I’m a fan of history, especially my own.
And while the human mind can remember a lot of things, anyone who’s been around for a while knows, after a while, the old hard-drive gets full. You can only remember so many things and with today’s information-overload society, I’m afraid a lot of those stories from years gone by are slowly being squeezed out.
Or, they never made it here in the first place.
During this week’s visit to mom and my sister Debbie down in the hometown of Torrance, California, I picked up quite a few lost stories that were either squeezed out or simply forgotten. Some were never even heard, so I’m choosing to write them down so that either you or me can pull these out when we’re sitting around in the old folks home, wondering why we’re there.
I knew I was born in Gardena, a neighboring city to Torrance, but the story I had always heard was because Torrance didn’t have a hospital of its own. It turns out they DID have a hospital, but the night the water broke and delivery became a matter of time, MY PARENTS COULDN’T FIND THE TORRANCE HOSPITAL! So they went to the closest one, which was a hop, skip and a jump over in Gardena. I heard this story as we stopped by the site where the elusive hospital once stood.
I ended up having a 30+-year radio career and of all the paths I could have chosen, radio called me. (and I was caller #9) I found out during this trip down that my mom was also a fan of radio, as she pulled out her official membership certificate she received when she was 11-years-old. A charter member, no less.
During one of the many Happy Hours that break out when we get together, my sister Debbie blurted out some stories one night that I may have heard before, but had forgotten. For example, at her high school graduation from Torrance High School, right after they announced her name, I yelled out at the top of my lungs, “Thank God!”
Then there was the time that my buddy Tank and I picked up Debbie at the airport in Seattle. (back when you could greet people at the gate) The moment we saw her, Tank yelled out, “That’s her, officer! The one with the backpack!”
Call it frugal, call it cheap, but I was reminded of another tradition of growing up Hunter. These days, every kid has their own cell phone. But “back in my day”, they had these things called ‘phone booths.’ Each of us busy kids were given a dime. Say, for example, if my basketball practice ended at 4:30, when I was ready to be picked up, I used a dime to operate a pay phone. I would call the home number, let it ring once, then hang up! My parents recognized the Hunter code to go pick up a kid, because hanging up without the phone being answered gave me the dime back and I would be ready for the next time.
Dig around your family history and you’ll probably uncover some “almost never was” stories. For example, I can’t imagine being raised in any other home than the one in the middle of the street where my mom has continued to live for 64 years. But apparently, the only house that was available in that development was the one down the street on the end of the block, next to a very busy Hawthorne Blvd. However, the sale fell through on the eventual Hunter residence and the rest is history.
Just a few shares about my family story, if nothing else, so that I can look at this blog in the future and remember some of those mini-details that successfully escaped my mind.
I’d like to encourage you to do some digging of your own, to see what nuggets you can uncover.
PS–I also found out that even though Torrance is a fairly large city, with a population of 150,000 people, there are no cemeteries within the city limits.