musings

**Why do people say the grass is always greener on the other side??**

Just means someone is using a lot more manure  (the word I originally had here was bulls**t) than you, that’s all

OK, got that off my chest. I honestly was sitting here thinking about that.

Wonder what happened to the crazy lady who walked all over Westchester? You all remember her. Really skinny, funky makeup. Never really spoke. Everyone called her a witch. Anyone know who she really was? What was her story?

I used to love sitting on our back porch in Westchester and watching the planes come in. I loved it. I remember the first 747  I ever saw.  Thing was massive.  Remember when you could go down to the airport, park and actually watch the planes come in from overhead???  Or sitting on the beach and watching them take off? After they tore out all the homes for the airport, all that land where you could park (wink wink!) and watch the planes. I still love watching planes. However, in this little piece of New England the nearest airport (and I mean a  real airport!), is 80 miles away. Yeah, we have a little municipal airport, but they don’t count.  A Cessna just isn’t the same as a 747!

Speaking of New England, I need to run something by my fellow Californians. The name Whatley. How would YOU pronounce it???? Looks like it should be pronounced what-lee, right ???  No, no, no! Out here it’s pronounced wait-lee.  Leominster. Looks like it should be leo-minster, right?  Wrong!  It’s pronounced lee-minster. Worster. Looks like it should be wor-ster.  Again, you’re thinking like a Californian. It’s pronounced woo-ster. Where the hell do you get a “woo” out of that????  I’m sorry, but as a proud and native Californian, we pronounce our a’s and r’s.  Out here, they stick them in words where they shouldn’t be.  Someone explain to me what the hell is an “ideer”????  See, they took the “r” that should be pronounced in Worster, and stuck it on the end of “idea”.  

Anyone other than me remember sitting at Thrifty and having a chocolate soda at the counter? I remember going there every Saturday with my grandfather. You know, I’ve never had a chocolate soda since he died? I don’t think it would taste the same.  How about buying fish and birds at JJ Newbury, across  the street from the Broadway? How about eating at the restaurant at the top of the Broadway? What a view from there. OK….here’s one for all of you. Remember the car hops at Tiny Naylors?? They’d put the tray on the car?? Yeah, I’m going way, way back for that one.  It was where the medical building is at Manchester & Sepulveda. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Jet Pet Stables. Don’t remember exactly where they were, but I want to say Playa del Rey. Westchester was kind of “country-ish” back then. 

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30 thoughts on “musings

  1. My husband, fellow WHS ’75 classmate, Paul Wilson, just recently remarked about the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side”… “I know the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but I want at least a chance to look!”

    It seems human nature to want what we don’t have, and not want what we do. Society has saturated us with messages that tell us we’re just not good enough the way we are…be HEALTHIER, MORE FIT, WEALTHIER, MORE FRUGAL, MORE ORGANIZED, LESS STRESSED, blah blah blah blah. These messages scream at us from every angle and at the end of the day, leave alot of people thinking they just didn’t measure up.

    Gratitude for what we have takes less energy then the frustration generated at what we don’t have. All of us that grew up together have lived more then half our life at this point. Some of us will be lucky to log in another 30 years on this earth.

    For what remains, and how quickly life continues to move at lightning speed, I want to keep my world as real as I can and savor the good coffee, buttercream frosting and Malbec wine that I use to celebrate this life and the people, places and “stuff” that defines me.

  2. When the kids and I fled Santa Monica in 2002, we left EVERYTHING behind. All photos, clothes and STUFF. We got out here in New England with basically the clothes on our back, and a 20 pound diabetic cat. I weighed 96 pounds because of an eating disorder and my kids were scared to death. Out of that experience, I learned what was important. It’s not stuff. Stuff is replaceable. 99% of what I had is still out there in my ex-mother in laws place. Guess what? After our first 6 months here, I realized I didn’t need any of that stuff. Yeah, there are things I wanted, but not needed. Big difference. What was important was getting my kids mentally healthy again. That’ still an ongoing process. I got myself healthy, physically and mentally. Stuff isn’t important, despite what the magazines say. You don’t need the latest fashions, the newest furniture. If your friends define you by that, you really need new friends! I want to be defined by who I am now. I’m strong, I’m a survivor, and I’ve earned every gray hair and wrinkle I have. My stretch marks are a mark of pride to me. Enjoy today, love your children, friends and family. Don’t define yourself or others by their cars or possessions. Be defined by the love you give to others.

    • I can completely relate to your story, I have lost possessions,. over and over through the years, sometimes I felt it was better to save my sanity,and leave the possessions behind. Here is the funny thing about my life, I have always made a hobby and eventually a career of going to swap meets and estate,and garage sales. I love the hunt,and am blessed with finding replacement possesions. Sometimes they just pop up at the weirdest places, I was at the rodium swapmeet a few years ago, and I looked down on a blanket of old clothing and what have you, and there before me lied a 1970 Airport junior high yearbook. I picked it up and found that it belonged to Pauline Takamina. To make it even weirder, on that first page was a little circle in girlie handwriting “roses are red violets are blue,sugar is sweet and so are you” with my name signed in the middle, it felt like a twilight episode, and as if that werent enough, I was sharing my excitement with another buyer, and the vendor yells Senora!! Quierres mas? Tengo dose mas! The mexican vendor asks me if I want anymore, he holds up 2 more from Orville Wright 1971 and Westchester 1975 yearbook. The tears that welled up in my eyes were bittersweet… I was so happy to have replaced yearbooks I lost years before in Colorado,but I couldnt help but wonder what had happened to sweet Pauline Takamina. I know that most of the things at the swapmeet are bought at auctions from storage etc. Does anybody know what happened to her. I would love to be able to return these to her. Maybe this will come full circle.

      • Would you like me to see if she is on classmates for you? Are you still registerd with them? I know that I am cancelling them after finding FB. That will be in November or December of this year.

  3. Vicki, you are a very courageous, strong woman! Life will be sweeter this second half….and by the way, how’s that cat?

    Seriously – you’ve “got it” my friend!

  4. Unfortunately, Keith (the cat) passed away last fall. He was 16, and had actually lived 6 years longer than he was supposed too. He was the feline love of my life. However, during the big, history making ice storm we had in December, we heard a meowing outside our house. My husband went outside and yelled at me that there was a gray and white tabby and he’d run towards the back of the house. I ran out there and sure enough, there was a beautiful little tabby. I got him to come to me and I grabbed him and brought him into the house. He weighed maybe 5 pounds and he was all bone. You could see and count his ribs and he was shivering. He probably wouldn’t have survived 2 more hours outside, that’s how bad he was. I gave him some food, which he vacuumed up like a little, furry Hoover. Well, we’ve kept him and his name is Stormy. He does things that only Keith used to do. I firmly believe that Keith didn’t want me to grieve anymore and sent this little guy to us. And thank you for the very kind words, Lisa.

  5. Hey, I remember the lady whom we all thought was a witch. She would come to a corner, and before crossing the street, would raise her hand high over her head. She talked aloud to her self, too.

    I taught Janice, Joanne, David and John to drive our VW mini bus, out there in no-man’s land, where the houses were all removed. Good place to practice, as they learned to stop at a stop sign, going up-hill, and start going again. Tricky.

    Orville Wright was the high school at first. Remember? Joanne, David and John all graduated from 9th grade Junior High School, there first.

    We would take a full load of kids in our VW bus to the airport, park the car all day for 50 cents, and the kids would play “cops and robbers” in the waiting rooms. The guys would wear trench coats, and dark glasses, and hats with brims turned down. They would hide behind counters, plants, doors, anywhere, and even the airport personnel would help the kids by pointing in the direction of the one in hiding. Where else could you take a load of teens to play and have it cost you only 50 cents? Scott Huddleson, Wally Stine, Darrell Gaul, Larry Holmes, and Ann Churchill, Dee Davison, Janice, Joanne, David and maybe little brother, John .

    Do you remember the big Jack Rabbits, on the runway? They were a hazzard, like birds are today.

    And how about the foggy night that the SAS plane landed on the water, just off Playa del Rey? People in their cars lined the streets on the bluff above the water, with their head lights on, facing toward the sea. People were rescued off the wings, just like the rescue recently in the news.

    And one more, the time we watched every sort of boat racing up the Ballona Creek toward Baldwin Hills, where the earthen dam had given way, and several houses and people were washed down the hill by the tremendous flood of water. All engraved on my mind.

    • TO VICKI AND DORIS, I’m on the reunion committee for the WHS Class of ’70’s Fortieth reunion coming up in 2010. We are trying to reach as many classmates as possible, and we could use your help. Names (with maiden names), addresses, email addresses. Any leads we can get. Also, I just love your memories. (Don’t forget ice cream cones for a nickel at Savons!) Please contact me kmail@san.rr.com

  6. Oh, how I remember the Baldwin Hills dam collapsing. My great-grandmother made me come home and take a bath (?) in case we had to evacuate! We didn’t know which part of the dam had given way, but mama wanted to make sure we were ready. I remember the SAS plane too. I remember waking up more than a few times at night and knowing something was wrong. Then it would hit me…no plane noise! I’d look out the window and it would be unbelievably foggy. I remember standing out in my back yard and actually seeing a parachutist in the air. Don’t know where he was going, but I think he was in the wrong place.

  7. I’m on the WHS Class of ’70 reunion committee, and we’re trying to reach as many classmates as possible in anticipation of our 40th (yikes!) reunion in 2010. Anyone who might be able to help us should please get in touch. Either reply to this message or try to email me directly, if my address shows kmail at san.rr.com THANK YOU!

  8. I grew up in Westchester. I was born in Culver City and I lived on Kittyhawk Ave. (near La Tijera & Wiley Post) for over 30 years. My folks owned a duplex and I always loved walking around the cul de sac and visiting with the kids and neighbors. The block was similar to a mini-Mayberry!

    When I look at photos from the late 1950s, I’m amazed at how clean our street was kept. Hardly any cars were parked on the street–poeple actually garaged their vehicles. Your family was lucky if there were two cars!

    I remember getting chocolate coke floats at Thrifty’s with my mom. I used to like having a burger and fries with a chocolate shake (how nutritious!) at Woolworth’s. When I got older, I was allowed to walk there with my friend, Linda Maurizio. Buying lunch made us feel so grown up!

    Are the early years really the “good old days,” or do we just tend to filter out the bad experiences as we age?

    Here’s to Weschester!

  9. Does anybody remember the Paradise theater,and the Paradise bowling alley,how about Westchester Music, Grammy and Grammy records, Loyola Theater and the free tickets we would get from Marina Federal Savings on Wednesdays, how about Lums, and the Korner Deli on 89th @ Sepulveda across from the old Mayfair market. Hartfields, Leeds shoe store Thom McCans shoe store, Woolworths, the soda fountain, even when they closed the Woolworths down, it still smelled the same inside when they opened the antique mall. Savon Drug store on the corner. Remember blue chip stamps they gave there..How about Temple of Good Things!! I had the privalage of working for 13 years at the Korner Deli, They lost their lease to Bed Bath and Beyond. On the last days we had 3 news crews and made the front page of the local newspaper with the story of this 37 year family owned business that was forced out by another big box store. We were the last of the mohicans..the last mom and pop restaurant on the block.In retrospect we were very lucky to have such a cool neighborhood growing up.

    • I would totally agree on the fact that we had such a great neighborhood to grow up in. Temple of Good Things was one of my favorites. Pier 1 Imports was great. I spent a lot of time there. Marie Callender’s opened just down from Savons. I remember The Broadway closing down. Airport Junior High closing down because of LAX and being on TV on the last day of school there. I have not been back to Westchester for 20 + years now but if we have a 35 reunion I will be there for sure. I have only been to one and that was the 10 year. I went with Tracy Trotter in a Limo that her boyfriend at the time paid for.

  10. The best info I have re: the crazy lady was that her name was Evelin and that her husband had been killed working for the railroad and after she finally got her case settled she stoped dressing and acting quite as crazy. but she sure was entertaining for a lot of kids in Westchester for a long time till then.

    • Are you talking about the lady that walked around town dressed in all black I believe. I think we called her the cat lady but I could be wrong.

  11. I remember going to Westchester Music for records and 45’s and having lunch at Lum’s restaurant they had very good onion rings.I also remember going to The Loyola theatre and see ing Ryan’s Daughter with a couple friends they had one sex scene and my friend Kristy Kotoff got so embarassed she slip down in her seat. I will never forget Westchester

  12. It was House of Pies that was down the street from Savon. How about Friars Fish & Chips next to the Paradise theater, Don’s deli, Brians BBQ (with sawdust on the floor) and Biffs coffee shop. Why do I remember all the food places. Carls toy store & stationary store which wasneat Temple of Good things. We’d go to Savon for candy before the movies and got 2 pieces for .35.

  13. House of Pies was right down from Sav-on’s. Karls toy store was in the triangle up from the Temple of Good Things. I was just there 3 weeks ago and so much has changed.

  14. Wow. Yes, lots of great memories. My favorite was going to the Loyola theatre double features after loading up on cheap candy at Sav-On. We had a Newberry’s where I bought my first pair of nylon bikini panties in 1966…and where my Christmas shopping could be stretched from my babysitting earnings (50 cents an hour).

    I also loved Toy Palace on Lincoln next to that awesome bakery shop … that little old lady that ran the place was amazing … she felt like everyone’s grandma.

    I love swimming at Westchester pool in the summer … and lying on our towels shivering and eating abba zabbas.

    Best of all were the memories of going to Pacific Ocean Park with my friends in the summer as many times as we could talk our parents into taking us. I loved the salt water taffy (notice all my memories have candy in them?) and loved getting stuck on the rides that would break down regularly.

    And of course Playa del Rey stables … my childhood haunt.

    Great blog … thanks for opening the door to these good memories.

  15. The crazy lady’s name was Bert…I think it was short for Beatrice. She would always talk to herself and we would try talking to her…but she would yell and we’d run! She used to have coffee and pie in the House of Pies; we’d see her in there when we had lunch there with my mom. Funny reading all this because we were just talking about her the other day! She’d have to be super old or dead by now…she was older when I was growing up there in the 70’s.

  16. Does anyone remember the Italian restaurant “Andres” It was next to weight watchers inside the bottom floor of an office building. Jet Pets is still located at the same place in Playa Del Rey. However, it’s much smaller now. I remember that crazy lady as well and we called her ” the spider lady.” Went to Cowan Avenue in the late 60’s Does anyone remember Mr. Beckham. He was crazy, and would hit kids in class, he would also take students on camping trips during summer vacations. How crazy was that to think back at when parents would let this happen. Westchester is still a sleepy little town with not much changes.

  17. Cool site. Yea I remember the cat lady walking down Naylor Ave near Hillmart where I lived. Here are some other memories: Playing in the beanfield along Sepulveda Blvd. Going to Paradise bowling alley. Mrs Schwartz and Mrs Bloomgarden kindergarden teachers (1964) at Westport Heights. Hanging out in from of Stewart’s Liquor after school. Having to evacuate Loyola theater during one of the free movies because some kids lit smoke bombs (I think it was the other side of the Mountain). Waking up in the early morning in 1971 during the earthquake. Those nice owners at Terada nursery who let us ride our bikes through there and explore all the time. Seeing a transvestite for the first time at the Thrifty diner. Summers at toes beach by the duckpond.

  18. Such a long time ago, yet the memories are brilliantly clear, The Paradise and Loyola Theaters – free tickets for summer matinee (10 color cartoons plus Ben Hur). How about Curries Ice Cream – that may have been gone by early 1960’s. Of course, french fries and grilled tuna sandwiches from the lunch counters at Woolworths, and Thriftys, ice cream cones from Sav-ons -5 cents a scoop. I remember playing kick-the-can with kids on the block on summer evenings. As someone mentioned, no cars parked on the streets, and we could play in and run about the side streets most any time. Anyone know about “the bunny trail”? We rode our bikes along a very bumpy, somewhat hilly, well worn path alongside Manchester, west of Sepulveda – we called it the bunny trail.

    It pleases me to hear others have fond memories of The Temple Of Good Things. I worked the store often in the early 1970s and made candles with Lois N. and John C. Louis was a magical character!

    I lost touch of all in Westchester when I moved away in 1973. But one can never forgets the friends, the places, the smells and sounds of our youth.

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