An extraordinary collection of photographs
Fishing Baja 2000
Fishing the Sea of Cortez off Cerralvo Island
The Year of 1959 (I was 32 years old)
What was happening in the world:
- Singapore wins its freedom from British colonial rule. In 1991 (32 years later) I visited there.
- The first transatlantic telephone cable is completed linking USA and Europe.
- Russia sends its first rocket to the moon.
What was happening in the USA:
- Alaska and Hawaii become the 49th and 50th states of the USA.
- After major problems in WW II, all Japanese-Americans are granted full citizenship rights.
- Three major deaths:
- General George Marshall (aged 78 years), one of our greatest leaders both during and after WW II.
- Frank Lloyd Wright (aged 80 years) one of America's greatest architects.
- Lou Costello (aged 51 years), of Abbott and Costello fame.
What was happening In California:
- The first transcontinental round-trip by a jet in the U.S. is made in a single day between L.A. and N.Y.
- Walt Disney releases Snow White.
What was happening in sports:
- In the Rose Bowl, it was Iowa 38 - Cal (Berkeley) 12
- In the World Series, it was the L.A. Dodgers over Chicago 4 games to 2.
- In the NFL championship game, it was Baltimore 31 - NY Giants 16.
- NFL Player of the Year was Johnny Unitas of Baltimore.
- The Heisman Trophy went to Billy Cannon of LSU.
- The national champion of College Football was Syracuse.
- The national champion of College Basketball was California.
- The NBA champion was the Boston Celtics.
What was happening at the movies:
- Best movie was Ben Hur.
- Best actor was Charlton Heston in Ben Hur.
- Best actress was Shelley Winters in Diary of Ann Frank.
- Other great movies were:
- Anatomy of a Murder,
- Warlock (Richard Widmark), and
- A Summer Place
Memorable songs were:
- Broken hearted melody (Sarah Vaughn)
- Writing love letters in the sand
- Tumbling tumbleweed
What was happening in my life:
- From January 1st until May 31st, I continued to live at South Mariposa in West L.A. and work at the Division of Highways downtown. However, I was continually looking for opportunities to transfer as a state employee back to Sacramento.
- Some of the things I remember about living in L.A. during this period of my life were:
- Going to the movies every Saturday night at show houses in the West L.A. area such as:
- Westlake (across from MacArthur Park);
- The swanky show house at the corner of Western/Wilshire Blvd;
- The movie house on Normandy Avenue; and
- The one out in Hollywood on Sunset Blvd.
- The sex-kitten Brigette Bardot was very popular at this time.
- Exploring the interesting Wilshire Blvd with its "miracle-mile" of modern high-rise buildings.
- Exploring Hollywood at night with such landmarks as the circular Capitol Record building and the Chinese Theatre.
- I met a new friend at work, an older guy named Ray Harden. He lived in Alhambra with his Cuban wife (Isabella) and his blonde 6-year-old daughter (Sonya). He invited me out to his place one night for dinner and to meet his family. He was also working for the Division of Highways as a Delineator, but he was obsessed with the idea of buying land in Brazil near the new capitol city of Brasilia. He talked long and hard trying to get me to invest money with him (which I did not do). A few decades later, I would visit Brazil during my retirement travel.
- One weekend in the spring of 1959, he and I took a trip to a place called Lucerne Valley located east of the San Gorgonio Mountains in the high desert area. The purpose of the trip was to show me how easy it was to stake a claim and acquire federal land. We stayed in an old miner's shack overnight, and I could hear the desert wind howling through the cracks all night. It was an interesting experience, but I did not end up claiming any federal land and never tried to verify the claims process.
- Something happened about this time that definitely complicated my plans to get back to Sacramento. I met a gal named Mary Boisseranc and I began to establish a relationship with her. This was my first and last serious relationship with a woman. She was a year younger than me and like me had never been married. We were both definitely thinking about getting married, but we were both afraid to take the "fatal" plunge, she was also Catholic and that gave us something in common.
- She lived with her parents on an orange orchard farm in Buena Park. Her mother and father had come to the USA about 35 years ago from France, but they still thought of themselves as being "French". For about 3 months I made regular trips to Buena Park to visit with Mary.
- We made a trip to the Mission at San Juan Capistrano and were impressed by its ornate altar that was sent to California in 1776 from Barcelona. Spain.
- We also made a trip together to Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood to see its famous artistry:
- A complex statuary of figures called Mystery of Life that depicted the various stages of human life and death.
- An authentic reproduction of DaVinci's famous painting The Last Supper in the form of a spectacular stain-glass window.
- The Crucifixion - rated as the world's largest religious painting. It stretches 195' long and 45' high across the entire stage of a special theatre that was built to house it. It portrays the scene on Calvary Hill just before Jesus is crucified. It was painted almost 100 years ago in Poland. It is a spectacular sight to see.
- By the end of May of 1959, I was in a confused situation:
- On one hand, I was involved with a woman for the first time and was thinking seriously about getting married.
- On the other hand, I wanted to "chuck" everything about Los Angeles, and flee back to Sacramento.
< ----- What was happening in 1958
What was happening in 1960 ---- >
Capitol Records building in Los Angeles
I would frequently wander the streets in my free time - there was always something to see.
Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles
I made sure to see the landmarks around West L.A. including the miracle mile and the Farmer's Market (below).
A sunset in Los Angeles
Even though I wanted to get back to Sacramento, L.A. was a good place to be for a couple of years. I was in to movies and there were many good theaters to choose from.
She was one of the sexiest actresses in 1959.
A co-worker wanted to show me how easy it was to stake a claim and acquire federal land.
Sunset in Lucerne Valley
I heard the wind all night long from our old miner's cabin accomodations.
A claim to a section of government-owned land. The rusty old tobacco can contains the papers that give title to the land.
San Juan Capistrano Mission
It was one of the places I went with Mary. We were both Catholics, so it had added meaning for us.
Interior of San Juan Capistrano
The mission was built in 1776 and the ornate altar was shipped all the way from Barcelona, Spain.
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