Thursday, January 27, 2005

Midwood Community Hospital

I went to work for Midwood Community Hospital from August 1989 to May 1990. Midwood was located in Stanton, on Katella Ave, about a block west of Beach Blvd. It used to be known as Stanton Community Hospital.

I handled billing and collections. Our office was set up in the old Stanton City Hall building, located in front of the hospital.

The hospital was kinda ratty. It was next door to the Sheriff's substation. If you visited another hospital's Emergency Room with an ailment that was not critical, and you didn't have any health care insurance, chances are they sent you to Midwood. Because of that, Midwood eventually closed up its ER.

One of the things that was frequently talked about was the day when 60 Minutes came to Midwood to investigate some fraudulent activity. I didn't get the full details of what happened. But the owner of Midwood didn't run the place very well. Rumor had it that the owner bought the hospital as a gift for his wife. He was also a part owner of Mission Medical Center in Mission Viejo, and apparently had some stake in Fountain Valley Regional Medical Center too.

By the time Spring of 2000 came around, the owner decided to turn the place into a psychiatric hospital. They fired almost everyone. Another biller and I were the only ones handling the Accounts Receivables. We had to abandon the old City Hall building, and set up office in one of the patient rooms.

Rumor had it that the owner managed to convince the Sheriff's substation next door to bring the crazy people they dragged off the street and admit them into the hospital. This was done to demonstrate to other psychiatrists that our rooms were filled with patients. I had the job of trying to collect money from these folks. That was impossible.

I finally quit working there, and moved across the street to a worker's comp clinic to do billing and collections. Since then, the hospital is competely gone.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Japanese Village and Deer Park

Japanese Village and Deer Park was a beautiful Japanese garden located in Buena Park, where you could spend a relaxing moment admiring the gardens, watching the deer, or taking in a show. It's long since gone.

Here are some articles we've published about Japanese Village and Deer Park.

AirCal Airlines

AirCalAirCal (Air California) was the airlines that Orange County called its own. It flew out of Orange County International Airport, before they renamed it to John Wayne Airport. Every summer during the 1970's and 1980's I flew aboard AirCal on my way to Seattle to visit my dad.

It was kind of cool to know that Orange County had its own airline service.

There was also "Hughes AirWest", which flew these ugly yellow jetliners out of Orange County also. I think PSA also flew out of OC.

Since then, all these airlines have died.

But you can buy up all kinds of AirCal and Air California memorabilia on eBay...

AirCal stuff...

Air California stuff...

Foothill Ranch

In 1988, my wife and I moved into a condominium in El Toro, off the corner of El Toro Road and Rancho Santa Margarita Parkway. At time, RSM Parkway ended at El Toro Road.

Beyond that, there was nothing. There was no Foothill Ranch. No WalMart, no Ralphs, no Mervyn's, not even a toll road. Just tumbleweeds and brush.

Of course, it's all changed now. Now, it's a piece of Heaven for any homeowner who happens to own a 5,000 sq ft. lot. And the traffic!

There was a time when the City of Lake Forest, had threatened to annex Foothill Ranch, because of the shopping centers there. I'd say it was good that they didn't. Since having moved out of Lake Forest since then, I've come to realize how political the city council of Lake Forest is. I'm not sure how much better the politics of Foothill Ranch is, but it can't be good for Lake Forest to expand its politics any bigger.

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Knott's Berry Farm

Articles about Knott's Berry Farm published here on

About Us originally went live back in the Spring of 2000. It was started by myself and a buddy of mine, as a bold venture to create an online library of articles and photographs pertinent to the history of Orange County, California. Our hope was that we could get the general public to provide material. We figured there were lots of folks out there with old photos and stories to provide. But, we couldn't get many people to participate.

Over the next few years we discovered that people were interested in providing small snippets of what they remembered about growing up in Orange County. So, we created a section called "Memories". But as people submitted their memories, it became cumbersome to update the pages. OCThen was entirely a manual operation.

We came up with the name "OCThen" after another site called "OCNow", ran by The OC Register newspaper. OCNow was supposed to be about what's going on around the county right now. Since we focused on history, we took "OCThen".

In January of 2005, after a couple years of inactivity, I decided to assume sole control of OCThen, turned it into a blog, and is now owned by my company Clear Digital Media. It's focus is on memories of living in Orange County.

About Me

I first moved to Orange County in November of 1978. My family rented a house in Santa Ana, on Richland Ave, near the corner with Bristol St. I attended Spurgeon Intermediate School, and then graduated from Santa Ana Valley High School in 1984. I went on to study music at Santa Ana College.  I got a job working at the Santa Ana Public Library.

I met my first wife at Santa Ana College. She was born and raised in Santa Ana. Her parents moved to Santa Ana in the 1940's, back when the town probably looked like a nice place to live. We married in 1990 (in Santa Ana of course).

In 2001, we moved out into Riverside County, in the City of Menifee. I became self-employed as an Internet publisher and marketer.  In 2011, I divorced, and remarried to another Internet marketer in 2012, who now handles all my sales and marketing.  Today, we travel around the country on our motorcycles, staying in vacation rentals and working out of our laptops.

Follow me on Twitter: @motophilosophy

 - Steve Johnson

Bloggers Wanted

If you love reading and writing about Orange County history, then consider becoming a blogger here on OCThen.

We need people willing to write about the people, places, and events of days-gone-by relating to Orange County, and engaging our readers to post comments.

Bloggers are expected to write often, as little as once per month, but preferably more.

The kinds of bloggers we're looking for...
  • People who spent a lot of time living in Orange County, or

  • People who spent a lot of time working in Orange County, or

  • People who are familiar with the history of Orange County.
These are UNPAID positions; you'd do this because you love to share your thoughts about Orange County. But as bloggers, we'll let you identify your website and organization in a byline on each article you post.

Contact me if you are interested (click here for contact info).

Submit a Memory

Tell us about something you remember while living or working in Orange County, and we'll consider it for publication on OCThen.
  • Focus on something specific, like a school, a store, an event, a person

  • You're free to submit as many memories as you like.

  • Click on "Post a Comment" below, and type it out

  • Be sure to provide your name (or nickname)

  • Or, you can send it an e-mail, and attach photos if you'd like. Click here for contact info.
OCThen is about remembering the old days, and keeping those memories alive on the Internet for future generations.


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