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Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Richard Hilton, Director of The Museum's Tours and Conservation Matters, asked me recount this event for the Museum Community.

On a Saturday morning in 1959, I went to my job as a liquor clerk at Hughes Market (Number 4) on the corner of Balboa and Devonshire in Granada Hills. At the time I was a student at Los Angeles Valley College, working evenings and on weekends. (I both liked and disliked working on Saturday, since I had to be at work before the market opened, but got off early enough to party with my fraternity.)
I arrived at Hughes about 7:30 am, and according to Fred Vogt's (the store manager) rules, positioned my sad old '53 Chevy at the far end of the parking lot.
As I locked my car, in the illusion that it was worth something, a bunch of motorcycle officers, with sirens blaring, roared ahead of a procession of half dozen big black limousines. The parade was going north on Balboa Boulevard.
I still recall my combined sense of fear and amazement on seeing the little red flag with a hammer and sickle on the hood of the middle car. Then, I saw the face of Nikita Khruschev looking through a window at me. For some reason, despite my two years in the Naval Reserve, I waved at my mortal enemy, the leader of the Soviet Union. He smiled and waved back.
Later, during the showdown between Khruschev and President Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Hughes Market's aisles were stripped bare by frantic customers, and my Navy Air Reserve Unit was activated.

1 comment:

Scott Mumford said...

Cool story!

I remember being confused by the bare shelves, and asking my parents about it...