— Iron Butterfly, Best Years of Our Life, Metamorphosis
▲ click to hear the music ▲
Listening to Iron Butterfly transports me to the back of a van in 1971 heading down to the beach to go surfing. The music was so loud the walls of the car vibrated with the bass which you could feel a block away. Thinking back on those days in San Diego reminds me of how great they were and how perfect life seemed. Eight grade, and Junior High in general, for many people is either heaven or hell. For me it was the former as I ended up going to two different high schools and never really caught by stride again until many years down the road. Of course life is full of great times and memories and certainly many adults ones, but I think back on those days with fond memories and a major touch of nostalgia. Life at the age was simple, I had few commitments, and the weather was ideal.
During a recent move I re-discovered my 8th grade yearbook, which reminded me of why those times, and Pacific Beach in general, were so great. In the early 70s I lived close to the beach and on most days, after I ran my paper route in De Anza Trailer Park delivering the San Diego Union, I would head down to the beach with my Friend Neal Unger and surf Crystal Pier or Diamond Street before school. After a morning session we’d head to PB Junior High where I was the school photographer, an aspiring drummer, and just an all around surfer dude. Here’s a few pages from my yearbook to give you a sense of the times.
What I remember the most is how nice everyone was, how supportive, and as is common when you know your time with someone has ended (I moved the next year), how much they really liked me. If course this is par for the course in year book chatter but here are a few comments which I hold dear. Thank you Andrea, Laurie, Jacki, and Cristina! You haven’t been forgotten!!
But my memories are of more than the sappy notes: those times were unique. As anyone who has lived in San Diego can tell you it is radically different these days and the 70s, like the 60s and 50s before them, are just a memory. Here are some things I miss about 1971:
easy going, twin fins, miniskirts, Creedence Clearwater, long straight hair, 45s, corduroy, sunrises, Guess Who, Belmont Park, saltwater in my nose, wetsuit rash, hard rock, “bitchen”, beach fires, shooting the pier, my first leash, riding my bike, “far out”, Soda Pop, double features, Windansea, early mornings, the Doors, sand in my ears, hamburgers at the beach, steel wheels, vinyl records, sunburn, San Diego Sports Arena, zinc oxide, KGB Boss radio, Zog’s sex wax, Hairmos, resin, milkshakes, sleeping on the beach, fiberglass, hanging out at the seawall.