Thursday, March 9, 2006

moving to LA

In 1963 we were living in North Carolina, when my Dad came home from a 13 month assignment in Korea and announced we were moving to LA (lower Alabama, that is - flat land, cotton fields, peanut farms).

We moved into Army housing, and as it turned out, this was my most favorite place to live. It had all the things a kid wants - warm weather, paved streets and sidewalks for riding bikes, lots of neighborhood kids to play with, and the beach just over an hour away.

I got a new bike for my 9th birthday, it was beautiful, big and blue. I rode it every chance I got, I rode with no hands, I put playing cards on the spokes for that 'clickety-clack' noise. The houses on the street behind our house were on a little hill (if there are any hills in LA), so we would ride around the block and cut through between the houses on that next street and race down the hill into our back yard, out through the carport to the front and back around again.

Sometimes on Saturday we would load up the station wagon and head to the beach at Panama City, Florida. You could just stop anywhere off the road and walk over to the beach, with nothing in sight either way but sand. Good luck doing that now, you cannot even see the beach for the condos and hotels. We would play all day and sleep all the way home in the back of the station wagon, sunburned, covered in sand, and when we got home you could just follow the trail of sand into the house all the way to the shower.

I was in the 4th grade at the elementary school on the base, which was located in one of the housing areas. We would walk (single file in a line of course) down the sidewalk to the nearby playground for recess. Once a week we would walk to the swimming pool and swim during recess. It was on the way back to the school from one of these walks that a lady ran out of her house and told the teacher about the assassination of President Kennedy. When we got back to the classroom, all the teachers were in the halls talking about it, and in our class I remember some of the boys saying that since we now have no president, the Russians would be taking over the world. Boys!

I will never forget that year at Christmas my brother and I were 9 and 14, and no longer believed in Santa Claus, but on Christmas Eve my mother was feelin' good and insisted on us going to our rooms so she could play Santa Claus. We rolled our eyes and went back to wait, but my brother had a great idea. We climbed out his window and walked around to the sliding glass door to the living room and watched her carefully setting everything up. When it looked like she was almost finished, we hurriedly climbed back in the window, waited for the call, and came out looking very surprised!

The house we were in had all the modern conveniences - dishwasher, disposal, washer/dryer (this was the 60s - your tax dollars at work, I guess). My brother and I no longer had to take turns washing and drying the dishes, but just load up the dishwasher! We were enjoying all the advantages of living there until my dad decided to retire from the Army. This resulted in our move to the mountains, and what a change that was. No paved roads, no sidewalks to ride bikes, no neighbors to play with, cold weather, no dishwasher, no washer/dryer, no bathroom - What? no bathroom? Whoa! Yes it was back to nature and big-time culture shock, but that is another story.


Motherkitty said...

Great story about the '60s. I, too, can remember where I was and what I was doing when President Kennedy got shot. I was 21, though, and fully understood the implications. My parents and I watched television for a week straight and witnessed one more assassination that week live as it happened of shooter Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby at the Dallas Police Station. We were never the same after that. That was gritty, black-and-white history in the making. All Americans lost their innocence that week in history.

Thanks for sharing.

doubleknot said...

I too lived on a Navy Base in the 60's but it doesn't sound near as nice as your Army Base. We didn't have a dish washer so being the oldest I was asigned that job.
I do remember going to the movies for a dime and bowling for a quarter. My memory is not as good as yours - or perhaps I just don't want to think of how many years have passed - but I do know I was in school when President Kennedy was shot and they brought in a TV so we could watch the news. We all thought the Cubans were going to invade us with the president dead. It was when history changed.

Finn said...

Another really great "tell", Susan. I can see almost all of it in my mind as I read. You have some really great memories. Thank you for sharing them....Hugs, Finn

jellyhead said...

Wow, Susan, please continue! I was enjoying the read, then suddenly the story stopped in a suspenseful place. More, more!

I love to hear your stories about your life, and the history of where you live - you have a real way with words.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

That was a great story but then all of a sudden it ended. I was really getting into it and wish you would continue the story. It was very interesting... and you know how to peak someones really have a way with words.

I think I could have just said...You're a great storyteller, Susan.

Seeing Anew said...

Your childhood sounds like it was a great lesson in being adaptable -- moving often and making new friends easily. But having to move to a house without indoor plumbing would have been a true test of adaptability -- especially if you were a teenager by that time. I doubt if you spent hours in that "bathroom" blowdrying and curling your hair back then!

John Cowart said...

This post is charming reading. You have a good memory and good memories. Thanks.

Alice said...

Susan - having been carried back in time to your wonderful childhood in LA, I'm now longing to hear how you adapted to the sudden change in lifestyle and surroundings. Your house was very well supplied with mod-cons for the '60s. Such a shame about the loss of access to those wonderful beaches - it's the same the world over.

Thank you for another great Chapter of Childhood.

When I heard about President Kennedy's assassination it was about 6.00am and I was down the paddock (field) rounding up the cows for the morning milking. It may have been on the news during the night but that was the first news bulletin I heard that day.

LZ Blogger said...

LA = Lower Alabama! Now THAT'S FUNNY! I got my first job out of high school and was in the interview for it when the JFK news came. America's innocence was GONE forever! ~ jb///

Bonnie Jacobs said...

On 11/22/63, my sister had her first child about an hour or so before JFK was shot. Her son is five months and a day younger than my son. My next-door neighbor was at my house when the woman cleaning her house came running over to tell us the president had been shot. We were glued to the TV for days after that.