Growing up Southern California.


Rosewood Street Mar Vista, CA 1972. I grew up fatherless and my grand parents had charge of me from a very young age. My grandfather died suddenly when I was 12. My grandmother did her best to care for me but she was too old to discipline me. I had a lot of problems as a kid. One of them was no real strong type of guidance.

Robert Holder was the closest thing I ever had to a father figure.

I never thought about this until very recently. To begin I love all the Holders. Mick being one year my senior and Ted three years my junior. Mr. and Mrs. Holder are of European decent, Mr. Holder being Swiss and Mrs. Holder Dutch. Robert being the eldest son is five years older than. Back in the day, when a new neighbor’s family moved in, we kids were sent over with a basket of fruit and a welcome.

I was immediately impressed Robert’s seemingly effortless ability to succeed at what ever he choose to engage in. His father’s typical Swiss devotion to a meticulous attention to detail, understanding of design, function and form took root in Robert’s understanding of math, design as well as electrical and mechanical principals.

Perhaps my first real lesson from Robert was how to care for equipment. He had a very cool bicycle that he had built a custom travel/carry box for his skin diving equipment. The box was simple, had form and served function. Returning from the ocean, the gear was all washed and arranged perfectly to dry. Next was dive tables and Ohms Law. I finally understood math was necessary and applicable to everyday life. I recall Robert driving the family Galaxy 500 as he got his California driver’s license. When got a job working at the Papermate Company as a maintenance. He brought me there several times and this was my first exposure to what is now referred to as HAVAC. By this time Robert had stepped up and got a surfer van. Yup had a bubble window, eight track system and a bed in the back. Deep Purple’s Burn was my favorite for a long while. Southern California is the epicenter of car culture and Robert took an interest in off roading. Naturally so did I. I did not mind being Robert’s slave. I learned mechanics helping tear down and rebuild two tricked out F250 “64” 4X4 full size pick ups and a “72” (I think) Bronco.
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I went on so very many outings with Robert after building the 4Xs4 but the best had to be the San Diego trip. Robert’s best buddy Glen was then a U.S Navy diver stationed in San Diego. So after building the blue Ford, we took off to San Diego. Robert assured my grandmother he would take good care of me. Well Robert and Glen dropped me to go surfing in Ocean Beach with another diver’s board. When they returned to get me at sundown I was nowhere to be found. I had made friends and made my way back to the navy base having a great time raging it up with the navy divers. Robert and Glen were in a panic as they thought I had drowned and were going to have to tell my grandmother the sad news. To say Glen and especially Robert’s jaws dropped when they saw me in the barracks getting drunk with the navy diver’s is putting their expressions of astonishment as well as relief mildly. They had been searching all of San Diego’s beach front as well as the lifeguard department. The ride home was a gas, I recall Led Zepplin’s Physical Graffiti playing on the radio.

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