Uncle Bob

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, February 18, 2008 01:54am | Post a Comment
This was inspired by the yacht rock movies.

In the 70’s, I was in my single digit years. (Christopher Cross- Ride Like The Wind) Even though I was raised in a Mexican immigrant family, I still lived in 70’s-mellow Los Angeles. We were inundated with those laid back, playing on the beach, (George Benson-Breezin’) Mimosa drinking, macramé wearing, big sunglasses wearing, sitting on wicker furniture on our balcony with our Southern California vibe, thanks to the media. The media made some of us forget we were growing up in the ghettos of Los Angeles in dilapidated housing with no jobs or low-paying jobs. It made us forget the Vatos down the street were smoking Angel Dust.  It made us forget we never had time or the funds to get to the beach, even if it was only a few miles away.

Television was full of it. (Boz Skaggs - Lowdown) Three’s Company, The Love Boat, even the local T.V. news fluff piece shows like Eye On L.A. had us believing everyone lived on the beach and had a yacht. Even my heroes as a kid, the Los Angeles Dodgers, seemed to succumb to the laid-back images with their gold chains outside their uniforms, porn 'staches and long hair.

Radio was worse at perpetuating the myth. Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Steely Dan, (Green Earring) Boz Skaggs. Even former funksters like The Commodores and Earth Wind & Fire went soft. Everyone was in such a mellow haze that my impressionable siblings and I thought that’s how normal adults lived their life. If that was the case, what was wrong with our parents? They worked all the time, looked horribly unhip in their work clothes and they never went out on the town. (Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street) My father was always stained with paint from his job; my mother listened to big band music as she sewed us our clothes because we couldn’t afford to buy clothes from the store.

I remember one time my family went to an Uncle’s house for a party. (Player - Baby Come Back) His name was Bob. Uncle Bob. He lived where I guess was the Valley. Back then a trip to downtown L.A. from Gardena seemed to take an eternity, especially when my parents' car maxed out at 50 miles per hour. Once we got to Uncle Bob’s house, my eyes got big. (Herb Alpert - Rise) My Uncle Bob was living that life. He had parrots in a big outdoor birdcage. He had Persian rugs, wicker furniture and my favorite, a waterbed that entertained me for hours. I would jump on it headfirst and the force of the jump would knock whoever else was on it right off!

My parents looked uncomfortable. There was no beer for my Dad to drink, only blended drinks. He and my uncle had to go to the store to buy their own beer. Uncle Bob was my Aunt Jenny’s brother, who married by father’s brother, Leo. Jenny was a Chicana from New Mexico and grew up much different than her husband or my parents. Of the four of them, she was the most comfortable. My mother was probably in constant fear that we were going to break something with our raucous playing. And for my father? This was probably all too weird for him: the parrots, the wicker and the blended drinks.

Uncle Bob had a chocolate Labrador puppy. (Michael McDonald - I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)) We started running around chasing the pup. The dog ended up pooping on the water bed. Uncle Bob got mad. “God damn it!” he yelled.  All us kids retreated in fright from this angry adult. He wasn’t very good with kids.  (The Alan Parsons Project - I Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You) I felt like he wanted to blame us but couldn’t under the watchful eye of my mother. Thus, our water bed escapades were over. I stopped playing and started watching Uncle Bob’s humongous color television. Eye On L.A. was on. We watched the yacht sail into the Pacific to the tune of George Benson’s “Breezin’.”

I guess the laid back California lifestyle wasn’t for me. (The Doobie Brothers - What A Fool Believes)

Fade to black.

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