Linda and three Short Stories from the 1960’s

Linda was one of my girlfriends from the neighborhood. She lived over the hill and around the block. She was Catholic and went to the local Catholic school. The rest of us were moved around like cattle by the local public school system. It pissed me off because most of the time she could not play on Saturdays until she did her chores. On Sundays she couldn’t play because she had to go to Sunday school and church. She and her two younger sisters, Karen and Paula, seemed to be around but I did not give them much time of day. It was Linda that fascinated me. She was like having an older sister that loved to be with me.

th (9)he other night while looking out of our  bedroom window it seemed so dark in contrast to the full moon of autumn October. I was resting on my bed as the cool air embraced me and then all of a sudden many of Linda’s stories came back to me. I then proceeded to tell her stories to my husband and two sons. I would not stop talking until I affirmed Linda’s story/ memories with my mouth, You see before Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or The Adventures of Narnia; even before I started to read fairy tales, Linda’s stories pushed me along into the world of reading, storytelling and writing.

The pickle-peanut bird

1966: Eight years old and my first sleepover was at Gigi’s house.

“Holly I forgot to tell you. I invited Linda first because you told me you could not stay the night.”

“I see.”

Later in the evening we had to decide who was going to sleep where. Gigi only had two beds in her bedroom. We took three match sticks. One stick was shorter than the others. The shorter stick got to sleep alone.

“I got a long one,” said Gigi.

“I got a long stick too.”

“I guess that means I have to sleep alone then… darn!”

Linda got the short one and seemed unhappy and silent the rest of the evening as we watched TV and ate candy. Once in bed and after all the giggling was over the room became very dark. In front of the bed, where Gigi and I were sleeping, was a large oval mirror with golden trim. Yet in the dark it only made it seem bigger.

“Hey Holly and Gigi don’t look into the mirror!! I am telling you don’t look into the mirror.”

“Why not?” We said.

“There is a big bird sitting in a large chair. I see him in the mirror. He has glowing eyes. In one hand he has a pickle and the other one he has a peanut.”

“Oh really that is scary!!”

“It is the pickle-peanut bird I have seen him before. He often tells me stories late at night. He will not hurt me but if you look into the mirror he may pull you in and you will not be able to come back out.”

Gigi and I were silent and too sacred to look and soon fell asleep.

The talking dogs.

1968: The family life that Linda enjoyed seemed much more pleasant than the one I knew. Her dad was a lot younger than my dad. Linda’s dad was a Fireman. He wrestled with his girls and with me too. Linda’s mom was very young and pretty and cracked jokes all the time that I did not understand. Their home was on a corner of the hill. They had a nice view of the San Fernando Valley. The house was surrounded by a beautiful garden that the family tended to. My first sleep over at her home is when Linda told me about the story of the talking dogs late one night.

“One night I could not get to sleep. The dogs across the valley were barking for hours. I was hot with fever.”

Linda quickly told me as not to disturb her sisters.

“Linda were you sick did you have a cold?”

“Yes I had the flu and then something happened.”

“What happened?”

“I began to be able to understand what the dogs were saying. The barks turned into human voices. All the dogs across the valley talked all thought the night. I listened to them.”

“What were they saying?”

“I picked up certain words here and there. Dogs speak differently than we do.”


“They sounded, at times, like evil slithering snakes.  They were planning to take over the world. It frightened me. Some of the dogs had loud voices and others laughed. They said they hated humans and that they were going to plan an attack and take all of the valley first and then the world!!”

I was amazed!! Linda’s story seemed so real to me. She told it slowly and silently and I believed every word. The next morning everything seemed normal, yet it took some time before I was friendly with the neighbors dogs again.

Linda the real witch.

1970: Linda told us that she was a witch. This being Lynn, Gigi and myself. At night she was called to her window by her coven. Here they would zoom across the valley.

“We flew over the valley. It was so neat to see places I knew below me.”

“Linda where did you fly to?”

“I was an apprentice to a real witch. I sat behind her chair and listened and learned spells!”

“Didn’t anyone see you where you were?”

“No. We sat around a large rectangular table. We were very small in the front of a neighbor’s lawn behind Serainia elementary school. It was on a lawn in front of a master witch’s house,  one of the houses behind the school.”

“How strange that is? No one saw you at all?”

“It was dark. It was very dark. The coven went on adventures. Once we became animals. The lesson was to become an animal to see what it was like. I remember running through the jungles of Africa as a gazelle.”

“In Africa I love Africa.”

“Yes. I galloped with all the others. We jumped over logs and roamed around rivers. We even knew when a lion was around because we all smelled it together. It was so exciting to be able to be part of a large group and feel and think the same way and work together for the common good of all!!”

“That sounds fantastic.”

“We were many different types of animals, but what I found the strangest thing my coven did was to visit a witch’s grave yard. They don’t die, they slowly disintegrate into the earth. Some of them are very old too.”

“Why do you visit with them?”

“To comfort them and help them; like I said they were very old witches and some were very hard to see as they were not all there to see. They were decaying and invisible.

th (10)nce Linda turned 15 the stories ended. She had more important things to do. Like hang out with her older new friends at Dumez and Canoga on the little cement bridge in front of the non denominational community church. With their halter tops and shorts on, they looked and acted like cool bitches. The guys drove by in their cars honking and whistling. I lost my friend’s stories when she became interested in boys. Her long knock knees turned into long gazelle like legs; her awkward tall figure turned into a model like one. Her dirty short blonde hair grew to a long glowing lock of honey that came down to her hips.

Huckleberry, Buzz, Mikey, Joy and Hud.

Image of Beloved Huckleberry a Flipside Cat by Joy Aoki

The 1980s:

Cats are a part of my life. They always have been and always will be. This is a short story about Buzz the grey feral cat. He is surrounded with a cloud of mystery and synchronicity. I do not know what became of him. I trust that my ex-husband and staff took good care of him after I left. Buzz was last visited at my ex-husband’s house about 22 years ago. As noted in the image above. At this time Buzz did not accept me anymore and so I let him stay.

Cats are transitory little beings. Domesticated cats are 10 % wild and 80 % domesticated. Buzz was 90 % wild and 10 % domesticated. He grew up to be a hide & seek cat. He was not social with humans. In the mid-1980s, he was my cat and came to me only. I was about 80 % wild and only 20 % domesticated. Buzz and I had a lot in common. So, the story goes…

Once upon a time there was a highly intelligent cat named Sir Huckle Berry Finish Raoolish Maximus. We called him Huckleberry or Huck for short. He was a gift from our photographer friend named O who hung out with the punk band M.I.A. Huck was a grey American short hair. We loved him.

One night we had a party at the house. I left to go get some more party supplies. Huck got out and followed me. On the way back I saw him lying in the street near my home. It was a hit and run. We took him to our veterinarian. They did all they could do to save his life. He passed away. This was an incredibly sad time for me.

I watched a series on Nick at Nite Nickelodeon called Route 66. The original TV series was aired in the 1960s. The main characters Tod and Buzz traveled the land in their Corvette sports car. One day at the local thrift store after the death of Huck I found a vinyl LP called George MaHaris Sings. On his album George sings Moon River.

The song Moon River is the song that inspired me to name this cat Huckleberry. I did not know that George MaHaris sang this song, but he did play the character Buzz on the series Route 66. I felt captivated by Huck when I found the LP. I listened to the song over and over and cried. I missed my Huckleberry! I did not know it then, but two cats and a song were about to make my life come together in a remarkably interesting way.

“Two drifters, off to see the world.

There’s such a lot of world to see.

We’re after that same rainbow’s end, waitin’ ’round the bend.

My huckleberry friend, Moon River, and me.”

The same day I found this LP I later took a walk and noticed across the street some kittens and their mama sunning their bodies. I thought this was cute. Then I noticed that it was right across the street from where Huckleberry was hit. With my eagle eyes I focused in on a little grey cat. This kitten looked just like Huck. I was amazed. All this coincidence hit me hard it had to mean something.

What could all this mean? The record with Buzz /George MaHaris singing Moon River, the place where Huck died, and the little grey cat across the street, all came together through the process of synchronicity. I then planned. The next two weeks I studied the mama cat and her kittens. I saw a pattern. They lived under an older house on the street.

They only came out at certain times for a sun bath, sleep, and play. The kittens always stayed awfully close to their mama.

I then made my move while the feral cats were sleeping out in the sun. I walked down the street, crossed, and slowly approached the cats. I quickly grabbed the little grey kitten and made a run for it. That mama was on my tail for three blocks. She yelled like a wild animal. She clawed and bit my feet and ankles. Then she gave up. I do not blame her, but her wild little grey kitten was mine now!!

It took some time, but the grey kitten learned to love his new home. We took good care of him. The other cats became his family. I named him Buzz or sometimes Buzweld when he was bad, which was not very often.

Rosey, Buzz and Hud 1990.

Joy Aoki

Joy was known to dance with us round the wild circle in our living room at Halloween parties, and we did the same at her Otis College dorm.

I think it was 1985 when I first met Joy. She was at a rather small punk gathering. She had a camera and awfully long hair. Hanging at the punk scene is always a great way to meet other punkers. We talked and grew to enjoy her company. I remember the gifts she gave me. One was a blue masque she made in art class with blue feathers. Very Mardi Gras!

“I made this for you Hud!”

“Oh, OK!?”

 I really did not know what to do with it. I was embarrassed. I took it and kept it for many years. Another gift she gave me a few years later, that I still have, is an image of a flying Ostrich with an Asian/ Indian woman riding it. It is a large art piece that I have framed. It now hangs in my bedroom. I enjoy it immensely. It is an encaustic painting on a silk material. I guess these gifts were her way of wooing our friendship into existence. It seemed to work. Joy worked her way into the Flipside house and became a punk woman of integrity. Her art, shit work and journeys with us to gigs amplified the Flipside crew experience and we all enjoyed her presence.

We met her while she was attending High-School, and then she went onto Otis College of Art and Design of Los Angeles, and then to the prestigious Art Center College of Design of Pasadena. Yes, she grew up right in front of us developing skills I can’t even imagine.

I did not ask her about her family, but she told us stories. She volunteered her time with us, so I figured if she attended college her expenses were all paid for. She was not the struggling artist, and she was not guilty or shy. One story she shared with us is about the relationship between her parents and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Her parents received yearly health-screenings because they moved to California after the war. My dad is a purple-heart veteran that served in WWII. He bombed Japan. Forty years of time and once known enemies are now friends. Amazing!!

It was not easy making it into the ranks of the Flipside house. We had our tests. Joy passed them all and I am proud we were friends

2021: We have a kitty now named Mikey. He is a short haired grey cat, and he reminds me so much of Huck… so I thought I would share this amazing story about three cats …. they are so much alike… yet uniquely a part of my life…. at different times… I am not so wild anymore … about 90 % domesticated and the rest wild… kind of like Mikey.

She Is Wearing A Gold Head-Piece

The wind held one wisp of hopeful autumn in the 100 degree weather we were having. It was a late Sunday morning. Son was already on the computer watching Star Wars. I felt uneasy about this as I put the dishes away. I made up some coffee.
“Mom, come here!”
I just sat down with my coffee and was talking to my sister on the phone and did not want to get up.
“Mom, there is someone sitting on the white chair in front of the house? He said nervously. “They are smoking?”
I looked out the beige blinds and saw someone. I saw a person with a dark hoodie over their head smoking a cigarette. It was very strange. I was not familiar with what I was seeing.
I told sister I had to go while thinking to myself, “maybe I am seeing a gangster?”
I dialed 911,
“We will have a police officer drive by. Please do not make contact with this person. Dial 911 if they come up and jiggle the door.”
“But…I am feeling threatened!” I said with a nervous voice.
Son and I waited about a half hour as this person slowly smoked their cigarette. Then something strange began to happen. The gangster was not wearing shoes. I saw sandals. I looked closer and then I saw purple pants.
“Mom I think it is an older women smoking in the chair!” I then replied,
“Yes, it looks like an older woman with a hoodie over her head. Maybe I should go out and talk to her?”
“No!” son said. “She may have a knife or something, just wait until the cops get here.”
I then told older son who was sleeping in bed. He did not break his sleep for a moment, but to say,
“A strange woman is sitting in the front yard…”
“Mom she is leaving.”
Son and I got ready to hop into the car to follow her and see where she was going. Before I got into the car I looked up the street and could see that it was a woman indeed. She was wearing a dress as well and she walked slowly. She was now at the end of the street and I could only make out her silhouette. I then son,
“Let’s head down Main Street and then turn right and see if she is walking back to the retirement home for the elderly. I see many of these folks take walks past our house.”
“Mom, maybe she went down the alley before Main Street?”
We drove a circle around the neighborhood and up and down all the streets. The woman was gone. Son and I wondered. How could a slow-moving woman disappear so quickly? The cops arrived later. We told them the whole story.
“Maybe someone is looking for her. Maybe she is an old woman with dementia, lost?” I said.
The cops said they would drive around and look out for her.
Now, as son and I think it over, we realize that I was a bit foolish to call the cops. What is the danger of an old woman sitting in a chair enjoying a cigarette?
“When she took her hoodie from her head she was wearing a gold head-piece, maybe like a scarf,” said son.
The only thing that now remains of the mystery lady is the cigarette- butt below the white chair. I kicked the butt aside into the green lawn because the desire to smoke one myself still pulls at me. I had a feeling as if seeing a wild thing. Sometimes wild ducks come and swim in our pool and now and then we see coyotes, possums and raccoons. Maybe she was a wild crone?


The Haunting Flash Mystery

It was a late spring night leading to the hot nights of summer. Sunday at BJ’s got the old appetite going just right. Arriving at 10 pm seemed like an easy sitting for some food and a few beers, yet this was not the case. We were handed a restaurant blinker and the wait began. We went outside to wait under the night sky sitting on the red brick. We watched women in their stilettos, young men and their dates, groups of computer nerd men and happy families coming and going from the late night pub. This evening something strange happened. I did something I usually do not do. I started to scan the hotel Hilton a couple of parking lots across the way.  I would say this Hilton is a 20 story high Hotel. Some nagging thoughts came to mind,

“Look at the lights in the rooms” and “I wonder if I could see any people in these rooms?”

As I scanned the now black and white hotel I realized how the rooms looked fairly empty. Some curtains were drawn and some open, a few lights on.  Then one room pulled me in as a focus magnet. It grabbed me in. I could hear my family talking besides me. Yet, time blurred and I felt time slow down as well. In my view was a large big screen TV monitor which was the size of the hotel room. It was unique and the image was set back but I could tell what it was. The image was the movement of soft hues of blue and it was moving around and around in the dark room. I thought to myself,

“How strange it is to see this, There are not any other room like this one!”

Flash. I saw a flash. This flash lit up the room like an electrical storm, and then I saw the flash again and again go off.  My senses were on edge and my focus was even pulled deeper not knowing at first what pulled me like water down a drain into this drama that was unfolding before my eyes. My over curious mind told me,

“I know that light, it is the flash from a camera, and it is quick and bright and blinding.”

Seconds later the lights in the room were turned on and I viewed the back of a man. No one else was in the room that I could see. He had on a white shirt with long sleeves, a black tie  and he had black hair, wavy black hair. He was a husky man. The room was still dimly lit. Then he took some more shots with his camera. It looked like he was taking his pictures on his camera towards the large TV screen from different angles.  The light from the room went off completely in moments. He continued to take more shots with his camera. Then it stopped.  I was slightly aware of talking next to me again and of people coming and going around me. I clearly said to myself,

“This is so strange and I feel awkward about this, why am I continuing to stare?”

In another moments time he took another picture in the dark. It flashed and lit up the room. I noticed him clearly behind the flash of the camera. He was taking the shot in the direction towards the outside of the hotel room. I woke up and my mind yelled,

“What? He has turned around and is taking pictures from his hotel room of this town, of this restaurant?”

I was shocked like the electric flash of his camera.

“Has he caught me looking at him? Is he communicating to me by flashing his camera my direction?”

The room was far enough away and high enough  not to catch my gaze from the inside of a hotel room. Yet in my mind I was thinking,

“Oh my, he has sensed me, he found my interest. Why is he taking these pictures, of whom is he capturing in his camera in the room? I see no one else there?”

I did not want to watch anymore so I slowly with great strength moved my stare away from the room. I noticed from my peripheral vision that the flash went off a few more times, and as my gaze stopped so did the flashes. The room faded and the restaurant’s blinker went off.  Our time had come to go into the restaurant. We waited only 10 minutes, but my heart was racing from this awkward experience as we walked into BJ’s. The black and white of the night died to the warm bright colors of the pub inside and as I took my first drink of beer I let my paranoid thoughts melt away.

“Will he be waiting for us when we leave; was I a witness to something unspeakable or on the edge of the diabolical?

Unpublished Works@ Hudley Flipside June 2012