Never Never land


A scene from Never Never land graced the walls of Dad’s beauty salon on Ventura Blvd. Pink hair drivers and a bar in the back served up cocktails. The coke machine was always filled with coke when we were kids. A few pennies and we would take the filled bottles out back to the parking lot to shake them up; then we watched them explode.  We were sticky, sweet and balls of laughter while we drank half a bottle down. Beautiful women and Jazz on the Telefunken radio silhouette my memories as I say goodbye to a building.


“Goodnight Sweet Prince” is all I can think to say of the sweet family business and days of innocent youth.


Sometimes it is the funny little things that mean so much

CAM-picsayPhoto by Gus Hudson

This funny little clock was a Christmas present for Mom. I got it for her. Yes, it was a funny little clock that played the tune “The Way We Were.” I know that some members of the family were irritated by the tune that went off every hour. I heard the stories about how it should be thrown in the trash but I know they were only joking, even though they seemed unaware of how insensitive it seemed to me.

I saw the love and focus she put into this little clock. Each hour of the clock had a little place for a picture; just enough for the family. It has twelve places for our immediate family. Starting at the top at twelve O’clock then going right; first is Dad, Mom, Steve, Greg, Sallie, Gus and me. Then the grandchildren with Steve Jr., Renee’, Howard, Johnfred and little blued eyed Shyane. Just perfect… but of course mom was good at these types of things. She always had a little dance in her step when the tune played. This is how I remember seeing her. It was her clock and pictures of her family. Sometimes it is the funny little things that mean so much.

Gifts fogotten

I tell my two sons to clean their rooms

and they don’t

it is like pulling teeth

I am guilty too..

Then when I do clena up,  like them

we find forgotten gifts…

toys, books, art or a poem

and these are some I found today…

Shayne by HudJF By HudMa Ma bu HudFlowers by Hudley 2001

Strawberry Nose

Dad and me

I think dad will be 93 this year. He once was a very good story-teller. He would sit out on the back porch looking over the San Fernando Valley and tell a story to whomever world sit next to him. Just make sure it was not past 5 pm …before the liquor hit his brain. This put him into a fighting mood and a meaner fucking son-of-a-bitch you will never find; it was always like this; between good and evil, and you had to be as sensitive as a cat; to stay and purr or take off and get away; to be domestic or wild.

To this day you can bet your cards on this about my dad. My siblings are in justification mode when it comes to his actions, or they rise above as if in some place of divine grace. I have always been straight with the man, as I told mom once,

“Mom if anything ever happens to you, I will not take care of that bastard.”

So be it this is how it is today. Don’t get me wrong I am kind to him now. He lives in an unimaginable place of dementia. I often lift my pint up to him and smile.

“Cheers dad!”

I realize he does not know if I am his wife, daughter, sister or some dame he has his eyes on? I really don’t care and just affirm again and again that,

“I am your daughter… Holly; the youngest of five children.”

He smiles and he is pleasant.

I hold firmly, in my mind and breast, that he needs to be accountable for the pain and suffering that he caused us. But, I also remember the times during the quiet, in the eye of the storm, when life seemed normal and even sweetly naïve, fun and magical.

This is a story I share with my sister. It recently came to my mind while reflecting on dad. Remember my relationship with him is always like clockwork based on the swing of the pendulum, and this story is when the pendulum was happy.

My mother was a stay-at-home-mom during the 50s and 60s while I was growing up. She did not drive so dad did the shopping for her. Their life was based a great deal on the conversation of “what’s for dinner honey?”

My folks always had lots of fruit around for the kids to eat. I never will forget one particular summer about the mystery of who was eating the strawberries.

In the evening mom would clean up the strawberries and get them ready for breakfast. I watched her rinse them and cut off the tops; putting the fresh, sweet, redness in a large bowl. The berries where then put into the refrigerator.

I said, “oh boy, strawberries for breakfast!”

“Yes, honey…we will wait until then.”

Morning came and there were no strawberries. I wondered about this. The whole family did. This went on for a couple of weeks, until someone did some investigational work.

It seems that my sister caught my dad in the act. He was getting up late at night and eating the strawberries. She then drew a picture of my dad with a strawberry nose. She showed it to me and instantly I knew who had been eating the strawberries. It was not a strawberry monster.

“Who’s been eating the strawberries?”

“Dad with the strawberry nose!”

We laughed together and I think mom put the picture up on the refrigerator for viewing as dad confessed.

Dad has a good size roman nose and at one time he had a dark mustache underneath. The drawing of dad induced an upside down strawberry, the uncut green top was his mustache.

Happy Birthday Dad!


A turkey companion.

It was a world of mostly boys. It was a time of the real Mad Men. I was born in the 1950s. All Thanksgivings, until I was in my thirties, were celebrated at the same place every year. Uncle Royal and Aunt Louise lived on a beautiful farm in Orange County California. Acres housed pomegranates, tangerine, and avocado trees. 

As kids we ate all of them until our hearts content. Knots Berry Farm was only a few miles away, being a small amusement park, where we would chase chickens around before they were caught, butchered, and fried up. It was a country fair more than the multi-media corporation it has become today.

Turkey was put into the oven early and mom did most of the cooking. Louise always baked up her famous mini-pumpkin pies. She put in all the pie ingredients together so whimsically fast before you knew it a warm pie tin was in our hands.

The most delicious pie I ever had. It was because her crust was perfect; I think this pissed off mom because she never could get a good pie crust down like my aunt did. Louise talked while she baked until your head felt like it would explode.

I had a huge family of realities that came to dinner. The adults played poker after the meal was over. It was not family poker it was nasty ruthless cards. Dad was not the only one to get rip-snorting drunk, but he was most likely the loudest.

I remember once he danced like a Native American in the kitchen, as Royal made up his famous hot-buttered Rum cocktails. We would follow dad around mimicking his moves to the irritation of my mother who knew he was plastered; at the time I thought he was just having fun. Maybe it was a little of both.

Royal always had a glint in his eyes while smoking his cigar. The night held sounds of quiet, then yelling depending on the hand of the game. The kids outside played kick-the-can, or sometimes we threw tangerines at passing cars, while hidden in the large branches of avocado trees; hearing knocking at the door while panting with older cousins but never confessing to the accusations of these strangers whose cars showed the damage.

Mom always made time to play poker with the men. Sometimes I rested against her warmth while she silently played the game.

Thanksgivings are much smaller now and Turkey is not always invited. This year my two kids and I are going to go out for sushi. It is hard to believe that the freedom I feel now is based on the control of a family long ago, but it is true.

It was nice to be part of such a big family then, but I like it much better now. I think I will smoke a cigar this year in memory of Uncle Royal and Aunt Louise.

As I smoke the cigar I will watch the smoke whirling up to them, imagining where they are with the great mystery of death,  and similar to the inspiration of a Native American Indian prayer I will evoke  their spirits in gratitude by saying,

“Thank you Louise and Royal for the memories, and for the old farm-house with the steep slanted stairs that led up to the room where Grandmother haunted us kids! Thank You for the delicious Turkey skin, mashed potatoes and stuffing  galore. “

Happy Thanksgiving to family and friends….