Major 70s flashback involving... koalas?

Jun 15, 2006 at 12:08 AM

Hi -

Whe I was a tiny little girl, we lived in a tiny old apartment in LA that was built in the 30s or so. I remember the chipped paint, the crack in the ceiling, and sleeping in that bunkbed like it was yesterday. I remember the old musty smell of our apartment and the weird smoke smell (later I was told it was hash) from the neighbor's apartment. I remember the grates on every air vent (I love those cast iron grills so much better than the modern aluminum crap), and the plaster walls that you could pop small sections of away if you tried, so I was told not to. It took all of my willpower to not crack off small pieces of paint or wall. We moved into it when I was 2 and out of it when I was 5, so that was where we lived when I was forming my opinion of what things looked like.

In spite of all of this, the place was a palace to me. Those hardwood floors were a ball room to me - I was always twirling and whirling and asking mom to look-look-look. The hallways were endless and spooky. The windows were HUGE. Sweeping panoramic views of the Chevron station or the vacant lot from every window. I loved it. On a relatively SMOGless day. I could see the top of the Capitol building. It was perfect, to me. We even had a cement yard to play in.

Childhood imagination is something else, isn't it?

I can't remember the last place I lived as well as I can that apartment.

In any case, I have that apartment stamped indelibly into the background of a memory of my first piggy bank, which was actually a koala-bank. Strangely, and for unrelated reasons, I also had a picture on my wall from the San Diego zoo of koalas. So koala bears will forever be linked with Los Angeles in the 1970s to me.

Anyway, all of this came to mind because my children found the exact same koala piggy bank (or at least a duplicate) at a garage sale.

I let them buy it, because it brought back every little detail of that childhood, and of that room.