Monthly Archives: May 2021

Photo by George Becker on

Remember when old people used to give you advice?

I certainly do.

When I was young, I dismissed much of that as poppycock – but I was an entitled little prick back then.

It’s not that I was arrogant or mean. In fact, I played the game perfectly. I was a good kid. A sweet kid. It seemed to whomever was dispensing wisdom at the time that I was really listening.

My body language was in line with those moments. I looked people in the eye. I nodded and smiled and thanked those old farts for their sage advice.

And then I went on doing exactly as I pleased.

And it’s generational. My daughter just admitted to me that she did the same thing – but I was on to her long ago…

Just like my sister was on to me – and (sorry, man) my brother.

Chris doesn’t remember, but I do. Maria bought us t-shirts that said: “Sorry If I Look Interested. I’m really not.”

She pegged us.

Hubris coupled with good manners. What a strange cocktail. Passive rebellion.

But now, much of that unheeded advice is biting me in the ass.

The importance of having a nest egg, for instance – what Napoleon Hill called The Habit of Saving…

I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. I failed to understand that saving just a little bit of everything I earned could have put me in a good position in later life. It could have, in fact, made me rich. I’m talking about a forty-year span, give or take. Compound interest would be doing its job and I would have been sitting pretty.

And how about drugs, alcohol and the time wasted in those pursuits…

Not merely the act of drinking and drugging, but the ill-advised hanging out – talking about nothing for hours, as if this were important. Babbling, waiting for the next bump or the next drink. Spending time with folks with nothing more in common than our addictions…

…and thinking too much about getting laid.

YOLO went haywire. After all, was this really living? And if we live only once, shouldn’t I have been building a life that I could be proud of?

Carpe diem probably meant something other than what I was seizing. I can see that now.

Hard lessons learned the hard way.

Procrastination also took its toll, with my incessant can-kicking. I wish the can got kicked down a dead-end road instead of an endless expanse. At least I could have retrieved the can and set it right.

I might have believed it, but I never came to terms with how short this life really is. When older folks told me things like that, I lacked the perspective to grasp the wisdom that was being dispensed.

There is a cliché to the effect that life would be so much easier if we listened to the advice of our elders, but the vanity of youth overrode this truth. I would do things my way.

What an idiot.

Dad and Chris outside Dad’s Apartment at Peyton Hall – Circa 1977

It smelled different. It felt different.

I felt at home.

Hollywood. 1973.

Dad was living in an apartment at – I will remember the address forever – 7267 Hollywood Boulevard.

Peyton Hall was a lovely garden apartment property at the corner of Hollywood and Fuller, just west of La Brea Avenue. It featured beautifully manicured sprawling grounds and walkways, interspersed by white bungalow-style buildings boasting four units each. I don’t remember if every building had the same layout. I don’t think so because some units were singles – bed-and-bath affairs – and I assume there were two-bedroom units available. Dad’s place was a one-bedroom.

Somebody told him that actor Leo Gorcey once lived in that apartment. Gorcey was best known as one of the Dead End Kids.

His rent? $225 per month.

Just up Fuller was the parking garage. It seemed ancient to a ten-year-old – like it could have been an old stable or something. I could imagine early-model cars parked there back in the day, way older than my dad’s 1967 Chevy Impala. According to an ad I found online, a parking attendant once worked in there.

I thought his Impala was ancient, too, but it was only seven model years old. What a difference a little perspective makes…

Behind the garage was an Olympic-sized pool, said to have been built for aquatic MGM star Esther Williams. The pool was a huge feature at Peyton Hall. It was textured with small square tiles, most light blue and some black to mark the lanes.

Even as a youngster, the magic of the place was not lost on me. It was palpable.

Strolling east down Hollywood Boulevard was a journey of discovery for me and for my brother. This was a world we had not known in Miami, although that place, especially Coconut Grove, holds an altogether different treasure trove of memories.

Bookstores like Bennett’s, Cherokee Bookshop, Pickwick Books and Bond Street Books were awesome places to score old comics, lobby cards, posters and even slightly used shooting scripts. The movie theaters were mind-blowing – the Chinese, the Egyptian, the Cinerama Dome on Sunset

Hollywood Toys, Hollywood Magic

Lunches at the Copper Penny on Sunset and La Brea, Ice Cream at Thrifty Drugs at Santa Monica and La Brea…

Swimming in that awesome pool and being shushed by McLean Stevenson

And the sign: “We don’t swim in your toilet. Please don’t pee in our pool…”

Peyton Hall was the precursor to our eventual life at Franklin and Orange.

More to come.

If you enjoy stuff like this, be sure to check out the podcast I have with my twin brother, Chris – The Yale Brothers Podcast.

Dad’s Building was 7267 Hollywood Blvd.