”A few days later Carroll and I went down to what was once the place I lived. I went inside and grabbed my clothes, a few photos, my two guitars, my other surfboard and I said goodby to La Conchita and the single life.
It wasn’t to long that Carroll and I settled into the lifestyle of a young couple working and pooling our resouces together to sustain a comfortable lifestyle. I was able to buy a car from my friend Steve Padroni who lived at Rincon Point. It was a blue 1968 Rambler American station wagon with a six cylinder engine and an automatic transmission. It also came with a big bright orange bumper sticker that said “NATIVE CALIFORNIANS UNITE” I loved this car it was the perfect surfing vehicle. I continued working at the Plastic Factory. I was working three 12 hour days with four days off. I was also busy one night a week mopping and polishing the floors at Casa Ayala. This allowed me to eat there whenever for free.
Carroll and I had been living in her apartment for about two months under the guise that I was looking for my own place. Which I kinda was. I had checked with a few people in town that were renting rooms or small studios. But whenever I brought these up to Carroll she would get all teary eyed and sad and ask me why I wanted to leave. “Well basically your parents don’t like our arrangement” I told her. “I know” she said “They don’t like the idea of us ”Living in Sin” “OK then I’m looking for my own place so we arn’t living in sin and then your parents won’t be on our case” “Do you really want your own place?” she asked me “Well to be perfectly honest I could live with you forever if your parents didn’t mind.” Really? forever?” “Yeah probably” I said. ”Then lets get married” Gulp! “It would be just like we are now but legal and then my parents would be happy.” “Maybe we could look for our own little place and get out of my apartment.” The wheels in my brain began to turn all the positives and negatives, you know weighing things out. “Humm maybe we could find a little house on or near the water. Do I really think I can make a long term commit… fuck long term, you mean a fuckin lifetime commitment to one women. That was the hard one. ” I don’t know Carroll that’s a really big step I gotta think about it.“ “Whats there to think about don’t you love me?” Whoa! now we’re throwing that word out on the table. It had suddenly occurred to me that I had never said “I love you” to her. She had me pinned down with her marriage proposal and the “don’t you love me” thing, a one two punch to the soul. “Of course I do baby” I blurted out. “But let me think about this and I’ll get back to you OK?” “OK” she harrumphed. We didn’t talk much that evening, I was doing some serious soul searching. But I still thought she was hot!
A week later we were engaged to be married and the planning began in earnest. Carrolls parents were elated to marry their first daughter and they were going to spare no expense. Then about two weeks before our wedding day we found our dream house. We had heard from a friend that a small cottage located on Bates Road was available for rent. Bates Road is a small two lane coastal canyon road that follows Rincon Creek back up into the avocado and citrus infested coastal mountains. It’s the divide between Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. The small wooden bungalow was located right at the mouth of the canyon on the side of a small hill. It was lush with vegetation like a jungle and all you had to do was walk down to the point to ride world class waves. I was sooo stoked to get that place. I knew this marriage thing was a good idea. We were to move in one week before our wedding day.
The days and weeks flew by and before you knew it the big day was upon us. We got married in the historic Santa Barbara Mission and held the reception at Rockie Nook Park just around the corner. It was just another typical lavish wedding. If you’ve been to one you’ve been to them all. The best part was coming home to our little house on Bates Road.
Posts Tagged ‘California’
I was really into Carroll and we started to see each other regularly. I was still sleeping on the couch when I stayed overnight and we were starting to burn more and more passionately every time I was there. But we didn’t fuck. We wanted to but there was something stopping her from going over the edge. Then one evening when we were really goin at it she asked me to go to bed with her. I was a little taken aback because I knew this was a big step for her and it meant alot. I asked her “Are you sure you want to do this?” “Yes” she said. She took my hand and we walked down the hall to her bedroom a room I had only been in once. She turned towards me and we kissed hard, deep and passionately. It was on, and it was good! Hours later as we lay in her bed with a full moon and a slight evening breeze bringing with it the smell of night blooming jasmine through her open sliding glass doors, Carroll began to cry really hard “Whats the matter baby” I said “Oh nothing I’ll be fine” “No your not going to do that. I want to know whats wrong.” Thats when she told me about her rape.
Carroll came from a wealthy Catholic family growing up in Orange County California. Her father had a successful thriving commercial painting business with some huge contracts. Her mother was right out of “Real Orange County House Wives” a real high maintenance glamour queen. They lived in very affluent upper class community. Carroll was an excellent student going to one of the best private schools in the area. She was also involved in community volunteer work with her church. She had one younger sister Judy. Judy was one year younger than Carroll and just as beautiful. These girls got what ever they wanted from mom and dad. Not spoiled but real close.
It happened a little over a year ago when Carroll and her girlfriend Connie decided to go to the north shore of Oahu in Hawaii during the Pro Surfing contest season. They thought it would be really fun to hang out and meet some of the Pro Surfers and locals that winter and watch some of the big wave contests. It was during a post contest party at one of the Pro sponsored dorms that Carroll ran into trouble. During the partying Connie and Carroll had no problem meeting a variety of surfers from all over the world some famous, some not so famous, and some just local neighborhood hangerounds. Carroll met the latter. He offered her a ride back to where she was staying and she took the bait. He drove her out to a secluded sugar cane road had his way with her and left her there bruised and battered. When she told me about this it turned my stomach with anger and thoughts of revenge. I had seen so much violence against my mother growing up and Carroll was such a sweet girl it just really troubled me very deeply.
After she confided in me she said that I was the first guy she really felt comfortable being with since her tragic experience. She felt comfortable being around me, hanging out with me, and now sexually. I began to spend more and more time at her apartment. Then one day when I was at “Smiths Food King” getting some things for supper at Carrolls I ran into my roommate Dave. “Hey dude we havn’t seen you around much at the pad” “Yeah I know” I said. “Well I should let you know that I’m moving out next week and I think Antman is going back to his parents house on the rock” Whoa! your moving out of Shangrala? Yeah I’m going up to San Luis Obispo to work with my dad driving a big rig.” “Cool, you’ll make some good money workin for your Dad.” I said. “Thats the plan bro. What are you gonna do?” “Uhh I don’t know, I’ll figure out something.” “Well if I don’t see ya take care and good luck!” I didn’t like the way he said “good luck” it had a sarcastic ring to it. “Yeah whatever” I said.
I had just started a new job in Carpinteria at Percal Plastics. I was operating an injection mold machine at a place that made everything from skateboard wheels to those dark green soil pots for all the wholesale nurseries in Carpinteria. That night over eggplant parmesan I told Carroll about my roommates departure from La Conchita. “Well now that your working why don’t stay here with me. We’re practically living together as it is” I thought about what she just said. I had never lived with another girl let alone one that I was romantically associating with. “Yeah but what about your parents” I said. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it. But I couldn’t sit there and think for to long. “We’ll worry about that later” she said. I had to respond. “Yeah lets do it!” Uhh Oh…did I say that?
I drove the Pontiac Chief for about 4 months until one night while returning from a Surfing Movie in Santa Monica with my date the Chief blew up. I blew an oil seal while going over the Mulholland pass. I looked out the rear view mirror and saw a huge billowing white smoke screen blinding everyone in my path, I slowly began to lose power at the apex of my climb and pulled off on a nearby off ramp. I left the Chief there on the roadside never to see it again. My date and I hitch hiked the rest of the way to Sunland California.
I quit my job at the machine shop because without a car didn’t feel like taking the bus again. I was back to square one. No car, no job and now no home. Yes the landlord had returned from his European vacation and was looking for his three months of rent. Needless to say I didn’t have it and I was told to leave so I packed up my clothes into a duffel bag, grabbed my surfboard and walked down the driveway with $75 and started walking the hood. I’m sure it looked a little odd seeing this kid walking around with a duffel bag and a surfboard in a town that’s 70 miles from the nearest beach. I was living on Commerce Ave. which is technically in Tujunga California, in fact I think Commerce Ave. is the divide between Sunland and Tujunga and I was living on the Tujunga side. There are alot of duplexes, mother in law, converted garages, and other non-code type dwellings in this older, more run down part of town. I walked only two blocks and on the Sunland side of Commerce I saw what looked like an empty dwelling down a long driveway. At the top of this driveway there was a big white beat up run down house. I said to myself “Hmmm looks like no one is living in that place back there, I think I’ll walk down and take a closer look.” I walked down the drive and looked through the windows and saw it was vacant. I went to the front door and it was unlocked so I went in. The power was on and so was the gas and water. It was a studio apartment 1 living room, 1 bath, a small kitchen and some closet space. But the real “coup de gra” was the Indian rug that was left rolled out in the living room over the hardwood floor.
I don’t know what it is about me but I have a floor fetish and I love beautiful rugs, not carpeting but rugs and rugs and wood are perfect together. I also like my rugs and floors swept, mopped, and vacuumed at all times.
I inquired about the empty studio with the people living in the big old white house at the top of the drive a hippie couple named Ebb and Flo. They told me it was $100 a month including utilities. I told them about my dilemma and they let me “move in” right then with a $75 deposit. At least I had a place to stay on my very first night out on the streets. This place was a step up from my last shack for sure. But now I was broke again. No food, no car, no job, no furniture. I had to find work fast! I needed money for phone calls and bus fare so I went into survival mode. I went to the local grocery store one afternoon and waited for the Coke, Pepsi, or Seven Up trucks to come in and make their delivery’s. When a truck arrived at the store and the driver wheeled in his delivery I would sneak over to the truck and take off a couple racks of empty glass bottles and stash them behind a dumpster. When the driver left I would wait awhile and then redeem the bottles for $1.25 or $1.50 that way I could make phone calls and ride the bus.
I found another job in Van Nuys California as a welder. I was working on an assembly line welding sports car luggage racks for British sports car enthusiast. The pay was OK but the little burns you got every week were a bitch. Working at speed around hot stuff isn’t real safe, however I did get pretty good at braising a nice bead with my acetylene torch. I befriended a guy at work named Art that lived about four blocks from my place. Art would take me to work each day for cash or grass but not ass. I didn’t buy another car but I did get some furnishings for my pad. Stuff from ads in the paper or garage sales. I got a couch that was comfortable enough to sleep on, an easy chair, a coffee table, and a floor lamp. I never saw much of the old gang during this time and if I did I never told them where I was living. I had a couple of one night stands with a couple of former one night stands but my social live was almost non-existent. I lived there for 5 months and paid the rent every month on time. Then one Friday afternoon I came home from work and all of my stuff was out of the house and on the driveway. “What the fuck is this all about!” I went to the front house to find out what was going on but no one was there and it looked like it was almost empty inside, like they were in the process of moving, turns out they were. I never saw Ebb and Flo again. So here I was again with nowhere to live only this time I had “stuff” including that really nice Indian rug. I slept that evening outside on the couch under the stars. It turned out to be a nice night for sleeping outside with a full October harvest moon and mild Santana Winds. I laid down and starred at the moon and thought about life, did a little soul searching, gave myself a good talkin to, then made a plan for tomorrow.
The following Saturday morning I went to a U-Haul rental place and rented a small moving truck for the day. I didn’t know where I was moving too but I needed a truck for my stuff so I went back to my driveway and loaded up the truck and started driving around town looking for places that were for rent or vacant. I didn’t use a newspaper, all of those places were to expensive.
Later that evening I found a little one bedroom house at the top of Hillrose Street in Tujunga with a For Rent sign in the window. I went up to the sign and read the details written in black Marks Alot. “1 bedroom 1bath and kitchen $125 a month including utilities. Owner next door at 1552.” I went and talked to the owners and they let me move in the next day. This was actually another step up from what I was living in before because of the separate bedroom and it was a little bigger, plus it had two big pine trees on the property complete with pine-cones and pine needles, it gave me a feeling of being high in the mountains and I like the mountains almost as much as the beach. I moved my stuff in, did a little decorating ie. hung a couple of framed pictures of waves breaking, and I even bought a cheap single mattress at a garage sale that I threw on the floor in the bedroom.
I was still a loner, still working at the welding place and I just bought another vehicle a 1948 Ford pickup truck primer gray, straight flathead 6. Things were going OK for about a month then some people stepped back into my life and it got real, real bad.
My last year of high school was a total disaster. I just didn’t give a shit about anything. The only class I went to was drafting, I was really good at it and I liked it. The teacher Mr. Gardener who was also a surfer/sailor would let me come into his class and work on my own projects and assist other students with questions and problems. I guess you could say I was a drafting rat.
My social life with the girls was non existent. I slept with a couple of girls from school but it just wasn’t the same thing as being with Debbie. So I just didn’t even try. I immersed myself into drugs. Drugs like pot, bennies, reds. rainbows, LSD, stuff like that. I started hanging around like minded individuals and we would share our drugs with each other like it was a form of honor as to who could provide the best stuff. These people didn’t have a clue about surfing.
My new “friends” and I would go up into Tujunga canyon with guns that they borrowed from their fathers collections. We would get some beer and drop acid and drive the narrow canyon roads and go shoot stuff. Blast a tree in half or kill a jack rabbit or bring an old car battery up to blast apart. “Look! a Blue Jay blast him with the shotgun!” “BOOM” “look here’s his head.”
I wasn’t working or going to school. I had no car. My mother was constantly telling me to “Get the fuck out of her house” So at seventeen I did. A “friend” of mine had told me that there was a place in Tujunga on Commerce Ave. were I could stay. It was a one room cracker box with a toilet and a shower. It was the servant quarters on an old estate a 1/2 acre lot full of weeds, old boats, old cars, cactus and those messy pepper trees. I grabbed my clothes and an old throw rug that my mother had forgotten about and got a ride to my new “place” I thew down the rug, put my clothes in a built in dresser and lay-ed down on the mattress that was already there on the floor. “Ahh…home.” The next day at my new house I was sitting under the pepper tree talking to a neighbor when I suddenly saw my mother and my sister Linda driving up the long narrow driveway that headed up to the compound. “I wonder what they want? Maybe their bringing me some stuff that I might need that would be nice.” I thought to myself. My sister Linda got out of the car and came up to me and said “where is it?” “where is what” I said. “where is that god damn rug you took from US!” “You mean that little 6X4 braided oval that was rolled up in the garage?” I said kinda stunned. “Yeah that one!” yelled Linda. “It’s in my place” I said. “Go get it, it’s not yours.” “Are you fucking kidding me? I take an old rug that hasn’t been used in years to cover the cold concrete floor and you want it back?” I went into my house and rolled up the rug and started walking down to the car to give it to my mother. “Is this what you fucking want you piece of shit fuckin whore?! Well here take it bitch, and get the fuck out of here and don’t you ever, ever come back to this place again because there is nothing left of yours here anymore, not even your son!” Those two bitches got back into the car and left for good.
I walked back into my little place and I was pissed off big time, I started crying. Later on that day a couple of my friends came over because I now had a place where people could go to party. We drank beer and got high. A girl named Susan stayed the night with me. She made me feel better on my mystery mattress.
The best thing about my new living arrangement was the fact that the landlord was on a European vacation that summer and was not to return for 3 months. It was my responsibility to send a check to his house each month until he returned from his holiday. Well I didn’t. I just lived rent free for weeks and months at a time. I would work here and there but not much and as soon as I had any money I spent it on beer and dope. I don’t think I surfed once that summer. My surfing friends had abandoned me. Then one day I went to the mailbox and I found a check inside. It was an income tax return check for James. James was the former tenant that had lived here before me. But James was now in the Army and in Viet Nam. I took the check and put it in my dresser and forgot about it. Then one day another “friend” named George came by my place just to hang out, I asked him if he had a few bucks and he said he was broke. He asked me the same and I said ditto. “But I do have an income tax check for James in my dresser” I said. “Really?” said George “How much?” “I don’t know I never opened it” “Well lets take a look” said George. I went inside and got the letter and went back outside and opened it up. $200 “Wow” I said. “Hey I got an idea” said George. “What” I said, “Do you still have a bank account” George asked me. “Yeah but there’s only $5 in it just to keep it open” I said “Cool here’s what we’ll do. I’ll go in the bank with you and tell the teller that I’m James and that we just got back from the river and I lost my wallet, but you have an account here and you will vouch for me that I’m James then I will sign the back of the check and you endorse it for me.” “It’s worth a try I said.” We drove down to the bank in Georges 65 Buick Riviera and went in. We walked out $200 dollars richer. Lets party! This was going to catch up to me later in life
…and the colors of the sea blind your eyes with trembling mermaids, and you touch the distant beaches with tales of brave Ulysses, how his naked ears were tortured by the sirens sweetly singing. “Cream” “Tales of Brave Ulysses”
Marco’s and I were stoked to finally be at our destination in one piece with no mishaps or weirdos on our hitch hike adventure to Jalama beach. Our ride dropped us off at the far north side of the beach park near the small Jalama Store where they sold basic camping and fishing supplies, as well as grilled burgers and fries. We dropped our gear and filled our canteens with water from the drinking fountain. No bottled water back then. “Which way dude?” I said to Marcos. “North.” said Marcos “Not many people go north of the creek and the trestle, besides the waves at that little rivermouth can get pretty good sometimes.” We picked up our gear walked out on the sand and started our 1 mile hike north to our “own” campground. You see Marcos and I were penny-less so we couldn’t stay in the park campgrounds even if we wanted to. Not having money can really make things exciting and adventurous!
The wind was howling hard as we strained to hold on to our surfboards as we walked headlong into the stinging sand hitting our faces. We needed to find some kind of shelter from this nasty wind. Maybe a little southeast facing nook or better yet a cave. We kept walking looking for a spot, we finally found a small little crack of a canyon and walked up into it to test its “wind sheltering qualities.” It was pretty good but not perfect. Our camp had to be wind proof. How could we smoke that hashish if the wind kept blowing out our “supply” of matches? We had a dilemma. Marcos was a seasoned camper, survivalist and naturalist he was to earn a Masters degree in horticulture at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo later in life. So what does he pull out of his backpack, but a 6′ by 8′ nylon swatch of lightweight military parachute. “I thought we could use this as a makeshift tent.” he said “Awesome!” I said. We started to comb the beach for stones and driftwood to secure and prop our parachute, the wind was still howling.
Our first attempt to put up the “tent” in that wind didn’t succeed. We needed complete blockage, like a fuckin brick wall. “We need to go underground.” Marcos said, “Huh” I responded. “Yeah we need to dig a trench and fortify it with rocks and driftwood and then cover it with the chute.” “Good idea” I said. Marcos was digging the trench while I went looking for better pieces of wood. I ventured up into the little canyon and low and behold I found a pile of old railroad tyes thrown from the tracks up on the hill. “Dude come here look what I found its perfect! we dug our hole about four feet deep and stacked the tyes up along three of the walls, the fourth wall was our entry. We covered the pit with the chute and tested it out. It worked like a charm.The only time a match went out was when we blew it out.
The wind blew hard for three days straight. We didn’t surf. We gathered firewood, continued to strengthen and improve our sand floored dwelling, we explored the coast, and of course got high. Our food consisted of stretchers like rice and beans, pasta, peanut butter and honey, Ritz Crackers, popcorn, canned veggies, granola and dried fruits. No refrigerated stuff and no meat. Just healthy food actually.
The fourth day dawned still and quite like earthquake weather in California. All we could here were the waves breaking on the beach. We walked south of our camp and surfed the rivermouth. The waves were small but fun clean peaks. It felt good to rinse those first three days of sand out of all the nooks and crannies. The ocean was our bath tub. It was a beautiful sunny blue day and all we did was surf and hang at the hut and surf some more. We lived like this for days and weeks until we started, “running out of food.”
After about two weeks into our adventure, we were bronzed, weathered, bleached, lean, fit and hungry as hell. By that time we were starting to live on rationed portions. The reason we didn’t want to leave was the fact that a really good swell was starting to fill in and we wanted the surf more than food. We ate one tablespoon of granola and one tablespoon of honey three times a day with water. We surfed all day. On the third day of this “diet” we were sitting hunched over on a sand dune watching the waves, we saw a girl sitting on a towel in her bikini looking over at us, probably because we were looking over at her. We weren’t looking at her because she was smokin hot, but because she was peeling an orange. That juicy vitamin C filled, mouth watering, scurvy curing orange. Then for some reason she offered us half. Like little sand crabs we scurried over to get our offerings. It was the best three wedges of orange I ever tasted.
That evening Marcos and I were seriously considering going home due to the lack of food. Maybe one more day but that was it. When suddenly we heard voices in the distance. Not many people came up this far from the campgrounds unless they were hiking or fishing, especially this late in the afternoon. We poked our heads out of our hut and in the distance we saw Marco’s Mom and Dad and his little brother coming up the beach! “Wow it’s your parents!” I said to Marcos.The first things we started to think were, there gonna tell us we have to go back with them, there pissed off about something, or there’s a family emergency.” NO to all of the above. They came to see how we were doing and asked us to come down to the campgrounds for supper!” We had the most incredible barbecued burgers and potato salad, corn on the cob with butter and strawberry rhubarb pie with milk. Marks folks left that evening, and they left us with another weeks worth of food. How awesome is that! We walked back to our hut in the dark. I couldn’t help but think about how lucky Marcos was to have a mom and dad like that. I got a little teary eyed to myself in the dark.
A week went by, the swell got insanely good, we surfed hard everyday. Then one day the surf went flat and the food was low again. It was time to head back to “Sunland California.” We were ready. We packed our gear, walked back through the campgrounds and stuck out our thumbs heading south. Despite our shabby weathered appearance we got back into our little town in four rides in one day, phenomenal!
When I finally got home and I walked up my driveway to this drama ridden, God forsaken, heartache excuse of a home, I felt a heavy heart. The whole time that I was up at Jalama I never thought of my mother, of my breakup with Debbie or anything negative. Now I was back in the fucking real world with summer coming to an end and my senior year in high school coming up. My sister told me to call Debbie apparently she was worried about me and wanted to talk. I gave her a call.
After Marcos and I climbed back up onto the 101 highway from our little surf session at Emma Wood beach we felt refreshed and invigorated. “Lets break off a piece of that hash” said Marcos “Sounds good” I replied. We lightly heated a small corner of our “Hashy Hershy Bar” and a nice little chunk softened and fell off into our small little pipe. I took a good hit while Marcos swirled the match above the black chunk keeping it perfectly heated. I did the same for him. We finished it off and stuck out our thumbs on a sunny summer afternoon heading north on “High” way 101. The ocean to our right and the RR tracks and mountains to our left. It was perfect.
We got a ride by some cowboy in his pickup truck. He was going to Lopoc which was just past the road to Jalama Beach we threw our boards and gear into the back of his truck and headed up the coast. “Where you guys goin?” he asked “Jalama” we both said back “Where did you hitch hike from?” “Sunland” “Where?” “Sunland” I said back. “Where the hell is that?” the cowboy asked. “About 120 miles southeast of here” “Oh you mean LA” our driver said. “Yeah LA” I said, I didn’t feel like getting specific with him. “Thats a long way especially with them surfboards” “Yeah but it’s worth it” I said.
We reached the small two lane ranch road off of highway 1 that curves through the rolling hills to the beach at dusk. The cowboy dropped us off with a warning. “If in you guys are gonna stay out here tonight you better find a good spot to hide off on the side of the road.
Alot of weird ass shit has happened out here. There’s alot of crazy motherfuckers out here in these parts.” “Thanks man” Marcos said. And our cowboy drove of into the sunset. “Dude sounded like he was from Texas or somethin” I mumbled.
Since it was getting dark we decided to sleep out in the cattle pasture under an oak tree. We thew down our sleeping bags and pulled out the “Hashy Hershy Bar” for a night cap. It was pitch dark out. We did the usual smoking ritual and lay-ed down to go to sleep. We were both just about into dreamland when we heard a car engine in the distance. It wasn’t on the paved road but on a dirt road within the ranch’s property. “I wonder what there doin out here” I said to Marcos. “I don’t know” he said. We could see the headlights of the vehicle, it was about 200 yards away. Not real close but still kinda strange, especially after what our cowboy friend had told us. We watched and listened, you could hear the doors close and voices mumbling. Then we heard a gunshot! “What the fuck!” “Shit!” We froze stiff and watched. The trucked doors closed and the engine started and they drove off. “What the hell was that all about?” I asked Marcos. “I think we just saw someone get wasted” he said. We didn’t know what to do. There were no cars, no houses, no cell phones back then, nothing. We decided to stay put and be quite. We slept very, very lightly that night. The next morning at dawn I walked about a 2 thirds of the way to where that truck had been the night before to see if there was a body. Nothing. Marcos yelled “Hey we got a ride!” and was waving me back to the roadside. I raced back glad that I didn’t find anything.
The road into Jalama is a winding two lane road through hills, valleys and small canyons dotted with a few ranches. Classic California cattle country. The last hill you climb takes you to the crest with a panoramic view of the blue Pacific Ocean and a long white sand beach down below. This is Jalama Beach. This was going to be home for three weeks
The summer of my break up with Debbie was just one big bummer of a summer. It was all I could do to just surf and get stoned. My buddy Marcos and I got to be pretty tight friends. Marcos was about a year older than me. He spent alot of his childhood growing up near the water in Vero Beach Florida. A shaggy brown haired blue eyed kid Marcos was the best surfer I knew, he even made his own surfboards. I met Marcos hitch hiking to school one morning. He picked me up in his VW squareback with surfboard racks on it, “wow I wonder if this guy surfs?” I thought as I got into the car. As I climbed in the smell and the smoke of some fine herb was wafting through the early morning sunlight shining through the windshield of his wagon. Marcos had just lit up a nicely twisted joint, “Care for some?” he asked. “Thank you very much.” I said as I took a nice deep pull off the spliff. “Whats your name?” I asked as I gave him back the joint. “Marcos” he retorted “Keith” I volunteered. “You going to school?” Marcos asked. “Yeah, you?” “Yeah later today, I go to Pierce College in the valley.” “I noticed the surf racks on your car, do you surf?” “All the time.” Marcos said. “So do I.”
“Really? you wanna go this weekend? Marcos asked. “Yeah!” I’d love to go” We became close friends, and still are to this very day.
Later that summer of the big breakup, Marcos and I were just hanging out at my house doing nothing when I proposed an idea. Marco’s car was in the shop for a major engine rebuild. I didn’t have a car and neither of us were working. But we did have a little bit of cash between us from other clandestine investments. “Lets go on an adventure” I said. “Where?” “Jalama Beach! lets get as much food as we can from or moms and take our boards and hitch hike to Jalama Beach!” “You mean just pack up and hit it?” “We’re not doing anything else” I said. Now Jalama Beach was about 195 miles away. It’s located around the corner from Point Conception about 55 miles north of Santa Barbara. It’s a very magical place and the surf can get unreal. We had taken some surf/camping trips up there before and always scored good waves. “Lets do it!” said Marcos “We’ll leave in two days!” I said.
The next day I called Marco’s and told him I knew where I could get some hashish to take along on our trip. We pooled our money together and I was able to get an once of some black hash marbled with opium. It was about the size of a Hershy Bar and it had a decorative stamp on the top of the “bar” This stuff was exotic. We smoked some the night before leaving and got really stoned. We were very happy with our purchase, even if it did take all the money we had. The next day our back packs were stuffed, our boards were ready, the pipe was filled and we had no money. That morning we stuck our thumbs out on Foothill Blvd.
We made our way out of the valley and into Newbury Park California at around 2:00pm. We got stuck at Ventu Park Road for 18 hours and were finally picked up the following morning and taken all the way to Emma Wood State beach just north of Ventura. We dropped our gear on the sand and even though the surf wasn’t that good we threw our trunks on and surfed for about an hour. The water, the sun, the salt air, “wash my blues away mother ocean.” When we got out we rinsed off under the camp showers, grabbed our gear and walked back to Highway 101, then we started making our way to Santa Barbara. To be continued..
“Debbie and I were together for one and a half years from tenth grade to eleventh grade. In that span of time the band broke up, I didn’t hang with any of my old neighborhood friends, I dropped LSD for the first time, my mother was divorced from Rick, we moved out of the house on Wescott Street and were now sharing a two bedroom dump with a gay hippie named Mike on Kyle Street in Sunland. But I was still surfing! I had a new group of friends, Marcos, Anthony and Arby and they all surfed. We would go to the beach and surf and get high, sometimes Debbie came with us. My friends never protested about Debbie going to the beach with us.
After a day at the beach I would head home and clean up and go right back over to Debs house. Sometimes Debbie and I would go over to Arby’s house and go into his “room” in the garage and listen to music. He had a room with large overstuffed pillows arranged around a circular table with a water pipe in the center and a blacklite that lit all the posters on the walls. Arby would light some incense and fill the pipe with pot, he always had really good weed. Sometimes he would ad a little hash to the weed. The three of us would kick back and get really high while we listened to albums like Santanas “Abraxas”, The Whos “Whos Next”, Led Zeppelin “One” and “Two”, The Moody Blues “Threshold of a Dream” and of course Jimi Hendrix.
I spent alot of time at my girlfriends house, especially weekends. Debbies mom was a working mother with five kids, I think she was working at Lockheed on the night shift. But she trusted her children to take care of themselves and they did. Debbies older brother Calvin was my age, he was in my home room when we were in junior high. Cal being the oldest kinda kept things in order with Deb second in command. I really loved that family and being a part of it.
It was after being at Debs house one weekend that I came home on a Sunday afternoon around six. I thought no one was home until I saw my mother lying on her bed. I thought it was odd that she was in bed so early unless she was sick, “Mom?” I said ” are you not feeling well?” no response. “Hey” “HELLOOOO?” nothing, I tried shaking her, still nothing. Then I called an ambulance from the emergency numbers on the wall by the phone, they arrived right away. I didn’t notice the pharmacy bottle but the medics did. My mother had tried to kill herself with sleeping pills. No one had been home all weekend. My little brother and sister were with their father on a one week vacation to Canada, and my sister Linda was with her girlfriend Jann somewhere. I told Linda what happened when she got home. We both felt sorta numb and we were really not that surprised, “Well at least she’s alive.” I said.
When my mother came back from the hospital a few days later she told Linda and I not to say anything to anybody about what happened. She said she had made a mistake and that it would never happen again, as long as we didn’t say anything, so we didn’t.
Debbie and I broke up early that summer. She had gone to the beach with my sister Linda one day and came back with some guy she had met. She was going out with him that night. I was destroyed, absolutely crushed. That evening I asked my mother if she would give me a ride to Debbies house so that I could talk to her, “Sure” she said. On the way over to Debbies the radio was playing some love song. I looked at my mother and said “You know, I never really understood what they meant when they sang about the blues or a broken heart, now I do.” My mother looked at me with a tear in her eye and said “Honey, I’m glad your going through this now instead of later.” I didn’t understand what she meant. How could anybody be glad about what I was going though?
It wasn’t until much later in my life that I understood those words of wisdom my mother said to me. I guess my mother knew alot about heartache and heartbreak
My family and I had been living on Wescott Steet in Sunland California for about a year. I was in my last year of junior high which was ninth grade. Back then we started high school in tenth grade. My mother and Rick were rarely seeing each other and on the verge of divorce. There had been just to many nasty beatings and arguments. The only things that kept me strong threw those days was my surfing and my singing in The Purple Freightrain. Music and surfing have always been my savior.
It was on a Saturday evening when Jimmy “our drummer” called and told me about a party and asked me if I wanted to go. “Sure” I said “Meet me at my house at eight, my brother said he’ll give us a ride.” “OK see ya in awhile” I said. “Cool, a spur of the moment party” I thought to myself as I started to get dolled up. I twisted up a couple of joints just before leaving my house. Yeah I was smoking pot now on a regular basis. I had a really good connection. In fact I was moving some of it for them, made a little money and got my stash for free. So now I was a criminal. “Yeah Baby!”
Don drove Jimmy and I up to some house in Tujunga that I had never been to. “Dude, who’s place is this?” I asked Jimmy.” Some girl named Tammy her parents went to Vegas” he said. “Cool.” The house was a classic old California bungalow with a big covered front porch where alot of kids were hanging out, drinking and getting high. Jimmy got busy right away with a girl he knew from school, so I went inside. The lighting was dim except for the blacklights over the posters and a few colored lightbulbs. People were milling about some were stoned and trippin others were just getting started. The stereo was playing The Moody Blues “Lovely to See You” I started walking around looking for some cute girl(s) that I could smoke one of these doobies with. As I was heading back out to the front porch I heard a girls voice say “Hey!” I looked around and I saw this blond haired girl sitting alone in a bean bag chair in a dark corner of the room. “Come sit with me” she said. I walked over to her and she skooched over in the bag and said “here’s a spot for you.” Standing over her and looking down at her I could get a better idea of what she looked like. She looked good. I sat down. We were right next to each other in that bean bag. “Whats your name cutie?” I asked. “Debbie, and yours?” “Keith” “I’ve been watching you roaming around the house. What are you looking for?” “Ahh someone to smoke this joint with me.” “I’ll smoke it with you.” “Cool” We sat there in the bean bag and smoked the first joint. We small talked the details. Where ya from, what school, got any brothers or sisters. etc. etc. Finally I asked her if she had a boyfriend. “No” she said. Then she asked me if I had a girlfriend. “No” I said. I was looking at her not saying anything. Her face was absolutely beautiful! She asked me If I wanted something to drink and I said “Sure” “I’ll go get us something.” She slowly peeled herself out of the bean bag and stood up. “Wow!” I thought to myself as I took in the whole picture “this girl is a stone fox!” She was about five two with thick wavy long blond hair. She was wearing some tight hip hugger bell bottoms and a white linen peasant blouse with some flowers embroidered on it. She was the quintessential California hippie girl. A natural beauty.
She came back to the bean bag and handed me a bottle of Boones Farm Strawberry Wine. I took a sip and handed it back to her. Then she took a sip and turned to me. Shazaam! We kissed, and kissed, and kissed. We couldn’t stop kissing. We stayed in that bean bag for hours until she said she had to go home. “I remembered her saying that her house was only a couple blocks from the party. I said “can I walk you home?” “I was hoping you would” she said. We got up and started walking the two blocks to her house. She reached out to hold my hand and never let go of it. When we got to her place we kissed and kissed. “Can I see you tomorrow?” I asked “I’d love that” she said. “I’ll call you when I get back from the beach.” I told her. “The beach?” she said “its November” “I’m going surfing with my buddy Marcos.” “Your a surfer?” she asked “Yeah I guess I forgot to tell you” “Wow” she said, like she was impressed. “OK Keith, please call me when you get back from the beach OK?” “I promise.” I said to her.
It was 1 o’clock in the morning, I had a five mile walk home from Debbies house. I never felt my feet touch the ground.
Debbie and I fell in love. For a year and a half we were always together. I never before felt so much happiness. So much curiosity. So much naivete, So much about what life is all about. So much about how good my girl looked in a bikini.
I started riding skateboards when I was around 10. The steel wheeled ones. Just find a nice sidewalk on a good steep street and go! I have always loved the sensation of speed in all it’s many forms so skateboarding was a natural for me. I got pretty good at it considering the type of equipment we had when I was riding. First steel wheels, then the clay comp or Roller Derby wheels. I did stuff like wheelies, hangin ten, walking the board, 360’s, jumping curbs. Old school stuff.
In my adolescents I sorta stumbled upon my identity. I was watching ABC’s Wide World of Sports when I saw The U.S. Surfing Championships at Makaha Beach. I was mesmerized buy the surf, the speed and the danger. The sport just hit a cord with me. I went to the school library and discovered that they had two issues of Surfer magazine in the mag rack. I poured over those two issues every day at lunch until one day I asked the librarian if they were going to get any new issues in. “You really like those don’t you?” she said to me. “I love em!” “I’ll see what I can do” “Thanks!” About two weeks later I went in the library to re-read “my” mags when I discovered the magazine rack had 4 new Surfing magazines. I grabbed em all. Boy did that lunch hour fly by. I found out later that the librarian got the magazines from her younger brother who had been surfing for years, but was now in Viet Nam.
Needless to say I was not a skater any more. I was a surfer. I didn’t live near the beach or have a surfboard but I was a surfer. The hair got longer, I wore Bermuda shorts, striped T- shirts and a Maltese cross on a chain. Yeah a real poser.
Fortunately my mother really liked to go to the beach and we went alot in the summer. We even rented a house on the beach for summer vacations. I was in heaven on those trips. I imagined that we really did live there year round and that this was our own little beach house.
I started officially surfing at 13-14 years of age. I got my first board from Jacks Surf-shop in Huntington Beach California. A used 9’6″ Jacobs for $60 bucks. I was so proud to have that board. It made me a “real” surfer.
Those first trips to the beach where with my friends Ed Ritchie, Larry Sallows, Paul Zubek, and Larry’s older bother Steve who provided the transportation. We all had boards, we all were beginners and we all had a blast. 5 longboards strapped on top of a 1950 Chevy. All of us going nuts down the highway to go surfing.
About a year went by before all four of my friends lost interest in going surfing. All of them except me. There were not alot of surfers in Sunland but there were a few. It got around that I surfed and I was approached by some of these seasoned older guys about my wave riding. I was invited to go to the beach a few times with these guys. We had some really great times and some fun surfing sessions. I got in with the gang and surfed whenever I could with them.
My love for the sport of surfing has never died. It became my driving force, my destiny. To live on the beach with the surf always out my window. That was my dream. Thank God that dream came true.