Friday, August 16, 2013


In a bygone era, milk was delivered fresh to the door in reusable bottles, ice cream trucks plied neighborhoods, Helms brought bakery goods to the curbside, and whether you wanted anything or not, you got a visit from an annoying Fuller Brush man. Another door-to-door phenomenon was a photographer with a pony in tow. Now, my mother would never pay for my picture sitting astride a guzzied up pony, but I followed this dude around the neighborhood to see which of my friends' parents were worthy of children.

Bestselling Western Writer
Yours truly
These were highly professional photographers. You can tell from these artfully framed portraits. The hat and chaps came with, but it was supply your own cap pistol. I had one of those, but a stingy mom. She tried to make up for her miserly ways by snapping my picture on the stoop with her Brownie. I loved her anyway.

Neighborhoods seemed a lot more important back then. I knew every kid within a couple years of my age. If mom wasn't home, I knew she was sipping coffee over gossip with one of her neighbors. We played in the street with no fear of a reckless driver, and went to the park unafraid of being bothered by strangers. All the parents walked together to the PTA meetings at our school, and to my knowledge, they never discovered we played marbles for keeps.

I thought those were the best of times until I learned to surf as a freshman in high school. Then my neighborhood became a street end in Hermosa Beach. Now those were the days, my friend.


  1. I actually HAVE one of those pictures, James! Wow, what memories. Looks like we grew up close to one another. . .Playa del Rey here.

  2. Torrance ... pretty close considering the size of the continent.