Sunday, April 17, 2005

It's Spring Again . . .

When I was very little I remember Saturday nights when my Great Grandmother would come over to baby sit. My Mom would get all dressed up and my Dad would be wearing a suit even though it was not Sunday. My Aunt and Uncle as well as some of their other friends would come over and they would say they were going to "The Rendezvous Ballroom".

Well, that was the 50's and I have thought little of it until I saw a reference to it in an article about the resurrection of "Swing Dancing". I never gave a thought to the fact that it was right there on the beach in Balboa. There were dance steps that started there, and some say it was this legendary ballroom, which helped start the big craze of "Spring Break in Balboa & Newport."

I am sure there are MANY of you who have memories of places you went and things you did for Spring Break and lazy summers in Orange County. I started driving in the 70's and since I was the first one of my group of friends to get a car I knew the way to Balboa in my sleep. At least one girlfriend and I used to go to the beach at Balboa near the elementary school. It was close enough to stop at the little market for some drinks, and splurge at the bakery next door before we hit the beach. Since I have fair skin, it would take a week for me to get over the sunburn to go back for more. (so far I have not paid for it with skin cancer) Sometimes we would just cruise around the area and wind up stopping for a "Hot Fudge Peppermint Stick Sundae" at a place on PCH near where the Mc Donalds is now. I ca n not seem to remember the name; it was a coffee shoo. And I am sure they loved a bunch of sand covered girls coming in for ice cream. There was a lot of cruising done in the days of 33 cents per gallon gas. And if you saw a carload of guys you knew you would try to ditch them. Eventually the cruising got so bad they closed the peninsula to non-residents. (I am sure this was thought up by police who used to cruise the same area as kids!)

Another fun thing that you can still do was to take the FERRY from Balboa Island to the peninsula, and back. I had done this lots of times with my parents growing up, but it was a whole new thing when a guy I was dating took me on it while out for my early January Birthday. Balboa in the winter is so different than in the summer, and the weather is not always as bad as this past year. Through the years I have taken my kids down there for the ferry, and even took a carload of neighbor kids who were as excited as if I took them on a cruise to a foreign land. The boys sat out on the benches, while the girls liked to stay in the car. Now my kids are grown and gone, but I recently found out that my son took many college friends down for a ride on the ferry. He was surprised at how many people grew up in and near Orange County and did not know about it.

Perhaps some of you would like to share your "Spring Break" or Summer Memories of growing up here in Orange County!


  1. Hi
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  2. I went to the Rendevous Ballroom several times in 1965 and 66, and it was pretty much packed with SoCal teenagers on Friday and Saturday nights. The Turtles played there several times and in the Spring of 1966, it burned to the ground. The group playing there at the time? "The Cindermen."!!!

  3. Bal week, AKA Balboa Spring Vacation, I lived it in 1955-56, then again in 1957 to 1963 or so when it pretty much petered out when the City put up road blocks & would not let anyone into Balboa that couldn’t prove that they lived there. But what a wild time those years were, I remember being 14-15 &16 & going to so many free Keg parties & not to mention being Busted a few times for drinking under age & all our parents called to pick up there Kids, then when things cooled down we would see who got it the worst from there parents. What an innocent time that was, our Dad’s laughed it off but our Mom’s weren’t so forgiving..LOL.

    Does anyone remember in 1955-56 when A US Navy Ship anchored outside the 2 jetties & Bal was full of Sailors?

  4. See my note under "OC Rocks". The same Sam Sinopoli who was the drummer for Cottonmouth was also the drummer for the Cindermen. Do you know where the name came from? I do! They were the house band for a club in Long Beach off the Circle called the Cinnimon Cinder. Hence the Cinder-men. They also had burlesque shows there when I was a kid and rode my bike from where I lived on the penninsula to Newport Grammar School, the "school on the beach".

  5. Many wonderful memories of Bal-week and Wedge doing some "bodywamping". Went back a year of so ago after being away for many years. Was so dissapointed over what has become of Orange County. I remember what it used to be like. Too bad because its to late, they have spoiled it.

  6. Couldn't wait to get into the Rendevous, alas it burned down before I was of age never able to enter those green(?)walls! Maybe a right wing conspiracy act? Goldwater haven you know! Also, in the sixties as Cub Scouts we were stranded on the Navy Enterprise right outside the jetties and were fed and coddled until the fog lifted...Balboa will always be a special place...

  7. When I came to Balboa in the summer of 1965 as the drummer of the Cindermen, I was just eighteen. What a great time it was and I will never forger it. By the way we formed the Cindermen at Bullard high school in Fresno and auditioned the spring of 65 for the house band job. The group after the Cindermen but before Cottonmouth, The New Life was the house band at the Cinnamon Cinder in Long Beach in the late 60s. The names were just a coincidence. How the name Cindermen came to be was our main song writer, Fred Perry, was in track at Bullard and track people are sometimes referred to as Cindermen.

  8. Great memories of OC. Now, it is so different. It is hardly recognizable with so many people. I realize that things change, but the developers were allowed to run amuck in OC. We enjoy only a couple of days in Newport Beach now. The weather is great but not much else. More is not better.


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