A Hechinger’s Summer


 

Do you remember what it was like when you were seven and it was summer? Do you recall your child hood friends and what you did every day? I would go to sleep at night and being so anxious to play some more, that I would close my eyes and a moment later it would be morning.

 

            I remember getting up to the sound of hearing kids playing out side, running out the front door with my bow and arrow in hand and sending an arrow two houses down, into the spears palm tree nearly missing their cat. Only then realizing I was still in my pajamas.

 

But on my block just across the street from me lived the Hechinger’s. Their yard was not just another yard to play in but it was like going to Disneyland, particularly, Tom Sawyers island. First it was so large that they rented out four other houses on the property. And in between those houses were the maids building and a huge rumpus room that became the pool house when they put in the pool, the first people on the block to have a pool. In fact they had a pool before that but by the time I entered the scene it was full of trash. It was made of cement and built above ground just 16 by 6’ across and about 4’ high I never saw anything like before or since.  Next to the pool was a pond with a water fall and a small bridge now all filled in with debris as Mr. Hechinger said one day, when we tried to revive it, “leave it alone we filled it in because it bred mosquitoes.” There were paths that went every which way and areas where there was nothing but fruit trees growing, you name it apricot, peach, apples and even a fig tree. 

 

            Next to that was the play yard with an old decrepit jungle gym that had seen better days, which over the summer would become many things depending on what popular motion picture or TV show was currently playing in the theaters or on TV. It became the Alamo when the movie Davy Crocket “King of the Wild Frontier” was playing and you would find us re-enacting it on that jungle gym. There were so many plastic cowboy and army men killed, disfigured and or melted in that yard that I believe even today if you went and dug around a little you would fine some plastic body parts still there.

 

            Now the Hechinger’s were a family of 6. The oldest brother having already moved out having become an attorney. Albert the next oldest still living at home but in high school, then Joey a year younger than me and lastly Michael the most carrying and thoughtfulness of the bunch. They almost lost him one day while driving in their dads Cadillac. He was playing with the doorknob and the door opened and he nearly ended up in the street but for the fast work of their dad who reached around and grabbed him by the nap of the neck. Seat belts and rear door child locks had not been invented yet. They solved that problem by simply removing the rear door handles.

 

Albert was always trying to get Joey and me to fight. Joey was one of those kids that had to act tough and even though I was older and could probably beat him in a fight. But my best attribute, when in danger, was the ability to outrun anyone, even my dad, and I got pretty good at doing just that when in need. Later in Junior high and high school I led to me doing pretty good at track.

 

But one day while Albert was trying to get us to fight I used a notable cuss word, punched Joey in the nose and ran home. Weeks later when their new pool had been completed I returned. Only to be sent in to see Mrs. Hechinger, who did not want to hear anything about how Albert was trying to get us to fight. She just wanted an apology for the cuss word, which she reluctantly received.

 

            One night though I was going to do a sleep over and Joey and I were going to stay in the building that used to house the live in maid and butler, who they no longer had on live in status. As the night progressed though I found it creepy to be in that room. The bed had been covered with hard plastic to protect it and every time you moved it would make noise. It also had the strange odor of Ivory soap and I could feel the presence of the people who had been their servants. They did not seem to be all that happy to live there and neither did I. I did not spend the night.

 

            But the other memory I had about that particular building was about Henry, cousins to the Hechinger’s. He lived just across the street in a less then opulent house and the same age as Albert. He was taking the girl who lived in one of the Hechinger houses on a date. Dottie was quite attractive, well endowed

and seemed like a pleasant enough person, but it was a pool date and it was after dark. As Albert, Joey, Michael and I quietly snuck through the maid’s quarters to have a peek we saw them in the pool embracing, kissing and generally gyrating.

 

            Now for Joey, Michael and me, we just wanted to keep watching but for some reason this incensed Albert and before I knew it we were in the living room reporting what we saw to Mrs. Hechinger. Albert saying that they might be getting some sort of love juices in the pool water or something akin to that. Joey, Michael and I just want to go back and watch just a little bit longer.

 

            But summer went like that, adventure after adventure. One day Michael and his cousin decided to make a parachute out of an old blanket and try it out by jumping off the roof. Even I thought that was a bad idea. 

 

            You could spend hours though in their yard walking the different cement paths that went from here to there and in between all kinds of fruit to eat and things to see. I would wonder what they were thinking when they designed the place, I never saw their parents ever eat a piece of fruit. The tennis court had also seen better days and now was not even good enough to ride bicycles on.

 

            Then one day while Joey and I were sitting in the tree house we had made that previous summer in their fig tree and enjoying some figs, I looked over to the back house and there was a new family moving in with two attractive daughters, Shirley and Elaine and they were near my age.  In fact as luck would have it they would be going to Betsy Ross Elementary School with me.  And Elaine, the cutest of the two, would be in my class.

 

            A strange feeling came over me that day though when I saw them move in. Because that house was the most dilapidated house I had ever seen.  And I just had this feeling of sympathy for her that she would have to live there. It was an old clapboard building that might have originally had a dirt floor and the foundation just laid on the ground. Some said it was once a chicken coop. They were so poor that they used old curtains for doorways.  It was the first of the houses to be torn down many years later.

 

            Being the Italian stallion that I was I wanted to get to know them a little better. But Joey went into his show off mode and their mother stepped in and it was clear that was not going to happen. My sister and the older girls on the block though became friends and hung out with them, brought them food and old clothes as they were dirt poor. We only got messages of what was going on in there. Apparently the mother was very cool and would make popcorn for the girls in a frying pan, the popcorn spilling over the stove. My popcorn also spills all over the stove even with the right pan. Now I always hated in the middle of summer to hear TV adds about going back to school, buying clothes and supplies. I just didn’t want to be reminded of summer ending and having to go back to Betsy Ross Elementary. But well, this summer was different. It was the first summer I was actually looking forward to going back to school because I new Elaine would be in my class.                 

 

                                                                                           

William Czappa ;;;;;

The End

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

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Summer 2013                                 ARC TV Gazette                       Circulation 12,000

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Well we did it, we have now been in business for 30 years. And things have sure changed since we started in that tiny 600 square foot shop we started out in down the street. VCR’s had just become affordable and projections TV sets weren’t. There were still a lot of tube TV sets still being used. And there were still many American manufactures of TV sets and they were made right here in the USA. Service shops of all kinds were thriving all across the country from lawn mower, air-conditioning, to film cameras. But who new that would all change and 50% of the service companies would go under. What happened?

 

NAFTA happened, that and other trade agreements, that made it easy for our larger manufactures to move there plants to where ever there was cheap labor and freely export the product back into the USA with out having to pay a tariff. That was what used to protect the American worker and small businesses against products made with virtually slave labor. And then Wal-mart entered the picture and we threw quality out the window and got the lowest price instead. So if we disappear someday you will know why.

 

And what did we the people get out of all this?  Badly made products that don’t last very long before needing to be serviced.  Zenith used to say, “The quality goes in before then name goes on.” Well the first TV set we received from Mexico, the label had fallen off. By the way, Zenith is the last partly owned American TV manufacture all though they are called LG now. They still do the engineering but the product is made elsewhere. Why they dropped the Zenith name is something only their over paid executives can answer.

 

And what do you do about this? Well, before you throw something away have it checked first by someone who knows. What you replace it with may be even worse then what you have now.

And not all repairs are expensive. In fact we have found that 60% of broken VCRs, DVDs and CDs just need a good cleaning and lubing. Would you throw your car away because it got dirty? And if you want to help small business of all kinds take the time to give them a positive review on YELP or Angies list. Yelp is free and you don’t have to be a member of Angies list to leave a review. Doing that for your favorite stores, restaurants and service centers helps them stay in business and helps put the dogs out of business so we all benefit from that.

The newsletter
Remember if you don’t want to miss one of our news letters since we can not afford to send them to all 12000 people on our mailing list every time, just friend ARC TV on face book or twitter @arctvart and whenever we put out another letter it will be announced and posted on our web site for you to read.  Or you can then stop by the shop for a hard copy. You can also send us your email address and be on our email list. Those of you on either or both will be able to receive occasional specials we may offer as well. The advantage too is if you move out of the area you can always get it. Please let us know if you want to be off it or we are sending you duplicates.

 

Our first info commercial

We did our first info commercials recently and they can be seen on our web site arctv.net.

 

Art work

And those of you who have appreciated my art work over the years; An art book publisher has done a 110 page hardcover book with a autobiography of my life and some 118-color photos.  It is titled, “Assembled in America,” A retrospective, the first 50 years.  The cover photo of the book also won a contest for book cover photos on an art web site called Fine Art America. Copies will soon be available on line and then later at the shop.  The web site about it will be up and running very soon at; http://www.photobookmaker.com/collections/all-products or you can freind them on Facebook.

 

            I will be publishing an updated version of my book of short stories with all the newest ones soon as well. There are a few copies left of the first edition for you first addition book collectors out there.

 

And you can find a documentary that was done about me and my art on YouTube. The video was done by Karen M.C. Kane and Kurt St. Thomas for an international Documentary contest that is run each year.  Just YouTube Czappa or “City of Lost Parts,” and you will find all of our YouTube videos.

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Tape Duplication

Remember that if you do not back up your videotapes some day your camcorder is going to break. And some camcorders like 8mm, Digi 8 are no longer made. But we still maintain all of the necessary units so we can save all of those home movies for you. We can even copy movies from your cell phone. And remember we are one of the few shops to transfer audio as well, reel to reel, records, cassette and even 8 track.

 

We are offering in this newsletter only an opportunity to do video copies and audio copies for 25% off

for a limited time. You can purchase Vouchers now and use it for the next six months. For 8mm and super 8 movie film to DVD transfers we are offering 10% off. Just come in, call or email us and will send you the voucher. Two per customer and after the six months they are still good but only for the cash value.

 

One of our competitors offered a special recently for tape duplication, but after figuring out the discount the

people who bought them were paying the same as our everyday price on duplication.

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These are all the things that we do.

 

 

TVs & Plasma, LCD              All sizes, makes and models of TVs. Big screen and projection TVs. We do home service calls or bring
it in and save.  We offer pick up and delivery at a nominal charge too. We also install Plasma and LCD TV sets on walls.

 

VCRs & DVDs                      All makes including 3/4" professional machines and time lapse. From head cleaning to a full rebuilding,
our service is fast and efficient. One day DVD & VCR cleaning.

 

Stereo & Audio                    All makes and models serviced. CDs, cassettes, tuners & amps. We also specialize in repairing record players and tube amps too. We fix speakers and answering machines.

 

Microwaves                         We repair all makes and models of microwave ovens and do house calls on built-ins.  

Computers & Printers       We repair Computers, printers, laser printers and fax machines. 

Antennas & HDTV               We repair and install antennas, repair and run inside cable lines, and hook up TVs, VCRs, stereos and surround sound systems. We are HDTV antenna experts.

 

Sales New and Used         We sell new and rebuilt TVs, VCRs, and stereo equipment.  We are a Zenith, LG, Toshiba, Mitsubishi
dealer and sell Pioneer and many other makes. Check our prices on Plasma and LCD HDTVs.
Our prices are competitive with the big guys and our equipment is most often newer and fresher.

 

Audio & Video                      We rent slide, 16mm film and overhead projectors, Video projectors, Big screen TVs,

Rentals                                  DVDs, VCRs Camcorders, Plasma and LCD TVs.

 

Tape                                       We make copies of tapes, even European and copies of your old 8mm or 16mm movies

Duplicating                           film to tape or DVD.  We also transfer PAL, Beta SP and ¾”. They make great gifts. We also make
audio copies to and from CD, Vinyl, 8 track and reel to reel.

 

Lamps  & Small                  We fix lamps of all sorts, toasters, hair dryers, curling irons, phones, heaters, and

Appliances                           Christmas decorations and many other odd items - just call and ask, we once repaired a
bird incubator.

 

Ebay & Craigs list               We post items you want to sell on Ebay for you from electronics to antiques. Our service

Posting                                  includes photographing, packing & shipping. Call us for pricing and details. We also post

                                                items for you on Craigslist and will bid on items for you as well on Ebay. 

 

Recycling                              We are an approved electronic waste recycling drop off center.  Safe recycling at no charge.  TVs,                                                 printers, lamps, stereo, DVDs and most other electronic waste accepted. We

                                                pick up items for a nominal fee.

 

Refurbishing                        We refurbish antique radios and TV sets and other types of items as well. Stop by and give us a                                                 challenge.  

Art                                          We are the oldest art gallery in Burbank showing the internationally sold California      
assemblage sculptures of Bill Czappa. Free to the public open daily accept Sundays. Web site: www.czappa.com

 

ARC TV & VCR, 2529 W. Magnolia, Burbank, CA  91505     Tele (818) 848-9998   

E Mail:  arctv4@relaypoint.net     Home page: www.arctv.net   tweet @arctvart

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Exactly as described. Easy pick up. Thanks! May-02-12 17:10
Buyer: mrsv83(83)
Very nice eBayer with fast transaction and nice items. Apr-25-12 21:38
Buyer: flight2cts(101235)

Had a great experience with ARC fixing my 10 year old 50" Mitsubishi rear projection TV. The TV was turning off after brief periods of use and the color was looking a bit muddy....
I service computers but I don't service televisions. A client called me and asked if I could help with his inoperative 55" tv....

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