The Gentleman, The Cowboy and The Bracero: Los Feliz Elementary School 1949

November 19, 2017
Los Angeles
It was the second to the last day of April, 1949, a Friday.  A light rain was falling on the streets of Hollywood, as the  Gentleman, the Cowboy and the Bracero each readied himself for the picture taking.  It was mid-morning when each gathered with their separate classmates at Los Feliz Elementary School. Michael, The Gentleman, pulled his top hat down hard on his head, Kelvin, The Cowboy,  pulled his scarf away from his chin, and Steven, The Bracero, cocked his sombrero way back on his head.
It had stopped raining. The sun was shining. Life was GOOD.









What the three boys didn’t know was their father just two months earlier had brutally beaten and stabbed to death a Los Feliz real estate woman who was showing him a vacant “For Sale” residence just a mile from their school.  And, what they couldn’t know was that in just six months forward, their father would be arrested for incest and sexual molestation of his 14-year-old daughter, their half-sister.
No.   For the Gentleman, the Cowboy and the Bracero in school that day in April 1949, with their mates in Hollywood –LIFE WAS GOOD.


  1. Linda Whitman on November 25, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Don’t want to sound syrupy, but those are sweet, precious little guys. Although I’m mostly familiar with Steven through his books, blogs and broadcasts; each of them have made admirable contributions to this world. So inspite of the horrors of GHH I stubbornly hold to the goodness I perceive. Hope I’m not diluting your narrative but that’s what’s on my mind.

    • Steve Hodel on November 25, 2017 at 11:44 am

      Hi Linda: Thanks.

  2. robert j cook on November 29, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    You sound down…..Steve dont forget the sins of the father dont fall on their kids.

    • Steve Hodel on November 29, 2017 at 5:48 pm

      Robert C: Right. Thanks. Mostly, it is the fact that we three boys were in the presence of such evil and completely unaware and naive that it existed. That is what I find so hard to grasp.

      • Lucas Pickford on December 5, 2017 at 2:44 pm

        That’s why as I’ve said to you many times Steve, you are the only person on earth who can tell the story of GHH, as awful as it is. Because of fate or chance (take your pick) it’s fallen on you to tell the world what really happened in the case of Elizabeth Short and all the other victims of GHH. There are no “crime writers” or “researchers” that can do it they know nothing about it. Not to mention the Zodiac, Lipstick, and the other “unsolved” murders that your work alone will prove in time to have been the definitive source on. I lived on Franklin Ave for a period myself (mom was a secretary at Paramount) only blocks from your old house and spent my childhood going to Griffith Park Observatory, La Brea Tar Pits, Canters Deli, and all those LA places and those photos of you and your brothers (though older of course) remind me of some of my own school pictures if only because they’re taken in LA . As always Steve, keep writing, finish the story that only you can tell. Oh yeah and while you’re at it… have a Merry Christmas too pal.

        • Steve Hodel on December 5, 2017 at 3:53 pm

          Lucas P: Thanks again. And Merry Christmas to you and yours too.

  3. Kathy G. on December 1, 2017 at 1:02 am

    Hey Steve–Those three little guys are precious and it is so sad that their dad turned out to be this monster. Totally not any of their/your faults at all. No child should be exposed to such evil and darkness. We tend to look over or forgive people of a lot because they are our parents. It’s a good thing you all didn’t know because just what could you have done? Tamar tried to put a stop to him and look what happened to her. It’s such a bad deal. Just glad the three of you turned out well in the end in spite of such evil being so close to you all.

    • Steve Hodel on December 1, 2017 at 1:35 am

      Kathy G:
      Thanks Kathy. Yes, no doubt the ignorance of what he was was our protection. Mother by keeping all the horror to herself and taking that knowledge with her to her grave kept us safe.

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