El Niño, Downtown Los Angeles 1966 - age 3.

El Niño, Downtown Los Angeles 1966 - age 3.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A memory of Baker Street on Bates Ave, 1978.

Certain songs just grab me, shackle me, force my eyelids open with those Clockwork Orange type prongs and project me into a tiny nostalgia theater were I am forced to watch an event of the past, some bad, some indifferent and some nice to remember. Songs that were not necessarily in my listening genre, such as Baker Street By Gerry Rafferty, are one of the nice ones to remember. Baker Street came out sometime in the winter of 1978 while the Hillside Stranglers were still at large. But that is not the memory I recall from the song. From that metaphorical little theater where I am the sole patron, I sit and watch the past, devoid of any movie theater popcorn. I see myself standing on the top of the front staircase of our tiny Spanish abode on Bates Ave in the 90027 and call out to my sister as she is revving up her blue 1970 Toyota Corona. “Wait for me!“ In the mornings, her and I would pile in and then pick up Anita O. in Silverlake. They would drop me off on Sunset and Highland to continue my public transportation travels to Norte Dame HS in the Valley, while they would continue on to UCLA. Inevitably, sometime during that short 15 minute drive, Baker Street would come on the radio and its haunting saxophone solo would engulf the small cab of her rickety little Japanese import. On the weekends my sister held at part time job at the old Sears on Pico and Robertson. Sometime during her morning shuffle of getting ready for work, Baker Street would hit the airwaves from a radio in the house. She would hurry out the door, down the long staircase to that blue Toyota parked on the street. The haunting saxophone solo would be playing in my head as I would look out the front window and watch that blue car disappear onto Fountain Ave in the overcast morning backdrop. I would spend the rest of the morning watching American Bandstand and Soul Train and then stare at my face in the bathroom, asking what the hell is happening to me. My sister met her now husband of 32 years at that Sears around this time, she graduated from UCLA in 1981 and they married in 1983. Today both her oldest son and his wife graduated with an MBA from the University of NY in Prague where they now live. My sister and her husband attended the graduation and I am sure both proud parents were exactly that, proud. From my  apartment in the city of Alhambra, California, thousands of miles away, I sit alone but also stand proud. I close my eyes and listen to Baker Street which takes me back to the Bates Ave of 1978 and think about my wonderful sister and all her accomplishments. The enchanting little melody to Baker Street and the sax solo playing in my head while I enjoy a nice cold brew in celebration. I think to myself, when will I ever see them again. Sears on Pico and Robertson was demolished years ago, that 1970 Toyota Corona has probably seen many incarnations as sheet metal, Gerry Rafferty and the Sax player, Rapheal Ravenscroft both passed away a few years ago, while the staircase to that tiny little Spanish home on Bates Ave still stands firm, defiant from the wrecking ball.

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