Ozzie Ausband

...where we grew up.


The air was cool. Sun glittered off of the cars nearby. I cut an arc south on the 405 out of Brentwood. A morning AA meeting left me optimistic and I quickly made a decision to drive a grid into the unknown. Brandon Wong sent me a possible to look into… Checking my phone, I knew I was only twenty minutes away. The morning soon found me on a hillside. Giant trees marched up the street. It was quiet and still. Suburbia. I walked the grounds of one that was for sale. Fences and gates were festooned with ivy. An air of decay and disrepair hung over the property. Behind the house, the pool sat. Black water and dog toys. The pool was amazing. A nearby dog started barking at my intrusion. I was a ghost. He stuck his nose over a fence as I slipped quietly out of the yard.



I drove the nearby streets. Yawning neighborhoods. People outside washing automobiles. The serene return from church. A bible tucked under an arm. Small dogs in front yards and a blue sky over it all. I pulled to the curb and scrolled through my GPS. Looking to my left, I was startled. A boarded up garage could be seen through a screen of trees. Palm trees scraped the sky and were untrimmed. Hedges grew thick and the yard was overgrown. I almost missed it. I walked across and soon found myself in the backyard. The house was boarded up. Mail filled the mailbox and it was obvious that the owners were gone, deceased or no longer in residence. Trash, moldy boxes of papers, crusted books, splintered furniture and garbage were strewn around the side yard. I saw decaying photo albums which were water-logged and barely intact. A few photographs could be seen.


The water had destroyed them. I barely made out one of them. Recognition. It was an image of the front of the house. On the back in blue ink, “The house where we grew up”. I placed it on a paint-blistered shelf and continued with my recon. I couldn’t believe the pool. It was like I had slipped into a strange skateboarding dream. Blue tiles, perfect coping, round carvable cups, huge shallow end, bullnose coping, side ladder, deathbox opposite…  the thing was so big, it seemed to have flat bottom. Unreal.


I took photographs and was soon in my truck again. Returning home, I looked into the property and will do all I can to skate the pool. It is what I do. I think back to the house where we grew up. I wonder who lives there now. Do they wonder about the folks that once called it home? Houses are memory sheds… bricks and mortar. Bones and dust. They are merely man-made shells, unless something or someone can come along and breathe new life into them. Perhaps it is this way with all things. Perhaps… Skate- Ozzie