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Posts Tagged ‘Louise Cunningham’

ON FATHER’S DAY, SHE FEELS MORE LUCKY THAN GOOD

June 19, 2010 13 comments

DAD WITH ASSISTANT, c. 1950

BY LOUISE CUNNINGHAM

This is for everyone whose father wasn’t Robert Young—you know, the 1950s TV dad on “Father Knows Best,” the dad everyone wished they had. Instead, we got … well, I got an alcoholic mess of a smart, well-read, first-to-wear-Bermuda shorts (with black socks and shoes) in 1959 dad, who died young. I got lucky. He called me Lucky.

“Lucky, you’re doin’ good,” he’d say, and 36 years after his death at age 62, he still does—presumably while sitting on my right shoulder, up near my ear, which explains why I can hear him so clearly. He never explained why he called me Lucky. Nobody did. I never knew.

But it made me—the younger of his two girls—feel special. I loved my dad and hated him, as growing girls are wont to do. I know now that he was human, with way more frailties than most. He wasn’t like those men who went to work every day, maybe went to church every week, went to the school play, paid the bills and were there when the kids needed them.  But it doesn’t mean that my father wasn’t worthy of a “Best Dad” trophy. And I miss him like crazy on Father’s Day. Read more…

TWEET THIS! SOMEDAY THE DOGS OF SIGNAL HILL WILL HOWL MY NAME!

April 11, 2010 1 comment

LOUISE BOUGHT ONE OF THE FIRST CONDOS ON SIGNAL HILL

Up on Signal Hill, the wind is whipping the trees around like Tina Turner’s hair, and making sound effects from a very scary movie—wooooing as it swirls through my front porch, setting the windows to creaking. The flatlanders of Long Beach don’t know this thrill.

 Fourteen years ago, when I spotted this condo in a realtor magazine while sitting in the chair at a beauty shop, the building was one of only two on this road, which lines the north ridge of the hill. Since then, we early Signal Hillbillies have been surrounded by cookie cutter “estate” homes. Most were built during the boom of the 1990, bought for sky-high prices and now unable to be sold for those million-dollar price tags. 

 Those early times were the good years, when a skunk could prance down the middle of the road and not get squashed by a speeding Mercedes. Hawks soared majestically overhead, peering down to where rodents were invariably scurrying between protective clumps of brush.

 The only things circling slowly overhead now are the blimps that come into town and park at the airport, or that big gas-bag dirigible that comes to town to sell scenic rides for big bucks (and scare my unsuspecting guests when they turn toward the window and see a gigantic white cigar floating by). Read more…

AS A MATTER OF FACT, TIME IS ON YOUR SIDE—TWEET THAT!

March 24, 2010 7 comments
 

"MY-POD"

BY LOUISE CUNNINGHAM

“Man walks into a bar with an octopus…”

 And so began the long tradition of Tim Grobaty telling me a joke—line-by-line, one trip past my desk at a time. That could take awhile, even though he walked past my desk a lot. It was situated at the entry to the newsroom of the Press-Telegram, where I was the secretary to a huge room full of reporters, but most primarily to Rich Archbold, who was then the managing editor. It was a golden time, and one of the reasons is that—the daily, crushing deadlines notwithstanding—time didn’t matter as much. I didn’t care how long it took to get to the punch line. 

That’s the fun when you aren’t watching the clock, or texting or tweeting or whatever it is that’s going on instead of real human contact. Does anybody even take the time to tell jokes, anymore? Or do we spend all that time deleting the “funny” forwards from our e-mail without even looking at them? Yeah, I sound old. But that used to be the way young sounded.

 “Time is on my side,” Mick Jagger teased smugly. From where I sat when I heard it—Haight-Ashbury, 1966-67–it was true enough. I met my first living ex-husband at the Fillmore Auditorium at a Grateful Dead/Jefferson Airplane concert. He was draped over a speaker on the stage, celebrating his discharge from the Navy after serving in Vietnam. Cupid was on acid that night, evidently. Read more…