Robb’s Post, Part Two: Condo-mania

April 15th, 2011

The story continues.

Part 2

So last time, I introduced you to my Mom and her propensity to see life at its most ideal as being what happens aboard a cruise ship

After repeating these adventures for several decades, almost in their exactitude, she decided ‘why does the party have to end?’ Life after the cruise is so dull. It’s not gay!

Now Dad was in real estate. He was always surveying the new trends in property development. One day he and Mom happened upon a condominium that was being constructed in Reseda (for you non-Californians, that’s in the middle of the San Fernando Valley).

Suddenly something clicked in Mom. Here is this sprightly little community. There are pools, a recreation hall, dances… why, it was just like a cruise ship! And it never ends! Mom badgered Dad until he bought a unit.

Now, of course in reality it wasn’t like a cruise ship at all. It was populated, not with relaxing, celebrating vacationers but with middle class denizens of the work force and their gossipy, envious, bored, jobless wives. The intrigues around The Condo were intense and malignant and had poor old Mom ever moved there she would have been devoured. Mom took things personally. Really personally. To give you an idea how personally Mom took things:

  1. Start with how personally you take things and quantify it with a number.
  2. Double it.
  3. Cube it.
  4. Multiply that by the number of atoms in the universe.
  5. Multiply that by the number of possible moves on a chessboard.

That’s how personally Mom took things.

At this point (1966) Tim and I were in college, singing together and slipping off into our middle twenties. We had both moved out of our parent’s houses, but while Tim lived in a respectable apartment building complete with Tiki gods and torches, I was just rousting around, crashing chez various friends.

Dad figured it was time for me to land somewhere and the idea was concocted by all parties involved for Tim and me to move into the condo, pay rent and sort of caretake the place until Mom and Dad were ready to take over.

My Dad was really smart but could he have possibly foreseen at that time everything that transpired afterward?

We’ll never know, but after Tim and I had lived there for a year or so…

  1. You could not tell what the original color of the carpet was. If memory serves it was a kind of rust but it quickly descended into various shades of charcoal.
  2. There were several holes in the walls.
  3. The kitchen was smoke stained and stacked impossibly high with dishes, food encrusted cookware and a variety of non-cooking related items. The final effect was that of a national park in Utah. You couldn’t imagine what was keeping those impossible formations up.

Later, a third roommate, Bill, moved in. Dad correctly surmised that he was the clean one so he occupied the master bedroom with its white carpet. Bill’s room remained pristine throughout but the décor of the rest of the condo can best be described as Early Crack House.

Parenthetically, you can imagine what it was like living with Tim and me during those years. Bill was a normal sized human with a slight barrel chest so naturally we called him The Hulk. He suffered similar indignities throughout his tenure there.

Anyway by the time we all moved out, there was no thought whatever of Mom and Dad ever living there. Mom was saved.

Tim and I, naturally, were too modest to ever verbalize what a good deed we’d done.

9 Responses to “Robb’s Post, Part Two: Condo-mania”

  1. Suzanna Says:

    Well, that’s a scenario I never could have imagined in a million years. Tim and Robb the sloppy roommates.

    This has been fun, Robb! Thanks, and I hope you will consider guest blogging again soon.

  2. EverettK Says:

    Tim? A slob? Robb a slob, well that rhymes, so it’s easy to believe. But Tim? Come on! Tim, the trim, slim, prim, gym-aholic? Never Tim, the dim, grim slob! Tim, the stim-ulating writer living on the rim with vim and whim, but never a slob!

    (Well, at least not with Mun around…)

    (Does anyone own a bridge? I’m looking to buy…)

  3. Stephen Cohn Says:

    Very funny Robb!…and accurate! Another demonstration of the powers of your memory for that period. I can only hope that you write a part three – there is so much more to say…

  4. Laren Bright Says:

    Reseda? Really? And you survived? Wait, a computer program wrote this, right?

  5. John Lindquist Says:

    1966: The year of the Rainy Day People 45 on HBR Records. I’m guessing that Bill was the inspiration for “Junior Executive.”

    That is quite a photo. I see you could even drive your car in there.

    OK, I’ll go back to my taxes now.

  6. Glenn Says:

    So, Robb, had we known one another back then, I’d have warned you; tattled about Tim’s bedroom during high school days. Actually, compared to those times, the picture you share in your post, looks comparatively neat. But alas, you both survived, as did your friendship, and that’s the important thing.

  7. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hey, all — Robb’s out at the farm for the weekend (the poor guy) and there’s no Internet connectivity out there. He’ll undoubtedly reply to y’all tomorrow.

    And, Everett, despite all those sub-Gerard Manly Hopkins rhymes, I was indeed a slob, although not as big a slob as my brother Pat, who said one of the great lines of my life when my mother wanted him to change his bed for the first time in, oh, six months. He said, “It takes time to break in a good sheet.”

    I was worse than Robb, to tell the truth.

    And, John, my car IS in there.

  8. Robb Royer Says:

    I’m baaaaack! Suzanna, great to hear from you, glad you enjoyed it. I’d love to see you sometime in the future. Do you live in L A? Everett… what can you do with Trump? I’ll get you started: Lump, dump, sump, stump, grump, bump, mumps… all negative images. Coincidence? ITN. Steve, Tim asked us all to do a musing on PF. Mine will be a continuation of sorts. Again, great work on the concert piece. Laren. After your assertion I had a brain scan and by god you’re right! John, no Bill wasn’t the Junior Executive. I think we were just trying to do our version of Well Respected Man. Glenn, I can’t remember if we’ve met but I know I heard you mentioned many times back in the day you must have loomed large in the Hallinan’s lives. Tim, thanks for letting me frolic in the garden you so carefully cultivated. Bye all!

  9. leigh Says:

    Do you suppose that Bill reads your blog?

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