Several of us from our crash crew unit at El Toro rented an apartment on Fairfield between Santa Ana and Huntington Beach in 1966. Only one person had a car when we first occupied the apartment. We worked twenty four hours on and twenty four hours off which allowed us to ride together. We got the apartment rented. None of us had any kitchen utensils, dishes, furniture, or essentials needed to set up a household. We did have a set of drums, shave and shower gear, and assorted stereos. For several weeks we made the rounds of all the local remote donation centers. We would rummage through the boxes for items we needed. It wasn’t long and we had enough items to get by. We couldn’t impress anybody with our worldly possessions, but we had our own place. We had to make a move after a couple weeks. To a unit where we wouldn’t be so disruptive to our neighbors. The landlord was pretty diplomatic in explaining why we should relocate. We didn’t complain.
Vern’s 1956 Ford station wagon was our sole mode of transportation. The car was generally very reliable. The valve guides were worn and one of the cylinders would bend a push rod once in a while. If the push rod got slapping real bad and causing the engine to miss we would pull over to the side and put in a new one. We could pull the rocker arm cover, back off the valve adjusting nut, change the push rod, adjust the valve clearance, and get things back together in about twenty minutes if the engine wasn’t too hot. We always had tools and push rods with us.
We had a couple skateboards, but never got real proficient with them. We would skate around the apartment complex sidewalks and driveways. We had a weird incident with a skateboard one Sunday morning. One of our apartment dwellers was skateboarding towards our apartment. As he turned the corner on to our entry sidewalk he lost control of the skateboard. When he fell off he gave the skateboard a hard forward kick. Vern happened to be standing on the door jamb of the open front door talking to everybody outside. The skateboard flew up the sidewalk like a rocket and nailed his over extended bare foot to the threshold of the door. It looked like it cut his foot off, but it was just a severe bruise. He hobbled around several days. Didn’t hurt the skateboard at all.
One of the staples at our apartment was Red Mountain Wine. You could buy a gallon for $2.49. If you touched it up with a little dry kool aid it was fairly drinkable. It really tasted good the last few days before payday. It also made the good drinks taste better right after payday.
We weren’t perfect tenants……………but they only had to put up with us every other day.