July 29, 2008
Since Joel died, I've been contemplating whether to stay where I am, and attempt to get a new roommate, or move, possibly closer to work. I had a talk with the owner of my house last night, and weighing the circumstances, it looks to be a better deal right now to stay where I am. I have one prospective new roommate, a 23 year old musician. I interviewed him last Friday, and I think we might make a good roommate "team". Below is a compendium of two aritcles originally constructed for the Featured Grownups blogring back in 2005. I posted a massive three part series on "My Hometown" of L.A. This was Part 2, which deals with moving 15 times in 40 years. MFN/ppf 07/28/08
Poetry by Michael F. Nyiri
1971 (18 years old)
Here's a box, a cardboard box
Filled with shirts, and pants and socks
Here's the house, locked up with locks
Bitter time, it's history mocks
The grass is brown, no children play
The trucks are here; it's moving day
Pile the boxes in the trucks
Ones with toys and old stuffed ducks
Neighbors wishing stale good lucks
Glimpse the house, as go the trucks]
We all go now, we cannot stay
The trucks are gone, it's moving day
All of us will hit the road
Say goodbye to the old abode
Soon we'll stop, unpack our load
A long way off's a new abode
Through paradoxical elation, you'll find dismay
Look to Mother's face on moving day
15 Times in 40 Years
The "hometown" remains "Los Angeles" but there are many places I have called home within my hometown.
1. Nampa, ID 1953-54
Birthplace. In the beginning. We moved to California before my brother was born, though, and I can just barely remember Idaho.
2. Silver Lake, CA 1955-57
I remember that one wall of the house broke away at one point, and exposed dirt. The house was on a hill, and my little brother who was a toddler, nearly fell down the hill and I saved him.
3. Highland Park, CA 1957-60
My whole street, a cul-de-sac overlooking the Pasadena Freeway, was demolished in the late 60s and an apartment building is there now.
4. El Monte, CA 1960-71
I've actually lived in my present rented house longer than I lived in the house in which I grew up. The image is a photo I took of the still standing although gutted El Monte theater on the "mall" in downtown El Monte in 2004. This is the theater, along with the now demolished El Monte Drive-In, in which I fell in love with the movies.
5. Glendora, CA. 1971-74
We moved out of our first "owned" house to the one in Glendora after I graduated from high school because my mother wanted to 'escape the Mexicans" in El Monte. Here is a link to a poem I wrote about my mother's last years.
6. Rosemead, CA 1974-75
My first apartment was on Rosemead Blvd, two blocks from Rosemead High School, which I had attended till 71. The Glen Haven apartments are typical "SoCal stucco block apartment buildings", constructed in the late 60s. One of those complexes where it is incredibly easy to "lose the apartment" after coming home drunk from a party. I lived in the back of "5133 Rosemead Blvd." This photo was taken in 2004. Last time I drove up Rosemead, earlier this year, it looked like this apartment complx had been demolished and a newer condominium complex was constructed in it's place.
Speaking of drinking, I set up a fully stocked bar in my apartment soon after moving in. Here I am "entertaining". My dad's death triggered the sale of the family home, so my mother could receive medicare payments to pay for the nursing home where she was hooked up to a dialysis machine after suffering her bilateral stroke. I had lots of friends come over to the apartment, as all my friends still lived with their parents, on the whole. My place got to be too popular, and I "shut down" the free bar because I got more requests for drinks than "tips" in the "kitty" on the corner of the bar.
7. Torrance, CA 1975-81
When my place of employment, the Oles' Home Centers chain, opened up stores in the South Bay, I moved with the company to the new Torrance store as Garden Department manager. I lived in a small 16 unit apartment about 1 or 2 miles from where I currently live. I "moved" from a bachelor's to a one bedroom unit. Here is Diane's daughter striking a pose on the front steps of the building. (Diane was one of my many short term girlfriends, about whom I wrote about in the "My Sexual History" series of essays. At one time I had three girlfriends living in the building. I never had to leave the place. Honest.
This is my 1961 bullet nosed Tbird. It had lots of problems, and I sold it soon after I bought it, but I really liked driving this car.
This is my desk, which is wrapped around my queen bed in the bachelor's apartment, so that the bed was not seen by anyone in the front room. Through the "curtain" on the left is access to the bed. (Those are "8-Track stereo cartridges" on the shelf above the stereo.)
8. Lomita, CA 1981-84
I was "kicked out" of my apartment in Torrance, possibly because I started renting when the building was a "party" building, and everyone in the place partied with their neighbors. I had two turntables at the time and acted as the "apartment house DJ on weekends. The owners who bought the building decided to "remodel" and had to expel all the tenants. I wasn't invited back, and actually lived surreptitiously for the three months before the marshall was to arrive to physically terminate my tenancy. I moved down the street to another apartment house in Lomita.
9. Hermosa Beach, CA 1984-86
From Lomita, I moved into an apartment three blocks from the beach in Hermosa, sharing the place with Cecil, the "black homosexual postman", who died of AIDS roughly half a decade later, after leaving me holding four months back rent because of his drug addiction. This was the only place I ever lived where I felt the need to put a lock on the door of my bedroom. After Cecil left, I roomed with two other friends. Here I am with my videocamera, an RCA "camera" that was rather heavy, and wasn't a camcorder. To become "mobile" I had to carry the videocassete recorder on my back, and the battery itself weighed about 20 pounds. My history as "Mike Video" can be read from the MikeVideo section of my website.
This is the living room of the apartment in Hermosa Beach.The living room was on the top floor, and the bedrooms on the bottom, in a condo arrangement, but turned on it's head, because, of course, the ocean was out the window. I made that mirror, and still have it on my wall. After Cecil moved out, Scott moved in, and then Jim Zabel, a very good and special friend, who now owns a house two blocks from me.
My Here my roommate Jim Zabel and I "create" on the spot with no previous practice the theme song to the unfinished "MikeVideo" Production, "Back to Lomita" in 1986. (That's almost 20 years ago, but I look the same, really except the (ahem) hair is silver. Here is a video of the song.
10. Lomita, CA 1987
The song, "Back to Lomita" was to have been the theme song for an ambitious Video project that never got made. We were moving, and I actually paid for a moving truck, so the video was going to document the move. I have three VHS tapes full of "footage" but none of it is usable. We moved to the Casablanca apartments for six months in 1987. Here I am with Kris Mutt, who was one of those stuffed dolls Target sold during Chrstmas time. I was a manager at Target stores in 1987 after Gemco went out of business, where I worked previously. This is a video capture from theVHS MikeVideo movie, "Kris Cleans Up" in which the stop motion dog cleans the apartment.
11. Lomita, CA 1987-1992
After our lease expired, so did my friend Bob's (in the middle). mother, and I moved in with him. I did obtain employment after I was fired from Target, (another complete future blog entry for that one, Sorry.) I started working for the company I am now with, in the electrical industry, and the pay was far less than a retail manager. Bob asked me and another friend, also named Mike, a pretty neat Mormon guy who brought his weapons and stores, to move in. I am on the left and Pete is on the right. We are probably watching a USC football game back when Todd Marinovich (remember him?) was quarterback.
I rode a pretty neat bike in those days. Yes, those are cowboy boots, and I did call the bike my horse. I also had a 66 Cadillac while I lived at "The Frat House". Bob collected a tight group of about 15 friends, and we called ourselves "The Backyard Buddies." Bob died of a heart attack at 47, much too young, and that's another blog right there.
I am showing off my CED videodiscs. (I also own laserdisc collection costing thousands of dollars. ) This is from a video called "The Uncle Mike Story" which I sent to my niece. I lived in the Frat House until I met Pat, who became my girlfriend for three years. We each had two rooms, so I had a living room and bedroom in the back of the house. I could watch my own movies, and conduct my own business, like in an apartment, and join Bob for our "parties" and "gatherings". Wednesday was always "Boys Night Out" and we would go to another friend's house, on a rotating basis. There were lots of drugs and alcohol drinks involved. Bob had a fold out bigscreen TV and weekends were reserved for Sports. (Except for Monday Night Football, the drag races, Friday night Fights, well you get the idea.) We watched USC's game on Saturday, always. Bob loved the team, and I used to go there. (And saw the 1974 Rose Bowl where we beat Ohio State.)
12. Long Beach, CA 1992-1993
Pat and I met at work, and I'm not going to go into the relationship, which became quite weird very quickly. I moved first into her apartment, and Joel, who then lived in the Frat House got dibs on my rooms. None of my friends wanted me to dive into the relationship but I was in love. You can read the story of Pat and Mike HERE.
13. Long Beach, CA 1993-94
Shot of the harbor area with the new apartment complexes on Ocean Ave. Pat and I moved three times, to get little Charlie (12-14) out of the influence of gangs. Charlie and Laura were Pat's children (form different fathers) and I moved her from her apartment to a house in Long Beach scant minutes from work.
14. Bellflower, CA 1994-95
This is Bellflower Blvd. in downtown Bellflower, north of Lakewood, which is north of Long Beach. The town has begun revitalizing it's downtown area, which fell into disrepair in the 80s with the arrival of the Big Box stores in the area. Pat and I moved each year for three years I lived with her. In Bellflower, when she cheated on me and I found out, I moved into the garage. (I had all my stuff in there anyway) and when the lease was up, I moved out. Bob had just died, and Joel needed a place too.
15. Lomita, CA 1995-Present
So we moved in together, and we were an odd couple. A lot of folks thought we were gay. He had the front part of the house and I have the back. I live in a 3 bedroom house, which is the subject of my blog entry, "This is where I hang out." . I will close with a few shots of my "hometown" in Los Angeles, Lomita. It has the flavor of a small town, even though Pacific Coast Highway runs right through it.
I'm currently preparing a Mike's Video Blog showcasing the house I live in "post" Joel. However, it's taking more time than I had thought, so in the meantime I hope you enjoy this tour of all the various places in which I've lived over the years, and get a feeling why I'm mot particularly excited about having to move again. The owner is going to make some more "improvements", including a new kitchen counter, sink, floor tile, new floor tile for the hall, and a new toilet for "my" bathroom. The bad news. My rent is going up $150.00 more in November.
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