How I ended up in The's a long way from Canada

Real Estate Agent with HK Lane Real Estate

continued from Saturday...

It's been a long time but I still remember that when I got in Jack's car, it smelled of pipe tobacco smoke.  He drove up the Wilshire corridor and gave me a running commentary with each major intersection we passed.  We went past the Miracle Mile where he suggested that I visit the L.A. County Museum to see the La Brea Tar Pits where dinasaurs once roamed, we passed Beverly Hills, Westwood, Brentwood, and finally Santa Monica where I caught my first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean.

We drove through a canyon and ended up on Mulhulland Drive taking in all of the lights over the valley.  I'd read about Mulhulland in one of the Hollywood rags and was elated to see and be where the stars hung out.  Jack drove me around UCLA and finally we stopped at "Ships" diner in Westwood for a bite.  He suggested to me that I should not accept rides from strangers (stuff I already had had drummed into me in Canada) but he didn't feel like a stranger.  Besides, who had ever heard of a serial killer who could play the piano so well?  He also told me that if I got into any kind of trouble that I knew where to find him.  I guess you could say, I was born with an angel on my shoulder. 

I got the job and needed to find an apartment within walking distance of my office.  I found an affordable studio with a Murphy bed about a ten minute walk away.  It wasn't The Ritz by any means, but it seemed okay.  I do remember the hallways had red carpeting which seemed a bit odd.  I found it about mid-morning and figured that everybody that lived there was already at work because it did seem rather deserted.  I was pleased to see that they had weekly rates, ($25) which seemed perfect because it would give me ample time to look around for something more permanent.

I have always loved architecture.  I was getting my fill of Art Deco, Spanish, Mediterranean, all so foreign to me.  I loved seeing stucco with red tiled roofs instead of bricks with shingles.   Palm trees and birds of paradise were just icing on the cake.  I actually tripped on the sidewalks a few times from my preoccupation of looking upward at the palm fronds swaying in the wind.  My building was none of these--it was a square box painted green with little landscaping. 

It came to life, so to speak, as the sun was setting.  It wasn't as deserted as it was earlier.  The sidewalks were littered with less than sober "gentlemen" and it wasn't even the cocktail hour!  We were far from wealthy but pretty basic middle class, growing up in one of those new subdivisions born in the 50's.  I had not been exposed to the seedier side of life since they were few and far between the suburbs I had known.  It appears that the new tenant, Pollyanna, had stumbled across a sort of half-way house for addicts of all sorts (alcohol, drugs, sex and an assortment of others that I was completely ignorant about).  It was a long...very long night, indeed. 

When I gave my new address to the personnel manager, I got a very strange look and it was suggested that I begin the hunt for a new place at my earliest convenience.  The sales manager drove me "home" and waited until I packed my things.  He checked me into The Sheraton West for five days paid for by the company, until I could find something more suitable.  I suspect he had a daughter my age.  There was that angel, again.

In time, I made friends,  found a roommate and an apartment with a pool near The Ambassador.  I met Cary Grant; I danced at Whiskey A-Go-Go and saw "The Doors" at Gazzarris; saw my first and last bullfight in Tijuana; sailed to Catalina; sat ringside at the Sands in Vegas for the " Don Addams" show; dined at "Dino's" for my 19th birthday,learned to body surf and skydive.  Life was a neverending adventure and I couldn't wait to see what tomorrow would bring.  Ah, the boundless energy of youth.  While youth is but a distant memory, I have not lost my sense of wonder and still get excited about what I might learn or who I might meet tomorrow that could, once again, change the course of my life.

On June 5th, I waved and cheered at Bobby Kennedy as he passed me by on Wilshire Boulevard on his way to The Ambassador.  It jolted me as to how fleeting life can be.  Shortly after that fateful night, I was driving to work with the radio tuned to Jack Jones singing "Live ro Life".  It was a song I hadn't heard before, but the words bore into me and I knew I was about to experience a life changing moment.  Here are the words:

Come with me my love
And seize the day
And live it
Live it slowly live it fast.
Never thinking once
About tomorrow
Till tommorrow's come and gone
And passed.
We'll pour the wine
And fill the cup of joy
And drink it
Drink as if it were the last.
Live... just live for life.

In Paree today
In Amsterdam tomorrow
Sixty minutes through the skies
Fly with me to see
The setting summer sun
And stay with me to see it rise.
We'll say to those
Who say to live this way
Is mad... then mad we'd rather be
Than wise.
Live... Just live for life.

If you let me I will lead you
To the mystery and wonder
Of a world you've never known before.
Dare the dangers to be dared
Magic places to explore
Share the places to be shared
Life is all of this and more
This and more.

Yesterday's a mem'ry
Gone for good forever
And tomorrow is a guess.
What is real is what is
Here and now
And here and now is all that we possess
So take my hand
And life will live for you
If only just a moment's happiness.
Live... just live for life
Live... just live for life

By the time the lunch hour had arrived, I had made my decision.  I gave my employer a month's notice, went home that evening to give my 30-day notice on my apartment and put an ad in the paper to sell my car.  I was going to go to Paree and Amsterdam...and anywhere else that strikes my fancy. 

to be continued...

Comments (1)

Nancy Williams
Coldwell Banker Homestead Group Select Professionals - Harrisburg, PA

Can't wait to read the next part . . .

Oct 12, 2009 02:02 PM