California Dreamin’ – Ashley – 3 Strikes – Part 3

Wildwood, NJ – 1984

When I got back to Wildwood, NJ I would write letters and sometimes talk to Ashley on the phone. One night I had been drinking while I was on the phone with her and the conversation turned to sex.

Ashley became enraged, that I was gone from her life and all I wanted to do was talk about how great our sex had been. She yelled at me and told me she never wanted to speak to me again. She was peevish, ex-lover spurned with jealousy and rage.

I was fine with that. I was already seeing someone else by then.

Philadelphia, PA – 2008

25 years later, I’m living in Rittenhouse with my girlfriend, Michelle. One day I go on Facebook, and I have a friend request from Ashley! I was happily surprised to hear from her after so long. Facebook was still pretty new back then and people were reconnecting with all of their old friends from the past. Whether that’s a good idea or not, I don’t know. I’m going to say it’s a good thing. I’ve been able to chat with many of my old friends and it’s nice to see some of them after all of these years.

But after about a week or so, Ashley writes me a message that I’m not being a good Facebook friend and she’s cutting me off. I didn’t understand what that meant. I guess I was supposed to be more attentive on this social media platform. It seemed weird to me at the time, but after all that time I didn’t care. She just seemed crazy. Mental illness is an insidious thing. I’ve met enough crazy people here in Philly, and I just don’t care anymore.

Philadelphia, PA – 2020

Here we go again. We’re all in lockdown due to the global pandemic. Out of the blue, I get a message on Facebook from Ashley. Now it’s been 37 years since I laid eyes on her.

She and I would message each other on Facebook. It was nice to chat with her again after all of these years. We had a shared history from a long time ago when we were young and free in L.A. in the early 80s.

She had been to school and became a chef, married for over 30 years, had no children and had been living in Italy for many years. It was fun to catch up.

But after a short period, I started to notice a very angry tone in her messages. She seemed bitter and preachy about certain subjects. I’ve been around for a long time and have a wealth of life experience. I can pretty much read people through the written word as if I’m listening to them in person. It sounded like when she’d get mean in her messages, she was drunk.

I think she searched my blog looking for some heartfelt story about her and there just wasn’t any. I wrote about a bunch of wild things that happened to me and the boys when we got to LA but never got around to writing about her.

She gave me a really hard time about some of my posts. I felt violated and insulted by how corrosive her words were about my blog. So many cruel, words. It hurt, but I’m accustomed to trolls by now. I’m sure it was just her drunken bitterness coming forth from a life not lived. Just silly, juvenile, embarrassing behavior from a middle-aged woman.

It’s a shame when you find out a person has lived over half a century and hasn’t ever evolved as a person.

I have a low tolerance for drunk people even though I have a high tolerance for alcohol. (Not anymore, thank you) But she seemed drunk and rambled on in some of her messages. It felt uncomfortable and I felt bad for her. When I looked on her Instagram it was just a bunch of pictures of locations where she lived. She seems lonely. That’s the vibe I got. No kids, married for 30 years and has almost no info or photos of her husband.

I suppose what happened to her is that she’d sadly lived a life that’s been unfulfilled. She speaks and acts as though she hasn’t grown as a person or matured as an adult. She was still pissed about me leaving her back in 1983!

We spoke on the phone one morning and it was lovely. But she wanted to chat so much on Facebook messenger that it started to feel like too much. She said, “Promise me we can do this every week.”

Who says that? Promise me? I’m not making any promises to some 60-year-old woman who lives on the other side of the planet. I haven’t seen her in 37 years! Anything we ever were was finished a long time ago.

I also noticed how she would message me on Facebook, and if I didn’t respond, she would delete them all which seemed juvenile and weird. Sadly, Ashley’s never matured as a person and hasn’t evolved through the years. I can’t relate to any of that nonsense.

I think poor Ashley’s bored in her life and where she’s ended up, and has turned to alcohol for solace. But that never works. That’s just a band-aid covering up your real issues.

I spoke to my daughter about it and she said it all seemed kind of weird after all of this time.

I would have been happy to chat with her ocassionally on messenger. That would have been nice. But I don’t want to be in constant touch with someone and have them sending me clips of a bunch of music and songs I have zero interest in. It all seemed juvenile. I guess if you marry too young and don’t live a full life, you kind of get stuck behaving a certain way. I don’t know how her husband has put up with all of this childish behavior for so many years. I’d have divorced this woman/child years ago. But that’s his life, not mine. I don’t know the man.

So, at one point she sends me a message about how it’s been great talking to me and hopes I have a nice life. I saw it and didn’t respond. I could tell it was just an attempt to get my attention. But I simply don’t care. I feel nothing for this person.

There were a few more drunken messages that were later deleted. I’m assuming she writes a bunch of wild things when she’s half in the bag, and then the next morning when she’s sober, takes them down.

I figured she’d wait until the end of December of last year. If she hadn’t heard from me, she’d cut me off for the third time.

Had she just reached out to chat and behaved like an adult, we could have remained friends, but she hasn’t the ability to do that. I’m thinking possible bipolar and alcoholism at this point. But I’m not spending any time thinking about it at all. I’m too busy.

I was promoting some of my stuff on Facebook the other day, and I noticed the message chain from her was gone. I thought, “This is it.”

I searched for her on Facebook. She didn’t cut me off or block me, but she had unfriended me. So silly.

So, 3 strikes and it looks like I’m out.

But… like I always say. No matter what happens, good or bad… at least I got a story out of it…

 

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California Dreamin’ – Ashley – 3 Strikes – Part 1

Santa Monica, CA – 1982

When I first got to Los Angeles in 1982, I got a job as a busboy at a local restaurant in Santa Monica called Cafe Casino. It was located in the Wilshire Pallisades building down by the beachfront. Someone had come up with the idea of serving French cuisine in a cafeteria model. People would enter the restaurant, grab a tray and get in line for their meal. They would point to the things they wanted, and there were a couple of girls that would serve them. It was like an expensive high school lunchroom experience. We had a fun crew of people working there and we had a good time.

I had become friends with one of the girls who worked there named Kellie Lawson. She was from Kenosha, Wisconsin. She was one of a million people who had migrated to Los Angeles to become an actor. Most people that you met out there back then all wanted the same thing. Every person in the service industry was waiting for the big break that would never come. Every waitress was either an actress, singer, model, or dancer. Most of the men you met were actors, musicians, or screenwriters. None of them working in the industry, but waiting…

Kelly had got on a greyhound bus to escape the grinding boredom of her hometown in an attempt to make it big in Hollywood. A classic scenario seen a thousand times out there. We had started dating and would frequently fool around at her apartment. We sort of grew out of touch after I left that job to work at Merlin McFly’s down near Venice.

One afternoon, we’re at the restaurant and the guys and I were hanging outside the dining room by the doors. The lunch rush was over and the two glass doors swung open. Who comes rolling in with his squad but Heisman Trophy champion, O.J. Simpson!

I knew him more from the Hertz commercials, but the other guys all cheered when the athlete entered the restaurant. He was a good-looking guy and said hello to us all. When I shook the hand of this man, who could realize that 10 years later he’d be famous for something else.

One of the girls who worked there that I befriended was a charming beauty named Joelle. She was a part-time model and her boyfriend worked at Disney studios.

Here’s her modeling photo card. Beautiful!

A lovely girl. She was not only beautiful but full of sass. She’d laugh at all my jokes and seemed to find me amusing. I liked working with her and having her as a friend back then.

One day, I came to work and she was standing there with another girl. She was 19 years old, cute, and Joelle told me she was her cousin from Philadelphia. I chatted with her and thought she was cool. Since I was originally from Philly we had a small connection.

She was new to California, and I told her we should hang out. She gave me her number and we made plans to do something together.

Eventually, we started dating and things became romantic. I had already been out there for over a year and was pretty jaded. But Ashley was new and was a fun, sweet girl to spend time with. Sometimes we’d just drive around LA in my van and end up down by the beach. We’d make out in the VW minibus and it was a romantic hot time.

We went on several dates. We went to see, ET: The Extraterrestrial, (I cried like a baby) The Dark Crystal, (A bunch of muppets with David Bowie), and Flashdance. (Chick-flick, but the great soundtrack.)

Sometimes we’d just hang out at my apartment, but many times I’d finish work and come visit her at her cousin’s house out in Culver City. It was fun to hang out in her room and watch TV and make out. We were just a couple of teenagers enjoying life and our youth together. We were a couple of kids on the loose in LA. She loved Richard Gere and I loved Farrah Fawcett.

One night I stayed over there late. We stayed up all night as young people do. When I came out to get in my van to go home, I saw that the driver’s side door was standing wide open.

My minibus had been broken into, and the thieves had stolen my entire stereo system. This was heartbreaking to me because I loved my van and listening to my tunes. They even took the boom box that I used to listen to on the beach back in Wildwood, NJ. I felt so violated by that incident, I was reluctant to go back to her neighborhood again. It was a planned professional job. They had hit several cars on the street that night.

The more Ashley and I spent time together the closer we became. She would stay over at my apartment in Mar Vista on the weekends. That eventually turned into our first intimate encounters. I don’t think I realized at the time that I was Ashley’s first.

But after that, it was really fun to be together, and fooling around became part of our relationship. It was a natural progression back then. You can only make out in my van for so long before the bigger things start happening.

One night while we were in my apartment fooling around someone broke into the apartment next door and robbed the place. My neighbor was in Greece at the time with her boyfriend so nobody was home. The thieves ransacked the place and I suppose stole anything valuable.  I later heard from one of my neighbord that they saw some guys listening next to my window to see if anybody was home. But I guess hearing our laughter they moved on to next door and ripped off my neighbor’s place instead of robbing us. Crazy!

My neighbor moved out shortly after that and I moved into her apartment. It was bigger and installed a waterbed I had gotten from a chef I worked with at McFlys who had back problems. That waterbed only cost me $120 and was awesome! It was so cool having a waterbed. I remember one night the thermostat in the unit went off and the whole side of my body was cold when I woke up. I thought I was half dead! I had a lot of wild times on that waterbed.

More tomorrow!

 

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Aerosmith – Part 5

Where’s Joe Perry in the featured pic? Yep. He’s been replaced by now. These are dark days for Aerosmith and me.

Wildwood, NJ – Autumn/Winter – 1979

My older sister was off to college and my father had moved the family to the seashore. It was a dark time for me, having been ripped from my life in Philly. My friends, my band, my school. All gone. I basically had to start over in Wildwood. You can read all about that mess and ultimate triumph in the series, Wildwood Daze on this blog.

But, through all of this darkness, my beloved heroes put out a new record. Somehow they put their drugs down long enough to crank out this album. I will note here that Joe Perry quit the band halfway through the making of this record. Steve Crespo plays on many of the tracks, but The original band is pictured on the cover. I thought the cover was awful. I thought the name sucked too. Oh, what’s your next album going to be called? “A Bic in the Cut?” “Dig Ol’ Bicks?” Come on, guys! What’s happening? I’m counting on you!

Aerosmith – Night in the Ruts – 1979

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_in_the_Ruts

The cover is bleak and the band looks dirty and worn out. Pretty much how I felt much of the winter of 1979 in Wildwood, so I guess it sort of fits.

Let’s go through this album…

  1. No Surprize: Solid opener to the record. I like it and I think it got some airplay. It’s about how the band came up. It’s good.
  2. Chiquita: It’s good. But I’m not thrilled.
  3. Remember (Walking in the Sand): This is a cover of an old Shangri La’s song. It’s not bad, but why this song? Does Steven miss Joe?
  4. Cheesecake: Just more Chiquita stuff here.
  5. Three Mile Smile: Fantastic song. Hard rock kick-ass song in the spirit of Rocks. I’m assuming it’s about the near-meltdown out in Pennsylvania. But the guitar work on this song is searing and I love it. The guitar work is outstanding.
  6. Reefer Head Woman: Another cover here. An old Buster Bennet tune. We get it. It’s about pot. The boys are running out of gas musically at this point. It’s a good song, but I miss the original stuff.
  7. Bone to Bone (Coney Island White Fish Boy): This is a solid rocker. I dig this song a lot. It’s got that manic quality that Rats in the Cellar on Rocks had so I’m in on this one. (Incidentally, a Coney Island White Fish is slang for a spent condom.)
  8. Think About It: Still another cover. This is an old Yardbirds song. But you know what? I kind of love this version. It’s a blast. I can hear the 1960’s sound in there, but the boys supercharged it on this number.
  9. Mia: This is a sad song about I think Steven’s baby daughter at the time. Nothing’s wrong with her, it just feels sad, like You See Me Cryin’ the final track on Toys in the Attic. It’s a haunting ballad, by an absent, drug-addicted father.

Overall I like this record. I like it better than Draw the Line. But we’d be getting another record in the Spring of 1980, but it wouldn’t be an Aerosmith record.

Wildwood, NJ – Spring 1980

I was sitting in the back of our bass player’s station wagon smoking cigarettes and listening to this on cassette. I was the guitarist in a band called Union Jacks by then, and he and I both loved much of the same music. He kind of reminded me of the bassist from my last band, Renegade, because he was a huge music lover.

The Joe Perry Project – Let The Music Do The Talking – 1980

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_the_Music_Do_the_Talking

Was I sad that Joe Perry had quit Aerosmith and their future was uncertain? You’re darn right I was. But… I still had all of their previous albums to make me happy, and anything that even resembled Aerosmith was at least something!

I still loved Joe and wanted to be like him, and I would take what I could get at this point. I really couldn’t complain. I had plenty of Aerosmith music and anything new by anyone in that band was welcome.

This brings us to this album. Let’s discuss. I’m not going to go track by track on this one. But I will say this. Joe put out a rock-solid solo album. This a really good hard rock album. It’s not Aerosmith by any stretch, but it still feels good, and I liked just about every song on this album. There are some real kick-ass tracks on this record. Well done, Joe!

The best ones are: Let the Music Do the Talking, Shooting Star, Break Song, and The Mist is Rising. 

Wildwood, NJ – Summer of 1981

Still, nothing from Aerosmith at this point, and the future of the band is unsure. I’m living my life at the seashore, playing in my own band, and working at Hunt’s Pier. Life was good and there’s plenty of rock out there to listen to.

Then this quietly comes out.

Joe Perry – I’ve Got The Rock ‘N Rolls Again – 1981

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I%27ve_Got_the_Rock%27n%27Rolls_Again

I really liked his first solo album from last summer and anything was better than nothing at this point. Was Aerosmith finished and all I’d be left with was Joe’s records and my sweet memories from the ’70s?

Joe gives us another 10 new songs to listen to and enjoy. But did we enjoy it this time around? Not really. The songs just aren’t strong enough on this follow-up record. I appreciate that he’s trying, but I’m just not feeling it. I feel like I was the only person who bought this record. Sadly, Joe has withered down to a skinny, frail junkie at this point.

I remember listening to it on cassette on my boombox on the beach. I was with my best friend and lead guitarist from my band. The title track came on and the singer was singing, “I’ve got the rock and rolls again!” My buddy says: “What’s he singing? Is that, I’m a rock and roll chicken?

I laughed but I can never listen to that song without thinking of that funny bit. Actually, I haven’t listened to that record in over 30 years.  If you’re a hard-core fan, go ahead, but it’s just not that good. Joe needs to get off drugs and get himself together at this point.

Whitford St. Holmes – 1981

Here’s something else that was released in 1981, after Brad Whitford also quit Aerosmith. He teamed up with Derek St. Holmes from Ted Nugent’s band. I didn’t know it existed when it came out. I saw it in a cut-out bin in a record store several years later. I’ve never heard the album, so it can’t be part of this series. I assume if I never heard of it in 1981, and didn’t buy it, no one else did either.

Sorry, Brad. You’re awesome but without Tyler and Perry, it ain’t happening. No one cares… (Oh, and the cover blows)

Check out my Aerosmith playlist.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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