|Bob's, Toluca Lake|
|524 Cambridge Dr.|
where a kid could ride a bike all over the neighborhood safely, or roller-skate up and down near-by streets when not gliding over the polished wood of Harry's Roller Rink.
|Harry's Roller Rink, Glendale, CA|
Girl Scout, Boy Scout, YMCA, and Campfire Girl groups abounded, and every school had it's after-school clubs. There were no "play dates": neighbor kids just knocked on the door and asked if one could "come out and play." "Out" being the operative word, as all those stay-at-home moms wanted their kids out of the way as much as possible. In Southern California that meant the beach
|Santa Monica Beach, 1950's|
and local pools all summer,
drive-in theaters with a playground for little ones and back seats for bigger kids.
|Mar-Lin-Do Bowling Alley|
along with the short craze of public trampolines,
|The Cornell on Glenoaks|
and "the soda fountain"
|Curries Ice Cream on Glenoaks|
were usually walkable or an easy drive for mom to drop off the kids without worry. Life was good with a dad who had a good job and a mom who kept the household running in peak, efficient order all year round. Life was good without a programmed summer of back-to-back camps, play-dates, and helicopter parenting. Life was good with the stability of good schools, plenty of social activities, and a predictable social order.
Of course, what no one talked about in those halcyon days was the fact that Burbank was a Sundown or Sunset Town in which it was unwritten (as opposed to Glendale's written law) that African Americans, called Negroes or Coloreds, had to be out by sunset. Those who toiled in Burbank's industries had to get out of town before dark, returning the next morning to create the machines that would win a war, help to build a thriving middle class, and strengthen a nation's economy.
What wasn't talked about was how many of those kids' parents or grandparents had survived the Holocaust,
American Japanese concentration camps,
or had immigrated to America only to have their children separated into "groups" and called names like "greaser", "beaner", "rag-heads", "chinks", or "Japs".
What wasn't talked about was the dysfunction of most American families: of parents who were emotionally wounded from the worst depression in modern history, and from the worst war in modern history.
What was only whispered about were the adults or kids who were "different": who couldn't live freely in their own sexual orientation or gender confusion, or who just didn't "fit in" with the 1950's and 60"s definition of "normal".
|Father Knows Best|
What WAS obvious were those kids who were left behind in the classroom while little Christian kids left a public school in the middle of the day to attend Bible classes.What WAS obvious were the American history textbooks and lessons that left out the very dark parts of this country's origins: the genocide of Native Americans and the unspeakable institution of slavery. No mention was made of the contributions of Latinos, Asians, and all other non-white ethnic groups who helped to build this country.
|A Slave Named Jack|
and all of the other upheaval and movements of the 60's and 70's,
|A Woman's March|
many, many of Burbank's Baby Boomers grew into open, embracing grown-ups who see the world as more than their own little spot; who care about their earth and all who inhabit it. They evolved from naive, sometimes ignorant and bigoted, sometimes misogynistic and racist, to fully-formed adults who love their country and love their planet. Happily, many produced children and grandchildren who continue this enlightened attitude; who are the hope for the future of every town and village in America.
“Unlock the tree”, said the Dove
Oh you comforting soft place to land.
You who shared your sweet, metallic earth showers
that quenched your own thirst
in the long parched days of summer.
You who provided a carpet on which to
watch the clouds and create secret dreams,
away from the chaos from which they sprang.
You were the stage for immortal plays
that took them far away from harsh realities.
You were privy to the squeals of laughter
that relieved the tears shed behind cloistered walls.
Oh, you gleeful deceiver of wooden mallets!
With your downy pasture you invited;
only to betray the innocent intruder with your hidden hills and valleys.
And yet, in your quest to foil, you protected
hidden treasures under your canopy, and
into your moist, rich, tierra femenino.
Wasn’t this the secret world of so many tales ?
How some wished to join those minute creatures,
who seemed so snug and safe beneath your rooftop.
Did you not care for them as a beloved mother nurtures her own?
Lo, but this was not the fairyland of the sprite.
This wasn’t the dell of Eeyore and friends.
This teeming jungle is where the spidery ghouls resided!
Here lived the creatures who invaded sweet dreams!
Here winged pixies played their cruel games of mischief!
This was the land of tricksters.
This was like the world they had left behind.
Better to run back to your floor of velvet!
Back to your bracing summer showers.
Back to your theater of fantasy.
Back to your field of dreams.
Back to your dewy blanket
upon which little toes danced
to a long afternoon of summer bliss.
Cynthia L. Cavanaugh 07/09