Safety Patrol

I didn’t know Brother Dave had done it, but I knew Brother Steve and Brother Dan had.  So it turns outs we were all of us at one time or another operatives in the Casa De Ora Elementary Safety Patrol.  That meant, when we were in sixth grade, that we all left class a few minutes early and went to the Safety Patrol Room to don our red Safety Patrol Sweaters.  I think we had red Safety Patrol hats, of the kind used in the military, those useless things that cover a small portion of the head and can be folded up and put in the pocket.

Because I was the Sergeant of my Safety Patrol I got to walk in front of my two privates.  I carried a pole that was painted red and white, and I got to wear a whistle too.  I can’t remember if we had individual whistles or shared the same one.  My two privates carried poles about seven feet long or so with a metal sign attached to the end with the word “stop” written on it.  The poles couldn’t have been very long because we who carried them were not very large.  Kids in sixth grade back then topped out round five feet, five inches, not like those monsters you see now in 6th grade.  Hell I would go so far as to say we were “tykes.”  Not tiny tykes, but tykes none the less.

Then we walked down the hill from the elementary school on Aqua Dulce—I think it was—till it ran perpendicular into Campo Road.  On the other side of Campo, Aqua Dulce became Sweetwater Road (don’t ask me why); and there was a cross walk there painted on Campo Road to help children navigate from Aqua Dulce (which means Sweetwater) over to Sweetwater.

Campo Road, an old rural two lane job, was the primary artery through the area from San Diego on out to the desert.  Right before Sweetwater there was a pretty sharp jog in the road.  If you were standing on the Aqua Dulce side of Sweetwater by the Campo cross walk you couldn’t see past that jog in the road maybe 75 yards away to tell whether a car was coming.  Thus the Safety Patrol.

I would send one of my minions to that spot 75 yards away and he through a variety of intricate arm signals would indicate whether a car was coming.  I sent the other minion just off to my left about 50 feet. When the kids arrived and wanted to cross, my minion off by the jog in the road would indicate when a car was coming, and if a car wasn’t coming, I would blow my whistle—once I think—and my minions would stretch out their signs across the road or at least into it with the stop part of the sign pointed in the direction that cars might come from.  Then I would walk the tykes out into the crosswalk.  I would stand in the middle of the road until they cleared the cross walk and then I would blow my whistle twice and my minions would withdraw their signs.

I stood there keeping kids from the cross walk till I said so many, many times, and I don’t remember one rebellion or one kid just taking off.  Apparently my red Safety Patrol Outfit endowed me with great authority. Or perhaps they were afraid I might beat on them with my red and white pole which was clearly intended as a crowd control device.  I was not much of a Sergeant actually; my minions screwed around with their signs, occasionally jousting with them, or just dragging them along on the blacktop when they were supposed to carry them under their arms.  But when we got in eye shot of the school, I would say, OK, cut it out, and my minions would.

One day Brother Dave was the cross walk sergeant in charge and just as he whistled once to lower the signs and kids started to cross, he looked to see his minion at the critical jog in the road had abandoned his post and fled down the embankment having been attacked by a band of bees.  Consequently Brother Dave, as he tells it, had to put his life on the line and step out into the road making a car stop with only his trusty pole. 

But that was 40 years ago.  The jog in Campo Road is no longer there, wiped out by improvements and road widenings.  And Campo Road no longer has pride of place, having been replaced by a freeway. I would doubt there’s a safety patrol anymore at least at that intersection.  And kids don’t walk to school anymore anyway.  I wonder if insurers would even allow tykes to command the highway these days.


Brother Steve made it to Tucson last night and at this time should be in New Mexico…. 

Name That Moon

I watched “In the Shadow of the Moon,” about the USA’s moon missions from 1969-72.  I was unmoved.  But then I was alive when the thing happened.  I waited three damn days to see if those guys were going to make it to the moon.  Maybe that’s why, but the movie just didn’t grip me.  All the time—it had interviews—I kept wondering where the hell was Neil Armstrong?  He didn’t show up in the film at all.

And then I got to wondering, as I watched, why the moon didn’t have a real, proper name.  Moon, yes, it’s a proper Noun but not a proper Name.  Other planets have “moons” too.  In my opinion our moon—just because it is our moon—should have a real name like the planets do.  Now Mars!  That’s a real name.  But moon is like generic corn flakes.  Sure we call it “the” moon to show that it belongs to us on earth.

But I think it deserves its own name.  We should hold a “name that moon” contest.  Personally, I prefer “Bob.”  I don’t know why I like Bob so much, possibly because Bob is not just a name but also a Verb, as in “Bob bobbed for apples.”  I guess I like names that are Verbs too because I am narcissistic, as in “Nick nicked himself with a knife.” Or “Nick nicked a knife”—nicked in this context being Brit for swiped.

So when we had a full moon we would call it a Full Bob and the Harvest Moon would be Harvest Bob.  And people would no longer moon each other; they would bob each other. 

And Kennedy could have said, “I propose that we land a man on Bob by the end of this decade.” 

Ok; so this is a lame idea.  Landing a man on Bob just doesn’t sound that heroic; and honestly who would want to be the first man to set foot on Bob.

And also as if this writing 1230 PT July 29 Brother Steve is well on his way to Tucson, Arizona…the first leg of his trip back to SC.

Tomato Soup

Inevitably, going through all that stuff, the Brothers hashed and rehashed memories, told and retold old stories.

Casa De Oro elementary school was right across the street from 10194 Romana Drive.  I only went there a couple of years before moving on to Spring Valley Junior High, about a mile walk away.  For some reason—and I didn’t know this—Brother Dave, who went to Casa De Oro elementary school for all the six years or maybe seven if he had kindergarten, had to come home for lunch.  I don’t know why that was.  I didn’t have to come home for lunch.  Thank God.  But for some reason, Brother David had to come home every lunch for those six or seven years, and every lunch for those six or seven years, he was served a bowl of tomato soup.  Six or seven years of lunches of tomato soup.  For God’s sake!  I imagine he had some saltines too or–what did we call them– soda crackers.  But he didn’t say if he had those or not.

Brother Dan had the same thing every day for lunch too, though I forget what that was.  Also I do believe when we brown bagged it to Junior High we had pretty much the same sandwiches everyday.  A baloney sandwich.  And one of those little bags of Fritos.  That was the best part of the lunch as far as I was concerned.

Brother Dave also said he got in a fight in second grade with another young fellow when that young fellow told Brother Dave that his mother had told him that our mother was a nut, a busy body and a trouble maker.  What?  I said never having heard that story before.  And Brother Dave in his defense—though he need not have made it—said hell, I was only in second grade.  What did I know?  I consider it to his credit that he defended his mother’s honor even if the young fellow’s mother was correct in her assessment of our mother.

Brother Dan has indicated for some years now that he owes a debt of gratitude to his former allergist down in San Diego.  Brother Dan had and still has awful allergies and he had to go to the allergist quite a bit and of course Joan insisted on being right there in the room with Dan and his allergist.  But one day the allergist managed to get Brother Dan off by himself and said (though these may not be the exact words), “Son, you do know, I hope, that your mother is crazy.”  Brother Dan said his life changed right there on the spot as if a veil had fallen from his eyes.  All was clarified.

I wish somebody had said something like that to me.  As it was I had to learn the hard way, over time, and with a hell of a lot of reading.  As Brother Dave indicates, what do you know?  A child knows only what is known to him.  And even down there hashing over memories, I was still learning.  While I knew our mother was crazy, I hadn’t known that our mother was a known nut throughout the neighborhood.

I feel embarrassed in retrospect.

Once in a Life Time

So, as I said, on Friday Brother Dave opened the storage area door:


We set to work, throwing out garbage, multiple bags of it, making dump runs, taking out nearly all of the furniture and then putting it back so that the lady we have hired to sell the stuff might see what she is selling.


Also we put pictures of the furniture on line for her to look at and you can too at.

About midday Saturday, after Brother Dave had hauled off some large items to the dump, we sat and contemplated our efforts.


  That Saturday afternoon, we sat in Brother Dave’s garage going through the four or five big pictures of papers.Joan appears to have saved any card ever sent to her by anyone living or dead.We threw those out.She also saved any letter any body ever wrote her; we also threw those out.Also she kept strange notebooks with lists of expenditures but sometimes without dates to show when the expenditures were made, also lists of words.And a page of instructions on things to be done on the occasion of her death; she wished to have a ceremony performed at Westminster Abbey. 

Very very strange going through that stuff.  But we got a few laughs too.

 Here Dan hands Dave a picture of me.  Good for a laugh. 

Saturday evening, Sister in Law Teresa prepared an excellent Mexican dinner attended by many Tingle males living in California.

Sunday morning we helped Brother Dave go through the mounds of old tools WB had collected.  We took pictures of these and put them on line.  We don’t know what some of these things are.  We thought of holding a name that tool contest.

The URL for Dave Tingle’s Tools came out DaveTingleSTools.  Be assured.  Tools, not Stools are pictured.

Storage Area Cleanout!

 The Tingle Brothers gathered at the storage area containing Joan and WB’s last material possessions.  I had never seen the area before. 


Brother Dave said, Be Prepared! when he opened the door.

 Oh my God!

We were worried about what to do with the two heavily motorized wheel chairs Joan and WB had in  their last days.  The batteries were long dead.  And we didn’t know who would take them even as trash.  We thought about illegal action.  But about two a fellow drove by in his Suburban Truck and asked what we were going to do with them.  We said, Sir!  You can have them (please) if you want them,  He said his church could use them.  So we set to moving the things. 


 Note the powerful muscles in my arm!

 Heave Ho! On Three!


 We contemplate our handiwork.


I am trying to stop smoking.

It’s really depressing.  I have tried to stop I don’t know how many times.  I won’t go into that.  It’s a pretty pathetic story.

I am at a spot in the process I know all too well.  It’s the I-Am-Stuck spot.  I have cut back for several days to 1 cigarette one day, then 2.5 the next, then back to 2, and I can’t seem to get over that final hump.

Meanwhile the withdrawal is killing me.  I can’t concentrate on anything.  I can’t read. I can’t write.  If I try to watch a movie, the damn thing irritates me so much I want to throw things.

I ache all over.  My face hurts!

I saw my psychiatrist Friday, for one of my thrice annual visits; I told him what I was doing and so we decided to up the Wellbutrin from a mere 75 milligrams per day to 150.  So far that has made no difference.

Well, maybe it did because last night I tried to go sleep but had this ringing or more like high pitched screaming in my left ear. Tinnitus, I guess.  So I couldn’t get to sleep.  I got up and walked around and jumped up and down and hit myself up aside the head and opened my mouth as far as I could and squirted liquid in my ear, and still the noise wouldn’t go away.  So I got maybe 5 hours sleep.  Not nearly enough—by about half.

This morning, thank god, it’s still there but much, much reduced from last night.

But now I feel anxious that I am going deaf…maybe that noise was the last squeal of a dying ear nerve or something.

And anxiety is really not good when one is trying to stop smoking.  I have plenty of that anyway without having to worry about going deaf.

I need to clean my ears more because I lot of ugly stuff came out when I squirted water up there with a little plastic squirter.

Stuff on Our Deck

We had the deck outback reinforced (for the jacuzzi), also sanded and resurfaced:

We had to take all the stuff off the deck to have it resurfaced and when we put all the stuff back I decided to document it as follows: 

For years in the 80’s we lived in an apartment building at 221 West Alamar in downtown SB; when we left I took took some ferns that were out back.  This is the offshoot of one. 

WB gave me this succulent that I’ve kept alive since the early 90’s. 

 A friend gave us this succulent as a house warming gift.  So we have had it since 1992.  I think that’s the year we moved into the condo. 

This is the most important plant.  It’s a descendent of the geranium that I planted over the grave of Amelia the Cat back at 221 West Alamar.  She got cancer and died before her time.  I buried her out behind the apartment and marked the spot with the geranium from which the one above is descended. 

This is Amelia The Cat’s Plant: part 2.  It is descended from the one above.  The one above is not the original plant either.  But grew from a cutting of the original plant, now long deceased. 

This is one of the 10,000 blocks that WB made to build the house at Delridge.  

(Gap) Fire Again! (Outage!)

We were watching a pretty good documentary on the 628 assassination attempts made on Castro when—bingo—out goes the juice for the second time yesterday.  So it’s nearly 8, not enough light to read what with the dank skies, and I am about ready to explode.  At about 9 the juice comes back on.

This morning we meet some friends who have come into town for a funeral at a little, nearby restaurant and we talk for a while and start figuring our plans for the day and—bingo—the juice goes off.  End of all plans.  My friend wanted to go to the UCSB library, but is it open?  Carol wanted to go work out, but is the club open?  Me, who the hell knows what I wanted to do—but probably it involved the use of electricity.

This juice stuff has been going on for a week now and it’s more than an irritation now; it’s pretty much a painful aggravation.

I started talking about the PDA’s people have—like the Blackberry—that allow you to go online and watch movies if you want on your telephone, and thought maybe they should design one with a tiny pull out grill so that in case of juice outage you could fry up like a miniaturized burger or something.  But that would of course require that they build in a miniature refrigerator.  So I sat there trying to imagine a PDA with a built in grill and refrigerator….

You open up the tiny door to the tiny refrigerator to see if the milk is still good.

We are the only people sitting in the dark little restaurant.  I ask if it’s OK if we sit there and they say it is.  The owner starts putting out little candles. But when I go to get coffee I see they are not really little candles at all but little things that look like candles but are power not by fire but by batteries.

We get back to the condo to find this tall guy with tattoos all over his body pulling up the planks of our deck out back.   This is our carpenter’s son.  I am glad to see him because he was over in Iraq and I was afraid he would get killed.  He is pulling up the planks because Carol wants to get our own jacuzzi, but before that we need to get the deck fixed up (it looked pretty ugly) and also get supports under where the two tons of jacuzzi will go.

I am not in favor of this jacuzzi for numerous rational reasons—oh, well, this is not the place to go into that….And I should wrap this up before the juice goes off again…

(Gap) Fire Again (BS Levels)

Outside—grim today.  At first, fog.  That was good because it helps to cool things down.  Now the sun is out and it’s still grim, from remains of smoke in the air.

Soot and ash all over everything.  Cars, bushes, driveways, rooftops.  I saw a kid skate boarding with little plumes of dust rising up from his rear wheels.

Also are the outages out?  Hard to tell.  I thought they were over yesterday morning, but we had half dozen outages for briefer and longer stretches from around 1 PM to 6 yesterday afternoon.

The fire in official speak was at first called an event.  Since the event started, they would say, or the event seems to be going this way or that.  Later the fire was downgraded from an event to an “incident.”  The “incident” seems to have started when the Feds moved in and took over the “event” management.  That’s what the top Fed dog called it: an “incident.”  Personally, I think it’s neither an event nor an incident but a fire.

This afternoon they will have another news briefing about the “incident.”

It’s just like it in the movies.  The locals never like it when the Feds move in.  The woman who had headed up the locals mispronounced the name of the new Fed boss.  Clearly she did not like turning over the reins to the Feds.

Early on, on the second day maybe, I had the TV on without the sound.  I began to hate this woman who was talking even though I didn’t know what she was saying.  I told Carol, this is an awful person.  She is full of bullshit.  So I turned on the sound to see if I was right and sure enough I was.

She was a spokesperson for the Chamber of Commerce.  Make no mistake, she kept saying, Santa Barbara is still open for business.  Meaning of course, open for tourism.  Just like in Jaws.  The locals want to keep quiet about the shark so the tourists won’t get scared off. 

Like come on up, SB is open for business. Bring your asthmatic children and elderly and you can stay in a motel room with no air conditioning because the electricity keeps going off.  Amazing.

Really, if I had a BS meter tuned to local TV and radio reports on the “incident,” formerly none as an “event,” the thing would be measuring off scale.

If I hear once again about how “the community is coming together” I will puke.

(Gap) Fire Again (To Be Continued)

 Yester eve for the first time since the fire started, the juice did not go off.

The fire appears to be moving away from us and was this morning 28% contained.  Mandatory evacuation orders for some areas have been removed and people are able to get back to their homes.

Fire Warnings for other areas have also been removed. Still the fire could continue to burn, at considerable distance from us, for a week or more up towards the north (away from us) and to the west.

Yesterday for the first time since the start of the fire we walked out to the bluffs.  Properly attired.

This morning we walked out again and got a call from Cousin Janet while sitting on the beach.  Very good to hear from her.  Thanks for the call, Janet.

We are very lucky with our local beach. No access road runs to it; one has to walk.  Given the aversion of many Americans to any form of exercise, the beach remains relatively people free.  Surfers hang out.  An occasional jogger passes, and people walk by with their dogs.

One cure for the obesity crisis might be to give every American family a large dog, one of the types that require at least 1 30 minute walk a day.

Perhaps I am returning to my normal aggravated state since I now seem to have the energy to have crabby thoughts about my fellow Americans.


 Properly attired.