Art by Rosco Wright 1970

The Final Frontier

Here’s a splendid bit of visual art that’s been on display in various rooms I’ve slept and worked in. Rosco  Wright and my parents were friends at the University of Oregon way back in times that appear to have been mostly black and white, and in the decades thereafter.

Gardner Street School

Gardner Street School

Gardner Street School is a block north of Sunset Boulevard and a few blocks west of La Brea. I showed up here for first through fifth grade and I hadn’t been back inside the place since the last day of school in June of 1969. I used to walk half a block to buy the occasional hot dog or baseball bubble gum pack at the Sunset Grill twenty years before it was made famous by Don Henley.

My nephew Sam just started school at Gardner, and Halloween gave me a chance to take a fifth grader of my own to the party. The school is a lot more crowded than it was when I went there, and the nicest building was destroyed by an earthquake a couple of years after I left, but the place is very much the same.  We took the kids out to collect candy.

40 years ago to the day, Alexis and I went trick-or-treating with a big swarm of kids in the same neighborhood. Quite a few of the old houses have been replaced by big apartment buildings, but a surprising number of the old places have been restored with loving care.  The trees are 40 years older and seemed gigantic and vigorous. Most importantly, the streets were crowded with friendly, happy people. Plus, we agreed with most of the political signs on the lawns!

For no extra charge, here is some art I did at Gardner Street School at about this time of year back in 1968.

RIP Professor Whitebread

Charles Whitebread died a few days ago at the age of 65. He never smoked cigarettes but lung cancer killed him anyway. I knew him at USC and in the bar review business.

Professor Whitebread was one of the best lecturers I ever watched and listened to. He joined the faculty at the USC Law School in the summer of 1981, which is when I started my first year at the same institution.

I took three classes from him: Criminal Procedure, Gifts Wills and Trusts (GWATS), and Juvenile Law. His classes were packed and people didn’t skip many sessions.  Each 50 minute lecture was a model of clarity and precision, engaging and entertaining. This guy loved and respected his students. He showed up prepared and he inspired everybody to care about the material the way he did.

Here is a drawing of Professor Whitebread that I put on my folder for Gifts, Wills & Trusts back in the spring of 1983. I respected this professor, but I developed a fierce contempt for law school. The only thing about law school that was an improvement over junior high was the fact that it was OK to drink alcohol in class.

Listen to Charlie tell a quick story about a marijuana dealer, a fleeing felon, and hot pursuit.

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Law School Doodles 1983

25 years ago today, I was a second year law student at the University of Southern California. Here is what was on my mind as I sat in one of the big amphitheater classrooms. A typed translation of the scribbling follows, below.

Law Student Doodles

“I sold pot in the U.S. A quarter ounce. It cost me 40 years in jail, where I have been raped and beaten. The Supreme Court says this is not cruel and unusual.”

“Hi! I’m a rich, deceased lawyer. My picture is up in room 1 of the USC Law Center. I was convicted of tax fraud, but over the years I donated $160,000 to USC.”

“I’m Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. Who says my brains need to be reasonably related ty my job?”

“I’m a haggard USC 1st year law student, the victim of a brutal socialization (brainwashing) process. I feel as if my arms have been tied behind my back.”

“I’m a woman associate at a large law firm. My chances of becoming a partner are cut by my dislike of playing softball and my interest in becoming a mother as well as a 1st rate attorney.”

“I’m a fertilized egg in the womb of a poor woman. I present a threat to the life of the woman I’m inside. The courts say it’s OK for the government to deny the woman a free abortion, despite the direct threat to her life.”