66. A Sense of Belonging …

From Summer Place forward, Diana and I went out and around with one another every weekend.  We were certainly entertained enough with what we were doing together yet we hadn’t committed to exclusivity.

Then the time had come in both our minds that I should meet her family.  Her parents were previously divorced and so it would be one at a time meetings.  Besides that her mother and sister had returned to the Midwest after the separation.   

I met her father and I felt he approved of me, at the very least, as his eldest daughter’s companion.  Now I said it this way because interracial relationships were still not easily accepted.

The only real prejudice I had previously encountered in my life was that over religious views.  California was certainly more relaxed than say, the Midwest states where her parents were raised and there was just a little concern that her relationship with me might’ve been frowned upon.  

We weren’t discussing marriage or anything and she assured me that her parents were well aware of her lifelong interest in all aspects of foreign cultures; this shouldn’t be too difficult for them.  

Well the fact is we got along quite well.  He really liked me as a human being and I felt him to be genuine.  One day he invited Diana and myself to dinner at a real nice restaurant in Westwood Village.  

Halfway through our time there at the table, Diana’s father gently placed his hand on our waitress’s hand when she stopped by, yet again with her very big smile and he said, “Doris I’d like you to meet someone.  You already know my daughter … and this is her wonderful friend, Parma.”

I knew it!  I had been pondering the obvious friendliness between Diana’s dad and our waitress.  Maybe they were just casually flirting? I thought.  Here it is, confirmed.  He had a real nice friend there who quite clearly was looking out for him and as a bonus, a nice 20% discount (he told us later) whenever he dined there.  As a single man that turned out to be quite often.

My days and nights moved along at a steady pace and that brings me around to the autumn.  🍁 One day a tenant called me to help her move something heavy in her place. I accidentally left my apartment door open when I went there.  In that time frame someone came into my residence and stole a few things.

Naturally I was alarmed and informed the owner of the building.  She in turn released me from my position and I found myself suddenly unemployed.  In fact she took me to court suing for I cannot even remember what but the judge dismissed the charges.  Apparently he had better things to do.

I say take that whole scenario any way you will because I know what I thought about it.  As might be expected I filled ‘mom’ in on what happened.  In her ever-luvin’ way she said to me, “Honey you never mind all that, I’ll fix things up for you.”  Mrs. Elson had another set of friends up Hollywood way and I found myself in a similar situation up there; resident caretaker of tenants.

As was anticipated Diana and I were still right on track even though we weren’t as close, geographically speaking.  She remained in Westwood and I now lived on Sherbourne Drive.

I was given a nice furnished studio apartment and also had a sort of guardian looking out for me.  This would be an older lady, a very dear friend of ‘mom’ – she’d call me over to her place for coffee or something to eat and ask me how I was getting on, a personal evaluation if you will.  

And Dave’s mom still called up regularly to check on me. We certainly didn’t want a repeat of the previous scene.  Speaking of Dave, we still found time to hang out together and we were both glad of it.  And whenever I could I’d give him advance notice of Diana’s visit, he’d happily make arrangements for the 4 of us to double date.

Out came the lite blue Ford Fairlane 500 again and off we’d go!  A favorite place of ours to dine at was up Malibu way. Just pick up your rotary dial telephone and place the call to GLENWOOD 7 2567 for your table!  We’d take the drive on Pacific Coast Highway to Trancas Restaurant at Zuma Beach for the best swordfish steaks ever.

Back up into Hollywood, the tenants of the building I looked after were nice people.  They all seemed to have everything they needed and most of the times, I was just called upon to help them bring up their groceries from their car.  

And though not in lifeguard capacity, I attended the swimming pool too.  I really felt comfortable here in Hollywood.  Yes the Hollywood of the late 50’s … hindsight, where are you?

|||


GLENWOOD 7 2567      love those phone numbers of the past.

62. My Future is Smiling Bright as the Los Angeles Sun

That evening as the night became late with all the joy of the meeting, they drove me home to the motel.  Before leaving me, mom reassured me that they’d be resourceful and get me out of my current place.  

She wanted to help me get my own apartment and employment too and I know if she had her way she’d send me to school.  I should’ve listened to her more.  “Don’t you worry honey, everything is gonna work out just fine!”   

The days went forward and as I was not yet employed I stayed busy hanging around with Dave.  Doing fun things young guys would probably do, going here and there, hanging out at his home and getting fed real well by mom too!

Meanwhile Mrs. Elson was working her magic, connecting with people she knew wouldn’t mind helping her out with this new campaign of hers.  It seemed like all her efforts were about to pay off; just in her general bubbly attitude I guess I felt comforted enough to trust all is well.

In just over a week mom had a fantastic plan of action lined up for me.  She called me to say, today is the day!  Mom and Dave came to pick me up from the motel for the last time and took me to my new residence and place of employment.  

Mom was with me like a shadow when I went to the office to close my bill.  I lifted my wallet from my pocket to pay and she put her hand on top of mine and said, “No Parma, don’t worry, I’m taking care of this.”  And with that she paid my entire bill with a delighted smile.

They drove me to an apartment complex in Westwood Village and parked the car.  Mom had explained to me a little about what she came up with.  I would both live and work in the same place.  I would get my own furnished studio apartment and a small salary.  Well how convenient is that?

Mrs Elson introduced me to her associate, one of the owners of the premises.  We sat down and the basic interview began.  Mom sat quietly.  The lady told me this position was somewhat of a guardian/maintenance person.  I’d be responsible for keeping an eye on the residence.  The main concern was for the safety of the tenants and to keep the premises quiet.   

Mind you the majority of them were college students attending UCLA.  If there was light maintenance to do like replacing light bulbs, I could take care of it.  There was no worries of collecting rent, tending to rubbish or gardening.  There were regular people for all of those things including building maintenance.

I was to be primarily the owner’s eyes and there as a middle man, a young middle man to blend in between the residence and the owners.  But no I was not the official manager of the premises as I really had none of those duties.  A pretty great set up all in all I thought.

Before leaving me there, mom told me to call her everyday.  “Let me know how you are doing and if you should need anything.”  Dave and I would continue to visit one another mainly during the weekend as he knew I had to pay some attention to my new duties and I’m sure he had other things to do.  It was September and the fall term had commenced.

|||