Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ford City General Cinema

Remember this? (You see? The Internet is actually good for something.)

I saw dozens of movies at Ford City Theaters, so I'll just hit the high points.

On November 8, 1975, my tenth birthday, my father took me to see Jaws. For those of you too young to remember, Jaws marked the beginning of the "blockbuster" movie (to the detriment of the film business, in my opinion, but that's another story). Anyway, this was the first movie I remember going to where every single seat was taken. My father, brother, and I sat in the last row. I still remember the collective scream from the audience when the bones of a corpse appear in one of the porthole windows.

I saw Star Wars here, too. Lines for Star Wars wrapped around the theater. Every show, hour after hour, week after week, month after month, was sold out. This was the first movie that people went to repeatedly -- five, six, fifteen times. The local news ran stories on how many times some people went to see it. Every time you drove by Ford City, you saw the lines. I wasn't one of the first to see it; I waited months, after the lines had begun to dwindle, if only a little bit. Hard to believe, but the same was true for Superman, which I also saw at Ford City.

I forced my mother to take me to see Steve Martin in The Jerk. It was Rated R; I needed a guardian. My mother, despite thinking it was "stupid" (her word, not mine), laughed the entire time. (She hated admitting that she actually enjoyed it, so I frequently teased her about it!) A highlight, though, was seeing the preview for Kubrick's The Shining: gallons of blood pour from a closed elevator, so much blood that furniture outside the elevator floats away. That was the entire preview, but man oh man, was it effective!

In high school, I reviewed movies for Reavis' newspaper, The Blueprint, and there were some days when I would go to Ford City Theaters for a matinee and then slip into another movie afterward. One day, I saw three movies in a row. If memory serves me correctly, two of the movies were Prince of the City and Southern Comfort; I can't remember the third. I justified sneaking in because, well, the candy and Cokes were so damned expensive.

In the '80s, I saw several forgettable movies at the less memorable Ford City East Theaters, though the one notable movie I saw there (probably a dozen times the month it was released) was Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I saw it so many times, I ran out of money. I had to stand in the parking lot and ask someone for a dime or quarter. Sad, folks. Very sad.

The very last movie I saw at the main Ford City Theater was a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show -- an appropriate end to an era (for me, at least). This was the fall of 1982. By spring of '83, I was working as an usher at Orland Square's movie theater (I know: I'm a traitor), and by the following fall, I had moved away.

Good times.

Photos Needed

If you have any photos of old Burbank -- or recent photos of still-exisiting but old Burbank establishments -- I'd love to be able to post them. You can email them to me here:

Here are some places I'd love to have photos of...

Goldblatt's (or any store in that shopping center)
Henry's Hamburgers
Sayre Lounge
Cezar's Inn

Those are just a few off the top of my head...I'm open to any photos, however.

Thanks! John

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Where We Shopped: Burbank Records

Location: 79th and Austin

Burbank Records was originally located on the northwest corner of 79th and Austin, in that little strip of shops there (I have no idea what's there now, or if anything is there, for that matter). As with most of my postings, my dates are a little fuzzy, but the earliest I remember Burbank Records was 1975. I absolutely loved this placed. Frickin' loved it!

The guy who ran the store reminded me of an ex-hippie ("ex" meaning that he had cut his hair and trimmed his beard). The store still sold paraphenalia (pipes, mostly), as did a lot of independent record stores back then. I was nine years old for most of 1975 (my birthday is November), and I earned my living walking dogs. In fact, I actually made a pretty good buck doing it. My family had just moved into the condos over by Reavis, and so I spent a fair amount of my time biking down to Burbank Records with a pocketful of dog-walking money, walking up and down the store's aisles, deciding which album I would buy each week.

I bought dozens of albums there, but a few that I remember are Cheech and Chong's Sleeping Beauty and

George Carlin's On the Road. When I brought the Carlin up to the counter, the proprietor asked, "Do your parents mind you listening to this?" I said they didn't mind -- which was true -- and then named off the other George Carlin albums I owned. That was all he needed for confimation: He slipped the album into a bag and rang it up. Five bucks!

I'd like to think that I was one of his best customers, and maybe I was. He spent a lot of time talking to me, and I got the feeling that things weren't always going well for him, though I have no idea why I thought that. (I spent a lot of time listening to older people when I was a kid, which is strange because, where I live now, neighborhood kids wouldn't think twice about talking to me or asking me for any advice or hanging around while I told them stories about my life, and yet that's how I passed a lot of my time as a kid.)

Flashforward: Summer of '76. The owner of Burbank Records knew that I was a huge Elton John fan (remember: Elton John was a mega-star in 1976, at his peak, and he often had not one but two or three albums in the top 40), and he had a stack of tickets for the upcoming Elton John concert at the Chicago Stadium. He was scalping them for twelve bucks a pop, and he wanted to know if I wanted to buy one. (The face value of the ticket was only six bucks. Six bucks!) My parents, unfazed by the scalping, stipulated that I could go if my brother, who was six years older, went along with me; my brother agreed, but on one condition: I had to buy his ticket for him, which meant I had to come up with twenty-four bucks. Somehow -- I have no idea how -- I did, and while I worked on scraping together the money, the store's owner held two tickets for me. "You're good for it," he told me.

I still have the concert program...and, in fact, the ticket stub. A short while after the concert, I stopped off at Burbank Records and bought the disasterous Elton John double album, Blue Moves. The owner, as I recollect, may have even knocked a few bucks off the price for me.

The guy, whose name I wish I could remember, eventually sold Burbank Records. On his last day in the store, he gave me some advice on life and then, reaching over and ruffling my hair, told me that I was a good kid.

I have no idea who the new owner was; I'm not sure I ever did. By the time Burbank Records moved across the street, to the southwest corner of 77th and Austin, I had pretty much quit going there. The last time I went was when they were having their going out-of-business sale, probably around 1981. I stocked up on cheap cassettes by bands like the B-52s and The Kings. I may even have bought a Jim Steinman cassette that day, if anyone remembers him. ("Rock and Roll Dreams Come True," anyone?)

Burbank Records was, to my mind, one of the few stores that truly gave Burbank character, and when it dissolved, the city lost something rather unique.

Monday, April 21, 2008

New Post Coming Wednesday...or Thursday

Just got back from Comic Con in New York. It's a massive convention for comic book lovers. I was there to promote my anthology of short stories featuring brand-new superheroes. The highlight? I saw Lou "The Hulk" Ferrigno there. He's 56 years old, but let me tell you: the dude is still ripped! Anyway, check back later this week for a new post.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Where We Ate: R & D's Ice Cream

Location: southeast corner of 79th and Narragansett.

(photo, circa 1981)

As you can see from the photo, this was a grim little place...and yet I went there all the time. We didn't have a Dairy Queen in Burbank, and, as I remember, the ice cream at R&D's was pretty damned good. The place was run by what I assumed were a husband and wife, though I couldn't say for sure. They never engaged in small talk. In fact, they rarely, if ever, cracked a smile.

My most vivid memory of R&D's? A girlfriend dumped me in the parking lot after I bought us both milkshakes. (That's cold, man. Cold.)

Ah, R&D's.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Where We Ate: Duke's

Location: 8115 South Harlem (Bridgeview)

My order:

1 Beef, extra extra juicy (dipped), no peppers.
1 Large Fry
1 Diet Coke

Still hungry? Top it off with a milkshake.

I'm also a huge fan of Duke's cheeseburgers. The Italian Sausage -- extra red sauce -- is an old favorite as well.

Let me tell you...once you get a few miles outside of Chicago, you're not going to find a good Italian Beef, if you can find one at all. No one where I live now -- in Winston-Salem, North Carolina -- has a frickin' clue what an Italian beef even is. (The pizza here sucks, too.) I remember when I moved to Iowa City in 1987 and ordered an Italian sausage sandwich, and it came out looking like a hamburger: a round flattened patty on a bun. And I was like, "What the hell is this?" I say this for the benefit of all of you (or "you's," in true South-Side-speak) who still live in and around Chicago. You can piss and moan about the long winters all you want and no one will blame you, but you have no idea how good you have it food-wise.

If you want to see Duke's old sign, click here. And if you want to salivate over your keyboard, their menu is here. (My favorite item: "Piece of Bread. $1.25.")

I dedicated a chapter to Duke's in my novel The Book of Ralph. The owners were then kind enough to let me do a book-signing there; they've also been displaying a poster for the book going on four years now. How did I repay them? I inserted a scene in my next novel, America's Report Card, in which two inmates argue about the best beef sandwich joints in the Chicago area. Duke's, of course, was one of them. Look: Some filmmakers and TV stars use product placement so they'll get free luxury cars, free jewelry, or free vacations to exotic lands. Me? I'll go for the free beef sandwich every time.

Long live Duke's!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ford City Shopping Center

Location: 7601 S Cicero Ave, Chicago

When I was in grade school, I frequently walked to Ford City. The problem with walking there was that it took me into unfamiliar parts of Burbank, where I didn’t know any of the kids, or down State Road, where you didn’t want to run into any high school thugs, or across Cicero Avenue, where a semi was likely to flatten you.

My friend and I usually entered Ford City through the Wieboldt’s. (I believe it later became Carson Pirie Scott’s.) Even back then, Wieboldt’s seemed like an old person’s store. They gave away S&H Green Stamps with purchases. (Our kitchen drawers at home were always full of S&H Green Stamp booklets, but I can remember only one time that my mother actually cashed them in.)

Here are a few stores I remember:

Woolworth’s (another old person’s store, it seemed to me), and though I didn’t appreciate it at the time, Woolworth’s had a stand-alone diner in the middle of the hall outside the store. I’m not sure if I ever ate there, however. Probably not. I wish I had.

When I was really young, my favorite store was a bookstore that was close to one of the south entrances. This would have been before WaldenBooks opened in the mall. I want to say that the name of the store was Printer’s Ink, but I could be wrong. It was mostly a card-and-stationary store, with a few books. Even so, I would spend hours there looking at the few books they had. (These were desperate times, friends.)

Close to the bookstore was another store that sold Hammond or Wurlitzer organs. Did they sell pianos, too? Not sure. I never saw anyone in there, except the salesman.

There was an electronics store in that wing as well. This is where I got my first VCR, back in 1978 or ’79. The damned thing cost over a thousand dollars, and my father had to finance it; and I spent the next several years paying it off with money I made walking dogs or selling stuff at the flea market. (One blank videotape cost between $20 and $25!)

(Were these Orange Julius decals fuzzy? Am I thinking of some other iron-on decal?)

Orange Julius was another high point. My memory is that it was once located downstairs in Peacock Alley, but maybe it had always been upstairs.

The real highlight, of course, was Peacock Alley. There was a stairwell with all the names of Peacock Alley’s businesses painted every which way on the wall as you walked down. Many of the businesses had closed years earlier, but that didn’t stop me from wondering if I was somehow simply not seeing them, such as the camera store that was purportedly down there. I probably asked every proprietor of every store in Peacock Alley if they knew anything about the camera store. No one did. I even asked a security guard once, who thought I was crazy.

Highlights of Peacock Alley:

I seem to remember a head shop when you first walked down the stairs, but maybe I just made this up for my novel and have since come to believe it was there when it wasn’t. Does anyone else remember this?

What I do remember clearly was the record store. It was surrounded by a short wrought-iron fence, and it was close enough to Nickelodeon Pizza that you could smell the food. (What I loved about Nickelodeon Pizza was that it had a bar to the right when you first walked in. The first time I felt old enough to sit at the bar and order a slice of pizza, it was 1979, and I had just graduated eighth grade and was wearing a t-shirt with a “Class of ‘83” iron-on decal. I may even have flirted with the girl working behind the counter, or vice-verse. I felt so…adult.)

Another memory: My mother frequently took me to the beauty school – because haircuts were cheaper there – and I always left with crooked bangs, or some other minor mishap.

Later on, there was an arcade down there, but it was a rather sad and grim place.

One of the best parts of walking through Peacock Alley was emerging all the way across the parking lot, not far from the bowling alley, if I’m remembering this correctly. The whole trip to Ford City -- the walk there; the time spent in Peacock Alley; the movie we'd go to (if we went to a movie); the long walk home -- was a true adventure back then.

Okay, I’ll post more about Ford City later on. I’ll give Ford City General Cinemas its own post.

What stores do you remember? If you remember specific years that the store existed, please list those, too.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Where We Ate: Kojak Drive-In

Place: Kojak Drive-In (The name on the sign is Kojak, but everyone I know calls it Kojak's)
Location: 79th and Central

Okay, so I'll need some help on this one. My memory of the order of things goes like this: Before Kojak's, there was Henry's Hamburgers (on the northwest corner of 79th and Cicero). I loved Henry's. Was their sign that of a giant, smiling hamburger? Was the hamburger personified to look like someone? Am I making this up? I'm not sure. But this was where my mother would take me, sometimes over the short school lunch for a treat. Then Kojak's opened. I want to say it opened around 1975 or '76. In one of the comments, someone wrote that Kojak's used to be a Church's Chicken. Does anyone else remember this? Kojak did a swift lunch business, but then around 1978 or '79, McDonald's opened just a little ways down the road. (Are these years correct? I could be way off here.) So, that's my short -- very short -- history of hamburgers between 79th and Central and 79th and Cicero, though I'm thinking that there was another place, a little hamburger stand near McDonald's, that I'm forgetting. But maybe it was an ice cream stand. Help me out! Also, does anyone know why Kojak's is named Kojak's? I mean, it opened about the time that the Telly Savalas show Kojak was well-known, if not still on TV...but that doesn't explain it, does it? I'm guessing that's a coincidence.

I ate at Kojak's fairly regularly because my good friend, Joe, lived behind Speedway, which used to be the much smaller (but a whole hell of a lot scarier) Purple Martin; what I ate, in great quantity, were the cheeseburgers and the beefs, and, of course, the fries at Kojak's. Last year, I was teaching at Columbia College, and on a whim (and after a few too many drinks downtown), I took the train to Midway and then a cab to, well, The Castle. It was a slow night, and after a few too many drinks at The Castle, I decided to go to Kojak's and call a cab. Two observations: 1) I don't think Kojak's has put one penny in remodeling in thirty years; and 2) the double cheeseburger I ordered was one of the best double cheeseburgers I'd ever had in my life! Seriously. I ate the fries in the cab all the way back downtown. It was a ludicrously expensive night, but the Kojak's double cheeseburger almost made it worthwhile. Almost.

(photo courtesy of Renee Greco)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Where We Shopped: Zayre

Location: Southfield Plaza Shopping Center (Bridgeview), where the now-defunct Dominick's stands. (Dominick's, by the way, used to be where the Hobby Lobby now is.)

Why this was, I don't know, but my father favored Zayre while my mother favored Kmart. (My father's absolute favorite store was a place called Stark's, which I'll write about in another post.) Between Zayre and Kmart, I always preferred going to Kmart with my mother because she let me wander off to the record department, where, at the end of one aisle, all the Top 40 45s were on display. My father, on the other hand, made me stay with him, and so I spent a lot of time in Zayre in departments that held no interest to me: automotive, mostly; or the place where they kept their insulated coveralls and gloves. (My father was a roofer, so I spent a good deal of my childhood hanging out with my father while he examined insulated work clothes.)

My favorite part of Zayre was the photo booth at the front of the store. My father would use this photo booth whenever he needed a black-and-white photo for an I.D. As much as I begged, I was rarely allowed to use the photo booth myself. Photo booth photos were too expensive, a luxury, but on at least two occasions, I was given enough money for photos. Here's one of me and my father, probably taken around 1970 when I was five. (It's unfathomable to me that I'm now five years older than my father was in this photo. Take a close look: even my father's hat was insulated.)

One time, when both of my parents took me to Zayre, my mother let me wander off to Zayre's record department, probably against my father's wishes. I had to go to the bathroom, so I took a detour; but I was gone so long that my mother and father both thought that I had been kidnapped. Apparently, they looked everywhere but couldn't find me, so they had me paged, but I didn't hear it. I eventually resurfaced, of course, and they were relieved, but I'm certain this was the last time I was allowed to wander off in Zayre alone. Years later, when I was in high school or away at college, there was in fact a kidnapping in this very Zayre, so my parents' fear wasn't entirely ungrounded. Ironically, Kmart remained unrestricted territory for me, and I was still able to go wherever I pleased.

One last note: I almost always went to Zayre in the dead of night, an hour or so before closing time, probably because I went with my father, who didn't get home from work until fairly late; and I remember, more than once, staring at the illuminated Zayre sign and thinking, What IS Zayre? What does it mean? I never thought this about Dominick's or Jewel or Kmart, even. Maybe because it sounded exotic. And maybe it sounded exotic because it began with a Z. Who knows.

Zayre was a nationwide chain that finally went belly-up in 1990. RIP.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Haunted Trails

Location: 7759 S Harlem Ave

Other people will have to help me out here, because I can't remember when Haunted Trails opened, and what I do remember may be a little hazy. All I remember from the 1970s are the miniature golf course and batting cages. On rare occasions -- very rare occasions (maybe two or three times?) -- my parents took me and my brother to Haunted Trails to play miniature golf. There was something surreal about going there at night, the way it could be pitch-black out while the golf course was illuminated like a movie set. I never chipped any of the golf balls into traffic, but this was a pretty common occurrence. (In grade school, I was a fat kid, and pretty unathletic to boot, so I avoided the batting cages altogether.) By high school, Haunted Trails became part of the official dating circuit: you could go to a movie at Ford City or Chicago Ridge Mall, or you could go to Haunted Trails.

It wasn't until 1982 that I began frequenting Haunted Trails with a degree of obsession that I probably haven't experienced since. I'd recently been dumped by my girlfriend, so my friend Joe and I started paying the arcade at Haunted Trails daily -- sometimes twice-daily -- visits. I bought tokens by the fistfuls, and then Joe and I would wander around, staking claim to our favorite games.

The first video game I ever played was Pong in 1980, which you hooked up to your TV: It was a black and white image of a ball going from one side of the TV screen to the other. Each person had a paddle, and your sole objective was to make sure that the ball didn't get past you. The only adjustment that you could make was how fast the ball would go. The second game I played was Frogger in 1981; I played it in a grocery store in either Normal or Champaign.

Haunted Trails, however, was my first legitimate arcade. I loved the electronic noises. I loved the the sound of tokens filling the tray of the coin machine. And even though I was going through a period of pathological shyness, I loved the girls who'd come in and sometimes flirt.

I'm sure I played Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, but our favorites were Tron and Pengo. Tron, especially. I'm sure Joe and I weren't the best Tron players at Haunted Trails, but we were certainly in the top rung, and there were days when we were playing the upper levels that a small crowd would gather behind us to watch. I was skinny in high school (but still unathletic) and wore a Members Only jacket (actually, it was a Members Only knockoff), and I bought my clothes at Chess King in Chicago Ridge Mall, and I felt that I was on the cutting edge of...something. I wasn't sure what, though.

I never got into Skee Ball at Haunted Trails, and the couple of times I returned there after high school, the place had expanded too much for my tastes. One thing I've noticed is that when you meet people from other parts of Chicago who have never heard of Burbank and have no idea where it is (and, believe me, there are millions of such people), there's still a pretty good chance that they'll have heard of, or remember seeing, Haunted Trails. It may be Burbank's most enduring landmark.

Memories, anyone?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Creature Features

Creature Features ran on WGN from the fall of 1970 until 1976. Every Saturday night, after the ten o'clock news, you could watch a classic horror movie -- usually a monster movie featuring Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Dracula, or the Mummy...but occasionally you'd get to see one of the creepy psychological horror movies, or something lesser known, like Bela Lugosi in The Black Cat.

I was five when the show first aired, and I remember begging my mother to let me stay up. On nights when she wouldn't, I sometimes turned on the tiny black-and-white TV, anyway, but often fell asleep before the movie ended. My mother, to her credit, never punished me for not obeying.

Sometimes, the best part of Creature Features was the opening montage of movie clips and the voice-over of Carl Greyson and, later, WGN anchorman Marty McNeely reading a poem about ghoulish ghouls. There's something to be said for the days when every movie wasn't readily available via NetFlix or Amazon, when you had to wait (sometimes years!) to see a particular movie, and when a ridiculous little show on a local TV station was an actual event.

If you haven't ever seen Creature Features -- or if you haven't seen it in over thirty years -- check out the opening.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Radio, Radio: What Burbank Listened To

Yesterday, while driving to work, the Rod Stewart song "You're in My Heart" came on. I was about to change it, but for pure nostalgia's sake, I left it on.

There's that part in the song when Rod sings, "You're a rhapsody, a comedy/
You're a symphony and a play..." Well, as a kid, I had always thought he was saying, "You're a wrapped sardine." Which, of course, makes no sense. But a lot of things didn't make sense to me when I was a kid. Anyway, yesterday, I began thinking about all the other lyrics I had misheard. (Remember: We couldn't Google song lyrics. The best we could do was buy a copy of the magazine Song Lyrics or Hit Parader).

My family moved around quite a bit when I was kid. We lived in the apartments behind House of Camping, an apartment around 79th and Normandy, the condos over around 77th and Austin, and then, finally, a house in the 82nd block of Rutherford. For some reason, my memories of listening to the radio are most strongly connected to the apartment on 79th Street, when I was in third and fourth grades. I listened to WLS. I believe Bob Sirott may have been on WLS back then, but I distinctly remember listening to Larry Lujack.

To give you a sense of the times...if I wanted to tape a song, which I frequently did, I would hold a bulky cassette recorder up to the radio and then press down both the play and red record buttons. The microphone, of course, picked up every sound: me breathing, my mother calling for me, car horns outside. In 1973, 45s were about fifty cents each; occasionally, you'd find a three-for-a-dollar special. In grade school, I gauged pretty much all inflation by the price of a 45.

Every week, for several years, I would go with my mother to Kmart so that I could pick up the most recent Top Forty list. As you'll see below, the Top Forty songs would be listed on the right; the top-selling albums on the right. A D.J. was always featured on the sheet as well. A thrill was seeing what color that week's list would be. (Yes, it was the early '70s. Before videotapes, even. Before cable. Before video games. It didn't take much to thrill me back then.)

In high school, I woke up in the mornings to "Animal Stories," the irreverent show that starred Uncle Larry (Lujack) and Li'l Tommy (Edwards). (I may even have owned an "Animal Stories" album, come to think of it.) Meanwhile, The Loop was piped into the lunchroom at Reavis, and it was there, my freshman year, that I heard about the death of Led Zepplin's drummer, John Bonham.

One summer when I returned home from college, I took a job working in a small electronics company, where I was in charge of Shipping and Receiving. This was 1985 or '86. A guy I worked with -- Joe -- was in charge of the radio, and so we listened all morning to Steve Dahl, which was fine, but then I had to listen to some Easy Listening station all afternoon, which wasn't fine. (Every frickin' day, I would hear Neil Diamond's cheesy E.T. tribute, "Heartlight," a song that still inspires me to want to smash the radio.)

I've barely touched on music here, so I'm sure I'll be coming back to it often, but in the meantime, tell me what station you listened to?
What lyrics did you hear wrong?
And what other major radio events do you remember? (Did anyone go to Disco Demolition?)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Sheridan Drive-in

Location: roughly the corner of the 79th and Harlem (the entrance was on Harlem, just past Haunted Trails).

Ah, the Sheridan Drive-In! It had a movie screen so large that you could sometimes see, as far away as K-Mart, naked people (women, mostly) doing unthinkable things. This was one of the few great joys of my childhood in the '70s -- trying to see what was playing on the movie screen, even when we weren't actually at the drive-in, and hoping it was something I wasn't supposed to see.

I wish I had a list of all the movies I saw there. I must have seen at least fifty movies at the Sheridan, from the late '60s through the mid '70s. I know I saw several Planet of the Apes movies there. I also saw Enter the Dragon, maybe even The Chinese Connection. I saw Gus, the movie about the football playing donkey. I saw a lot of "women in prison" movies; these were usually the second movie, and I usually fell asleep during them.

What did you see there?

What are your memories of The Sheridan?

Let me know if you have any photos! I'd love to post them.

Nostalgia for Burbank?

This blog is designed for the purposes of sharing memories, photos, and triva about the 'burb that time forgot: Burbank. Nope, not California. Burbank, Illinois. My hope is that, through this blog, I can recreate (with your help), the history of Burbank, but in order to do so, I'll need your help and suggestions. I'll especially need your photos, especially any photos of Burbank landmarks from the '60s, '70s, and '80s. Occasionally, I'll drift to nearby cities where we Burbankians would shop, eat, or play.

Why am I doing this? I was born in 1965 at Christ Hospital (then Christ Community), lived up and down Harlem Avenue, but eventually settled in Burbank in 1971. I attended Maddock, Fry, and Kennedy; and then I attended Reavis. I moved away in 1983 to go to college, occasionally returning home for summers. Since most of the fiction I write is set in or around Burbank, I spend a lot of time talking to old friends and emailing with acquaintances about various places, and what I discovered was an intense nostalgia for Burbank (something I would never have imagined when I moved away twenty-five years ago).

So, welcome! And please join the fun.