“O Captain! My Captain!
our fearful trip is done
The ship has weather’d every rack,
the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear,
the people all exulting…”
—Walt Whitman: Leaves of Grass
In a youthful city where it was a victory
to even get a park, that became its name.
Furnished with barbeque grills taller than
children, many divisions of lawn, and lined
with palm trees, this was the first park I
knew, a short walk from the house.
“I believe it to be true that dreams are the
true interpreters of our inclinations; but there
is art required to sort and understand them.”
From our front lawn one could view the
25,000-gallon water tower that kept watch
over the Corporate Administration building,
adjacent to Lot 1, of 9 filming venues.
Pronto Market (later Trader Joe’s)
“Keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee.”
—Chapman, Marston, and Ben Jonson:
Many odd items not found on the shelves of
major supermarkets; tasty to the eyes
Mr. Music in Studio Village
“That which penetrates the ear with facility
and quits the memory with difficulty.”
—(defining good music) quoted in the
New York Times, March 9, 1961
A high school band buddy worked there and
knew every title and artist by heart.
Helms Bakery delivery trucks
“How use doth breed a habit in a man!”
—Shakespeare: Two Gentlemen of
Driving by the bakery a few times, the aroma
triggers a whole pattern of events aimed at
stuffing some of that delicious bread into
“Can’t you keep Billie’s bike out of the
“Anyone can become angry—that is easy, but
to be angry with the right person, to the right
degree, at the right time, or the right purpose,
and in the right way—this is not easy.”
—Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics
A commercial using this exclamation was
filmed right around the corner from my house,
and repeated in my house perhaps too many
Oil wells on a hill
“‘Tis distance lends enchantment to the view.”
—Thomas Campbell: The Pleasures
We could faintly hear their squeals throughout
“For this relief, much thanks.”
Wonderful to have both a drug counter
and an ice cream counter!
“For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my
roarings are poured out like the waters.
For the thing which I greatly feared is come
upon me, and that which I was afraid of is
come unto me. I was not in safety, neither had
I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.”
We had just left Fedco, situated below the
Baldwin Hills Dam, and were miles away at
Zody’s, watching on TV, when the dam burst
and flooded the area.
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I
stood there, wondering, fearing, Doubting,
dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to
—Edgar Allen Poe: "The Raven"
Following high school, would I yet be ready
to find a career, a wife, be drafted, finally
separate from the home and family of my
“I remember, I remember the fir-trees dark
and high; I used to think their slender tops
were close against the sky; It was a childish
ignorance, but now ‘tis little joy to know I’m
further off from Heaven than when I was a
—Thomas Hood: "I Remember, I
Both my parents are buried there, along with
Jack Benny and other celebrities.
Hughes Aircraft Co.
“All his geese are swans.”
—Robert Burton: The Anatomy of
My dad worked here for several years. When
a pay raise was coming, local vendors got
advance notice and raised their prices before
the new paychecks were issued.
“Not in the clamor of the crowded street,
Not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng,
But in ourselves are triumph and defeat.”
—Longfellow: The Poets
Visited that university once, on my motorcycle,
to take a college admissions test. The fog was
so dense I had to remove my eyeglasses to
see my way.
“I’ll put a girdle round about the earth in forty
—Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s
One merging street was made a cul de sac
because too many approaching drivers were
taking that turn too fast for merging traffic.
“I wander through each charter’d street,
Near where the charter’d Thames does flow,
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.
In every cry of every Man,
In every Infant’s cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear.”
—William Blake: "London"
Right near Dead Man’s Curve was this
street that seemed to attract a collection
of strikingly undisciplined folk.
The very first Sizzler
“Every great and original writer, in proportion
as he is great and original, must himself
create the taste by which he is to be relished.”
—Wordsworth: "Preface to Lyrical Ballads"
Part of Airport Village, it had sawdust on the
floor, and the meals were brought to the table
using wooden platters with a carved-out
section to hold the sizzling, metal plate.
“Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.”
—Christina Georgina Rossetti: "Up-Hill"
Super challenge on a bicycle. Holiday
lights the best of the best.
Veteran’s Memorial Tower
“In uplifting, get underneath.”
Inside was the Tower Restaurant,
downstairs on one of the lower levels.
Mar Vista Bowl coffee shop
“They also serve who only stand and wait.”
—John Milton: "On His Blindness"
My coffee buddy and I would wait long
times in long lines to get such sweet service
from those young ladies.
“All history, so far as it is not supported by
contemporary evidence, is romance.”
—Samuel Johnson in Boswell’s Tour
to the Hebrides
Here, the history is not so buried. All knew
about Hughes Aircraft, and its world’s
longest (at that time) private runway. My dad
reported that it was the depth, more than
the length, that made the runway so suitable
for large jet aircraft to use.
The Meralta, Culver, and Palms Theaters
“The difficulty in life is the choice.”
—George Moore: The Bending of the
Lucky were we to have three movie theaters.
Admission was a coin or two.
“Come down, O maid, from yonder mountain
height. What pleasure lives in height (the
—Tennyson: The Princess
Learned to swim in this Olympic size pool.
The lifeguards (guys and gals) wore some
conspicuous white powder substance on their
noses to fend off the sun while sitting high
above the pool.
“I felt myself extremely awkward about going
away, not choosing, as it was my first visit, to
take French leave.”
—Madame D’Arblay: Diary,
September 8, 1782
How appropriate (or not?) that the local police
headquarters office was on this avenue.
“Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do
you find him without tools; Without tools he
is nothing, with tools he is all.”
—Thomas Carlyle: Sartor Resartus
Was friends with the 3-generation family that
Back Stage Café
“He knew the taverns wel in every toun.”
—Chaucer: Prologue to The Canterbury
Not yet of drinking age, I stopped in there
once to get change for a dollar, and they were
very nice to me. This bar and grill was right
across the street from MGM’s main lot, about
2 blocks from my house.
And though I came to forget or regret all I have ever done, yet I would remember that once I saw the dragons aloft on the wind at sunset above the western isles; and I would be content.
―Ursula K. Le Guin, The Farthest Shore
Today’s feature is by long-time SnakePal Carl Bernard Schwartz (Caschwa), who says he “Was born and raised in Culver City, CA, ‘The Heart of Screenland’. While there are a few things that make this Los Angeles suburb unique, mostly it is comprised of universal qualities shared by other towns as well.” Thanks for this ambitious series, Carl!
Northern California and otherwheres,
UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS
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