Thanks to the Office Supply Boom of 1979, Jim Parker, Jr., co-owner of Connie Paper Co., was finally ready to move out of the cramped two-bedroom condominium he shared with his wife and stepson and into something a little more comfortable, preferably a house with a walk-in humidor. Jim contacted a high-end real estate agent and explained his situation. He said, Listen, I’m in the office supply business, so I probably don’t need to tell you that I’m doing really well right now. I want to buy a house, and I’ll pay in cash. My only condition is that it has to have a walk-in humidor.” The real estate agent explained to Jim that finding a house with a walk-in humidor was going to be tricky, but the real estate agent found such a house, and much quicker than expected. The house, located in Calabasas, was owned by Jim Seals, one half of mega-selling soft rock duo Seals & Crofts. Jim, his wife and his stepson toured the house one Saturday morning and were immediately taken with its wide-open floor plan and tasteful English country manor interior design. Jim was perusing the master bedroom when he spied a giant hole, at about foot level, in the wall adjacent to the king-size bed. Next to the hole somebody had scrawled “This is your fault not mine” in black marker. Jim asked the real estate agent why there was a hole in the wall and the rest estate agent said, “Mr. Seals has a really bad temper.” After inspecting the walk-in humidor the real estate agent led Jim and his family outside to look at the backyard. Jim was impressed with the kidney-shaped black-bottom pool and the Har-Tru clay tennis court. The backyard looked out onto a rolling green meadow, at the end of which was rather steep hill. On the top of the hill was an enormous white mansion. In front of the mansion was what looked like a huge Oakland Raiders football helmet on wheels. Jim asked the real estate agent if he knew who lived in the mansion. “That house belongs to Al Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders,” said the real estate agent. “We’ll take it,” said Jim. A few days before he was to deliver the down payment, however, Jim became infatuated with the idea of becoming the majority owner of a Hydroplane Racing Team, and, as such, paid in cash for the honor. Jim assumed that the Office Supply Boom of 1979 would continue on well into the new decade, but he guessed wrong and soon found himself in a tremendous amount of debt, forcing him to not only give up his position with the Hydroplane Racing Team (who would go on to win three Gold Cup Championships without him), but also his dreams of owning a house. Jim was never able to move out of his condominium, although with his stepson leaving for college he was able to convert the vacant bedroom into an office, the walls of which he covered with pictures of walk-in humidors, Seals & Crofts album covers, Al Davis, and hydroplane boats.
Sweet Green Fields