Part One -Section 3 - Paul's Heritage - Mom

5 - Georgia Agalina Liles; My Mom!

Georgia Agalina Liles; My Mother


If mom were alive to day and she read this page... I would be dead! Did she hate her middle name or what?? Agalina was the heroin in a novel my grandmother was reading when mom was born in 1908! She hated that name more than you could imagine!

Due to the magic of Cyber-Space, I looked up Agalina and found it means:

The name of Agalina has created within you a lovely, generous nature. You will do your utmost to help others in need, despite inconvenience or even hardship to yourself. You are affectionate, and respond quickly to appreciation. As a child you were lovable, and quite expressive. As an imaginative, impressionable person, you could excel in the theatre, as a dramatist or comedienne, and the enjoyment and appreciation of your audience would be your greatest inspiration. Fine as your nature is, at times the power of your feelings is difficult to control and it unleashes itself through outbursts of temper. The name does not engender emotional stability; nor have you the system and order in your thinking always to finish the things you start. Thus, a scattering of efforts interferes with your finding success in your undertakings. A sensitivity could place a hardship upon your nervous system and you could suffer through goiter, or nervous conditions, or experience hysteria or mental repression.

The Lewis Clan

Mom was born to Charles and Mary Lewis of Enid Oklahoma in 1908. Mom was the oldest of five. Ernest, Carl, Charles, and Mary Kathryn (who is now on the web with her own computer) completed her family of seven!

Hard to believe that only 15 years prior to being born, my mom's parents were in Oklahoma. At straight-up noon on September 16, 1893, a gunshot punctuated the excitement as thousands of men, women, and children began their run into the Cherokee Strip. More than 100,000 people entered the strip on horseback, on foot, by train, wagon, and bicycle . . . all seeking a new life on the frontier.

About 20,000 of these people settled in what was to be designated as Garfield County and the County Seat was Enid! Some sources say that a group of cattle drivers who stopped in Government Springs Park to eat turned the "DINE" sign on the cook tent upside down so that it read "ENID."

Mom was the artist of the family!

Mom And The Guys Are Off To "JJ Glass"... Bestest Surplus Store Around

What's a guy going to do when he and his pals just have to go downtown and walk through the surplus stores carrying the latest ham radio treasures? The dilemma, the store was 8 miles away and non of us had drivers licenses. Mom did!

I did not realize until well after those adventures how wonderful Mom was in taking a car load of teenagers to the surplus stores and listening to the stories we told after the adventure.

J.J. Glass was the first stop on our Saturday morning adventures! J.J.'s was in a very old and dark industrial building just stuffed with military surplus electronic equipment stacked to the roof.

I managed to go there as a geek-eyed novice, drooling and properly dragging the floor, bowing three times to the BC-610 And SCR-533s, and will never forget that place. Getting ones hands on a relatively undamaged SCR-522 for two meters; finding a box of new 826's, wow!

Best treasure was a phone-patch of sorts. I have no idea what the function of the box was except it was part of a military field phone system. With a little conversion here and a little there and volia', best phone-patch on the airwaves!

JJ Glass crystals The shelves were piled so high I thought they would almost fall over. We were brave in those days; earthquakes could never hurt us! The aisles were so narrow that you had to squeeze to get through and some of us could no get through! The smell, oh, the smell of that place reminded me of carbon-tetra-chloride and burnt wood. The smells wafted through the air and left one smelling through and though. Stuff to fill the head o' de young squirt for the rest o' his life.

Every time I see an old FT-243 crystal, it reminds me of when I was a Novice and Ed Hayman and myself would grind those puppies to put them on the correct frequency. Real trial and error. Go to far in the grind and it was the lead of a pencil that saved the day.

I remember the JJ Glass surprise boxes. We would all buy one and then open it up on the way home and try to guess what the stuff was. We would often trade the contents and the remainders just got piled into the drawer full of stuff.

But the secret weapon was Mom! Mom would take us guys down to the surplus stores in the 1955 Buick and then patiently knit while we discovered treasures. I could never understand then why she didn't care to go inside. I did drag her in a couple of times when my fist full of hard earned dollars wasn't enough to pay for the desperately needed treasure.

Better yet, Mom would act amazed at the descriptions of these treasures.

Mom was pretty neat!

After I got my driver's license we would run down to L.A. and J.J.'s whenever we could. JJ's was just off Venice so it was a straight shot. But then one day I arrived only to find their doors locked. The treasure trove was gone, no notes, no goodbyes, just emptiness. A part of my growing up disappeared.

I peered through the dusty windows and strained my eyes to see...........nothing but an empty building. J.J. Glass was gone.

Mom Tore The Wall Out

Mom was a pretty feisty lady, also born with the gift or being able to design and build anything. we had a small house growing up and between our dining room and the add-on den was a solid (load bearing) wall. Mom wanted this wall remolded and made so we could see from the dining room table into the den. She talked about it for several weeks.

I went to school at Shenandoah Elementary and when I walked into the house, there was Mom and the wall was gone! This slip of a female had taken the wall apart, removed about 10 feet of it and had it stacked in the driveway. She was busy rebuilding the studs so she could frame in an opening. Dad always arrived home at 5:00 PM, like clock-work. He was not surprised at all and in fact said something like "Good job satchel, what do we do next?

That weekend, Mom and Dad put the rest of the wall up, latch and plastered it (drywall was not something we knew about). Moms artistic senses were again proven as those two little room were now joined visually and made them both look bigger.

Playing The Accordion

They made me do it! Time again for culture for Paul... But again. mom and Dad were right! The accordion was a great musical education as I can still read music and tickle the keys on a piano.

When asked about what instrument I want to play, I naturally went with the Marx brothers and wanted to do the harp but after looking at the prices, even in the 50s, it was out of our reach. I settled for an accordion.

Of course I took lessons at the Culver City Music Store which in those days was at the corner of Main Street and Venice Blvd. It was two stories and we did our lessons in the back of the building in a private room.

Culver Center
A little Mayberry right in the center of Los Angeles

Finally I began taking lessons from my teacher at her home. Gad she was pretty; looked like Marylyn Monroe and Dolly Pardon rolled into one. She knew Myron Floren and the four sisters that sang on Lawrence Welk's show and in fact accompanied Myron Floren on the Welk show several times.

Over the years I got pretty good and even was a solo at the Santa Monica Auditorium before having to give it up due to the press of High School

Kids... Take music (and I do NOT mean playing the radio). To this day I can still play a few songs on the piano. Music skills...good; Listening only...bad.

Tap Dancing For Paul

Mom and Dad said I needed "culture". Can you believe it, me with culture? I believe to this day they were developing my skills in NOT falling over my own feet. I took tap dancing for several years and in fact got fairly good at it! Heel-toe heel-toe! I can still tap just a little this day! There was a little dance studio about two blocks from our house on Comey Avenue and two days a week I would be forced to go there are show my carefully honed skills, yeah right!

I lasted about two years with tap dance and was always embarassed when the little foo-foo ballerina's would show up for the next class and point at the poor clod who could not get the step right. Did I practice at home, yeah I actually did. I think I liked the steel taps and the way they sounded.

But it gave me an excellent excuse to follow the fad. Which fad you ask? The "steel clips" on the shoes fad.

Leather coats, switchblades, and taps on shoes depicted the typical "teenage tough guy" in the 1950s. I was a pseudo-tuff, wore the clothes but didn't participate in the attitude. Schools were full of the sound of taps strolling the halls. It was the stroll and the sound of the tap that added to the tough teenage fashion.

Steel clips shaped like half-moons were fastened with copper rivets to the back of shoes either by a shoe repairmen or by teenagers themselves. I personally pounded a load of taps into my shoes and suffered the consequences when the nail was too long and it came through the bottom of the shoes!

Usually the shoes were sharply pointed and black. No one really knows how this fad began, but some researchers guess that tappers from Harlem might have been an influence for this style. I think it was the sound and putting taps onto the cheap tennis shoes was NOT cool.

The style seemed to slowly fade around 1965 when principles became less tolerant of the noise in the hallways and the style changed to a more casual tennis shoes look. Someday they will come back because they did seems to make shoes last a little longer.

Mom Knew Her Airplanes

Sue and I took Mom to the Proud Bird, a restaurant at the beginning of the runways at Los Angeles International Airport.  Mom was in her 80's but she could tell us the name of every airline simply by the colors of the airplane and the tail insignia.  She was amazing.  How did she know?  Simple, for years and years we as a family would go to the airport on Sunday afternoon's and watch them take off and land!

Mom Was A Real Trooper

We took Mom to Alabama in 1989 so visit her brother and during the trip we had several plane changes and delays.  Mom and Sue would sit in the airport cross legged and smoke watching al the activities.  Never a complaint nor a harsh word... just a trooper at heart!

Mom And The Naked Man

Mom took up art (oils) late in life and signed up for a class at the local high school.  She was really enjoying it, leaving the house around 6:00 pm, she would return about 10:00pm.  One night she left on he normal schedule and she returned about 90 minutes later madder than a wet hen!  She was soooooo mad she would not talk.  Finally the next morning it came out.  They did the human anatomy that evening and when mom saw the man and woman drop their clothes in public, she grabbed her paints and left!  We kind of laughed but mom did NOT think this was funny.

Pour The Beer Back In The Horse

Sue and I took Otis and Mom to a place in Hollywood called the Spaghetti Factory.  We were making fun of the fact she did not have a glass of beer like, Otis, Sue and I.  She never drank.  Well, the waiter came out and Mom ordered a beer.  We nearly fell over backwards.  The waited was amazed and he made a point of asking Mom how the beer was.  Mom looked up at him after taking a small amount and said in a loud voice  "You should pour this back into the horse!" .  Needless to say, we all laughed te rest of the evening!

Drinking Her Coffee

Mom could drink five pots of coffee every day. She began at 3:00 am when she woke up and drank until she hit the sack about 9:00 pm.

My Superman Suit

Mom was a talented lady who could sew anything.  In the 1950's Superman became a hit with the kids and of course I had to have a Superman suit for Halloween.  The costumes at the stores were pretty lame so Mom went to work one morning and by the time I was awake, I had a "real" Superman suit complete with tights, polished cotton cape, the big "S" and black pull up boots.  I wore it to school that day and Mom's phone rang all night with mother's wanting Superman suits for their kids!

When She Found Out She Was Pregnant

Sue asked Aunt Edith about whatg Mom thought about being pregnant and she said "Georgia was ready to kill PAujl when she found out!".