U.C.L.A. from a child’s perspective

I wrote this just now for myself.  There are probably only a handful of people who have similar historic groves in their grey matter.  Regardless, I thought I’d share my little trip down memory lane for a few of my old friends.

From 1965 to 1973 I was four to twelve years old and lived three short blocks from the east side of the U.C.L.A. campus.  Today, July 5, 2015, I was reminiscing with my daughters about the time I accidentally rode my bike into the pond at the botanical gardens.  I was struck by the vast differences between the two times.  On the weekends and during the summers I’d leave home on my bicycle for hours.  The vast space and kaleidoscope of environments of the U.C.L.A. campus provided us with a truly extraordinary playground. Some kids have the woods…we had U.C.L.A.  What a great blessing.  Here is a list of some of the things I would regularly do on campus with my friends:

  • Swim in the sculpture garden and inverted fountains: http://magazine.ucla.edu/depts/hailhills/waterworks_down_the_inverted_fountain_story/
  • Go to the observation deck atop Bunche Hall.
  • Go into empty classrooms and lecture halls and play professor.
  • Ride my bike inside the buildings (this was especially ecstatic.)
  • Buy Tijuana Smalls, little cigars, from the vending machines and smoke a few puffs.
  • Ride our bikes through the botanical gardens, sculpture garden, and create bike jumps and tracks across Dickenson Court between Royce Hall and the Humanities building.
  • Bowl and play pinball in Ackerman Union followed by a bowl of chili and a soda at The Coop. http://newsroom.ucla.edu/stories/disappearing-acts
  • Run free all over Pauley Pavilion including playing basketball on the main court.
  • Play street hockey in the women’s gym (now the World Arts and Culture building, I believe)
  • Never miss a UCLA Marti Gras: https://alumni.ucla.edu/ucla-history/ucla-history-33/

This reminiscing makes me ask, “Where were my parents?”

Many thanks to the University of California.  Another great unintended consequence of higher education.

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One Response to U.C.L.A. from a child’s perspective

  1. Tom says:

    Yes Allen our parents were elsewhere. The trust they had in us and the greater society allowed enabled our generation to experiment with our boundaries some good some not so good (the day you wrote your name all over the men’s bathroom or our little firecracker incident come to mind). Sorry but today children don’t have that type of freedom, those our our memories which we will take with us for the rest of our lives. Life was good for a child on the Westside who lived in the shadow of UCLA.

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