The Lanai Apartments 1963


Steve, the Manager’s assistant has turned off all the overhead lights just now and turned on floodlights that illuminate the big Tiki and the palm trees in the front, the swimming pool and all down the long parking driveway. The whole place looks like a movie set or what I imagine Disneyland must look like at night. A full golden moon is crowning the Car Wash sign next door making all of the white gravel between the palms look as if they are pools of cream. I want to drink it all in.

I am following behind him with my little garbage grabber, he calls it, and a trashcan picking up cigarette butts and pages from the Penny Saver that have blown in from the Santa Ana winds this morning. I have been twelve years old for three days now. This is my first job. Don’t call it a job, she said, you’re only twelve, but it is a job, an important one and I get paid.

The Lanai apartments where we live and where I work are furnished with tasteful Danish modern living room sets, comfortable beds, the latest appliances and streamlined dining tables with four matching chairs.  All you have to do is put your clothes in the closets, sheets on the bed and wonder bread in the toaster oven, which is also provided, and you are home. That’s exactly what we did when we arrived after a three day drive following the same nice truck driver that practically held our hand all the way from the dark Kansas City night to the Santa Monica pier, where we saw the ocean for the first time and Mom had her picture taken wearing new huge sunglasses.

There is something about California that I haven’t experienced anywhere else I’ve been, it is beautiful. Even a long apartment building next to a car wash and little mall is beautiful. It is not what is on the land, it seems to be coming from the land itself, under the ground, from its heart. California seems to have awareness of how special and beautiful it is, and it seeps up through the earth to your feet and right into your soul. It expects you to meet it halfway and be beautiful too. I think people feel it but then they get the wrong impression. They think they have to look beautiful. They go to extremes on looking beautiful with plastic surgeries and outrageous clothes and hairstyles but it’s not the outside it is the inside. I get it. I feel it just by being out under the sky and feeling the sun on my skin. It’s in the air all around, that magic stuff I felt back in Kansas City in the woods only more, so much more. Life sparkles here.

-Pam Tanzey

Writing 101

Day Eleven: Size Matters (In Sentences)

Today’s Prompt: Where did you live when you were 12 years old? Which town, city, and country? Was it a house or an apartment?

Today’s twist: pay attention to your sentence lengths and use short, medium, and long sentences

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5 Responses to The Lanai Apartments 1963

  1. Awesome closing paragraph! I really enjoyed the change of direction and the consideration of the ‘bigger picture’.

  2. dia says:

    Excellent. I get the same feeling when I am in Calif–there’s something magical going on over there.

  3. pamtanzey says:

    Thanks! That’s how I’ve always felt.

  4. You convinced me. I wanna go. I want to visit California. For a long time. Maybe forever.

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