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Oddball
Thoughts

Stranger

Mar 17, 2024

It was 1969. I was 22 years old. I finished my Army Tour of Duty six months beforehand. Somehow I fell into a small business opportunity sharing the ownership of retail lighting store. My high school’s father owned a wholesale electronics store in NYC. He agreed to provide us with inventory on consignment. While neither one of us was remotely experienced or capable of operating a store we were pretty good at attracting young women. But, that’s another story for another day.

One of the items we sold in the store was a blinking light box that responded to t the beat of pulsating music. The local Long Island night clubs were attracted to this point of sail concept.

To make a long story short, a women’s wear dress manufacturer stopped in and liked the light box concept. He asked us to come out to Los Angeles to set up a prototype. So, two star stuck kids closed up the store and made a bee line hike to LA.
It didn’t take long for the deal to fall through. To many promises on a wish and a prayer. I took a job parking cars at a very upscale restaurant . My partner flew back to NY for his Grandfather’s funeral.
The first weekend arrived and I was all alone . What’s a boy to do? Maybe I’ll just walk up to the corner of Sunset Blvd and hitchhike to the Beverly Hills beach.

Along comes a big 1960s Chevy Convertible with NY license plates. A British guy was in the driver’s seat. He looked at me and said, “Where are you heading?” I said I was heading to the beach. He said, “Hop in.”

So, off we went along Sunset Boulevard heading to the beach in Beverly Hills. Two strangers. No apparent plans.
As the car cruised along, so did the conversation. Where are you from? What do you do? Why are you here? Etc. Etc.
While I’m not sure how long it took to get to the beach, the conversation flowed pretty comfortably.
Turns out, neither one of us had a plan for day. Although I did have a fantasy to find the actress, Carol Lindley somewhere on the beach ,
A boy’s dream. Hey, that never happened. Oh, well. A least I had a goal for the day.

As I recall, we spent a lovely afternoon chatting about this and that. And then, as the day came to an end, we hopped back into the Chevy and headed back along Sunset Boulevard.

Somewhere along the way I learned that my new friend was recently divorced, he was working as an accountant for one of the movie studios. He just moved to LA. He didn’t know a soul.
I was his first point of contact,
Well, we arrived back to the original street corner, traded phone numbers and parted ways.
A week went by and he called me. Want to go out for dinner? Sure, but I don’t have any money. No worries, I’ll be glad to treat.
Well, the dinner was lovely. We talked more about this and that. It ended, We parted ways.

Another dinner followed a week later. More congenial conversation.

And then, I moved to San Francisco. We never communicated again. No calls. No letters. No good byes.

The late 1960s were an innocent time. We didn’t fear meeting strangers. We didn’t expect strange or dangerous things might happen. Or, maybe it was just a few like me? I still cherish the memory.