (I was 14……. that’s how my teenage mind worked). I wasn’t a ‘bad kid’ but I had moments that I now can look back on and think “Good Lord Lori, you really did this stuff)! One classic and comical event that took place – I can laugh now about it- was when our swimming pool was being built. It wasn’t funny at the time but in time it was. The gunite had just been sprayed on the pool. That’s when the pool is at the stage where concrete is blown in and shapes the walls, steps and love seat, before the final step of it being plastered. So on this day, me, Sheree and her brother are in my backyard. The work crew left and my mom was inside the house. On a dare (it HAD to be a dare because I wasn’t the type of gal to think this up on my own…. Patti would be, but not me), I stepped down the newly laid top step and stood there. Miss smarty pants. I took another step down. I was safe. Then I took the final brazen step. The third step down crumbled beneath my footing. Before I realized, I was now standing on the pool’s floor. OMG! It was a huge chunk of the newly formed step that ripped beneath my feet. 3 feet wide by 2 feet in depth? What, am I that stupid? I knew that my imminent demise was only hours away, when my dad got home. All the years attending St. Patrick’s Catholic School and all the prayers I learned back then, came in handy right about now! Hail Mary and The Apostle’s Creed stand out in my mind! First, I thought: deny, deny, deny! (Hey,maybe a wind blew in and crushed the step?) If I was going to use that lame-ass excuse, I might as well just say there was an earthquake. We did live in SOuthern California, right? We had those every so often, maybe it would work. Ha! Sheree was staring at me once again, like “What are you doing?” I finally climbed up and out of the pool and had to tell my mother. After my dad arrived home and the yelling subsided, I did get grounded later that night, but I suppose it was warranted. Dad had to ‘mold’ the step back together and I wondered how come he didn’t crumble the first or second step on his way down. The pool was eventually plastered and that third step was never straight. But it held together after dad’s correcting my huge blunder.

When we both decided that having money might be a smart move in our young lives, Sheree and I applied for jobs at Newberry’s. When we went to the office area to get applications, the woman behind the counter gave us applications and also a page that was to test our math skills. If anyone knows me, math and I never synced. Ever! One of my more brilliant ideas was to copy the answers off Sheree’s math test. Oh yeah, like this is going to work! As we stood there zipping through the test, well she was, I was waiting to copy her answers, I just jotted everything down making sure the woman wasn’t watching this asinine plan of mine. It was sheer dim-wittedness on my part because had I bothered to DO IT MYSELF, or look at the questions, I would have noticed we were given DIFFERENT tests! ! When we finished, the woman took our papers and looked them over and we left. God ONLY knows what my answers went to. She must have though I escaped from a special ed. classroom. Needless to say, we weren’t hired!

Sheree and I both got jobs at Magic Mountain and bought cars. I had a 1965 Ford Mustang and she had a 1969 (?) Camaro. We spent days working at ‘the happy hump’ and then went back inside the park nearly every night. (Employees were allowed in free). So many good times, and always on the hunt for the opposite sex. One night we went on a ride and the ride operators knew Sheree because she worked in that part of the park, and they were announcing as people were boarding the seats (Swiss Twist, I think) that she and I were some celebrities. You see all these heads turning and looking for someone famous, but there wasn’t any. It was just us. One afternoon after school, she drove us out to Ventura Beach on a cold day in a wind storm and we walked from the shore, being blinded by hurricane force winds, sand dunes being created before our eyes and our arms stretched out in front of us feeling our way to her car. It was a scene out of The Wizard of Oz! What was that all about? I don’t know why we went! But we never went back when the winds were 40+ mph! We also roamed around Northridge, going to the Peppertree movie theaters. We were in stitches when we watched Blazing Saddles. I don’t know how we weren’t escorted from the move theater, the laughing we did was annoying to others, no doubt. Little did I know at the time, but these were Dennis’ haunting grounds.I would have been WAY TOO young had I run into him at 16.

And Lake Tahoe–Meeks Bay! We had so much fun up there and acted like typical teenage girls: laying in the sun, trying to keep dry while using the paddle boats in the frigid Tahoe water, ditching Patti and Lisa and looking for boys! We did find the group of hotties from North Hills or Sepulveda? That was a memorable camping trip and I’ll always remember it. And throughout the entire high school years, I had a boyfriend. We just broke up a lot.

Now cruising Van Nuys Blvd. was a blast. Every Wednesday night, that was what you did. Hundreds of cars would drive to the San Fernando Valley and just drive up and down the Blvd. Bumper to Bumper traffic, and the idea was to ‘check out every one and every thing’. One night, some imbecile threw a lighted flare into my backseat! Smoke, gagging and fire was brewing on the seat. I don’t remember HOW we got the thing out of the car and I don’t even remember who I was with. Lesson to be learned: Drive with your windows up? I don’t think so! Me and another friend Linda did this often too, a couple of years later.

Linda and I had some amazingly funny times as well. In our senior year of high school, we had this class that I can’t remember what it was exactly. It was not home ec., but like a home arts (?) class. The teacher was a tiny, old woman who was so serious. She never cracked a smile and that’s all I ever did. Me and Linda and another friend had this class right after nutrition and the teacher was always on our backs about ‘not eating in class….. you’ll attract mice and rats.’ I was told this every day and at the end of the school year, I bequeathed in the senior paper that all the rats, mice, etc…. find this teacher! Classy. And spending grad night camping on the beach at Point Mugu is a distant memory. We cruised Van Nuys Blvd. also, and her boyfriend let her use his car for our escapades. With a PA system and CB, we were on a roll! Linda also worked at Kmart in the millinery department (hats/wigs) and when I’d get bored, I would go in and kill time. I would sit at the little table set up and yak, and if a supervisor was nearby, I’d sit down and act like a customer and she’d slap a wig on my head….. like her superiors bought that ! An other brilliant move!

One morning Linda and I went to the Northridge Mall and went to Spencer’s gift shop. We bought these bald skull caps and boldy put them on in the parking lot, drove all the way home to Santa Clarita as bald gals and then drove to her boyfriend’s house. Just being carefree teenage girls. I’m sure Bob was impressed.

When the time came for me to marry, Sheree and Linda were there. Maid of Honor and Guest Book Attendant.

Sometimes I wish that all things in life can be centered around silly, half-baked moments where you can do what you want and act like a compete doofus, without a care in the world. I know that’s how I spent the early to mid 1970′s. I am so thankful that I still have these 2 friends in my life, this many years later!

2 thoughts on “‘The Box….And Friends’

  1. OMG… I’m laughing my ass off. I do remember those crazy times, we sure did have some fun!!! How did we become grandparents so quickly??? 🙂

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