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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Putt-Putt, Vroom-Vroom, Part Two

Ah, the power of the internet and jpeg files. I sent a copy of my “Calhoun’s Can(n)ons” column, the one about my college days and my wonderful Vespa, “Charlie,” to Roy Brody in Israel, where he lives with his lovely wife, Vivienne. Roy, if you recall, sold me Charlie way back in 1962-3. Back came this black and white image and a note from Viv. The photo ("Leadfield Shadows," 1962) is part of an exhibition at the Art Gallery of the Ein Hod artists village on the Carmel, Israel, where Roy and Viv now live. The exhibition was devoted to members’ first photograph and their most recent photographs. (Roy is still a very fine professional photographer and Viv a curator and publisher of some very fine books on photography.)

And there it was: “Charlie,” Roy and a fellow student, Mary Jo Paget, in shadow and hurtling along near Leadfield, close to Death Valley in the Panamint Mountains, in 1962, shortly before Roy sold Charlie to me.

Quite a photo! Ah, the permanence of memory. And ghostly photographs. And the internet. My thanks to Roy for giving permission to share the image with my readers.

8 comments:

Alon Perlman said...

One of my first memories;I was a small boy in Tel Aviv. That would put it at '62-'63 My father took me to work. It was night and his co worker sat me on his vespa.
After a while they were talking and I got bored, so remembering how it was done, I turned the key and pressed the ignition button. The Vespa lurched forward. Fortunately the friend caught the vespa. Later I lived in Carmelia, Carmel. Ein Hod is a fair drive away.
Thanks for the memories.

Churadogs said...

Wow, another Vespa person!! Thanks for sharing that memory. (Your Dad must have had a fancy model Vespa? Charlie needed a kick-start on the kick-start thingee. Didn't know they had push-button starters then. Maybe on the higher-end models?)

Donna said...

and my son john wants one. he's 26 and can't think of anything cooler.

his dad, my ex, had one back in the early 70s and we rode together.
vrooooooooooooooooooooooom.

Alon Perlman said...

I know Ann,I have it in memory. I even remember the smells.The technical aspect of it bothered me too. Even if it was a lambretta, electric starters didn,t come in till late 60's.I'm a little of a motorhead (puch,suzuki,Kawasaki, etc..) Unfortunately my father isn't, and it was the friends scooter.

Just a picture;
http://www.vespausa.com/history/add-1954_2_large-lrg_ko8bgwy.jpg

Mike Green said...

I have a good friend in Nipomo that has one with a SIDECAR!!!
I call it the idiot device, but it is a hoot to drive, the usual skittish scooter handling is replaced by something completely sinister.
Riding in the car will cause you to age ten years for every hour.
It's wonderful!

Ron said...

That is a beautiful picture, but there's something that's been eating at me ever since you posted this...

Ann wrote:

"And there it was: “Charlie,” Roy and a fellow student, Mary Jo Paget, in shadow and hurtling along near Leadfield, close to Death Valley in the Panamint Mountains..."

I must know... did they live out there, or did they ride a freaking Vespa to Death Valley?

If so, I'm impressed!

Churadogs said...

Ron sez:"I must know... did they live out there, or did they ride a freaking Vespa to Death Valley?

If so, I'm impressed!"

If memory serves, Mary Jo was a fellow photography student at ARt Center and I think she and Roy went out there to shoot stuff (photo students were always on the prowl looking for things to shoot, which is why I hung out with them since we were always going interesting places.) Be impressed. Roy drove that thing all over the place. A fellow student (best man at our wedding) had a Vespa and darned if he didn't drive it back and forth from L.A. to his parent's home in Yakima.I never went that far, but used to toodle from Hollywood out to Mailbu for the day, up and over Topanga Canyon (nice drive) or way up to Simi Valley, to the beach, or just toodle around looking at stuff, etc.

Alon, you mention the Lambretta. Was that a different make or a part of the Vespa company. I know they looked alike, but can't recall if they were two different companies? I didn't know electric starters were on Vespas, but what the heck did i know from Vespas. I knew Charlie, but that was about the end of it. And I think he was the smaller (cheaper) model, with kick-start, very minimal scooter.

And Mike Green. . . a side care on a Vespa. Ah, now that's something to contemplate. Bwahahahah. Seriously nerdy but now totally retro cool, eh?

Mike Green said...

Lambrettas are still made in India I believe.
Here is the Wki link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lambretta_(motorscooter)
My Uncle had one of these smokin demons when I was a kid just learning to ride. Had a weird twist grip shifter, evil handling and crappy brakes.
Now it would be a collectors item.
Just for fun I added up all my two wheel miles in a best approximation and I do believe I may have survived over 500 000 miles, give or take a few thousand.
And I'm not done yet by any means.
Next time I'm down in the area, I'll go over and see if the Vespa sidecar is running.
Wanna lose a few years of life? Hop in!
And Hang On!