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LeConte 101

As I sat in an empty classroom at Hollywood High reading the LA Times story of the death of John Wayne, I anticipated my own entry into Junior High a few weeks later.  I had no idea how different going to school in Hollywood could be.  I was tagging along with my sister Laura as she embarked on an accelerated curriculum that had her attending school in the summer.  To my 11-year-old mind there was literally no difference between the attendees of Hollywood High and that of any adult walking around free and not in school.

In my mind these guys had it made.  Though I stuck close to my sis and avoided other kids/adults on the school grounds, everything and everyone seemed normal.


Junior High Babylon

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Photo from Griffith Observatory to the Hollywood Sign

My back yard, sorta.

It was really fun to get to walk around in what I considered to be my back yard, though I didn’t live up in the hills I’d head up from the entrance of Griffith Park.  I never saw any of my friends or other people from school here so it was like going on a retreat.  I heard about Peg Entwistle jumping off the ‘H.’  About James Dean filming the knife fight scene in “Rebel Without A Cause” right behind where I was standing there.  I didn’t know it but the Hillside Strangler probably did some of his work right around here.  By the time I moved to LA they had just replaced the deteriorated old ‘Hollywood’ sign with a brand new one.  These hills have alot of stories, like we all do.  But also like us, not all of them are happy.

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A smoggy day, in LA town.

At first I thought getting the signatures would be the hardest part. I was 14 years old, in a gang ridden Junior High School (it wasn’t called Middle School yet, and it wasn’t Bancroft) and at 14 I already knew I loathed the idea of work. I could see the Hollywood sign from the play yard (concrete) and always dreamed of being on that hill and away from everybody. It’s funny that I envisioned the air being cleaner up there: 1982, LA, look up smog levels back then in Google and you’ll see that farcity.

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