The U.S.S. New Jersey, BB-62 U.S.S. Providence, CLG-6 History of the Bugler. Pictures, news media and souvinirs. Items that may be of interest to you. Call the Bugler: contact information.

Bertrand Raymond Trottier, Jr.
Bugler USN         Part II

Pancho, Cisco Kid and my mom in Tijuana, Mexico. Late 50's and Early 60's
The 50's was a happy time while we were in La Mesa as my mother was very busy with local events such as Christmas celebrations for the city, Easter parades where I was once "Mascot" on a float. I remember my dad, who’s plastering business with his brother Arthur was doing very well, being very much involved with the local Free Masons making the 32nd degree. His leadership with the Kiwanis Club helped create the La Mesa Youth Center where young people can go after school and the weekends. There they build an Olympic size swimming pool, Little League park, basketball courts and Recreation Hall for all sorts of indoor games and events.

I'd go down and the join the rest of the neighborhood kids in all kinds of activities such as ping pong, basket ball, baseball, swimming in the huge outdoor pool, model building, all kind of indoor games, etc. There were always a lot of kids and many older adults supervising with everyone having fun.

My Baseball Career I tried out for Pony League only to be told I was too small. By the time I was bigger, I was too old. Same story with Little League. I think my dad was more disappointed than I was. Oh, well, so much for my baseball career.The center had a gold medal Olympian who was my instructor for swimming, diving, trampoline and tumbling. Even though I was small for my age and not very good it was a fun time for me.

One of the most fantastic things to happen to me was going to the unveiling of the 1960 Fords at the Palladium in Los Angeles. My dad's company bought all of their vehicles and trucks from Mr. Elmer Drew at Drew Ford in downtown La Mesa. I remember the 1957 Ford Hard Top convertible that screwed down and the black '57 "T" Bird my uncle bought and my dad tried to drive. I was cramped in the back seat as he kept hitting the windshield wipers that squirted water all over. Poor man kept hitting all the wrong buttons to do what?. What a mess. He was never very mechanically inclined. My mother made sure he remembered that on many occasions after.

Awsome 1960 Ford Starliner.. My dad's was black with red interior.

A& B Trottier Company, Plastering, was located in Lemon Grove, CA. Now in front of our La Mesa house, oh, about 100' away were the railroad tracks for the train from San Diego. I would rumble through slowly, as we would wave at the Hobos and often chat with them. No one was alarmed that we did this. There was no fear at that time. Matter of fact the only time we locked our doors was when we went away! The company had offices in Los Angeles and Phoenix Arizona where his brother and partner Arthur lived.

 

They had two airplanes that my uncle flew. One was a Cessna and the other was Beechcraft Bonanza. I'll never forget that wonderful "V" shaped tail. Uncle Arthur lived down the street from the "Loan Ranger" (Clayton Moore) in Scottsdale and was close friends with William Wesley Peters, assistant to the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Anyway, my buddies and I would run along the slow moving train and jump on, often with the help of the "conductor" in the caboose or one of the Hobos. In the summer our train adventures would take us to El Cajon to the East or the other way to Lemon Grove where we'd jump off the train downtown. It was no big deal as people would watch us and sometimes check to see that we were OK when we'd fall. My father's office was right down the street about a quarter of a mile, but we rarely went there. However the object of these adventures in the 1950's was the toy store and hobby shop. Before jumping on the train back, we'd always stop at the drug store for hand made lime sodas and buy a pocket full of Bazookas. My mom always made sure we had money for an emergency phone call which I remember using only once when we missed our 6:30 freight. Once we rode our bikes on that long, hilly trip. 'Never did that again. Didn't have to, we had our own "Metro Link!"

My dad and I would take walks down the tracks that went through downtown La Mesa and I'd make sure to bring along my drawings of latest "Ford of the Future" with me to show Mr. Drew. He was very kind and made sure to praise my "very ingeniously" designs. But it was the fall of 1959 and Mr. Drew gave my dad tickets to see the new Fords in Los Angeles and we soon set out on my L.A. adventure to see the cars of tomorrow. My eyes must have looked like saucers at the Palladium on Hollywood Blvd. How wonderful it was seeing these beautiful cars; the new Starliner and the rocket shaped Thunderbird. Wow!

That was a great year. When the new Fords arrived, Mr. Drew let us into the old warehouse where he kept his new cars in "secret." It was wonderful! Soon all the car dealerships had their search lights up (remember the carbon rod jobs that smoked and were unbelievably bright?) for the unveiling of the new 1960 cars. We walked all over town and saw the new "Wide Track" Pontiacs, the new Oldsmobile’s that looked a mile long the new strange looking Plymouth with the backward fin and of course the all new Buicks with names like Le Sabre, Electra with low bodies and "tons" of glass. We even saw the strange but wonderful looking Chrysler Imperial whose headlights seemed to float in the body! Life was perfect. The future had arrived!


Park LaBrea was such an exclusive place to live everyone called it the "institution."
Park LaBrea's 18 tower complex was great for bike riding.
Move to Los Angeles 1961
We moved to Park La Brea, an exclusive apartment complex near the La Brea Tar Pits on Wilshire Blvd at Fairfax Avenue, Farmers Market, CBS Studios and famed Melrose Ave. I never lived in an apartment before and sort of got used to it. My mother hated it. Although that's another story I soon went to John Burroughs Jr. High School right on the "Miracle Mile" continuing my studies in French and of course marching band.

It was tradition, at JB, for select trumpeters to play Morning Colors which I did for the two years I was there. It was here I met my lifelong friend Moshe Doman who has gone on to travel the world since then.

I quickly learned he collected comic books, we both liked the military and that he was Jewish. Now, this was really new to me; Judaism. This became a lifelong avocation of mine, so to speak.

But I had a new problem; allergies. The doctor's tests made my arm looked like I was a drug addict. Even with a note, my teachers got really upset and took me to the principle. I'd sneeze twelve, sometimes more times in a row and John Burroughs Jr. High would send me home, once in a taxi as they thought I was going to have a heart attack!

I was so sick my best friend was a roll of toilet paper for my nose. I remember my mom coming home with homework for me to do. How can I do this without being in class? My sister Joan moved in so now I was dealing with two very unhappy alcoholics and my own case of bad facial acne. I was trying to grow up. Life was miserable. My only out was staying over at my friends. It was like this for the next five years of my life.

By this time I was with Moshe Doman at Fairfax High School. I spent a lot of time with Kurt Stiefler and his family where we read Ripley’s Believe It Or Not books and rode in his father's noisy Diesel powered Mercedes they bought in Europe. Fairfax High School's alumni include Demi Moore, Carol Lombard, Mickey Rooney, Ricardo Mantalban, Al Franken, Timothy Hutton, Phil Spector, and many others.

What I remember best is his shortwave radio kit that I coveted. I also spent a lot of time at Ron Cantor's house with his funny sister who had a six foot tall replica of Michelangelo’s' David. She painted his privates hot pink! Ron's father was a Cantor at a temple in the Valley, played violin and had a wonderful signing voice. I got a yarmulke (skull cap), a book on Hebrew and started learning Jewish Law.

For all practical purposes, Fairfax was a Jewish school. There were only a handful of White Anglos Saxon Gentiles, as myself, and fewer Blacks or Hispanics. I looked as Jewish as anyone else, except I had blue eyes, blondish hair and was kinda short. My classmates included Arnold Palmer Jr. and others who went on to be famous music and film personalities. Once I took my precious Heath Kit Mohican to class to demonstrate shortwave radio. I turned out my teacher not only spoke Russian but was a registered Communist! Soon after President Kennedy was shot. Terrible day. I'll never forget it.

Morrie and I immediately joined ROTC, got itchy brown old Army uniforms that fit terrible (Morrie's and my mom worked got to work making alterations. We also joined the Drill Team and the Rifle Team. Believe it or not but it was common place for us to take our rifles to school on Saturday mornings for target practice in the ROTC Armory rifle range under the bleachers. By the way, the school had only one fence and that was to keep the ball in the football field. Our lockers were always available to us all weekend if we needed anything. Dress code did not allow jeans on campus nor sneakers. Dress shoes, and pressed shirts were the order with skirts and blouses for the girls. No slacks. We looked like what we were supposed to be back then; young adults. We could solve a lot of our current problems in the schools is we just adopted some of the old standards that worked so well then. For the life of me, I can not think of any of the guys competing with each other over shoes! We competed academically and athletically. Isn't that what school is for?

I made a point in joining the orchestra with classmate David Rose (father had famous Big Band) on trumpet and French horn as well as marching band where I became marching instructor. My mom bought me a brand new Le Blanc trumpet, same as Harry James which soon got stolen. I worked for an antique shop to save money to buy another. I soon got and Olds Studio which I still use today.

I also joined the Fairfax Communication League and studied Morse Code under Club President Carl Rutenburg for my Ham Radio license. Through my Uncle John May, K6KBM (sk) I subscribed to Heath Kit catalogues.

Fairfax High School, Los Angeles, CA 1963.

My dad soon bought me the greatest gift of my life; a Heath Kit Mohican all band shortwave receiver. I spent the summer evenings building this wonderful radio which my Uncle John kindly tuned up and fixed my bad soldering for me. I loved that radio as I'd take it to the roof of my building to listen to foreign broadcast and Hams. It came in handy years later.

At Fairfax I studied music theory in a class full of musical geniuses which amazed me.

Here's a picture of Fairfax High School showing part of the quad where I used to play Morning Colors. Please don't ask; It's not going to be an historical monument!
My trusted DeMolay card. Neve left the ship without it.
I carried this card during the whole time I was in the Navy. I'm so glad my signature improved!
 
I also joined the Young Republicans campaigning for Democrat Mayor Sam Yorty and Sen. Berry Goldwater for President. It was at this time President Kennedy was shot. It was horrible. In 1965 Morrie and I even attended an anti-Nazi rally and met a new political figure named Ronald Reagan.

My allergies were getting so bad my father moved us to Inglewood, CA about 25 miles to the south. I spent my last year in high school at Inglewood High with some more of some of the finest students and teachers earth. It's interesting to note that Sonny Bono, whom I go to know later, got suspended from Inglewood High School for bringing an all-Black band to the senior prom which is ironic when you consider that the school is predominantly Black now. Also, I was very much involved when our senior class representatives appeared before the Inglewood School Board to "beg" permission to wear white shirts with green polka-dots. My, how things have changed. 

It was at this time I joined DeMolay and the James K. Polk Fan Club (JKPFC). The JKPFC was an illegal, off campus club of pseudo intellectuals who entered baking contest with a walkie talkie in the cake spewing political rhetoric and the Annual Car Show with an entry from a junkyard, totally flattened with a new candy apple red metal flake paint job and chrome wheels. Even there was no chance for it to run we received first place for originality.

One of our young member was brazen enough to get hold of several dozen rubbers (prophylactics). We skillfully filled them with helium from the science lab and let them float to the two story ceiling of the school cafeteria. There were screams coming from the cafeteria at lunch time on Monday. It was the students to notice the "rubbers" first. To the chagrin of the school staff, the "rubbers" were stuck up there (thankfully) for days until they could bring in scaffolding to take the rubbers down. BB guns had no effect upon them. Boy, are those things tough! We were all impressed, as our future sex lives looked pretty secure. Oh, yes, we wrote things on them. Use your imagination.

In the school band I met Richard Ventonis who introduced me to his trumpet instructor the wonderful and dear Joseph A.Valenti with whom I studied for quite some time. Even though I was short and ugly with pimples and an allergy I managed to form my own eight piece band patterned after the, then popular, Tijuana Brass. Our school music director, Mr. Gills, arranged for us to be the opening act for the Association (Gary Alexander and "Cherish") that was touring Southern California at the time. Our first show with them was just out of town in Temple City.


Maestro Joseph A.Valenti, my trumpet teacher who helped me get and audition with the U.S. Navy School of Music. I had good chance to met him years later at a Chamber of Commerce function in TorranceCA.

Watts Riots, 1965
It was about this time I joined the local Ham Radio Club in Inglewood with the help of Stanley Krume who was my mentor. Stan also had a trumpet teacher by the name of Bud Brisbois. I remember one of his fingers was cut short. Mr. Brisbois did backup on many popular songs at that time as a "high range artist.".

Anyway, we bought an old AR-16 WWII aircraft radio that weighed a 100lbs. I just sat there on my desk at home. But when the Watts Riots broke out my friends came over to listen to the L.A. Police calls on my Heathkit Mohican receiver. I had already installed an inverted "V" antenna on the roof of the apartment building giving us great reception. We watched the riot on TV and listen to the frantic police reports in horror. I'll never get over it.

The reason we were so interested in the riots was that my father's business was located at 108th St. near Central Ave. That puts it right in the middle of the "riot zone." I want you to understand that we and other people in Watts (named after a popular L.A. City councilman) knew the riots were going to take place. For days anti-American literature was shot under the office door telling where to buy weapons and where to gather for the "demonstrations" to come. None of my dad's Black employees came to work that morning. Some had already excused themselves days before. Joey, my little Black friend, who lived near the office and did odd jobs for my dad, didn't show up. We knew something bad was up.

Then it hit, right on schedule. It was a very frightening couple of days. Many local Black businesses in the area my father traded with were destroyed. It was not a race riot. My dad's buildings were not even touched as the Black business next door, down the street and the corner gas station were burned down. We knew these people. They were our friends. The riot destroyed their lively hoods. The whole thing was planned and instigated by Communist. History books won't tell you this, I don't know why, but we were there and we all read the red and black literature that led up to this horrible event. I remember my dad bringing home the literature and calling the police to alert them. Nothing happened. I think they knew also, but had no idea what to do.

Subsequently it destroyed my dad's business as the area was declared "uninsurable." Crime skyrocketed as break-ins after break-ins stole tools, materials, equipment and trucks. The attitude of the whole neighborhood changed to something terrible. I never say Joey again nor the Black employees. It was very sad.

Click Here To Continue The Bugler Part III

The "Big J" The USS Providence The Bugler Picture Album Home Call The Bugler
Images and content Copyright 2003 TriAd Grafix International 909-888-6046 www.triadworld.com
Site created and maintained by TriAd Grafix International
For Information:
The Bugler