ESSAY

 

 

 

Shade Tree Mechanic

 

I found myself at the doctor’s office today getting scrips for some standard refills. The doctor was with another patient, but rather than sit in the reception area waiting, Jorge, Dra. Candy’s husband, asked me to follow him to his garage.

 

Inside sat one of the ambulances that was getting an engine rebuild by Jorge’s friends.

After chatting about what had been done and what needed to be done to the engine, Jorge asked me “How do you know so much about motors?”

 

Because I’m old, was my reply. I remember when cars were simple and easier to fix.

My brother had a car with an engine that had seven moving parts. It was a three cylinder two-stroke engine. That meant the only moving parts were the crankshaft, three connecting rods, and three pistons.

 

Seven parts.

 

It was a DKW… four speed on the column and front wheel drive, two door coupe hardtop.

Cool car… would lay rubber easily.

 

My first car, on the other hand was a very unsexy 1949 Studebaker Land Cruiser. The Studey (stoo-dee) that my grandfather gave to me rather than trade it in. (I think he bought a Nash Rambler!)

 

I didn’t have a driver’s license, so I drove around in a circle in a field behind the house. Of course, I ripped off the air cleaner so that one-barrel carb would make a better sound when I floored it. And the muffler came off quickly too for a “better sound.”

 

Among later cars I owned were – in no particular order:

 

• 1939 Pontiac Coupe (never ran)

• 1934 Plymouth Coupe (ran occasionally)

• 1968 Oldsmobile Convertible (ran into a tree)

 

I miss being a shade tree mechanic.


 

Mark Van Patten writes a blog called Going Like Sixty and has been married to the same woman since 1968.

Sign up for BoomSpeak Email Updates

 

 

 

 

 

FICTION

 

 

Rules of Engagement

 

I don’t know how you played cowboys and Indians, but I can tell you how we played the game with very specific rules of engagement.

 

First of all, we had the perfect stageset for the activity. Down at the end of our street, there were open fields of grass, loads of worn paths, a small pond (watering hole if you prefer), large boulders on a hillside (perfect for ambushes), and steep slopes where you could survey the entire landscape. Hours in front of the old black and white TV watching Hopalong Cassidy, Wild Bill Hickok, the Cisco Kid, and Roy Rogers gave us all the plot scenarios we would need.

 

So, let’s get to the rules. If you jumped out from behind a rock and made the sound of a gunshot before the other person could shoot you, that meant that he was dead or wounded. When only two of us were playing, this created a serious logistical problem that could only be solved by kid logic. Think about it. If you’re dead, the game is over. More often than not, this led to the concept of “grazing.” As in, “You just grazed me.” This meant that you could get up after falling to the ground and skulk off to hide from the other player. Live to fight another day. Or another hour anyway. If you were really declared dead, you had to lay there for five minutes before you could come back as another character. “You shot Black Bart. That was my brother. My name is Blackie and you’re gonna pay for this mister.”

 

Another ploy was the ricochet. I can’t tell you how many times I claimed that my gunshot was a ricochet that rebounded off a large rock to effectively turn the corner and kill/wound the kid hiding behind another rock. Of course the downside of claiming your shot was a ricochet was that the intended target could just claim that it was a nice try, but “you missed me.”

 

By now, you must be thinking that if only two kids were playing, a lot was riding on our willingness to press forward even if we had to admit we were repeatedly killing each other. Our solution was the predecessor of the reset button that allows video gamers to start over after they have been zapped by the bad guys. If both of us were unwilling to repeatedly experience reincarnation, then it was GAME OVER, time to go home – and where’s the fun in that?


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

 

Sign up for BoomSpeak Email Updates

 

 

 

 

 

TRAVEL

 

 

Canyon Rocks

 

Rock N’ Roll provided an early opportunity to become a home owner for me. My first casa was an older two story doll house in Laurel Canyon, in the Hollywood hills. I have stories…but I digress.

 

Down at the bottom of the Canyon right on Laurel Canyon Boulevard where I would turn up to my street was the now famous and historical Canyon Country Store. It was rather magical even then -- the makeshift cultural center of Laurel Canyon for a full century. Immortalized in the Doors song “Love Street,” this deli-market is not a venue, but it’s got historical music importance to spare, and continues to be – as my long ago deceased friend Jim Morrison put it – the “store where the creatures meet.”

 

Now here we are, The Calypso Couple, these MANY years later living at the bottom of Mexico, and we have such a store right here. Calling it magical may be a bit over the top, but the fact that I am able to put the two places together in my head is good enough.

 

This “canyon” store is in the flatlands far beyond the beach and in the heart of housing; casas built property line to property line. The lyrics from one of my Laurel Canyon neighbors swirls around in my noggin “They paved paradise to put up a parking lot with a pink hotel… oooh bop bop bop – Joni Mitchell’s ‘Yellow Taxi’” Our little ‘country’ store here in Puerto has incense, homemade cheese and handmade soap among other same products.  It is the closest thing to hippie that you will get here in terms of commerce.

 

Our new red scooter makes us more adventurous in that we can usually scoot around or at least to the front of any line of traffic. Of course we can always find a place to park. So in spite of safety concerns on this day we ventured out to get the best baked bread, bar none, in Puerto. This would be at Señor Salud’s little ‘country’ store over in the west end of town. Located in a colonia (fraccionamiento) called “Costa Chica”.

 

Señor Salud carries nuts, cheese; coffee; natural tooth paste, soap mosquito repellant; homemade pasta, homemade bread and more. Placing our safety aside we go for the bread.

 

The owners are a charming couple. He, best guess is Italian, and she Mexican. It is a friendly zone (as is most of Puerto) and welcome by we gringos that are made to feel a little more like home with the many healthy items and food available there. It is highly recommended. If you have any Doors tunes slide one into your player in front of Senor Saluds – it might just magically take you back to a better time. PEACE.


John Calypso lives outside Veracruz, Mexico, as well as Puerto Escondido. Back in the 60s, he was a very hip guy living in Hollywood and rubbing shoulders with Beatles and Monkees. Read lots more in his blog, Viva Veracruz and Viva Puerto Escondido.

 

 

 

 

Sign up for BoomSpeak Email Updates

 

 

 

 

ARTS

 

 

Pie in the Sky Aliens

 

Before World War II, sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects were far and few between. Suddenly, the sky was filled with darting lights and mysterious who-knows-whats? Extra-terrestrials seemed to be arriving in tourist droves.

 

Why a flying saucer? Did Hollywood create that pop culture image in the early baby boomer era? No, it was an airborne businessman in 1947 who reported strange lights in the sky he described as a “saucer slipping across water” and “flat like a pie pan.” Headlines erupted and hundreds of sightings were recorded in the next few weeks. The visions have hardly declined. The U.S. concluded then and now no credible evidence of aliens visiting earth exists.

 

The Federal government does not have any information about extraterrestrial life to conceal, and there are no secret projects for me to investigate.

This according to Orrin Hatch, who has served in the Senate for 35 years and
      should be privy to the truth – whatever it is.

 

Prominent people, including astronauts, the first CIA Director, and Barry Goldwater disagree. The public is also skeptical. Could officials be withholding vital information? This suspicion is bolstered by leaked government reports that recommend concealment to avert panic should evidence be found.

 

What happened well over half a century ago in Roswell, New Mexico, and why has the phenomenon continued to fascinate to this day? Some suggest that the incredible arsenal of weapons exploded during World War II, culminating in the atom bomb and more testing of nuclear weapons later, alerted our cosmic neighbors who decided to visit and see who these Earth maniacs are.

 

Another explanation is planted in terra firma: we could now explore the heavens and public imagination turned outward. Combined with a doomsday Cold War, a mass paranoia spread.

More recently, information has emerged that the U.S. government is and continues to experiment with advanced technology aircraft that is sometimes saucer shaped. People have indeed been spotting UFO’s, but they are home grown.

 

Trivia Factoids

 

› In movies, aliens were usually hostile or at least haughty and condescending. And why not? Mankind can hardly boast an enlightened history, and visitors were presumably lights years ahead of us in every way. Close Encounters of the Third Kind and ET were the first major films to portray benign pop culture extraterrestrials.

 

› Before the official 1955 Frisbee introduction, it was a unsuccessful toy the original inventor dubbed “Pipco Flying Saucer” and later “Pluto Platter” to exploit the frenzy of UFO sightings.


 

Terry Hamburg writes the Baby Boomer Daily about the exciting and revolutionary baby boomer years.

 

 

 

 

 

Sign up for BoomSpeak Email Updates

 

 

 

 

 

GALLERY

 

10 - 10<>

 

David Sargeant lives in Queensland, Australia and likes to create images with Photoshop, and often with some mirror effects that will have you looking twice. See more of his photos on flickr or at his website www.davidsargeant.com.

 

 

 

 

Links of Interest to Boomers Going Like Sixty Baby Boomer Daily Curmudgeon Viva Veracruz  MidLifeBloggers Dating Dementia Polly-Vous Francais