KRLA – Jim Washburne – June 23, 1962 – Rob Frankel Collection –
It was bound to happen, the signs were everywhere. You had this friend, Craig. Craig was always a few steps ahead of you, ever since fourth grade. Craig had an older brother – he was in High School. He shaved, he smoked, he read Playboy – he had them stashed in his closet. Craig thought his brother was cool – you thought Craig was cool. You wanted to be cool. You weren’t cool. You still wore jeans with the cuffs rolled up.
Summer was going to change all that – and Station Eight was going to be place. You’re on the Number 7 Bus – your eyes are all over the place. Your big “take-it-to-the-grave” secret; you haven’t been to the beach without your parents before – and you’ve never been to Station 8. Craig is sitting next to you with his towel neatly rolled up on his lap. Every time the bus stops and a group of girls gets on, Craig elbows you in the ribs and mutters “umgawa” as they amble past, heading to the back of the bus.
You finally make it to Station 8 and stake out your plot of sand. The fog and low clouds are just burning off and the sun comes roaring on to the beach. Craig unrolls his towel to reveal a bottle of Hamm’s Beer and a pack of Salem cigarettes. He peruses the beach, checking out the incoming crowds while he unwraps the cigarettes. He taps the pack and offers you one. For a brief second you don’t know what to do – you’ve never smoked before – don’t know how that works. You grab the cigarette anyway and hold it, half expecting it to explode. Craig pops one in his mouth and pulls out a Ronson lighter. He flicks it and drags deep. He holds the lighter for you – and following his lead you do the same thing. The results are different – you start hacking like a consumptive. After two or three drags and deciding not to inhale, you settle in. The menthol cigarette tastes like you’re smoking a snow storm.
Next comes the beer – another first. Tastes awful but you aren’t going to let on. Besides, everything seems kind of “fun” right now as you dive into cigarette number 2. At this moment you are feeling like one of the “cool people”.
The picture is complete when three girls, wrapped in towels and who just got out of the water, come up and ask for a cigarette. From somewhere you are totally unaware of has emerged this wildly funny and gracious personality and a party starts. A lot of things are very funny for no particular reason and the next thing you know you are playing “smoke swap” with the blonde who leans over and blows smoke in your mouth, while you return the favor and proceed to lip-lock for a very long time.
You don’t notice this at first, but it has become late in the afternoon – you are burned to a crisp and not exactly sure where the past few hours have gone. You do know you have a phone number in your pocket and a promise to call when you get home. You also know you’re in love.
You and Craig cram on to the bus back home, just as the fog and low clouds ooze back, bringing the temperature down to just above freezing. You don’t really care – the day was beyond sensational and you can’t wait to do it again. This was magic – you have arrived – life makes perfect sense.
Craig asks what you’re going to tell your parents when you get home. You wonder why.
Pointing at the overhead mirror above the bus driver Craig asks you to take a look.
First; you’re the color of a fire hydrant – but then you notice you have a neck full of hickeys – gigantic ones, ones that make you look like you were the target of a vampire with bad aim.
Thirteen is going to be an amazing and complicated year.
And to go along with summer, here is a half hour’s worth of Jim Washburne from KRLA on June 23, 1962.
(This is a work of total and complete fiction – any resemblance to anything or any one is totally coincidental).
As you know, we’ve suspended indefinitely our ads in order to make Past Daily a better
experience for you without all the distractions and pop-ups. Because of that, we’re relying more on your support through Patreon to keep us up and running every day. For as little as $5.00 a month you can make a huge difference as well as be able to download all of our posts for free (news, history, music). You’ll see a banner just below. Click on that and become a subscriber – it’s easy, painless and does a world of good.