Love and War in California: A Novel
time & place...scene/setting *december 8, 1941 & on, w/i the 1st few pages, they are "months past pearl harbor" *san diego state college *cafeteria *narrator's place: on meade street (san diego?)...rents a room in the cottage of an indian barber and his redheaded wife...normal heights *narrator delivers groceries for perry's fine foods, works for a weekly newspaper called the brand *the hotel del coronado...dancing...and a bit of trivia--the del was inspiration for ole frank--he saw the emerald city when it was lit at night *bonny lives mission hills *mission beach *a girl's room where he lost his cherry *presidio drive...where payton daltrey lived w/his family before the depression *ol paint...payton's vehicle...dunno as yet whether it is a car or truck...i drive a truck, so that's what it is, for me. *a water-taxi in san diego bay *sirocco errol flynn's yacht *hoover high, a rival high school to san diego high *albatross street, in hillcrest, maternal grandmother lives here *edmund daltrey, the father & weezie's mission beach bungalow *mother's place in logan heights *fremont bar *south of broadway *benford hotel *white castle hamburger stand *navy's san diego recruit depot *the alley past ranked trash cans *the quad at state (sdsc) *professor chapman's office *the brand's offices...newspaper where payton works...perceived as a commie rag *chrysie-car...calvin's car *tijuana expedition *small towns between san diego & the border, san ysidro the last *molino rojo, huge tijuana whorehouse *clinica orozco...for the abortion for bonny *avenida revolucion, in tijuana *caesar's hotel & the foreign club, tijuana *a theatre...for the dog and pony show *pt loma (a kind of lover's lane) *perry's basement, the grocery store place *camp kearny mesa...for the dirigible accident *navy dirigible, canton characters *eye-narrator, payton daltrey, is attending college, is in a midshipman's program, will "go in" after he graduates, is a college junior when the story opens, called "brud" by big brother richie, studies english literature, writes when he can, sends stories out, born on july 5, 1921, he is an alpha beta, although he has been avoiding the tong...a new word, me...something to do w/the frat...meetings or something...he is twenty years old. she is in a sorority & she is called "bonny" because there are four other barbaras at the sorority *pogey malcolm, payton's best friend, lives on wisteria street *johnny pierce, a senior, two whole years older than bonny, enlisted in the air corps the week of pearl harbor and was gone...later, we learn that he is killed in a training accident in april *payton's friend harrison's sister, w/whom he lost his cherry, her on top, when he was a junior in high school, may it do ya fine *richie daltrey, payton's older brother, in pensacola, is a jg in naval air, called a "throat-cutting studio cocksucker" by hagen, is engaged to *liz fletcher, richie's fiancee, 23-yr-old, her father is in the navy *tim eaton, a friend of payton's who set them up w/2 dates at mission beach *martha bailey, a necking friend, nothing below the neck, now & forevermore, hallelujah & amen *charley, bonny's brother, flunking out of standford, enlisted coast guard to beat the draft, is stationed on north island, part of the san diego harbor geography *bob-o, peyton's friend, robert o'connor, will be going into the marines *men in uniform *girls sleek in thick formals w/bright lipstick smiles *amy perrine...bob-o's date for the dance at the hotel del *val, a starlet at usc, & alas, she is a suicide *david lubin, a dicrector, mentioned in connection w/richie's time in los angeles *errol flynn, the actor, owner of the sirocco a yacht, has a place near los angeles called mulholland farm *the beta epsilon sorority from state...sdsc, i assume, invited to flynn's yacht, some apparently left w/stories to tell only their bestest friends *a broad-shouldered guy in a checked jacket, wally toland, errol's friend on the yacht and a stuntman *pancho hagen, another stuntman on the yacht *amy's father, who owned a couple shoe repair stores *the water-taxi driver *a deckhand *a student (flight) & instructor/ richie/ they died in a crash *maternal grandmother of payton, from richmond?...indiana, she moved w/payton's mother and his uncle faye to san diego, & her name was payton, looks like *aaron, the grandfather, died in the phillipines during the spanish-american war *dr. he is black...is a pimp now in san diego *stan takahashi, john rodrigues, and buddy ruger, other members of the tutti-frutti backfield, san diego high football team...later we learn that he is pre-med ucla *zoot-suited on 3rd street *coach garland...football/payton/san diego high *platinum blonde, big-assed in her tight red dress *a colored bartender w/a face like a slab of brown beef *dessy, one of calvin's hookers, born on april 11, 1920 *professor chapman, payton's english professor *an expanse of uniform backs *the bartender *some bad men down the bar *a brown-uniformed mexican officer in a salty cap *meskin, a friend of uncle red's (calvin) *peggy fleming...probably not the figure skater *his cheerleader/buddy ruger *a japanese girl/stan *her boss/dessy/up in san francisco, where she had to put out to keep her job, oh la *mr perkins...payton's mother's friend...some guy he wonders if she had to put out for to keep her job *cops directing traffic *servicemen in civilian clothes...identified by their haircuts *a sour-faced mexican woman *groups of pedestrians *men w/harsh american voices (this ought to appeal to the america-haters, the ameri-phobes) *wo soldiers w/rifles lounged *a mariachi group *gringos *a naked woman *a man near us commented *a dog & a pony...for the entertainment...this was before the establishment media began to appeal to the masses w/their nightly entertainment, oh la *another naked woman *white-clad attendant *senor carlos rodriguez *an older woman, palm reader *sacco & vancetti, trotsky, mentioned for effect, national color *tom mooney & a policeman...pics/column...the brand *spanish civil war soldier...same *john reed...same *some strikers in yolo county...same *huac, teeney committee (california)...same *dutchman-printer tee-john *charlotte, personified, the press machine at the paper, likened to a grizzly bear *youth & a judge in altadena...article payton writes up, the youth is an 11-yr-old, the judge molested the youth...there is a sense the youth is a boy, but i don't recall exactly *the attorney for the judge...innocent until proven otherwise, you may recall, but why get hung up on the constitution? *bitsy, their mutt *mrs sims, their cook *pogey's step-mother, beth (seems strange, reading about more than a few--payton and now pogey--w/step-mothers, other parents...not a word really, that payton's folks were divorced...and nothing here to indicate why a step, and not the natural/initial parent *a nice man (for the abortion in tijuana) *connie roberts's sister...suidice...the second now we read about *customs officer *herb brownell, 28-yr-old *ted sparks, 29-yr-old *chuck-the-checker, drafted...younger...the other two above, drivers for grocery delivery **westbrook pegler *henry mclemore...the two names mentioned by payton in the perry basement scene *pr...p d ratner, editor, black mask *le cric...character of pogey and payton, based on jean valjean of les miserables *ellie minton, a girlfriend of payton's at one point in his life *rep. he moves the brick...the implication that the house is no longer "marked" some of payton's stories, titles "on the dodge"...sent to black mask "essential parts" my breadcrumbs there is a short...one/two sentence...a character, payton, using his imagination on the water taxi to the yacht...and another time, this one a bit longer, in the brand's offices...as he begins to write the piece on the youth and the judge... to the end...payton a successful novelist/writer, reading his novel, the title of book one, gate of bones, the first sentence the sentence of this story, "lyn burton" in place of barbara bonington.
The brilliance of this book is how Hall takes the overly-saturated topic of World War II and analyzes it from a fairly unique standpoint--through the eyes of an incredulous and rather tortured college student, whose personal conflicts often seem to outweigh the conflicts of the war and America in the 40s.
After all these years, I'm just starting to figure out that I have to like the main character of the book in order for it to work for me.
The racial epithets, common at the time, are widely used by characters throughout the story. I also found one of the female characters to be a bit too emotional.
I once heard Oakley Hall say that (Im paraphrasing) he likes to write about things that piss him off. I dont know enough about his life to know how autobiographical Love and War in California is, but if Payton Daltry is even a semi-approximate match for his creator, Hall is plenty pissed and has been for quite a while. Love and California is more than a coming-of-age novel, though, for it follows its protagonist through a successful, if offbeat, career into some unexpected middle-aged fame.
I've enjoyed several of Oakley Hall's books before - especially Warlock and a couple of his Ambrose Bierce mysteries - but I sort of stayed away from this one, because - well, I don't know why.