El Niño, Downtown Los Angeles 1966 - age 3.

El Niño, Downtown Los Angeles 1966 - age 3.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Lost Wigwam Weekend

"On our way from Apple Valley trip - 1951"

It was 1985 and I was a student at Cal Poly Pomona out where LA County meets San Bernardino County. An actor was President of the country, a 10 MG hard drive in your personal computer was a status symbol, Long Island Ice Teas were lethal, and Tears For Fears ruled the airwaves. Far away from Hollywood, Edendale and The Sunset Junction, I would on occasion explore the nightlife out in San Bernardino, Redlands and Riverside in those days looking for a little diversion from calculus and chemistry classes. One such place was a dance club called Harry C’s in Redlands where one Saturday evening I met up with a rowdy group University of Redlands students who were having an “after hours” party at the Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino off of Historic Route 66. I got directions and arrived at the Wigwam around midnight as “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” was blasting from my car’s stereo. I located teepee # 3 and entered a small motel room loaded with students, tequila shots, Wayfarer sunglasses, KROQ music and mild but innocent decadence if such a thing exists. The only thing I can remember from that evening was that the world’s biggest K-Mart discount store was located down the street and we went there at 6am looking to buy beer. I don’t think K-Mart ever sold beer, but luckily it was closed at that hour and we were diverted to another location. If K-Mart did sell beer back then, somehow I think that would have been rock bottom for me. When I left the Wigwam at 3pm the next day, I fired up my Honda Hatchback and “Everybody Wants To Rule the World” was again playing on the local FM station. I headed West towards the blazing sun, leaving the sights, sounds and the memories of my Lost Wigwam Weekend in the rear view mirror. The next day I took a calculus exam while visions of the big "K" from the colossal K-Mart sign continually interrupted me while I tried to solve complex derivative formulas, but I successfully overcame the diversion. I never saw that group of students again, but I am sure today they are all well respected professionals ruling the worlds of their chosen fields. In the end, we all want to rule the world but sometimes you have to take baby steps to get there, one derivative, one integral and one wigwam at a time.

The Wigwam Motel was established in 1937 with locations all over the Southwest United States. Today, only three locations remain including the San Bernardino location which was built in 1949 off of Route 66. Treat your sweetheart to a romantic weekend of Americana at the Wigwam Motel. Located off the 10 freeway about one hour from Los Angeles. If you book teepee #3 and happen to find my Swatch wrist watch that I misplaced at the Wigwam that Spring weekend 25 years ago, then I have a reward for you.

Description of my lost Swatch: cheap black plastic watch with an even cheaper matching black rubber protector. Last seen on the stoop of the Wigwam.

Here is the link to the Wigwam Motel: http://www.wigwammotel.com/

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