Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Summer of '84

I haven't written much about family lately and then I came across this picture:

The time: 1984. The place: Our first home in Palos Verdes. The people: A young version of our family. (After all it was 24 years ago). That's The Ancient One during his "bearded era" holding Alicia (age 3). A very young Donna, the happy mother, has Seth (age 1) in her lap. In back is 17 year old Bill who was with us for the summer from his home with his mother in Honolulu. This picture brings back a flood of memories; there is a lot of "back story," as they say.

The careful observer, for example, might ask why teenager Bill is wearing a white shirt and tie in the middle of the summer in southern California. He was in uniform! He had a summer job at the nearby Thrifty Drug Store as a "hand dip." That means he spent his working hours scooping out Thrifty ice cream for cones that sold at a nickel a scoop. He didn't get a lot of pay for this but he had to look good. By the way, this is also the summer Bill got his California driver's license (but that is another story).

It was also the summer of the 1984 Olympic Games here in L.A. Ah yes, that was the best driving I ever had in the area. It seems that all local folks went on vacation during the games to avoid the traffic. Local factories closed down so they would avoid contributing to the expected gridlock. The result: extremely light traffic during the Olympics. It was glorious.

Just prior to the games, the Olympic torch had been carried around the world, ending up in the L.A. area where some lucky people were selected to run/jog a short leg with the torch. It was scheduled to pass a half-block from our house, coming by on Hawthorne Boulevard. Donna and I took Alicia and Seth to see the torch as it passed. (Bill was at work hand dipping at the time.) Well, you could hear it coming long before you could see it; sirens, loud music, all sorts of noise. And there it was. Donna, Alicia, and the then not so Ancient One jumped up and down and cheered as it passed. Seth; well there he was in his stroller. . .fast asleep. The torch passed and he never stirred; he never saw it. (It probably didn't matter because it is unlikely that, being only one, he would have remembered the event.

Also, it turned out that even though he was working, Bill was not left out of the festivities. It seems that all the runners were given a replica of the torch after they finished their leg. The fellow we saw ended his portion of the run right near the Thrifty's where Bill worked. He carried it into the store and he let the hand dips (and others, I am sure) each hold it for a few seconds. Bill had his Olympic moment.

Those are just a few of the memories of the summer of '84 evoked by an old photograph sitting on a kitchen counter.


Sidney said...

Photos are a time machine. Hard to believe 1984 was so long ago, but I found it hard to believe how long ago "Raiders" came out. I was working my first real job in 1984.


Eric Valentine said...

A very nice looking picture Leon, a beautiful memory that gives a lifetime of enjoyment, despite perhaps, the sighs of the years of aging.. :)

Leon said...

They sure are Sidney! So many good memories. And by 1984 I was starting the 3rd year into what turned out to be both the longest (24 years) and last job in my career in higher education.

Leon said...

Those memories contribute what I would like to think is graceful aging Eric. The little kids in that picture are now starting their professional careers and they are making their parents crowd. The big one has been on his own for nearly 25 years and has provided me with some great poetry and 2 beautiful granddaughters. :~)