Things I Remember Growing Up in Los Gatos, California… during the 1960s

I enjoyed growing up in Los Gatos starting in 1960 until graduation from LGHS in 1972… an Ideal Childhood… Then I Went to West Valley College, learned electronics and got a job at System Industries in Santa Clara… I live in Orangevale, CA (Near Sacramento) in an Old Folks Home. Quite a life and I’m looking forward to at least another 20 years of retirement… One peak experience in Los Gatos was attending the Tower of Power concert outdoors at the Chateau… In the Redwoods…  I remember going with Rich Field to the Tower of Power Concert and we saw how they achieved the flute to trumpet blending on “Diamonds Sparkling in the Sand”. One man walked towards his microphone while the other walked away… both were playing the same note… This amazed Rich as he was a jazz band member at school and this effect was a mystery to him until we saw it done… I also remember that the Hells Angels and The Gypsy Jokers Motorcycle clubs both arrived at the concert at the same time and I was concerned that there would be violence… so I walked to the other side of the concert as far as possible away from them…. Years later I learned that they OFTEN partied together at the Chateau and my fears were unjustified…

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I remember playing my harmonica at a school play with Barry Hill. It was called “Sneaky Fitch is Dead” and I had a great time performing… We also performed “Hippie from Olema” by the Youngbloods at a talent show in the high school gym. Rich Field and Nancy King and Rachael Ludlum were also in the band.

Many of the students performed as Spearchuckers and Slaves in the Opera “AIDA’ at the San Jose Civic Auditorium. There was a touring opera company that filled the stage with locals… They instructed us to move our mouths BUT DO NOT SING… They had a choir that did the singing and we would have just been annoying and off key. Since the big scene we were in was when the hero came back from the Middle East with the spoils of war, we had to cover our bodies with dark brown stage paint… We were supposed to be playing the part of black people… I had long blond hair but they just tucked that up under a hat… Big Fun… Liz Dunbar was in the Opera also [LGHS ’73]

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I remember going to a wonderful natural hot spring in Pfeiffer Big Sur State park. We hiked 12 miles into the Ventana Wilderness along the Big Sur River to get to “Sykes” Camp. The Park Rangers kept the Hot Spring maintained so that about 6 people could bathe at the same time. I went with my high school friend Joe Franck, his older sister Peggy and their cousin Katie. At our campsite a raccoon started to eat our food and Peggy went to shoo the raccoon away… The raccoon turned and hissed at her and bared it’s claws… She screamed really loud and in the end, we fasted for a couple of days… Wild animals would win any fight…
I also saw a cat that was about the size of a toy collie… I guess it was a Bobcat, not a mountain lion… There were also wild pigs that ran around at night… In my imagination, they were as big as “Wonder Warthog!”. Also on the Big Sur River close to the Pfeiffer Campground was a swimming hole with a waterfall at the upstream end. Very popular and private… perfect for skinny dipping. I sure hope that the hot springs are still being kept in good repair. It was Well worth the 12 mile hike in… I also went to the campground on the day that President Nixon resigned. I took LSD and had to go lie down in the woods when the hallucinations peaked so I missed the actual resignation. (oops, got stoned and I missed it.) There was great celebration at the campground that night.

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My favorite beach in Santa Cruz was Manresa. It was about ten miles south of town and It always seemed to be sunnier and warmer. It’s a very long beach and you can walk far away from other families. No need to listen to their loud children… I also liked the Boardwalk. In the late 1960’s there was a Funhouse with slides and a giant record player that threw the kids off due to centrifugal force. I also loved the Merry Go Round and the automatic music box. My dad reached his limit when we rode the Wild Mouse. He swore that he would never go on another ride ever… and he never did. The Giant Dipper was a classic wooden roller coaster and vastly superior to the more modern ones that are made of steel (Like Great America). When we went to the beaches North of Santa Cruz we walked thru a Brussels sprout farm. We always ate the fresh sprouts but it was important to remember to wash off the poison in the ocean first. To this day I like Brussels sprouts and artichokes due to growing up near the farms. We grew Apricots at home (4 trees) and cut cots at a neighbors smokehouse. They let us use the sulfur smoker if we worked on their farm cutting cots. There were a lot of prune orchards in our neighborhood. The most famous was on Daves Ave and had the Billy Jones Railroad. We rode the train for a penny… just throw it into a jar…

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http://gvan42.blogspot.com/2018/02/things-i-remember-growing-up-in-los_28.html

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