CRIME SPREE NIPPED IN THE BUD JULY 8, 2013
A few weeks ago, the story was about the two little cowboys – Sisty and Gary (my niece and son) — who kept climbing up on the little corral fence at the barn to jump on the back of Mama Milk Cow who would promptly shake them off onto the ground, which was a very messy place to be dumped. No telling how many attempts were made, but a lot were made because of the condition they were in when they came trudging down to the house — their hair, all their clothes, their faces (you could only discern the whites of their eyes,) with all the guck. It was not a pretty sight, and they were very loudly yelled at, and to stop in their tracks, so Evelyne (my sister-in-law) and I could turn the hose full blast on them to off and out that stinking mess, while they disrobed down to the bare facts.
That was the end of their dream of becoming steer riders at the Salinas Rodeo that we would see every now and again. They were 5 0r 6 at this time.
This chapter deals with events taking place in Laguna Beach. We were living at the McKnight Hotel and Apartments located on Lower Cliff Drive. I had done some wheeling and dealing using my beautiful home on the cliffs above the ocean and 80 acres of vacant land up at the top of Capistrano Palisades, exchanging for the Apt.-Hotel. Lower Cliff Drive is just above Broadway which is the entry to Laguna Beach through LagunaCanyon from the Santa Ana Freeway.
The building’s front entrance was up on Lower Cliff Dr, then built down the side of the hill to the alley for Broadway. The garages for tenants were on the alley.
One day Sisty came over from San Juan to play with Gary — they were probably 9/10 years old — and I was the boss looking over them, or maybe just the baby sitter. After awhile they were bored and had run out of stuff to do around the hotel, so they came to me to ask if they could go down around the MainBeach and roam around town. I gave them the go-ahead giving them the usual advice about crossing streets at the light, taking care — the usual. Come back in one piece. Off they went down Broadway about a block to Coast Hwy where the stores were on the beach side.
Pretty soon they returned, and I started paying more attention to my baby-sitting job, and noticed how they were acting a little crazy and secretive, so I took the bull by the horns —not poor old Mama Milk Cow by the teats — and grilled them about what exactly was going on. And can you believe this? They scrambled over each other giving themselves up: They had SNITCHED a couple of bags of peas at the toy store!!! Well, these peas were the ammunition for their pea shooters to shoot at some object — or each other — or even me, if they thought they could get away with it.
Extraneous information thrown in just for the heck of it: I have looked up the word “snitch” in the dictionary, and it means to steal something of little value.
Back to the scene of my little ones’ confession of the transgression they had been party to. I didn’t have “uppers” at the time — or they would’ve been evicted from my mouth and would have landed half way down the hill to Broadway. On the other hand, just imagine if I had a weak heart — Oh, my!
I could not fathom this turn of events — those two darling kids had taken the first step into a life of crime. So, the BOSS in me took over, and I gave them the word, in no uncertain terms: They would immediately return to the store, they would ask for the owner or the manager, then, with bags of peas in hand, confess the error of their ways, ask for clemency, offer to pay for the merchandise, and I can’t remember if I had to give them some small change to pay — to cover for the ERROR of THEIR ways, how sorry they were, etc., etc., etc.. They had to go, just the two of them — no Mom to tag along — they had to grow up and face the music. That was how I figured it.
Present time 2013: When I recalled this little caper, I could not for the life of me, remember what it was they “mopped,” so I contacted Sisty over in Phoenix, and she knew exactly — the bags of peas, and that she was never so scared in her whole life when I made them go back to the store. (I would love to have been a fly on the wall during that confessional.) And there were no security cameras in those days.
Move on now to 1960. We were living smack dab on the beach on Ocean Front in a stylish duplex. The lower unit had 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. All across the front, there was a deck with railing that made you feel you were on board a ship. It was just south a few buildings from Brook Street where the surfers gathered. By now Gary was an avid — and very good — surfer up and down the coast, and also in Hawaii at the Ala Wai, or the NorthShore, or Makaha. Being at the Brook Street location, I could check on him to see how things were going.
Sisty attended Mater Dei High School, and was a year ahead of Gary. Her Senior Prom came up, and she asked Gary if he would escort her to the event. Sure, he would — they would drive off in my 1960 Cadillac convertible, white on black, red leather. (I hope he had paid Laguna Florists for the gardenia corsage.) Then the next year (1961) he invited her to his Prom at Laguna BeachHigh School. (Ditto the corsage.)
The picture is the same as the one a couple of weeks ago. See how great they look in all their finery. The background looks pretty good too — the living room of our unit on the beach. The point of the picture is to try to get that picture out of my mind when the two of them were trying to learn to be cowboys, and what a mess of crap they were covered with. Now, you get a whiff of gardenias. Quite a difference.
Two great kids — two great friends.
MELITAS FORSTER MONDAYS WITH MELITAS