my pretty little wild one… it always make me smile when I think of our day, please come back. I bought you a Honda 250 so we can have more fun. call me. my love, Steve
my paternal grandmother lived in Pacific Palisades for the most part while I was growing up; until her second husband passed, my grandfather Edwin – then, I guess, is when grandma decided she needed to move – first to the east to be near my aunt; my aunt had re-married and moved to the DC suburbs; she had previously lived in Pasadena – [but]then the two must have quarreled (which is sad) so grandma quickly moved back to the west; close to where I was going to school– multiple stories: a whole book could be written about this lovely woman [just] while I was in college – she had a way about her: adventure and love for life and everyone without bias.
by the time I was four or five, she was married to my second grandfather; never knew my first – so he was it. very smart man, and he was always fun: and most importantly, he took care of my beautiful grandmother. she’d had polio as a young girl; never kept her down – perhaps why she’d been divorced many years earlier; i.e. some personalities could see her disability as an easy means to control her and with her beauty, she would have had to live her life in a gilded cage. though she was gentle and sweet, that wasn’t ever going to happen – note: my grandmother was in a wheelchair (strong arms!) and/or walking device since she was 19 years old, but she never considered herself disabled – never asked for any special privilege – and therefore, she wasn’t (disabled). this grandfather (her husband) loved her for her adventurous nature – and that she was stunningly gorgeous – he was really really lucky. she must have been heartbroken when he passed on; she was a strong woman and no matter what, didn’t put her own heartbreak on others. I never heard her cry, but when we sat together sometimes, having tea (or she liked sherry), I could read it in her eyes/thoughts… the sorrow. and she’d always thank me (without words) for sitting with her; then a quick kiss on my forehead and instructions to go – you are young, go be happy… she would say. so, I did.
sometimes I would just take off driving down the coast when I was in my late teens – knowing my dearly loved grandmother was there, so no matter what else I found, I could stop in to catch up with her for a few hours/days… whatever time there was for us.
one trip: I was 17 or 18 – had only been living away from home for a couple of years at the time; hadn’t gone to college yet, so pretty sure of age… as I was still a buyer in the old Silicon Valley – it was more fun/honest back then, or maybe that was a 17-year-old girl’s eyes? don’t know. i think i was 17 still…
loved the coast and CA has a very long coast to drive – north or south; didn’t matter – though south was warmer – typically, went south; I’d find places to pull over and look out to the ocean… remembering trips up/down the coast with my father when I was a girl: could see our boat sailing — trust me, down the coast is easier on the stomach/memories – sailing back up/into the gate depending on the tides/ currents/how choppy it was could get nauseating for hours: sometimes I’d climb up the mast and fling myself off into the water as far as I could possibly go – just to get away from the rolling for a few minutes – and then when my father would catch up to me, he’d throw the avon dingy off the back and I’d catch on/pull myself up into it and then pull the dingy back to the boat with the rope – get back onboard: it really works the best of anything I’ve ever tried if you’re seasick/clears it up immediately! but, going in the gate – don’t try this: the currents are so wild, you could end up… did that accidentally once many years earlier; I was lucky – I made it: but never again – Mr Toad never had such a wild ride.
anyway, one of my car trip: grandma had her friends at her home, playing cards and eating those little sandwiches with the crusts cut off and shaped into circles and diamonds and triangles, stuffed with cream cheese and those olives with pimento or cucumbers with dill, and raspberry or fig jams with almond paste, when I arrived (in my cut-off jeans and halter top and flip-flops – oops!) Hi, I said to all off them… they looked at me, my grandmother smiled gently: this is my grand-daughter, I told you about her… the ladies smiled at me. hey, grandma, why don’t I come back later? I can go up to the canyons and just explore for a while? okay dear, that would be good. I leaned forward to kiss her forehead before I left… she whispered in my ear, hay is for horses, sweetheart. sorry, grandma.
as I was walking out her side patio, I saw a Suzuki leaned up against a bench by her roses: a dirt bike(!) so I ran back in – thinking it had to belong somehow to someone in there, and none of them looked like they’d ridden it over(?) …whose bike is that outside? a woman, sitting next to my grandmother answered, it was her son’s. He’d met at my grandmother’s home, and (why grandpa wasn’t there – probably quite thankful:) my grandfather had taken him to the airport. Oh,I said. my grandmother spoke up – interjecting herself into the upcoming conversation, knowing what my thoughts were… you know, my grand-daughter is very good on a motorcycle; my son, her father, owns a bicycle store…
it came to be, I was allowed to borrow the dirt-bike; which was really a blessing cuz in my car, I’d have needed to go down to the highway to get to Malibu (I was thinking); whereas, with the bike I could take off from the back of her house and (back then there weren’t that many homes) never hit a paved road all the way to the canyon; it would have been too long to walk and get back any time reasonable, so this was really perfect.
leave me alone… the two of them started laughing at me; they were really big guys and had all that motorcycle stuff on and helmets and big black boots – which was way over kill – [we] were all out in the middle of nowhere (back then) and what they were wearing was more appropriate to motorcycle club attire on paved roads, not dinky little dirt bikes; though, me: I was in shorts with sandals/no helmet – so in the reverse: I wasn’t dressed correct either. Just then, a gun shot was heard (not aimed at anyone, but it was close) and the two stopped… get away from her, now. and as I turned around, there was this man in jeans/a t-shirt with a helmet on – he was the only one of the four of us dressed appropriately for the day… and then a second shot: it bounced an inch or so on the ground away from one of the guy’s boots – [he] took off on his bike; the other had a confrontational attitude apparently, and wasn’t going to let someone intimidate him; fuck you, asshole, and this guy went to pull something from his belt (a gun?). don’t. the guy put his arms up/away from his sides and said, okay, man, be cool. get the hell out of here. so the guy who’d tried to attack me got on his bike and it looked as if he was going to leave to – but then, he turned around (did a donut) and came straight at us – the man who had helped me, lifted me off the ground and tossed me to the side and then stood there, waiting for the guy on the bike to come at him – and as the mean one drove into this other man, hero guy grabbed the idiot by his leather jacket and the two went tumbling to the ground; the bike ditched and slid down a hill – fist fight ensued – hero guy knocked the other to his knees really quick (and then) the bike I’d been riding had a tire chain/lock that I’d previously picked up/was going to use if I had to; now hanging across the handle bars – grabbed the tire chain and swung it around (didn’t hit the guy; I don’t think he was trying or he would have) with the gun in his other hand… it all went pretty quick: big mean guy ran off down the hill after his bike/left. it was over. thank you. [he took off his helmet] and just stared at me – didn’t say anything for a few minutes; then: are you okay? yeah, I’m fine, but you? what the hell are you doing up here all by yourself? riding. I know that, why? cuz it’s like the most beautiful feeling; just you and the dirt and the rocks and the air and…
yeah, i know, it’s freedom, it’s life.
(to be continued)