I wish to share this entry written by Maureen herself. It is the same story… HURON . What is unique is this is her tale, same afternoon. We had not seen each other to talked in well over thirty years.
She was at a high-school reunion as conversation quickly turned to MGM stories. Everybody has them in this city. A mutual friend told her about the stories or memoirs I have been writing. Next, thing you know, she came knocking at my front door.
My folks have passed on, and I have returned to the scene of the crime. I live on Huron… again. She looks the same now, as she did then. We hit if off like yesterday. A wonderful reunion. Our lives, of course, have important people in them now… kids—now grown up—and spouses. But our conversation was all MGM.
And, the decade of the seventies. It turns out it is not just me who cherishes those times. I am thrilled that my old pal has shared memories with me about that decade. I only have a few members left from my Hole in the Wall gang. These stories are priceless to most who have, at any time, put their boots on the ground, in MGM’s historic back lots.
This is for those veterans. And today, this story is by Captain Maureen. She earned her stripes! This post is her take on the previous Huron story… Enjoy!
Maureen and her nephew… notice MGM in background… German village and China St.
Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, it was boys vs girls on our block. You would have to scan the tree line when you ventured outside for Donnie and his side kick, Jimmy. They would pelt stuff at the girls from the sycamores that tower over our heads.
I first caught a glimpse of this boy with strawberry blond hair while he was stealing apricots from my tree. He would use my backyard as his personal short cut, while playing “war” with his friends. I kept an arsenal of oranges, or whatever fruit was ripe, handy, in case he ever got within range.
Then as we entered our teens, things changed. We began to coolly observe each other from across the street. We even talked to each other. I asked him, “where did you get such a real-looking helmet?”
He responded, “MGM,” before inviting me to go inside with him. I said “yes,” without hesitation.
So after that, I would sneak into MGM with Donnie. I had no idea what to expect. All I really knew was, there was an ominous fence around this place, with no trespassing signs posted all over it. But now, I would get to see the other side!
We began by climbing loosely hung barbed wire, which was draped around a pole. There were wide open spaces forever, it appeared. What a backyard this city boy has… I thought.
He warned me of the dangers we could face. “They might chase us and we can’t get caught, so don’t make much noise… be on hyper alert, and follow him to escape.”
“OK… got it,” I answered.
Donnie took pride in showing me around. I was genuinely surprised about his knowledge of these sets and films attached to them. It was really hard to believe this 13 year old, apricot-stealing boy from the neighborhood, would know so much about old movies. He seemed earnestly in awe of each set and was very respectful to this place. It was not just sneaking in “for fun,” but also a privilege.
To this day, I am not sure if this was our first date or just kids playing. Either way, it is one of the best memories of my life. My personal tour guide would take me on many adventures through MGM, in the years to come.
I’m glad I had that apricot tree, growing up!
Well I applaud her for sharing this same event through a different set of eyes.
Ironically, shortly after, she would move from Huron to Elenda. The above picture is her in the carport of her apartment that sits directly across the street from our lot. It gets better: her bedroom window was in front of the building and looked directly into the backlot. Like having a legal fort… so cool.
Lots of MGM stories will take place in the image shown above, both on and off the lot.
Let’s just say, I climbed that fence across the street a million times… or at least it felt like a million times.
Thanks Maureen for being a trooper!
Story by Maureen Miller