The Land That Made Me Me

This poem was forwarded to me from classmate, Suzye Lawson. She and I thought it would be worth sharing.

1950’s version of an E-Mail

Long ago and far away, in a land that time forgot,
Before the days of Dylan , or the dawn of Camelot.
There lived a race of innocents, and they were you and me,

We longed for love and romance, and waited for our Prince,
Eddie Fisher married Liz, and no one’s seen him since.

For Ike was in the White House in that land where we were born,
Where navels were for oranges, and Peyton Place was porn.

We danced to ‘Little Darlin,’ and sang to ‘Stagger Lee’
And cried for Buddy Holly in the Land That Made Me, Me.

Only girls wore earrings then, and 3 was one too many,
And only boys wore flat-top cuts, except for Jean McKinney.

And only in our wildest dreams did we expect to see
A boy named George with Lipstick, in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We fell for Frankie Avalon, Annette was oh, so nice,
And when they made a movie, they never made it twice..

We didn’t have a Star Trek Five, or Psycho Two and Three,
Or Rocky-Rambo Twenty in the Land That Made Me, Me.

Miss Kitty had a heart of gold, and Chester had a limp,
And Reagan was a Democrat whose co-star was a chimp.

We had a Mr. Wizard, but not a Mr. T,
And Oprah couldn’t talk yet, in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We had our share of heroes, we never thought they’d go,
At least not Bobby Darin, or Marilyn Monroe.
For youth was still eternal, and life was yet to be,
And Elvis was forever in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We’d never seen the rock band that was Grateful to be Dead,
And Airplanes weren’t named Jefferson , and Zeppelins were not Led.

And Beatles lived in gardens then, and Monkees lived in trees,
Madonna was Mary in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We’d never heard of microwaves, or telephones in cars,
And babies might be bottle-fed, but they were not grown in jars.

And pumping iron got wrinkles out, and ‘gay’ meant fancy-free,
And dorms were never co-Ed in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We hadn’t seen enough of jets to talk about the lag,
And microchips were what was left at the bottom of the bag.

And hardware was a box of nails, and bytes came from a flea,
And rocket ships were fiction in the Land That Made Me, Me.

T-Birds came with portholes, and side shows came with freaks,
And bathing suits came big enough to cover both your cheeks.

And Coke came just in bottles, and skirts below the knee,
And Castro came to power near the Land That Made Me, Me.

We had no Crest with Fluoride, we had no Hill Street Blues,
We had no patterned pantyhose or Lipton herbal tea
Or prime-time ads for those dysfunctions in the Land That Made Me,

There were no golden arches, no Perrier to chill,
And fish were not called Wanda, and cats were not called Bill

And middle-aged was 35 and old was forty-three,
And ancient were our parents in the Land That Made Me, Me.

But all things have a season, or so we’ve heard them say,
And now instead of Maybelline we swear by Retin-A.
They send us invitations to join AARP,
We’ve come a long way, baby, from the Land That Made Me, Me.

So now we face a brave new world in slightly larger jeans,
And wonder why they’re using smaller print in magazines.
And we tell our children’s children of the way it used to be,
Long ago and far away in the Land That Made Me, Me.

If you didn’t grow up in the fiftys,
You missed the greatest time in history,
Hope you enjoyed this read as much as I did.
If So, PLEASE FORWARD this note to
someone who will appreciate these memories…

Why American Pie?

From my cousin – I learned something I did not know before. The video at the link is great!


Most of us have memories of this happening but here is a well put together video of the time.




American Pie.

Although Don McClean only released the song in 1971, for those of us who grew up in the 50‚Äôs and 60‚Äôs this is a great piece with¬† some very poignant moments in the history of those times.¬† And for those of you who did not, it‚Äôs a taste of what you missed! ¬†“American Pie”¬† was the name of the plane in which Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper were killed when it¬† crashed in 1958. ¬†I have listened to American Pie for many years and I thought I understood what was being sung but now realize that I didn‚Äôt!

However, when the words are put together with pictures and film clips the song takes on a new meaning.  It took a lot of thought  to produce this and it brings back lots of memories and also makes the lyrics really come alive!  v=VhX3b1h7GQw&feature=youtube


Words and Phrases No Longer With Us

I received this in an email from Suzye Lawson. I found it funny and to some extent somewhat sad.

      Lost Words from our childhood:

Mergatroyd!   Do you remember that word?   Would you believe the spell-checker did not recognize the word Mergatroyd?   Heavens to Mergatroyd!

The other day a not so elderly (I say 75) lady said something to her son about driving a Jalopy; and he looked at her quizzically and said, “What the heck is a Jalopy?”¬†¬† He had never heard of the word jalopy!¬†¬† She knew she was old … But not that old.

Well, I hope you are Hunky Dory after you read this and chuckle.

About a month ago, I illuminated some old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology.¬†¬† These phrases included:¬†¬† Don’t touch that dial, Carbon copy, You sound like a broken record, and Hung out to dry.

Back in the olden days we had a lot of moxie.¬†¬† We’d put on our best bib and tucker, to straighten up and fly right.

Heavens to Betsy!   Gee whillikers!   Jumping Jehoshaphat!   Holy moley!

We were in like Flynn and living the life of Riley; and even a regular guy couldn’t accuse us of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop or a pill.¬† ¬†Not for all the tea in China!

Back in the olden days, life used to be swell, but when’s the last time anything was swell?¬†¬† Swell has gone the way of beehives, pageboys and the D.A.;¬†¬† of spats, knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes, and pedal pushers.

Oh, my aching back!¬†¬† Kilroy was here, but he isn’t anymore.

We wake up from what surely has been just a short nap, and before we can say, ‚ÄúWell, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!‚Ä̬†¬† Or, ‚ÄúThis is a fine kettle of fish!‚Ä̬†¬† We discover that the words we grew up with, the words that seemed omnipresent, as oxygen, have vanished with scarcely a notice from our tongues and our pens and our keyboards.

Poof, go the words of our youth, the words we’ve left behind.¬†¬† ¬†We blink, and they’re gone.¬†¬† Where have all those great phrases gone?

Long gone:¬†¬† Pshaw, The milkman did it.¬†¬† Hey!¬†¬† It’s your nickel.¬†¬† Don’t forget to pull the chain.¬†¬† Knee high to a grasshopper.¬† ¬†Well, Fiddlesticks!¬†¬† Going like sixty.¬† ¬†I’ll see you in the funny papers.¬†¬† Don’t take any wooden nickels.¬† ¬†Wake up and smell the roses.

It turns out there are more of these lost words and expressions than Carter has liver pills.¬†¬† This can be disturbing stuff!¬†¬† (Carter’s Little Liver Pills are gone too!)

We of a certain age have been blessed to live in changeable times.¬†¬† For a child each new word is like a shiny toy, a toy that has no age.¬†¬† We at the other end of the chronological arc have the advantage of remembering there are words that once did not exist and there were words that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more, except in our collective memory.¬†¬†¬† It’s one of the greatest advantages of aging.

Leaves us to wonder where Superman will find a phone booth…

See ya later, alligator!   Okidoki.

You’ll notice they left out “Monkey Business”!!!


….OK if crawling under school desks for nuclear attack drills, the Cold War is peaceful and comfortable…..but the cars and the music were keen!

Until next time…


My Grade School Class Photos

Somehow, I have managed to save all of my class photos we used to get each year beginning in kindergarten through the eighth grade. I went Williams and then Yukon Intermediate. I posted these on Facebook a few weeks ago, and received quite a few comments and valuable information regarding classmates I have long since forgotten.

I know most of you were not in my classes or did not even go to the same schools, but some of you were, at least in some. Even if we did not go to the same grade schools, I thought you may find it interesting to see what some of our LHS Class 1963 classmates looked like as little kids.

I chose to post them here as well, since most of you do not appear to be on¬†Facebook. If I have mangled the spelling of anyone’s name or misidentified someone, please email me¬†the corrections. If you see someone you know, and I did not identify them, please let me know that as well. For those who have seen them on Facebook, I have included¬†corrections and new information regarding the names.

For those of you who have class photos from your grade school, and would like to share them here, you can email them to me at

Here is the link to the Flickr Album.

Click Here

Until next time…


Gyasi Zardes – Giving Back to Hawthorne

I have to admit that I did not know who Gyasi Zardes was until I read an article about him in this morning’s LA Times.

Gyasi Zardes

Since one of my granddaughter, Lucy,¬†plays soccer, I do follow her exploits, and to¬†a lesser¬†extent women’s soccer. But I do not know much about the sport beyond that. I do not follow the local Galaxy MLS team. Additionally, I have never even heard of futsal.

This article introduced me to Gyasi Zardes and the great work he is doing for Hawthorne and kids growing up there. Gyasi went to Leuzinger, staring in both soccer and football.

Reading this article brought back many fond memories of Hawthorne and the surrounding area. I was a coach at Memorial Park for the Hawthorne Parks and Recreation Department during college. I also grow up in Moneta Gardens Рan unincorporated part of Hawthorne. Things were different then.

As it turns out, about a week ago I dropped by a life celebration for John Baker, the father of This website is a must place to visit for anyone wanting to relive growing up in the South Bay.


The gathering was held at the Fosters Freeze (yes its still there) near 119th and Hawthorne Blvd. This was the local hangout for Hawthorne High students, where we from Leuzinger tended to gather at A&W – at least I did.


Almost right across Hawthorne is Chips restaurant – one of my favorite places to end a date. Much has changed along the boulevard since the 60s, but these two landmarks have endured.

Another Trip Down Memory Lane in So Cal

I never really tire of looking at old photos and videos of what Southern Clifornia and the South Bay looked like fifty-plus years ago. This was not the last time we saw rain, but sometimes it seems like it.


This link to a slew of old photos was emailed me by classmate, Janet Sapp, or CrusinJan as her email handle reads. I thought you might enjoy them as well as I did. Most of the pictures not from the South Bay, but they certainly bring back many memories for me.

Thanks, Janet!

Lot of still photos, but worth it, some real gems here all the way to the end.


If you have some favorite links to old photos and videos you would like to share, include the link in a comment or email it to me.

Until next time…



Growing Up in the Fifties

I saw this originally posted on the Leuzinger 1964 group page on Facebook. But in case you are not on Facebook, or missed it there, here is the link to the YouTube video.  The video is just words and is of poor quality, but I really enjoy watching these types of videos, just the same.

I remember almost everything in this video. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Happy New Year!


50/60s Theme for Our 50th Reunion?

I received an email suggesting that we adopt a 50/60s theme for our upcoming 50th Reunion, including dressing in the style of clothes we wore during high school. We could come dressed as surfers, hodads etc. Ths person had recently attended a  50/60s party and everyone really liked the idea and had a lot of fun with it.

We are already planning for the music of the evening to be Oldies But Goodies, so a having a 50/60s Theme would fit right in. However, if we were to adopt the theme, dressing the part would be totally optional. The reunion committee thought that this should be decided by the class as a whole.

I have included the poll below. Please take a moment to voice your opinion, even if you are unsure right now whether or not you will be able to attend the reunion.  The poll will be active through Sunday, January 20th. The poll also allows you to add any comments you may have.

Let us know what you think!

Memories of Southern California

These photos were forwarded to me by our classmate Janet McClelland Sapp. I don’t know how many PeeChee folders I bought from our Student Store, but it was a lot.

To fit into this format some of the photos have been cropped on their right side. To see the non-cropped photos CLICK HERE. 

For those of you who may have grown up around here (or not; weird and cool at the same time)…




Behold! We’re At the Drive-In 1958

Thrifty Drug Store – Southern California 1940’s

Orange County, California – 1969

Los Angeles, 1940’s – Christmas on Broadway

Hollywood and Vine early 1950s

Figueroa Tunnels, Los Angeles 1940s – Later became the Pasadena Freeway, the 1st Freeway in the U.S.

Helms Bakery Truck

Snow in downtown Los Angeles, 1949

Clifton’s Cafeteria – Interior, West Covina, California, 1968

Market Basket – Studio City, California 1960’s

Shoppers at Eastland Shopping Center, West Covina, Ca -March 1958

Pacific Sands Development, Huntington Beach, California – 1950’s

cCucamonga, California – 1950’s


Rainy Day in L.A. – 1950s

L.A. 1950’s

c1960. Case Study House 22. Stahl residence at 1635 Wood Drive, Los Angeles. Architect Pierre Koenig. Color transparency by Julius Shulman

When Life was Pee Chee in School

L.A. City Hall Under Construction, 1928

L.A. COUNTY FAIR – Fun Zone 1962


Manhattan Beach, California 1957

Hollywood Freeway, 1940s-50s

Venice Beach, 1930


L.A. Hollywood 1962 Capitol Records Building

L.A. – Looking north on Main



L.A. – 2nd and Hill St. 1950s


Los Angeles 1898 – Third and Hill


Metro and the Mart, 1962

L.A. 1956

Going to Disneyland!

L.A. – Sunset Cafe 1930’s

L.A. – Bunker Hill / Angels Flight area 1940s

Virginia Dare Winery, Cucamonga, California 1910


Los Angeles 1960s Ralphs

1935 L.A. Area Map (Texaco Gas)

Googies Restaurant and San Carlos Hotel – downtown L.A.


Wilshire Blvd – Miracle Mile 1950s, Los Angeles, California


MODERN SHOPPING CENTER, 1961 – Ventura, California

L.A. – S. Broadway, 1957


El Monte Hospital, 1930’s

Early mid century TV moment

L.A. – Wilshire 1954

Los Angeles 1950s 101

Los Angeles 1950s Hollywood Bowl Traffic

RCA Indian Head test pattern

cLakewood Center 1950s

Tumbleweed Theater, El Monte, California – 1939

Thrifty Drug Store – Southern California, 1960’s

Los Angeles Streetcar 1949

Food Giant Grand Opening, 1951

Cucamonga, California 1955

L.A. River drag racing 1950s