Statebeach Stories

Random memories here and there of my dad, Thomas F. Crosby, Jr.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Ski Trips

Dad really tried hard to make family ski trips fun, and amazingly never lost his composure, even when being yelled at by Brett for his culpability in Brett's recent crash or inability to close the latch on his second-hand ski boot. And Dad thought we looked good in early 80s ski-wear. I suppose he was right.

Now I have to thank him, as both Brett and I will always be solid skiers, since he started us so young. The first trip was to Beaver, Utah, using $7 skis we bought at a garage sale. I think it was this trip that saw the coining of the immortal term "self-sufficiency on the slopes!" as a defense to another Brett tantrum.

But blaming one's parents for any sort of embarrassment is not unique to young Brett, as was well illustrated in the case of Sean Kelley, yellow pants, a parrot-print shirt, and a full tray of Laughlin buffet food...


Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Gaithers

Dad's favorite music in his later years was gospel, particularly the
Gaithers. Kind of funny from a relentlessly secular guy, but yeah,
he listened to them every day pretty much. He was never opposed to
the Stanford fight song -- "All Right Now" by Free -- or the Beach
Boys, or his all-time favorite "Trickle Trickle" by the Manhattan
Transfer, but in his last 10 years, it was all about the christian
tunes, meaning be damned.


354 Orlena

My grandmother, Lucille Crosby, was an amazing woman. Among many other impressive accomplishments, she designed and oversaw the construction of the Crosby family house at 354 Orlena, across from the Colorado Lagoon, in Long Beach. Directly across the street is what is now known as the Crosby Green Space. From there Dad, Brett, and I would often take a bucket of TFC Sr.'s old golf balls (another story) and whack them into the lagoon. I think Dad was always a little disappointed we weren't natural golf talents, but we did manage to get the occasional nice shot off. From paintings Dad did when I was a little kid, I know his fantasy was to have a golf prodigy for a kid, but alas, we were neither that nor great tennis or piano players. The paintings show me carrying a golf club much taller than myself, which I'm sure gave him visions of a Tiger Woods-like rise to PGA greatness. Sorry about that Dad.

Anyway, when Grandma died (which devastated him, another story for later) Brett and I tried to prevail upon Dad and JP to keep the house, but Dad was adamant that he didn't want to be a landlord. JP was sort of indifferent, preferring that someone from the family live there if we were to keep it. In the end it was sold for a pittance ($350k maybe?) and the new owners proceeded to tear it down and build a massive McMansion on the site, right up to the property line on all sides. A hideous monster. I think that really depressed Dad, as it erased so many great memories and his last real connection to his parents. I know it really made me sad. But I learned a lesson -- never sell real estate you care about. The new owners can never be trusted, so only sell if you want to make a buck, but couldn't care less if it's razed the next day, as it likely will be.


Ol' Yeller

In 1978, when he was 38, Dad bought his first-ever new car (I think the 260 Z was used, could be wrong) [editor's note - click on the comment below for corrections to this]. It was a Mercedes 300D, in magnolia yellow, purchased from the now-defunct Jim Slemons Mercedes. Dad believed in giving cars the utmost in care and maintenance, and he kept it in near-perfect condition. Over the years he tried to pawn it off on us after we got old enough to drive, but it was so slow we always declined. Thank god, we would have destroyed it. All those years it sat unmolested in the garage, occasionally driven, and from time to time Dad would make noises about getting rid of it or one of us taking it to San Diego. I always refused on the grounds that it would be a shame to leave it outside, after so many years of being garaged. Finally, I got my own house in Pacific Beach (with a garage), and took the car off Patty's hands in 2006. It's my mission to keep it in perfect condition, but to drive it, as it's a great car for just about anything but going fast. People are blown away by the condition of the interior, which is 99% flawless, with not a single crack or discoloration. Car washes implore me to make sure it is always kept indoors, and be very careful with it, which is funny. If they only knew how long we've been benevolently ignoring it, they wouldn't be too worried. I will drive that car forever. Dad would like that.


The purpose of this blog is... get down memories of Dad as they surface in our unreliable, uncatalogued brains. Submissions will come from the yout's (Scott, Brett, Julie, and hopefully computerphobe Tera), as well as those of the previous generation (Patty, Sharon, JP, and his friends and legal colleagues). The idea is to capture stories and snapshots of quintessential Dad without a lot of time commitment or hassle. Hopefully this becomes a substantial archive of material that illustrates the greatness and extremely idiosyncratic nature of Thomas F. Crosby, Jr.

-SC (Scott Crosby=SC, Brett Crosby=BC, Patty Crosby=PC, Sharon Wasserman=SW, DB=Dick Bonner, etc.)