Saturday, May 10, 2014

My botched attempt at a summer romance

Here's an excerpt from my book THE ME GENERATION... BY ME (GROWING UP IN THE '60s).  I haven't plugged it in awhile.  You can buy it here.  You SHOULD buy it here.   My Dave Diamond tribute has made me nostalgic.  Anyway, take the Way-back machine to the summer of 69.

I started going out with Rhonda. She lived in Philadelphia and was just out here staying with relatives, one of whom was my friend Jay. Might this be one of those “summer romances” where you meet, fall madly in love, she goes home in September, you’re heartbroken, you remember her always, she forgets you the minute she enters the jetway? But you get laid so she may injure you like no woman ever has but screw it, you got what you wanted.

For date #1, I suggested we see EASY RIDER, a movie that had been getting a lot of buzz. The saga of two hippies (starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper) traveling across America had struck a real chord. The ending where rednecks shoot and kill them stunned and startled young audiences. It was the one “You’ve got to see this movie” movie of the summer. But Rhonda had no interest. So we saw her choice instead -- CHITTY-CHITTY BANG BANG starring Dick Van Dyke.

I got a goodnight kiss.

Since I knew that time was of the essence I decided to just pull out the stops for date #2. I offered to take her to Disneyland. That should be good for at least some hands-inside-the-sweater action. She didn’t want to go to Disneyland. She had already been there.

But she did want to go to Japanese Village and Deer Park.

What the fuck?!

L.A. had a number of animal-themed attractions back then. Jungleland was way out in Thousand Oaks. The most bizarre was Lion Country Safari. You’d drive around slowly while jungle animals roamed freely around you. Good idea to keep your windows up so the lions wouldn’t stick their heads in your car and eat your children.

In Buena Park, not far from Disneyland, was Japanese Village and Deer Park. This featured a Japanese-themed tranquil Zen-like atmosphere with gardens and koi ponds, and a tea house, and dove pavilion. Deer were allowed to wander. You can’t believe how crushingly boring this place was.

Another goodnight kiss.

For date #3 I suggested Lion Country Safari figuring I would roll down the window on Rhonda’s side of the car. But she wasn’t interested so there was no date #3.


Anonymous said...

You were clearly too good for her, Ken.

Candace said...

Ken Darlin'
Don't you realize it will be very different in the 'tweens then the 70's. Gads we have alot in common. Need to look you up next time I am in LA. God forbid. Stay sane. And don't risk you health for a bit of magic.. ah.. never mind.

Scooter Schechtman said...

Your dates were clearly too hoity-toity for good times. You should have gone cruising for babes at the Spahn Ranch.

Pat Reeder said...

I believe there is still a Lion Country Safari in Florida.

I went to high school in Clifton, Texas, a central Texas town of 3200 where there was NOTHING to do other than "drive around" (we actually called it that: "Wanna go drive around?" "Might as well. Nothin' else to do") until they finally built a Dairy Queen there. Well, there was a one-screen movie theater, the Clif-Tex, but if you didn't care for the film (usually one that had been in the cities for six months already), you had to wait a week for a new one to start.

Then, in the '80s, someone opened a place called Texas Safari as a drive-through zoo and retirement home for exotic animals from Hollywood, circuses, etc. Suddenly, within a mile or so of my boring prison of a school in the ass end of nowhere, giraffes and elephants and gorillas were roaming free, some of the gorillas no doubt smoking cigarettes and doing nifty card tricks. Sadly, it closed down, so I assume that kids there are back to "driving around," only in more fuel-efficient time-wasting machines.

Incidentally, I think your date was ahead of her time in her tastes. Not only has "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" aged better than "Easy Rider," but these days, of the two, it's the one that people would probably prefer to watch while on drugs.

mmryan314 said...

Ken- I laughed when I read this portion of your book. Ah- the good old days, a cheeseburger, a milkshake, and a quick " feel". But... REALLY? what did you expect from Rhonda? If you wanted that action you had to go out with my friend Barbie who wore a beehive with a scarf that tied at her chin. She used to go down to the railroad tracks just to get action. I asked her why one time and she said she "loved sex". Incidently, she grew up and became a lawyer. Fits doesn't it?

YEKIMI said...

@mmryan314: So in a way, Barbie is still screwing people.

Good old Lion Country Safari. My Grandpa took all us grandkids to the one in Florida on summer [worked out well since that's where we lived]. All I can remember is getting a god-awful headache and bitching that it was too damn hot in the car and he refused to even role down the window 1/8th of an inch cause he was sure an animal would somehow get in the car and shit on the seats. After rolling through the park he discovered he had the heater on, not the A/C. Stopped at a drugstore and he got me some Alka-Seltzer for the headache while my mom yelled at him for being so stupid for having the heater on. First time I ever had Alaka-Seltzer and it didn't agree with me so it was also the first time I barfed all over a drugstore counter.

Victor Velasco said...

What, no La Brea Tar Pits?

Hoverbored said...

Frankly, she was out of your league. ;)

Joseph M.

404 said...

Dammit, Ken: thanks for ruining EASY RIDER for me. Haven't you ever heard of "spoiler alerts"? I mean, the movies only been out for 45 years!