sunshine state of mind

intense effort


Reverse will be explained shortly. First, I'd like to give you a little background for this story. I will not get bogged down in detail – simply an overview to add depth to a crazy event in ‒
Cappy's–never–a–dull–moment life.

I've had a combination of a tumbultuous and charmed life. To say I was a wild child is putting it mildly. I wasn't a bad kid but I did bad things. Most likely to get noticed but often due to not being prepared for an event. On Christmas day I was gifted a Huffy Bicycle. I ran into a brick wall, that very same day. A few years later I was presented with a copper Schwinn ten‒speed. I ran into the back of a parked car and bent the forks within the first couple of weeks.
This was the car my parents gave me in 1965. It is a 55 Nomad. If you want to know the value of this classic I suggest you Google "55 Nomad." Of course I had no idea what a classic it was. I knew I loved it. I knew it was going to be my surf wagon. And that is what it was. We would load up the top with boards, with one or two inside along with enough surfers to test the limits. My mom would let me charge 5 gals of gas, about $1.80 or so. The little 265 CUI V-8 got me around town but not as stylish as it should have, even if it did have chrome garnish rails ‒
It is the following business card that prompted me to put this presentation together, I'll explain, in Cappy‒story‒book fashion.

I had the car for about three days, if memory serves me well. It was an early morning with a light drizzle falling from gray skies. 54th Street ends at Montezuma Road, right across from Hardy Elementary School. I went to Montezuma until they built Hardy and then I transferred to Hardy, which is just down the way from where I grew up. I got kicked out of Hardy for various reasons. One was drawing pictures in their new playground sand. No, I had not an inkling how to make "those" kinds of pictures, my art work was limited to faces and stuff. You know, Popsicle stick in one hand with an infinite palette at my disposal. I suffered the rest of the school year at Montezuma and then came back to finish up my elementary school career at Hardy. Yes, I know, I digress.
I really did look both ways. I also learned a lesson that day that has stuck with me ever since. To the right of me was the up hill grade and to the left as the way down to Fairmont Avenue. There was a car coming down hill that wanted to make a left turn onto 54. He started up and I figured I could time it and get behind him, making the turn safely. All well and good in my head, they had another notion. When they saw me start out they stopped in the middle of the intersection. I had nowhere to go. Dead in the water as it were. Going up hill, in the rain, bam ‒ she ran into me, crunching my driver’s door. I tried to open the door to jump out and give her what for. I was convinced it was her fault because she had plenty of time to stop. The door wouldn’t open. I had to slide out the passenger side – we did that in those old cars — bench seats that could hold four friends.
We went to court on this accident. The woman was a ditz. She couldn’t tell the story straight to save her life. She had the direction wrong, the lane wrong and her story wrong. I did not dart out in front of her. I had time to start, stop, and start again before she hit me. What did the judge do you ask? Well he reamed me for being a juvenile delinquent and threw the book at me. It seems her husband out ranked my father on the San Diego Police Department and there was no way she was going to lose the case. I suppose when it is all said and done, I learned more than one lesson from this fiasco.
Now for why the business card motivated me to write to you: Much time had passed since the accident. We managed to make the driver's side door work with a lot of creaking and grinding every time I opened it. As I alluded to earlier, I spent all my free time at the beach. One fine day, not long before sunset, I was toting a bunch of beach hooligans around Mission Beach. Another life lesson was about to be taught to an unsuspecting teen. I don’t know if someone suggested it or I got one of my bright ideas but I ended up driving on the beach. You guessed it ‒ I got stuck. The 50’s Chevy’s had what we liked to call a “Slip and Slide with Power Glide” transmission. I ended up burning it up ‒ no go forward. I did have reverse and managed to get the car out of the sand with the help of my beach bums pushing like crazy from the front. I certainly couldn’t drive this from N Jetty Road to Grand Ave ‒ or could I? I certainly didn’t have money for a tow and I could not expect my friend to push me 2.5 miles. So having lived outside the box most of my life I saw no reason why I couldn’t drive backwards to the service station (we used to call them that back then). I did. I kept up with the cars going in my direction. Of course once they saw what I was doing they pulled over. There were a couple like minded out-of-boxer’s that thought it was great fun to hang with me. I backed into the gas station and got permission to leave it until I could call my dad and make arrangement to get it towed. Of course backing into the station was the only way I could have made it so I assume telling you was a bit redundant. I'm not even sure that was the exact gas station as I thought I remembered a Standard or Chevron station on the corner of Grand and Mission. It makes litte difference to this tale. My guys were impressed, even though they no longer had a ride and had to find their own way home. Hitch-Hiking was the way most of us got around when there wasn't a car or a friend with a car willing to tote. That was small potatoes to me compared to having to call my cop dad and tell him my sad story. You can imagine how that went over.
This is the end to this story. I appreciate you if you've been able to get this far. The pictures have little to do with the story. I just figured if you got bored reading you could at least look at some of my old shots. They've been through a lot and scanning them can only do so much. Hopefully I'll get back out there in October for my 50th High School Reunion and my 50th Fraternity Reunion a week earilier. If I do I will go back to these exact spots and shoot some digital.

The first two shots are of La Jolla. The tree is in the park near La Jolla Cove. The other shot is across the cove shot back towards the tree. The pier shot is on Shelter Island, actually a peninsula jutting into San Diego bay from Point Loma, not far from the Sub Base. It was an early morning shot when I was out picking up a cab fare, or a "bell" in cab speak. Speaking of stories, hopefully before I kick it I'll be able to share some of my cab stories. I got a million of them. Y'all take care!

More Stories –
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Addendum —
When my parents presented me with the Nomad I was working for "Ryan Sullivan Bradley Woolman Mortuary" in downtown San Diego. I had been kicked out of Crawford High School, the second time, and was going to Snyer Continuation High School, also in Downtown San Diego. I have a long history of being kicked out of schools. I'm not proud of it — it has shaped me into the person I am today. Coming into the light was my decision and not just assumed.