The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘San Fernando Valley’

Memory lane

Posted by keithosaunders on July 1, 2016

A few weeks ago my brother called me and asked if I remembered Maria’s last name.  Maria lived down the street from where we grew up in Van Nuys, California, which is a suburb of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley.  Maria was best friends with Melonie and one summer when we were all 11 or 12 we hung out together.  Melonie’s mom was super hot –  a voluptuous  Meredith Baxter Birney-esque blond 30-something.  Even our pre-pubescent selves could recognize greatness.

Melonie and Maria were inseparable.  Our Dad nick-named them the Bobbsey Twins, which we thought was funny even though we didn’t know who or what the Bobbsey Twins were.  We spent most of that summer at Melonie’s pool hoping that the Mom would be home.  Nothing ever happened between us and the girls — it was still too soon for that.

But the next summer there was Cheryl and Laurie.  They were another set of friends that lived even closer — 4 houses away instead of 10. Cheryl introduced us to kissing – both my brother and I.  We would take turns in our backyard.  (What was she, the town trollope?!)  Soon we were discovered by my Mom who put a stop to it.

So we reconnoitered at Laurie’s house down the street. One afternoon Laurie had a great idea:  “Say, why don’t we all take off our clothes and march around the room?”  That was a crackerjack idea!  So we stripped off our clothes and began marching around Laurie’s room, Cheryl, Laurie, my brother and I, like a libidinous coed ROTC.  John Philip Sousa would have been proud.

After a couple of minutes we were busted by Laurie’s mom.  Why couldn’t we have been a little more discreet?! Thus concluded our summer hijnx of 1972.

Now if anybody out there knows Maria’s last name will you get back to me?

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Posted by keithosaunders on January 11, 2016


I’ve been thinking about Diamond Dogs.  This was the first David Bowie record to be released after I had started listening to him. (Ziggy and Aladdin Sane already felt like ancient history even though they were only one and two years old) I remember counting down the days until DD came out and finally taking it home, playing it and loving it instantly.

There was this strange dichotomy with Bowie – here was this effeminate androgynous person who appeared more alien than human, yet his music was as muscular and substantial as anything heard before or since. Growing up in the staid, conforming, tract-home infested San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, listening to Bowie felt simultaneously thrilling and subversive.

Less than a year after Diamond Dogs Bowie would  help kick-start disco with Young Americans and I summarily rote him off.  This  was convenient for me since I had begun studying and playing jazz and wouldn’t listen to rock music for another three years.  When I did get around to checking out rock again my brother played me the Eno-produced records that Bowie had made in the interim – Low, Heroes, and Lodger – and they blew my mind.  Scary Monsters came out a few months after I had rediscovered him and it was like a satisfying coda to the frenetic and schizophrenic seventies.  Soon Bowie would don a suit and tie for the conservative 80s only to reemerge in the 90s as a cutting-edge post-punk industrial rocker.

Bowie is the most important pop artist we’ve lost since John Lennon.  He was like a rock version of Miles Davis.  He stayed relevant and innovative no matter how old he got and he influenced every generation that was lucky enough to have heard him.
 It’s a sad day.

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