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OUR MAIN STREET FULL OF MEMORIES.



Byline: Barbara De Witt De Witt, uninc. town (1990 pop. 8,244), Onondaga co., central N.Y., a residential suburb of Syracuse.  

As long as I can remember, when people said ``The Boulevard,'' there was no doubt about what they meant.

Oh sure, Van Nuys Boulevard had its charm, with clanging clang  
n.
1. A loud, resonant, metallic sound.

2. The strident call of a crane or goose.

intr. & tr.v. clanged, clang·ing, clangs
To make or cause to make a clang.
 streetcars and teens in hot rods cruising to Bob's Big Boy. But Ventura Boulevard Ventura Boulevard is one of the primary east-west thouroughfares in the San Fernando Valley; as it was originally a part of the El Camino Real (the trail between Spanish missions), Ventura Boulevard is the oldest route in the San Fernando Valley. It was also U.S.  was the high-rent district where the cultured-and-coiffed shopped and dined in the '50s and '60s.

The Boulevard was the Wilshire Corridor of the Valley, a mix of Rodeo Drive Rodeo Drive (IPA: /roʊˈdeɪoʊ/) generally refers to a famous three-block long stretch of boutiques and shops in Beverly Hills, California, United States, although the street stretches further north and south.  and Melrose Avenue Melrose Avenue is a well-known Los Angeles street that starts from Santa Monica Boulevard at the border between Beverly Hills and West Hollywood and ends at Hoover Street in Silver Lake. Melrose runs north of Beverly Boulevard and south of Santa Monica Boulevard.  that united five communities from the hip-and-happening Studio City to the outlands In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game cosmology, the Concordant Domain of the Outlands, also known as the Concordant Opposition, is the Outer Plane where the souls of people of Neutral alignment are sent after death.  of Woodland Hills, which was west of nowhere before the birth of Topanga Plaza in 1963.

I grew up on The Boulevard. I lived in Panorama City, but I spent Saturdays and summers in my mother's hair salon A hair salon (also called 'Hairdresser' and 'Hair Parlour')is a place where one goes to get their hair cut, as well as styled, highlighted or coloured.

There are many different types of hair salons that one can choose to go to.
 a few doors down from Woodman Avenue, where I had my first professional manicure at 5, learned to coil perfect pin curls by 10 and witnessed my first makeover at 13.

My mother, Irene Brezina, worked for several people, including shampoo guru Jheri Redding Jheri Redding (March 2, 1907 – March 15, 1998) was an American hairdresser, chemist, hair care products entrepreneur and businessman.

Redding is credited with being the inventor of modern day hair conditioner.
, who whipped up frothy froth·y  
adj. froth·i·er, froth·i·est
1. Made of, covered with, or resembling froth; foamy.

2. Playfully frivolous in character or content: a frothy French farce.
 fruit-flavored shampoo concoctions in the back room at Jheri's Coiffures (now the Marmalade Cafe) in the days before they were known as Redken and Nexus products. When Redding Redding, city (1990 pop. 66,462), seat of Shasta co., N central Calif., on the Sacramento River; inc. 1872. A principal tourist center for a mountain and lake region, it also has lumbering, food-processing, and diverse manufacturing.  closed his salon in 1963 to manufacture shampoo, Mom opened Lady Godiva Salon on The Boulevard.

The place gave me a peek into the lives of the rich and famous. Mom did the hair of stars such as Jane Russell Jane Russell (born June 21, 1921) is an American actress and sex symbol. Early life
Born Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell in Bemidji, Minnesota, she was the only daughter of Roy William Russell (January 5, 1890 – July 18, 1937) and Geraldine Jacobi (January
; starlets such as Ann Dore; and Jody Wolcott, Johnny Carson's first wife.

When I was old enough to drive on my own, Mom, instead of the Thomas Guide Thomas Guide is the title of a series of paperback, spiral-bound atlases featuring detailed street maps of various large metropolitan areas in the United States, in the metro areas of Boise, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Phoenix, Portland, Reno-Tahoe, Sacramento, Salem, San , gave me a piece of paper with a hand-drawn straight line across it, labeled ``Ventura Boulevard.'' Each cross street was also labeled.

The merchants along The Boulevard in those days were mostly young people with families who had staked out new lives for themselves after World War II. This was pre-franchise, when most merchants owned their own unique business and some lived in the back or above the store. Merchants made a point to get to know each other, looked out for each other's children and for problems like crime and fire along The Boulevard.

Most of the original businesses in Mom's block are gone, save a few like Eddie's Shoe Repair, Artan Frames, Flam's Key Service and Val Gobbi's Pioneer Filter and Pool Supplies.

As we talked recently in the front of her shop, my mother took a trip down memory lane.

``Look over at the Nerve Lounge. It's been so many things over the years,'' she said. ``And next to it is Moonlight Tango Cafe, where Johnnie Floyd's Meat Market was. They had the best meats; it was like an early Bristol Farms Bristol Farms is a grocery store chain that markets itself as being "upscale", with thirteen stores located mainly in the Southern California market. Formerly a subsidiary of Albertsons, Bristol Farms is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Supervalu, Inc. , where everything was top quality and you could place special orders.''

Looking down The Boulevard, my mother pointed to the Beverly Hills Beverly Hills, city (1990 pop. 31,971), Los Angeles co., S Calif., completely surrounded by the city of Los Angeles; inc. 1914. The largely residential city is home to many motion-picture and television personalities.  Diagnostic Center at Mammoth Avenue, recalling when it was a huge ski shop where they gave outdoor skiing lessons on fake snow until the late '60s.

I got to know neighbor-merchants while doing my chores, hosing down the sidewalk and washing the windows. Turk's Western Wear was next door, and Mom did the owner's hair. Roy Rogers often showed up there with his horse, Trigger.

John Schuck, who co-starred in the movie ``MASH'' and the TV show ``McMillan and Wife,'' had the office above Mom's. He was friendly, with a ready smile and plenty of autographed photos, which boosted my popularity with my peers. Teen-age salesmen from Wear Ever pots and pans, also upstairs, took me to the Cherry House for ice cream sodas on our first dates.

Many high-profile boutiques came and went on The Boulevard. Kathy's Cottons in Studio City was one of the most popular places to buy a new dress in the late '50s.

``And what about the store called Joane Johns?'' recalled Valerie Cravitz, 61, who hasn't missed a Friday afternoon appointment with Mom in 37 years (even after moving to Valencia) and who spent a recent afternoon reminiscing with other longtime customers.

``Remember, it was near Laurel Canyon and it was supposed to be frequented by lots of celebrities? I never saw one, but I miss those one-of-a-kind dresses they had for special events.''

``There was a place called Hody's Drive-in at Sepulveda Boulevard,'' added Marilyn Wiehl, 54, of Van Nuys, ``where all the girls from Van Nuys High would meet to map out their weekend social life, as well as stars like the singing King Sisters. You drank cherry-flavored Cokes and ate hamburgers served on a tray at your car window.

``Speaking of cars, back then there were a lot of empty storefront lots on The Boulevard and we'd have street parties on them, forming a circle with our cars like a wagon train and turning the headlights on.''

For the fanciest place in the Valley, it was ``the Tail O' the Cock ... where the waiters wore white gloves,'' Cravitz said.

``That was in the '60s, when the Sportsmen's Lodge was a hot spot for dancing,'' said Johanna Glass, 80, of Tarzana.

These longtime patrons miss the faces and places that didn't make it to The Boulevard of the '90s.

``Even Josephina's is gone,'' said Leona Radke, 79, of Van Nuys. ``It was a good Italian restaurant, just past Woodman Avenue, but when it closed in the '70s it seemed like the neighborhood went down with it.''

Mom agreed. The recession and the advent of malls pulled a lot of people away, and petty crime sent a few others looking for Looking for

In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with.
 new, brighter spots. But even during leaner times, she says, merchants found other rewards in being along the Valley's main street.

``I never set out to make a lot of money, but working on The Boulevard proved more rewarding than I ever imagined,'' Mom said of her 34 years in the shop. ``Maybe it was my energy or my staff or simply that my customers became friends with me and each other.

``It was an era of elaborate hairstyles, like the beehive Beehive (star cluster): see Praesepe.

beehive

heraldic and verbal symbol. [Western Folklore: Jobes, 193]

See : Industriousness
, and hairdressers were considered artists. We used to work so late on New Year's Eve, designing the hairstyle and adding ornaments to match their gowns.

``Today, it's more of a wash-and-wear society.''

CAPTION(S):

2 Photos

Photo: (1) Irene Brezina began her hair-dressing career on Ventura Boulevard, where she styled the hair of actresses such as Ann Dore.

James Brezina/Special to the Daily News

(2--Color) Irene Brezina at Lady Godiva Salon on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, where she's had the same clientele for the past 30 years.

David R. Crane/Daily News
COPYRIGHT 1997 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 20, 1997
Words:1104
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