Friday, January 1, 2016

Birthday Cake, a Cigarette, and Thou: 1982 in Piedmont, California

Happy New Year!

To honor the birth of 2016—as well as this shiny new blog—I figured a birthday theme was in order. Also, I recently discovered a small collection of 34 year-old birthday snapshots, and I need an excuse to post them.

They were taken in August of 1982, at 19 Ramona Avenue in Piedmont, California. The bow-tied birthday boy is yours truly—and yes, I'm holding a Kodak Pocket Instamatic.

My sixth birthday, celebrated at 19 Ramona Avenue in Piedmont, California

I insisted on that bow tie, but I can't remember why. I do remember it was a clip-on. And yes, that's an original Womeco Home Theater descrambler on the TV. We used it to watch SuperTime (later called Star TV), a subscription television service that broadcast over KTSF Channel 26 in the early-1980's. In the evenings, they'd play two hit movies, one crappy one—and then soft-core porn. I feel like they showed Seems Like Old Times and Serial every night.

Eve Buckner, Lisa Kastle, Margaret Shellada, and Jill Weissich relax in the living room at 19 Ramona Avenue in Piedmont, California. Also pictured, Maggie Bedford of San Francisco.

And speaking of Serial. Those colors. The smoking. The potted plants. I miss the early 1980's.

Birthday cake and cigarettes make excellent bed fellows.

Okay, maybe not so much the smoking.

The late Frank Russell of Ramona Avenue and Maggie Bedford in 1982 at 19 Ramona Avenue in Piedmont, Ca
Dennis Skellenger, Geertje Cook, Vic and Jean Hernandez, and others at 19 Ramona Avenue in Piedmont, California

I love that these adults were forced to watch me open presents. I must've been like that evil kid from the "It's a Good Life" episode of The Twilight Zone. Oh, and I don't remember who the dude with the sunglasses and chops was, but he's frickin' awesome.

Jessica Butz and Andy Jordan at 19 Ramona Avenue in Piedmont, California

"Oh, yay. A shirt." The blonde was my babysitter, Jessica Butz. I think the brunette was her friend, Rachel. I remember thinking they were both, like, so grown up. One time, we were locked out of Jessica's house—and to pass the time until her mom got home, she read to me aloud from the Halloween II paperback novelization. Yep, she was a keeper.

Andy Jordan—of Andy Human & the Reptoids—in 1982, eyeballing my new Freddie the Frog hand puppet

The kid eyeballing my brand-new Freddie the Frog puppet was named Andy Jordan. He grew up to headline the Oakland-based punk band Andy Human & the Reptoids. You can read more about them here. I loved that puppet for years. Well, until 1985—when my taste in Freddies abruptly veered toward the Krueger. That was the end of the innocence. Thanks, Wes Craven!

A boy sticking out his tongue in 1982, at 19 Ramona Avenue in Piedmont, California

"And that's the truth."

If you wanna share a story about Piedmont in the 1980's—please leave a comment. We'd love to hear from you! :)


  1. You were lucky to have a babysitter like Jessica :)

    1. Yes. Yes I was. Remind me to tell you someday about her obsession with Matt Dillon in the movie TEX.