I used to hang out at this guy's house when his son would bring the latest issue of FAMOUS MONSTERS magazine to Marquez Elementary. It was the age of BRYLCREEM, the Pronto Market, Alan Shepard's sub-orbital flight, Clear Creek Camp, SHOCK THEATER, Bob Brown, Georgie Trafton, Randy Reynolds, Wes Pardee and the Pardee Construction Company Panthers (more obout Maury Wills, Frank Howard, Home-runs, Dodger Stadium, and the player profiles offered by UNION 76 every week later). Half and full cherries, and Miss Kambietz plus Miss Haglund; two of the foxiest teachers to ever torment 4th Graders. It was the age of sneaking into crawl spaces under duplexes on Sunset Boulevard, and First Sex. No, it wasn't with Pam Asmund or Doree Dunlap or even both at the same time, though I couldn't stop thinking about one of them. It was the year of the day of the "YOUR FIRST PERIOD" assembly; a mystical event that quickly became an urban legend, when all the 4th Grade males were left with was an imagined image of Pam Asmund or Doree Dunlap (more about Doree later) sticking a brush of some kind up their vaginas to clean out the Red Tide.


When Brad Pitt described the words that came out of Helena Bonham Carter's mouth: "I haven't been fucked like that since Elementary School!" I heard: "I haven't been fucked like that since 4th Grade!"

The school janitor (no Freddie he) had a poster on his inside closet door - that always seemed to be left open - featuring a voluptuous blonde and the caption: "A well stacked work space is a true pleasure" that was the promise of things to come; like B-7, Paul Revere Jr High, clarinet lessons with Joseph Barnaba, and Linda Stabler; not to mention Sarah Partridge and Walt Whitman Intermediate, where I was thrown into a foot of snow, the BARGAIN CITY barber chair, and McDonalds - which bragged about selling over 1,000 - not to mention judi O'brien (more about her later) and Glendora when I returned to California and began to thaw out.

I used to ride my stripped down HUFFY CUSTOMLINER (may have even kept it at Tuttle's house) all over the Palisades in 9 year old defiance of my parents who were scared to death that I'd get hit or worse by a 57 T-BIRD or Lincoln Continental. I once counted 18 of the former and 9 of the latter in a single day.

Things didn't improve when I nailed the two halves of a metal roller skate to a 2X4, and went sidewalk surfing long before Jan & Dean sang their song of the same name. Didn't help when I returned sometimes twice a day from buffeting wildly down the steepest hill I could find within range of Almar Avenue; bleeding copiously from both knees, while my Mom cleaned the asphalt from my road rash.

Things really went downhill when I discovered a new gate in the new fence that surrounded the canyon where Eddie Fisher made love to Debbie Reynolds (can you say Carrie Fisher?). A gate that opened onto El Medio. A gateway to what would become Pali High, but on that glorious day was only the double - freshly paved - switchback driveway that was the biggest, longest and steepest hill I had ever seen, I was back in 5 minutes (I can be out of here in 15) with my new ride; metal wheels and all but with no cracks in a sidewalk that tried to kill me while teaching me elementary physics. In a scene better than any in "POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE" ( more about Meryl Streep later), I was the happiest good kid on the planet.

The rest is history (more about Michael Jackson later).