Saturday, August 27, 2011

When She Was Young

Here's a mix of the real with fantasy. I wasn't there and I can't know. Some of it has the ring of truth to me. The main town on Catalina Island (the main island in the Channel Island group twenty plus miles off the Southern California coast) is called Avalon. That's where my mother lived for part of her childhood and teen years. There is another very small town at the isthmus of the island where it narrows to a less than half mile neck called Two Harbors. In the nineteen twenties, thirties and forties, Avalon was already a modest tourist town with a casino and a group of permanent residents that serviced the casino and other tourist activities, and of course the smaller group that serviced them. Santa Catalina is relatively arid and was used as for ranching, but then the owners built Avalon and its casino to attract tourism. The last owners, the Banning family who then sold it to the Wrigleys of chewing gum fame. Now 85% of the island is owned by a conservation non-profit. The Wrigleys also owned the Chicago Cubs who used Santa Catalina as their spring training facility from the twenties through the fifties.

There may have been a larger permanent population in the past. There are somewhat less than 3500 people today.

When She Was Young

When Hy lived with Pop
and Millie on the Channel
island, called Santa
Catalina, she
old enough to drive, they had
no car, but Maggie
did and Hy would drive
Nan and Ron to Two Harbors
over the gravel road
using Maggie's car, old
as it was but she not yet
eighteen and ready
to be a movie
star, or someone else by God,
anywhere damn else.

‎August ‎27, ‎2011 2:25 PM

Written for Magpie Tales - go there for the rest of the gang.


  1. I remember ready to be someone else...anywhere else...

  2. Thank you, Helen.

    Tess, actually in the real world, my mother went to Hollywood with Anne Baxter, both starting in the secretarial pool and both got screen tested. My mother was instructed to do something to lessen her nose and um sleep with someone. Anne was similarly instructed. My mother chose to go to university instead while Anne did what she had to and had a modestly good career.

  3. there is such a struggle between place and self, isnt' there, especially when we are young. place represents self in many ways. (and so i need to recgonize this right now of my life, there is no leaving self - until we do, not matter where we go.)

    love the last few lines especially, the cacaphony born between the lines, to be a movie stor, or someone else by God, anywhere damn else. i don't read the by god as a cussing, but rather as an ordainment, and so this gives me great joy to see the images side by side like this.


  4. I love how you condenced the story
    love your line breaks
    and yes, I have wished that too
    somewhere else,but never someone else
    nice work

  5. I guess it is quite common to dramatically wish for difference. I would stand in the shower in my teens looking at a peculiar drawing made by some capillaries in one of my feet, and claim to myself that this was the mark that proved I was of extraterrestial origin, waiting for them to come get me. I was more than half serious, but I never lost the truth of my situation and the misery in it.

    This does not mean I had a terrible home life or that any other particular part of my life was wrong. It is just that all of it together failed to feel safe or inviting. Nothing felt like that until I discovered drugs.

    There was something lacking in me. I knew it was in me.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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