Tarzana, CA 1944-5
by Nicki Marian

Wow .. a long haul from snowy Philadelphia to Colorado Springs to pick up our car and ending in Calfornia! Oh, Joe and I had a passenger - a red AKC cocker spaniel puppy. For some obscure reason, we got him in Colorado Springs and what a trip out to the coast! His registered name was "Mr. Marian".

We found our way to Van Nuys and got in touch with friends of Joe's Aunt Rose - Bill and Francine Edmunds. They had been in vaudeville in New York, then moved to California where he acted in several movies. Graciously, they offered to help us when we told them about our quest for a home.

Upon Bill's advice, we drove to Tarzana where housing was reputed to be less expensive than in the more populated areas. We found this little house around the corner from the main street, Ventura Blvd. We were so excited that we overlooked the fact that The Adohr Dairy was right across the street ... h'mmmmmm!!!!! Mom and Pop Luton owned their house on the adjoining 1/2 acre and the little house and acreage that we were interested in. They seemed to approve of us and our puppy!

The house and 1/2 acre came to $3,600. Joe, a veteran of WWII, was eligble for a GI Loan!! Bank of America ... HERE WE COME! A Mr. J.J. Lombardo greeted us and we started the first GI loan he had ever processed. WHEE ... We moved to 5225 Avenida Oriente in Tarzana! Note: that address is still there; it is now a parking lot!

Joe found a job as a bartender across Ventura Blvd., and I went to work for J. King Ross in the country. J. King was a retired circus performer and had all sorts of animals around his grounds. He taught horseback riding by MAIL! A monkey, named Aster, ran free in my office and would hop on my shoulder as I compiled the brochures.

Oh dear, Mom and Pop were not happy with Poo sleeping in their vegetable garden and we were totallly upset about his running out to the middle of Ventura Blvd., and going to sleep ... what slamming of brakes and honking of horns as cars tried to avoid him! Joe had to build a fence around our property.

Jor found a job in his field with an electronic firm and I'd take him to Van Nuys to catch the train, then pick him up in the evening. On several occasions, I'd pass Clark Gable driving home from the studio in his convertible with the top down! I'd be all dreamy eyed when Joe would get off the train and get in the car. He'd grin and say, "Guess you saw Clark Gable again! I can tell by the look on your face."

Then, when I'd grocery shop, I'd occasionally see Phil Harris going into the same store. He'd say, "That's what I like about the South, they're slow there!" Once, we were shopping at the nursery,and there was Red Skelton causing all sorts of commotion and fun! Sabu, The Elephant Boy, was in town once, walking down the street ... without his elephant, natch ... but he was easy to spot.

We learned that Edgar Rice Burroughs did a good deal of his "Tarzan" writing in a little office around the corner from us on Ventura Blvd. One day, we knocked at his door and were told to enter. My husband explained he recalled seeing him visiting the troops during WWII on Guadacanal. Joe thanked him for his bravery, they talked a bit, shook hands and we left.

Things were going smoothly ... and then ... Joe had an excellent business offer in the town of Fawnskin up in the mountains. We threw caution to the winds and rented our little house. Off we went to Fawnskin with Poo!!! I still shudder to think of THAT adventure.

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