Angeleno was ours! Our meeting place, common ground where we all felt welcomed, our sanctuary. It was the first place I wanted to drive to when I got my license, the place I’d always go to after taking my girlfriend home for the night. We were always there! We couldn’t get enough of the place. Angeleno was our “American Graffiti” Azusa style.
The summer of 1969 was probably the last, best summer we spent together on Angeleno. Fresh from high school graduation we were free to hang out together with reckless abandon. We did some crazy shit that summer and had a hell of a time! Parties, concerts, Disneyland, Huntington Beach and countless days and nights on Angeleno! It was almost as though we knew that this was to be our last hurrah before dreaded adulthood finally took control of our lives. We enjoyed that summer like no other, basking in the warmth of friendship and camaraderie, going for it all, staying together until the early AM, night after night, digging our time together. Then, just like that, summer was over.
The summer of 69 was also memorable for another reason. That was the summer that my cousin Dave tried to run me down. If it hadn’t been for the quick action of Art V, I could have been seriously injured or even killed! And what, you might ask, would make my very best friend and relative attack me? A girl of course! Yep, it was classic. Since grade school we both shared the same taste in girls. We were always falling for the same girl.
The previous summer Dave had caught me making out with Cheryl, his “girlfriend” at Memorial Park! They weren’t going steady or anything, it was just kinda of an understood thing. Now, don’t get the wrong idea, I wasn’t scheming on her or anything, it just kind of happened. One minute Cheryl and I were sitting together in my 59 Ford wagon, talking and listening to music, and the next thing you know, we were lip locked! We were so into it that we never saw Dave walking across the park right towards us. Had we been paying attention we would have seen him approaching from over a block away!
Suddenly there was a knock on the passenger window, I opened my eyes and there was Dave looking mad as hell staring in at me. He didn’t say a single word to me, he simply asked Cheryl to come out so they could talk. The moment she was out of the car I started the engine and got the hell out of there. Dave remained pissed for awhile, but he got over it, eventually.
The summer of 69 found Dave falling head over heels for a girl a year older than him. Her name was Janice and she was Art’s girlfriend, Geri’s best friend. Dave was with Art when he met her and it was love at first sight. For days all we heard on Angeleno was Janice this and Janice that, it was sickening. Then on Thursday evening Art and Geri came by my house and dropped a bomb. Apparantly Janice had no interest in Dave, but liked me! They wanted to know if I wanted to go out with her on Friday. God I couldn’t believe it. Janice was a cutie and if it wasn’t for Dave I would have said yes immediately, but I remembered the Cheryl incident and told them no.
The following night a few of us got together for an after hours party at a restaurant in Glendora. There were about nine of us, Art & Geri, Janice, Paul, Bob, myself, and a few others. Dave had to work but was coming by as soon as he got off. Long story short, when Dave walked in I was sitting on a high counter top drinking a beer and talking to Janice. She was standing next to me and had her hand on my knee. Dave glared death daggers at me and stormed out of the restaurant. I couldn’t believe it. They say timing is everything and in this case they were right…
Yes, a perfectly innocent situation had just turned ugly. Hell, I’d made it a point to stay clear of Janice because of Dave and his damn feelings, I hadn’t really spoken to her all evening, but the second time she walked by me I got a whiff of her incredible perfume and had to ask her what it was called. She stopped and we talked for like two minutes about the perfume and maybe buying some for my girlfriend. (although we were broken up at the time) Janice told me it was called Tabu, the forbidden fragrance. She made some off handed comment about relationships and patted my knee. Boom! In walks Dave at just the wrong moment, thinks he sees something going on, shoots glaring death daggers at me, and hauls ass out the door. I went outside to try and explain but he was already driving away I called out to him but he just flipped me off and kept on going.
Later we all ended up back on Angeleno, everyone except Dave. We had no idea where he had split to. We were standing out in front of the Robertson’s house talking to Paula and Shelley when I spotted Dave’s plymouth headed down the street. I immediately walked out into the street to greet him and explain what had happened at the restaurant. As he approached I realized he was headed right for me and wasn’t stopping! That’s when Art made a mad dash towards me and shoved me out of the way. Believe me, it was close. Too close.
When I got up off the lawn I could see that Dave had finally stopped and Art had the drivers door open and was reading Dave the riot act. Dave was shouting and saying crap about wanting to kick the crap out of me and just wouldn’t calm down. Art finally got in the car and drove him home which was only about a block away.
Well if Dave was pissed, I was even more pissed! The asshole had tried to run me down! Over a girl no less! I made up my mind that moment to go after Janice. Screw Dave! Screw his feelings! I have feelings too! It took awhile for this incident to pass, particularly since I was with Janice the rest of the evening and went out with her again the following night. Yeah it was pretty ugly for awhile. Sometimes I would see Dave on Angeleno but we we never got into it, either he would get up and leave when I arrived or we would just ignore each other. I tell you, there was never a dull moment on Angeleno.
Fall and winter passed quickly but quietly. Although most of us continued our Angeleno antics, things were slowly changing. It was becoming harder and harder for all of us to get together like before. We had other obligations, responsibilities, college and work were taking up more and more of our lives. The times they were a changing and like it or not, we were changing with them…
To be continued…