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Nobody Leaves Venice



Novelists, Journalists,
Screenwriters, Directors, Actors who live or lived in Venice

Through the Veil

Reminiscences by Moe Stavnezer

Christmas Ladder

Jack Ibarra




Carol Biddulph Dickinson
Venice Memoir

My family was from Detroit . My parents met on an island on the St. Lawrence Seaway where both families had summer cottages after his return from fighting in World War II. My parents married right after my mom graduated from high school, and they went on to have 5 kids. They separated and my dad moved to Venice . My parents attempted to get back together a few times and we kids would criss-cross the country back and forth between California and Michigan . We ended up living on the canals - 447 Sherman Canal. It's still there.

I remember watching The Beatles on t.v. there and the news about the assassination of JFK. I also remember the Wiener-mobile driving around town, and the little whistles that were passed out to the kids, and standing on the bridge by our house looking at all the junk people had thrown over the edge, including a typewriter. The canals were not as posh then as now - the sidewalks crumbled right into the murky canals. But it was cool - and very Bohemian. We met a young girl who lived with her mother across the alley from us. She would become my legal "foster" sister after she came to live with us when her mother passed away. I don't consider her a foster, though, just my sister. She was - and is - an artist in the San Diego area now.

We moved to the big red house on Superba. Haunted. That's another whole story. It was a cool house, though it was a tumultuous time, full of ups and downs. It was a good childhood in so many ways, and yet some things sucked. We lived on the "wrong side" of Lincoln Blvd. and a lot of people who lived on the opposite side never let us forget that. My parents had another child before divorcing - my brother, who is now a drummer. So then there were 7 kids.

I just remember our house being like Grand Central Station - always people coming and going, hippies, bikers, what have you. I think my parents were the only divorced ones around at that time, and my mom one of the only working moms I knew. We kids were pretty much on our own. We were tan and barefoot, walking all over town on the hot pavement, spending whatever time we could at the beach. I loved living in a multicultural community, and grew up loving other cultures, and travel, World music, and the arts, from my exposure to those things in Venice , and I'm really grateful for that.

Families who could afford it sent their kids to the private elementary school - the little Lutheran one on Venice Blvd. , whether they were Lutheran or not, so they wouldn't have to attend Broadway, where I went as a kid. And to be fair, I don't think public school teachers in the area then had a lot of hope for kids in the area, or maybe that was only on our side of the tracks, aka Lincoln Blvd. We weren't really encouraged to do much. I don't remember even one stellar teacher who stepped up and did anything to help kids who really could have used it. So that sort of thing was pretty much lacking. I grew up not even knowing I could go to college since my family couldn't afford it. I never inquired - it wasn't even something I would have imagined as being possible, and not one teacher - ever - told me it was possible. I really can't believe that to this day. So it took years for me to figure it all out, go back to school, and I'll actually soon have my Master's. Though I'm now old as hell. Thanks Venice schools - I really could have used a better education much sooner. Ha ha.

But regardless, life is an adventure, and growing up in Venice was cool. Not always easy, and it definitely made a person street-wise. But it was also surreal, and a glittering gift it took me years to understand and value. I love Venice, visit whenever I can, love to take my three year old grandson to Mother's Beach (then we just called it Jamaica Bay) or my two daughters to Venice Beach to walk along the Boardwalk or down along the shoreline itself. I like to walk along the beach now - the same one I walked on as a child wondering what the future held for me - and think back on my childhood in Venice - I actually envision a painting of a little blonde headed barefoot girl walking along the shoreline past a blonde headed barefoot grown woman, maybe smiling at one another, but both lost in their thoughts about a far off time, not realizing they are actually passing the older/younger version of themselves. Maybe my sister will paint that for me some day. What I know is that I will always consider myself to be a Venice girl. It's a badge of honor, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.




© 2004 - 2012 Pat Hartman
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