Last night I took my youngest daughter, Alyssa, for what is likely to be her last time trick-or-treating … with me, at least. She’ll be 18 in a week, though she’s small enough she’ll probably be able pass for a child for decades to some (with a mask on.)
There was a local Facebook group that had lists of the decorated houses here in Simi Valley, including maps and guides if you wanted to drive around and sight see. We didn’t actually do that, but we did use a couple of destinations to check out. The first video below is from the neighborhood we went to where one family had created a haunted house.
Alyssa wanted to go through it, but she insisted I accompany her, which I did. They had set it up so that if you went through with a flashlight the actors weren’t supposed to jump out at you, but just wave. That’s what Alyssa wanted to do, but the first character we met jumped out at her and screamed, scaring the shit out of her. I admonished him and we got an apology when we exited. It’s a good thing I was with her or she would have completely freaked out.
Here’s Alyssa in her “costume.” She wanted to be a French businesswoman; an entrepreneur and this is the outfit she put together using clothing she wears normally, as well as a piece she had designated to be donated to a local charity but decided it fit her concept. I ordered her a beret from Amazon Prime to “top” the costume off.
Below are some videos and photos of some of the houses she stopped at. We didn’t get any photos of the haunted house, as we were too busy going through it and navigating the maze they’d created. Both neighborhoods we went to were a bit more upscale than ours. In fact, the second place we went was an equestrian neighborhood and I’d venture to guess the houses there were about twice as pricey as our home. It was also jam packed with literally hundreds of people walking from house to house. We returned to our area of town to finish off the evening and it was comparatively dead. All-in-all it was a fun evening for Alyssa. Later today or tomorrow we’re going to head over to For The Troops, an organization that sends packages of hard-to-get supplies and goodies to serviceman and women stationed abroad. It was Alyssa’s main reason for going out last night.
This was her haul of candy for the night, not including the dozen or so pieces we ate while she was conducting inventory. I must admit I ate my share and, fortunately, my blood sugar wasn’t too elevated this morning.
I celebrated my seventh birthday in June of 1954. We had recently moved from our modest home in Panorama City, California to a two-bedroom apartment in Palms, West Los Angeles. The San Diego Freeway (Interstate 405) wasn’t even approved for construction yet and behind our building was a small pond. I have no precise recollection of the day I went to see the movie I’m sharing this trailer from, but I do remember it was a Saturday matinee. The Creature From The Black Lagoon was, for a seven-year-old, a very scary movie. I’m sure today it would be rated PG-13, though it would undoubtedly be far more violent and bloody.
That evening my parents went out and left me to fend for myself and my almost 4-year-old brother. At the time, it seemed perfectly normal for us to be alone on occasion and we enjoyed playing together and watching television. Come to think of it, I’m not sure how much there was to watch back then. I don’t think there was a great deal of children’s programming in 1954. At any rate, we managed to entertain ourselves and, at the appropriate hour, we trundled off to bed.
Our apartment was in the very back of the building we lived in and our bedrooms were in the back of the apartment. The window in our bedroom faced to the West and overlooked the pond behind our building. When you’re seven years old everything is bigger than life and exaggeration comes easily. It wasn’t long before that pond (which I have no doubt was pretty small by any standard I would use today) became a Black Lagoon! As I lay in bed, reliving the still-vivid scenes of horror I had witnessed that afternoon, I became increasingly convinced the creature was preparing to smash through our window and whisk us both off to his lair in the lagoon, almost certainly to be consumed at his pleasure.
I was determined not to let that happen and, mustering up my courage, I leapt out of bed, aroused my brother, and fled with him to the Building Manager’s apartment, where we sought the protection of adults. They were most likely quite surprised to hear we had been left alone by our parents and, as I learned much later in life, my mom and dad were quite embarrassed by the whole affair. Nobody called the police and nobody suggested they were neglectful. Young and impetuous, perhaps, but not criminals. I doubt that would happen today. Here’s the trailer to the movie. It was a humdinger back in the day!!
Addendum 05/02/17 – Thanks to a comment to a friend’s post on Facebook, I need to add the following video, which I think adds a little more flavor to the Creature’s panache.
Since my retirement from Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne in 2010, I have spent quite a bit of energy on developing work as a social media marketer for small business, a business manager for an AI software development firm, and as an editor/proofreader for a number of business books and a couple of novels, as well as a two-year return engagement at Rocketdyne from 2015 to 2017.
I have decided to stop actively pursuing business in these fields and am now positioning myself to be a writer. I have done quite a bit of writing over the years, but I’ve never really attempted to make any money at it; at least not specifically. I’m starting out with a couple of memoirs and, currently, I’m studying the craft, creating a detailed outline and timeline, and honing my skills as a storyteller. Pretty sure I’ll be writing some fiction as well.
The views expressed herein are those of the author. Any opinions regarding the value or worth of particular business processes, tools, or procedures, whether at his former place of employment, at a current client's enterprise, or in general, are his responsibility alone.