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Beach Boys

The Beach Boys Re-post from June 3, 2012

Growing up in sunny California, the first wave of music that really influenced me was surf music. Jan and Dean’s “Surf City” was an anthem – though I didn’t like the odds, “two girls for every boy.” And if you are from southern California, you will realize immediately that when you hail from the In-Land Empire, Rubidoux, and Fontana, you are miles a way from the surf and sand. That didn’t stop me, or my fantasies of bon fires and surfer boys scented with Hawaiian Tropics suntan lotion.

Next came the Beach Boys music, beginning with “Surfin’ Safari,” and then the list grew with “Surfer Girl,” “Little Duce Coup,” “409,” “In My Room,” “I Get Around,” and my personal favorite, “Don’t Worry Baby”. I was itching to get my feet on the hot sands. And I would listen to the AM radio and dream of shooting the curl, hanging 10, and being a surfer. But I didn’t have the major prerequisites – long, blonde, surfer hair, a Woodie, or a surfboard. And at 12, was too young to drive to the beach. So, I sat in my room, listened to my 45s, and lamented as the surfing culture passed me by. Of course, there were a few movies to serve my interest in surfing, Gidget with Sandra Dee, and later Annette and Frankie and their surf and sand escapades. Still I dreamed of running my fingers through that surfer boy’s long, blonde streaked, shoulder length hair. From my POV, California had the Beatle’s longhaired haircuts by years. In fact, to me, the early Beatles had short hair compare to the surfers. By the time, I moved to Hollywood, in 1961, junior high still had the surfers bouncing down the halls with their hair in full swing. By the time I attended John Marshall High School, surfers were on their way out. The British Invasion had squashed the dream of sitting on a surfboard and waiting for the next wave.

In 1969, I was living in Beverly Glen, a small enclave that nestles up against Beverly Hills, and one day, I was walking out of the market and a guy began to follow me. I turned; he was very tall, handsome with the usual longer hair. He hurried his gait and caught up with me. After some of the usual questions from first conversations of where you from/live, he asked if he could walk with me awhile and carry my meager purchases. He confessed that when he saw me, he was drawn to follow me like a puppy, something about my posterior, though I’m sure that wasn’t the word he’d used. Flattered of course, I was willing to continue the conversation because in those days we trusted anyone under 30. By the time we had walked the few blocks and up the hill to my house, he’d asked me out. By then I knew his name was Dennis, no last name, but he looked a bit familiar.

That evening he picked me up but we went back to his house along Beverly Glen, had a nice dinner, and made a run to Turner’s Liquor store on the sunset strip. Now I mention this because I wasn’t much of a drinker, but he was. After some loosening up with a few drinks, he began to speak of his history, his family, and what he had done for them. It was becoming clear that though this man wasn’t very old, but judging by his surroundings, and stories, he was doing well for himself and impressed me. I don’t remember much more that night, but that he was a gentleman and drove me home. We had two more dates and it was on the second that I realized my childhood dream had finally come true. I was running my hands through a surfer’s boy’s hair, Dennis Wilson’s, drummer for the Beach Boys. He was none of the bad press I had heard about him. With me, he was charming, respectful, and I’ll always remember that time as very special. Why did I stop seeing him, I guess you could say my conscience got to me since I was living with my boyfriend.

I never had a surfboard, never took one out to chase a wave, or even saw a surfer hang ten, but when I hear early Beach Boys, I’m catapulted back to early 60s when I was around 12. I cut my puberty teeth on them and my love for those songs and memories will never wane.

Posted by KEWTownsend Photo by popmatters.com