– KFRC – Big Tom Parker – December 31, 1976 – Rob Frankel Collection –
Did every kind of job imaginable – pushed burgers at McDonald’s – pushed a mop at The May Company – pushed free trips to California City. Every penny – every drop of sweat – every after-school gig that needed a warm body: that was you. And all those paychecks – all those tips – all those customers with stink-eye ’cause you got the order wrong – they got you a brand-new, loaded, dealer-stock Honda Accord, the last one on the lot. The Five Grand you saved up burned a hole a foot wide and a new Accord was going for a little over Four.
You never had a new car before – you never had a car; period. You’ve been sitting on a Driver’s license ever since you started your Senior Year. It was your first – five-speed, stereo cassette, new car smell, thirty-miles-to-the-gallon reward for two years worth of indentured servitude.
And you wanted to go someplace – someplace you couldn’t take the Number 7 bus to – someplace in a different area code.
Your friends came up with taking a roadtrip to The Bay Area and doing New Year’s Eve at North Beach – you heard they closed the streets off – you heard it was insane – you heard it was the best place on earth, next to Times Square.
Your parents are horrified – but you’re 18 and you can go anywhere on earth. And you heard all about the sandwiches at Mike’s Pool Hall.
So you round up your buddies just after sunrise and head north. Hours later, you finally cross the Bay Bridge and an attack of giddy hits you. Life just became jammed-full of possibilities.
You find a parking spot near Washington Square, pile out of your car and head towards the action.
It’s everything everybody said it was: nonstop people. Everybody on earth. People handing you things; things to drink and things to chew on. Things to give you an out-of-body experience. New Year’s Eve is going full-tilt.
Midnight shows up and you are in another dimension – you’ve never been kissed and hugged by so many people in your life. You are laughing uncontrollably – your friends are staggering around in circles.
Somewhere in the middle of a slowly lifting Wine and Quaalude fog you think about crashing and where that is going to happen. It didn’t occur to any of you that you actually had to sleep somewhere – a motel was an abstract concept, even if there was a room around. So you decide it would be a great idea to crash in your car – new car smell, reclining bucket seats and all. Tunes on the stereo. Perfect.
Two things: First, you can’t find your car. The more you look for it the less you find it. You swore you knew where it was – the street is oddly empty. Second – you didn’t pay any attention to the signs posted all up and down the street you parked on saying it was a tow-away zone after 6 pm.
Nope – you missed that.
So $600.00 and a trek in just-above-freezing pouring rain to the City Impound later, you finally get your car back. All the rest of the money you saved for the car is now gone.
The sky is getting light – who needed sleep anyway? You new car now smells like a kennel full of wet German Shepherds.
At least you have KFRC to listen to – and Big Tom Parker letting you know what everybody was listening to during the year on this New Year’s Eve, 1976.