I knew as a kid that the magic place where our society was being impacted from was not too far west of where I grew up. Sure, I enjoyed Disneyland the couple times I went there as a child, especially the utopia car ride when I finally grew tall enough to drive, but the place that occupied my secret thoughts and captured my imagination and heart was L. A., Hollywood, and the beaches.
I longed to go there even as a kid, but never could seem to pull it off. We’d get close sometimes when we’d visit relatives. I can still picture clearly my cousin Larry’s surfboard lying out in the front yard grass at my aunt and uncle’s house.
My older brothers would sometimes catch a ride with Larry into the place my soul longed for. Those lucky ducks got to breathe in the creative air. Me? Oh no. I was stuck at my aunt and uncle’s house reading the same three Dr. Suess books I’d read every time I was there, over, and over, and over…
As a kid, I never tired of seeing Tinkerbell touch her magic wand over the Disneyland castle before flying off. The movies I did get to watch were mesmerizing, transcending time and reality for all of us as kids.
The music was the icing on the imaginative cake. I felt like life was passing me by when I knew people were really driving cars, motorcycles, and surfing just like the way the Beach Boys sang about. Although the one song of theirs that I could relate to the most was titled, “In My Room.” I suspected the singer didn’t have to share his room with two other older brothers though. I also knew that he wasn’t singing about when he was grounded either.
When I heard the exciting news from my parents, I somehow thought our or my luck was somehow going to magically change. We were going west… Either to Hollywood or somewhere close to it. Magic was before us, well specifically my sister.
Somehow someone got hold of kids elementary school pictures from around southern California. They had spotted my sister and contacted my mom to set up a screen test for her. I remember thinking and excitedly announcing more to myself than anybody else, “Hollywood here we come”!!!
It was on a Saturday we drove west toward our magical destiny. Even though I wasn’t involved or invited, I just knew some of the aura would fall in my direction. When we finally arrived at our destination I was disappointed to say the least.
It was in the middle of what looked like an old part of a city. There was trash in the gutter and some on the old cracked sidewalks. As my mom, dad, and sister walked toward the weathered single old solid door entrance, my dad said, “You two stay out here,” – “Bobby – keep an eye on him.”
That was code words for our dad, in other words, we weren’t in the best of neighborhoods, and my 2nd oldest brother was to keep a watch for danger and if it approached, come to get him. “OK,” Bobby replied.
I looked at my sister on the way in. Being close in age, my sister and I have always been close. Before my sister walked in, she looked back at me. There was fear in her oversized and opened a little wider, big blue eyes.
Kids don’t know what to say to one another, but they don’t need to say anything at all. Siblings talk with expression, especially at that age. My sister’s expression said, “I don’t like it here”! My eyes spoke back to my sister, “I know, I don’t either,”! – “This isn’t magical, this is kinda scary”!
After what seemed like hours they finally came back out. My sister was somber, she seemed relieved. “What’d you do”? – “Are you gonna be on TV”? – “What happened”?!! My questions kept her from being able to get a word in.
Sheral finally replied quietly, “I just said, ‘I like McDonald’s hamburgers.” “That’s it”? I asked. “Yeah,” she quietly replied. I thought to myself, “McDonald’s hamburgers”? I don’t even think I’d heard of them at the time.
That was a reality check for me as a kid, although tarnished, it didn’t kill the dream completely.
God or fate, if you want to call it that, kept slowly moving us farther away from that magical place. Today I count it a blessing for my sister and all of us to be free from what could very well have come to own and destroy us.
The real supernatural magic is in God’s creation all around us, but most importantly inside of us.
Although relived, to be honest, certain music and that ocean still beckon my soul.
We need to seek first the origin of what it is that calls us.
Sometimes behind what appears magical, can be sinister…
Likewise, what we sometimes mistake for seeming dull and boring, is the perfect gift…