Mar 11, 2011

The Lemon Trees of Oxnard

In the summer of 1964, I got on a bus in Allentown headed for Oxnard, California, where I planned to work in the lemon orchards. I had with me a Give the kid a job letter from the boss of the Trexler Orchard in Orefield. The boss in Oxnard also owned a car wash, and I ended up working there. During WW2, homeowners in Oxnard were encouraged to build cottages for extra GI housing. I rented a small one room cottage at the far end of a back yard. The bathroom was added on to the backporch of the house. Every day I would walk to the square in Oxnard, and catch the bus to the carwash. In early August I was rescued by Sonny Huthmaker, whose family had moved from Lehigh Parkway to Hawthorne, California years earlier. Sonny was five years older. He and his friends were into body building, custom cars and gate crashing. They would attend events all over the Los Angeles area, and their sport was to sneak in without paying. Sonny would end up being a celebrity photographer and journalist in LA, and wrote a book on gate crashing*. I stayed at his house for two weeks, and the Beatles was one of the concerts we crashed. Upon returning to Allentown, the Beatles, on the same tour, were playing Atlantic City. Employing my newly learned crashing skills, I attended my second Beatle concert within a week. I don't know if they really sang or not, that's how loud the girls screamed, on both coasts.

* The Gate Crashers by Ken Huthmaker, which reveals the secrets of the society of the uninvited


gary ledebur said...

"We were all on this ship in the sixties, our generation, a ship going to discover the New World. And the Beatles were in the crow's nest of that ship."
------------------John Lennon

Anonymous said...

Great stories MM! So you weren't a crotchety old man your whole life...kidding, kidding!