Monday’s for Me #48 ~ Hollywood

In July of 1973 my family moved from Palms, California to Hollywood. It was for two reasons, first one of our neighbors had called social services because of my mothers bizarre behavior, and second my Dad got a job with a construction company on Sunset Boulevard. We rented a small 3-bedroom bungalow located just south of Sunset.

Each of the 4 cities that we lived in during our 5 years in California offered a different style of living. Hollywood was definitely the strangest. With so many diverse things to see and do there was hardly a dull moment. We lived about one mile south of Hollywood Boulevard and about 1 mile east of the heart of the city. Something was always going on so any day I would walk up to the Boulevard I was able to witness something interesting.

There were always people dressed as celebrities in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater that were very entertaining. There were street musicians and pop up theatrical performances daily. I even enjoyed the variety of tourists from all over the world. It was also a haven for the many religious cults that were popular during this time. Hari Krishnas would block your way to give you a carnation in hopes that you would put money in their bucket. Many others tried to give out their literature. There was a mixture of hippies, wealthy people, prostitutes, and homeless that crowded the sidewalks.

For an eighteen-year old it was exhilarating! One of my favorite memories happened in one of the many diners on the Boulevard. I would sometimes take my 3-year-old son Pleasant, with me to go eat lunch and on this particular day we decided to eat at one that had a counter. My son loved sitting on the stool and spinning around. I can’t recall the name of the diner but it was located on the north side of the street just a little west of Hollywood and Vine. We found our stools and placed our orders. I always brought a coloring book and crayons for Pleasant and a book for me whenever we went out, so I pulled them out to keep him busy. As I was reading I heard a man speak to Pleasant, and he began to laugh. When I looked over at him, I saw that he was handing the man one of his crayons.

You can imagine my surprise to see that the man was none other than Bob Crane, the star of “Hogans Heroes”. He was sitting there coloring in my son’s coloring book and listening to him ramble on about the firetruck he was coloring. Mr. Crane then turned to me and struck up a conversation. I tried to act like I didn’t know who he was but I think he knew that I did. When he left he signed the page he had colored and left. When we were ready to leave I found out that he had also paid for our lunch.

Pleasant didn’t know who he was so the next time the rerun of the show came on TV I had him watch it and he got so excited when he saw “Uncle Bob”. I had to explain to him why he was in the “army” and why he was on TV. He proudly kept that colored page with the autograph until the day he died.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Monday’s for Me ~ It Really Wasn’t My Fault!

pizza signIn January of 1974, I was working as an assistant manager at a pizza place in Hollywood California. It was located in a shopping center on Santa Monica Blvd and Hobart, just 3 blocks from my house. As an assistant I didn’t really have set hours, I worked 5 days a week but different hours each day to help where I was most needed. I spent a lot of nights closing up and walking home alone.

About the second week of the year, the owner hired a new worker. He was an Iranian who had been born in Russia and he was a friend of Eddie, the manager. His name was Abbas. I remember he was very tall and good looking. It was just that his English wasn’t very good. Thankfully, he only worked when the manager was there so he could interpret for him. I didn’t get to see him very much because he worked days and I usually worked nights.

At the end of January, I had to go pick up my paycheck and my sister wanted to go1999 with me so she could get a pizza. When we walked into the shop I thought my sister was going to have a heart attack. She “fell in love” at first sight. Now let me tell you a little bit about my sister. Her name was Mary Leella, but she went by the name “Le”. She was one of the meanest people I have ever known. She was about 5ft 9in tall and weighed about 300 pounds. She was 23 years old and had never had a boyfriend nor gone on a date.

While we were sitting at a table waiting for her pizza I noticed that Abbas was visually upset. Eddie was trying to calm him down but nothing seemed to help. I asked what was wrong and he told me that Abbas’ visa was expiring and he was going to be deported. I asked what could be done to stop it and I was told: “he could get married”. My sister was just sitting there staring at Abbas and doing what I assume was trying to flirt with him. I was embarrassed so I grabbed my check and started to leave and when I got to the door I turned around, pointed at Le and jokingly said “She will marry him!” and I left.

Courthouse vegasI stopped at a friend’s house on the way home and we were sitting on the porch talking. The next thing we knew Le was hurrying down the street and when she saw me she rushed up to me and said, “Don’t tell mom and dad, but Abbas and I are going to Vegas tomorrow night to get married!” I couldn’t believe my ears. I was too stunned to ask any questions but that didn’t matter because Le rushed off towards home. I didn’t tell my parents, first of all, I didn’t believe her and second, she was a grown woman and if what she said was true then it was up to her. Sure enough, when I got home from work the next night my mother was in a full-fledged breakdown. My sister really did elope!

The marriage only lasted about 4 months. Did I mention that my sister was mean? Apparently, she had abused Abbas on several occasions, even breaking his hand. After Le moved back home, he came by to have her sign divorce papers. His new boss, a female who owned a hair salon, had driven him there. My sister barreled out the door at them and began punching both of them. My Dad, who had cancer and had his right lung removed went out to try to stop her, but she out-weighed him by about 150 pounds.

To be honest, I don’t know how it happened but at some point, Le did sign the papers. My dad died at the end of June and her divorce was final in mid-August. The day after that my mother, sister, my son and I moved back to Tucson, AZ. My sister never married again, nor had a boyfriend, nor had any children. My mother always blamed me for Le marrying Abbas, but honestly, it really wasn’t my fault.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Monday’s for Me ~ An Unexpected Event

Screen shot hollywoodIn 1974 we lived in Hollywood, California. We had moved to California in 1969, first landing in Santa Monica then we moved to Culver City, next came Palms and we finally ended up here. We moved each time because my mother was convinced that the “mafia” that had “followed” us all the way from Missouri had found us. A few months after our last move my dad became ill. Being a strong, healthy man all of his life he denied that he wasn’t up to par. That facade didn’t last long. He had worked construction most of his life and while at work one day in August of 1973 he collapsed. They sent him to the doctor but instead, he came home. My mother and sister didn’t care but I begged him to go see a doctor. After a couple of days of not getting any better, he finally gave in. I went with him and the doctor ordered tests and x-rays. A few days later we got the news, he had lung cancer.

He ended up having surgery to remove his right lung and I took him for chemo and radiation treatments 3 times a week for 2 weeks. The doctor told me he had about 3 months to live. I was devastated. He made it past the 3-month mark and was seeming toChair get better. One day he heard me talking on the phone making an excuse why I couldn’t go with some friends to Universal Studios. I had wanted to go there for quite a while but now wasn’t the time. The next day he handed me the money and told me I had to go. I began to argue but he told me it would make him happy. So I called my friends and the next day we made the short trip up I-5 to Universal.

It was so much fun. Of course, it was a lot different then it is now. They had the village Bill Balance & mewith the rushing water that flooded the streets, King Kong made his appearance and we took the tram ride around the studio lots. We saw TV shows being filmed and actors walking around on the lots. One of the best things that happened was sitting in the audience of a live radio show. The host, Bill Balance, was a controversial figure. Conservatives tried to have his program banned. I was thrilled to get my photo taken with him.

There were a lot of movie props from the “Land of the Giants” TV program that youPhone could get pictures with and everything there made you feel as though you were in a movie. We had such a good time that I felt guilty on my stocksway home because I felt I had neglected my dad. He was waiting for me when I got home and wanted to hear all about my day. Back in those days, you had to wait a week for your film to be developed so we had something to look forward to. I remember his face lighting up when we relived the day through the photos.

My beloved dad passed away about 4 months later, on June 24, 1974. He had lived 6 months longer than what the doctor gave him and for that I am thankful. I will cherish the memory of that trip to Universal Studios until the day I join him again!


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.