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Re: My Tales of Growing Up in Long Beach
My parents decided that they wanted to play golf. There was a driving range near our house; it was on Long Beach Blvd. just north of the railroad tracks between Scherer Park and Dooley’s Hardware Store.
My Mom’s stepdad was a milkman, so after his route he would go and play at Lakewood Country Club, as he would be finished by 1:00pm.
My Dad bought a used set of clubs from him and Mom bought a “beginners” set from the pro shop at Lakewood Country Club. They both began taking lessons in the evening at the driving range from the “pro” and then they would go and have dinner at Lucy’s or Ken’s.
This went on for several months and they decided to play the front nine at Lakewood Country Club late one afternoon. My Grandma Katie had bought me a junior set of clubs, 4 clubs and a putter in a small canvas bag. I had only been hitting whiffle balls in the backyard and I went with Dad to the driving range one Sunday morning, I was 10.
I talked my parents into letting me come with them, but I would have to stop if I could not keep up. I agreed.
On the first hole they both hit fairly long tee shots, but they weren’t straight. I teed off and probably only drove the ball 50-75 yards, but my shots were straight as an arrow. As the afternoon continued, I could see the frustration on my parents face. Golf was not easy. After 6 holes they decided they were through for the day. I decided to tally up the scorecards and I had beaten them both. They were proud of me, but I could tell that they weren’t very happy about their game.
Mom stopped playing not long after this and Dad only went occasionally to the range. My Mom’s stepfather started giving him a few lessons.
A year or two later Dad asked me to go play a round one night at Heartwell. I was now as tall as Dad and we shared his clubs. I remember it being a fun night and I could match Dad shot for shot. We would be right of the green; left of the green and a par didn’t seem possible that night. As it got late I teed off and hit a pretty good shot. Dad hit his just off to the right of the green. As we approached the green we could see Dad’s ball, as we began to search for mine. Looking left and right of the green we didn’t see it. I began to walk across the green towards Dad and there sitting 3 inches from the hole was my ball. I pointed it out to Dad and we were both surprised. I tapped it in for a birdie and once again beat Dad.
Several weeks later Dad and I planned to play on a Saturday at the Compton par three course. The weather looked ominous, but we decided to go any way. It began drizzling as we began our round. Again we were sharing Dad’s clubs. It started raining pretty hard and there seemed to be no one else on the course. One of the fairways was next to the ball fields of the school next door. Dad teed off first and hit a good drive. As I stepped up to the tee, I took a hard swing and drove the ball down the fair way. I didn’t follow my shot; I was looking at the ball field off to the left. Dad said, “why are you looking left, your shot went straight down the fairway?”
“Well” I said, “my club went sailing over the fence!”
The fence was chain-link, about 8’ high. Dad climbed up and over the fence and grabbed the club. Let’s finish the hole and call it a day!
We walked back toward the clubhouse, we were both soaking wet at this time, and Dad said, “Let’s grab something at the snack bar.”
As we walked up to place our orders at the window, Dad orders a V8. I had never had a V8, but wanting to be like Dad, I told the man, “I’ll also have a V8.”
We were both handed these little cans, and Dad took a long drink. I took a smaller drink of my V8 and then immediately spit it out.
“Tomato juice?” I said. I hated tomato juice and tossed the rest of it in the trash!
I remember on they way back to the house enjoying the heat coming up from the heater of our ’59 Ford. We also laughed about my club sailing high over the fence, and we also laughed about my V8 juice! It was a memorable day!
Re: My Tales of Growing Up in Long Beach
The Donut Man
We were very lucky growing up in my neighborhood. Bixby Knolls shopping center was just up the street, Scherer Park three doors down and the Towne and Crest Theaters just a couple of blocks away.
But one of the greatest things when I was growing up was the Ice cream man and the Donut man that circled our neighborhood on a regular basis.
“Good Humor” was the name of the ice cream man’s truck, I liked it when he came around on hot summer Days. I would usually buy a 50/50 bar or a Big Stick if I had a dime. It was a good treat on a hot summer afternoon. But it didn’t hold a candle to the Donut Man.
We had two different donut trucks traveling up and down the streets of our neighborhood.
One was “The Golden Crust Bakery” and the other was “The Helm’s Man” as I called him. The Golden Crust truck eventually stopped coming around in the mid sixties, and I was fine with that. His “stuff” wasn’t as good as the Helm’s Man and he wasn’t as friendly as the Helm’s Man either. Plus the Helm’s donuts were so much better.
I loved their “jelly donuts” the best, but they were more expensive than the glazed donuts, maybe 7 cents and glazed were only a nickel.
As a growing boy of 9 or 10, I was always hungry. I would stop the “donut Man” any time I had a nickel in my pocket.
Mom bought bread, cookies and occasionally donuts from him, however usually she needed to be out of bread for her to come out of the house for a look in those long drawers of his truck.
I once had fifty cents when the Helms truck turned the corner and headed up our street. I waved him down and proceeded to buy a half dozen glazed donuts and one jelly donut. I set on the steps of our house and quickly devoured the jelly donut and then one of the glazed.
I took the other five in the white bag into the kitchen where Mom was cooking dinner. I opened up a cabinet full of plates and placed my bag inside and closed the door quickly.
Mom asked what I was up to and I explained I had bought donuts with my own money and was hiding them in the kitchen cabinet!
I was very surprised when Mom told me I couldn’t hide my donuts, that I was to share with the rest of the family. A donut and glass of milk would make a great snack after dinner!
I was shocked and not very happy as my pleading fell on deaf ears. After dinner that evening I watched my donuts disappear quickly while we set in the living room watching TV.
I was OK with sharing, but I had purchased the donuts with my own money, and had a two-day supply of donuts, or so I thought! When would I have another fifty cents that could go for donuts and not for baseball cards?
Several weeks later after a visit from Grandma Katie, I had a dollar, four quarters, “Ice Cream” money as Grandma called it.
The next day brought excitement as I tried to decide what to get with my “ice cream” money. After an hour or so, I had made up my mine.
I asked Mom if I could walk up to the “shopping center” and buy some baseball cards with my money from grandma.
After the usual lecture of being careful when crossing Atlantic and using my “best manners” at Brownies Toy Store, I headed out the door. I purchased 10 packs of baseball cards and came home with 48 cents after tax.
I told mom that I was home and that I spent my dollar on baseball cards and then sat on the porch sorting my new cards with the others in my collection. But I was also waiting to hear the whistle of the Helm’s truck coming my way. Hopefully mom wouldn’t see him stop out front.
When I heard his approaching whistle, he stopped just around the corner as a neighbor lady had waved him down! Perfect I thought and ran around the corner to the stopped truck. Waiting for the neighbor lady to finish up, I stood patiently with forty-eight cents in my pocket.
“Can I help you,” asked the donut man.
“Could I see the donuts,” I said?
As he pulled open the long drawer of donuts, I was trying to decide if I wanted Jelly, glazed or a combination of the two. I decided to buy all glazed; yep six glazed donuts. He placed them in the white bag and I walked slowly back towards the house, eating one as I decided what I’d do with the rest.
I could place them in the kitchen and share them with the family, eat then all right now, or I could hide them in my bedroom.
Yep, I would hide them in my bottom dresser drawer.
I made them last three days, only eating two a day!
This became my new hiding place for donuts that I didn’t want to share, although it was rare that I had enough money to buy enough donuts to hide. Usually I only bought a couple at a time and I would eat them before I made it back into the house!
My Tales of Growing Up in Long Beach
A great book with stories from the 50's, 60's, and 70's. I will start publishing a story a week from the book.
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