Friday, October 06, 2006

steal from the rich

Almond joy
Originally uploaded by p2wy.
Patrick over at Flickr found the almond orchards on his recent trip to Chico, CA -- legend has it[1] that the town is also surrounded by oaks and all kinds of other foresty goodness.

My grandfather tells the story of being an extra in a movie that was shot in those forests when he was in school -- Robin Hood, starring Douglas Fairbanks and Olivia de Haviland.

He was a Merry Man and sat in one of the trees during the big forest scene -- and was especially irked that he wasn't given a role that let him swing from tree to tree. He just had to sit there.

I had always assumed that "school" meant college -- he attended Chico when it was a business school -- but now that I've looked up the movie's production date -- 1922 -- I wonder. High School? He lived nearby. Or just a great story?

He's fond of telling us how Olivia de Haviland was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen (the merry men were falling all over themselves whenever she showed up) and Douglas Fairbanks was frequently so drunk that he fell off his horse.

[1] Four of my family members, spanning three generations, went to school at Chico State, but my only memories of the place are when I was about five years old, and we drove up from Sonoma to see my aunt/godmother in a performance art/drama/dance piece. (She and the rest of the cast were in all black body suits/leotards. The music was psychedelic.) Later I sat in the back of my mother's boyfriend's two-seater sportscar job (she had recently split with my father) when we went to the grocery store.

I sat sideways with my knees tucked up: There was no seat in the back -- just one of those plastic windows that you see in convertible tops (this was the 70s -- the plastic was murky). There must have been a bag of groceries back there too because I remember an avocado that rolled and swayed across the floor's rough surface (a surface that looked a lot like the avocado's own skin) as we drove along.

I remember feeling particularly sad about the fact that the guy driving the car wasn't my dad.

[Photo credit: p2wy]


patrick said...

What a wonderful the parks around Chico (like Bidwell) there are tons of oak trees still. I remember days of being stuffed behind the seats like that...where you can't see a thing and the memories that stay with you are of the stray objects on the floor. But what stays with me most is the soundtrack. My parents had a Pinto (hah!) and my strongest memory is trying to sleep across the back seat while Tammy Wynette's "Satin Sheets" played on the radio... good times.

Heather said...

Love it. We had the standard sixties and then seventies station wagons. On trips we'd put the back seats down, load up the dog and a huge cooler, and then we three kids would lie in the back with our pillows and sing songs or read books. Of course that was way before seatbelt and carseat legislation but we managed to survive in spite of that.

suttonhoo said...

heather you reminded me of car trips in the back of our mighty mo (land rover) -- my sister and I would do the same thing -- only we'd put on puppet shows with our feet through the back window -- expecting that the other cars could hear the dialog, I guess. ;)

patrick you're just freaking me out -- didn't they take those things off the market because they exploded on impact?!?!

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