Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Kid Growing Up in Santa Ana & Garden Grove

Mark, a teacher in Orlando, FL, grew up in Orange County, and shares his memories of what it was like in the 50's and 60's...
Steve, thanks for your project. I was born in Orange County in 1951 and lived there until I went to College. My memories of farmland, fields, open spaces in Orange County are hard to find these days. I moved from Orange County to live in downtown Seattle what a thrill. Today with my family we lived in Orlando Florida domninated by the Mouse. Can't hear the trail whistle like I did when I was young but it is here in Florida as well.

When I was born, St. Joseph's in Orange, my parents brought me back to a new house built off of Bolsa (1st avenue) between Newhope and Magnolia (then called Cannery). I believe this was one of the first"developments" that was to become many in Orange County. We eventually lived on Lucky Way off of Andes place, not to be confused with the "new" West Lucky Way. It was there where I went to Newhope Elementary school. An interesting note is that our janitor was Mr Wash who son Don Wash eventually became the Superintendent of schools for Garden Grove. By the way a huge man who had played professional football, he was my principal at the new Jr. High down the street Stephen R. Fitz, not really sure who Stephen R was but they named a school after him.

Growing up it was not unusual to bike to the beach, in those days we would bike down Newhope until you hit the Santa Ana River and then follow the river down to the jetty. Had to climb over a fence or two and eventually the fences got higher and higher. The names of those streets were not the same. McFadden was Sugar... Magnolia was Cannery, Ediger was Smeltzer,and eventually when you got to the beach you were at Brookhurst and 1 or 101. It was not unusual to ride into Santa Ana to watch the trains, bowl or golf. There was a 9 hole course 3 par that might have been part of Willowick that rented clubs and seemed to like kids.

One of the big thrills of 1962 or 63 was the onsite filming of the Television show Route 66 with Marvin Milner and George Maharis. I heard about it from some friends and rode my bike. Just like you see in the movies, no one paid much attention to the kids and I got up to the area where dialogue was being spoken. One of the hands gave me a cold 7-up seeing how hot I was. Even the Corvette was there. Martin Milner ended up as Adam 12. George Maharis was the Rock Hudson of early TV fame, good looking and every womans dream until it was discovered he preferred the company of men.

My father owned the Surplus Store on Garden Grove Blvd across from the Garden Grove Theatre. It was a business that developed out of WWII and the supplies of the Korean war. I grew up working there selling foam rubber, camping equiptment and Levi's. I guess the least expensive pair I can remember is the 401's selling for $2.98. Today that building is the home of a Korean Buffett. Across the street in the same center as the Grove Theatre was my favorite restaurant Zestos. I can smell the burgers cooking from Zestos this very second with onions, melted cheese, double burgers, bbq sauce and the sausages that the owners father would make. They were light years ahead when it came to shakes and malts. You could get a banana chocolate walnut malt.....fact is he had 30 or more ingredients to put into one of these masterpieces. Several of my addictions, one being a love of onion rings has its base in the deep fryer of Zestos.

Was going to list a number of places I remember.

Calva Dairy-owned by our neighbors the Hunts who had come to California as a family from Virginia. They donated the land for the Little League field that was on Bolsa between Harbor and Euclid.

Red Ranch Market at Harbor and Bolsa.
Across the street was another market my mother liked that was not an open market. She always mentioned the flies.

Gem Theatre-went there on my first girlfriend whirl with Kathy Whitehead. Kathy's sister I believed married the famous Santiago hurler Bert Blyleven.

My folks would get all dressed up and go to the restaurant on Garden Grove Blvd...Knights Table I believe.

Cake Box Bakery...I tell my famous story about how I discovered money at the Cake Box.

In the same center, in the 50's, was the kiddie park with rides for the little ones. Hang Hong....I think was the name that was our family choice for Chinese food. The BBQ restarant that always smelled sooooo.....good.

Well I could go on and on......that is why I have one of these blogs myself....til later be well.
If you like to hear more about Mark's thoughts on life, visit his blog.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Wham-O Superball Disaster

Wham-O SuperballAn OCThen reader submitted the following comment to our About Us page, wondering if anyone had more information to provide...
hey, i was wondering if anyone in the fullerton area remembers something that DID wind up in the register around 1987 or 88.. apparently wham-o had stored maybe MILLIONS of superballs in a warehouse by the train tracks near commonwealth.. somehow they wound up all over the place.. there was like a lot 2-3 feet deep with them.. i still have a few left, but i used to have a few hundred.. for weeks you'd see guys with boxes full of them at the la mirada swapmeet.. man.. i sure wish someone else remembered that....
I never heard about this! But it intrigued me so much, that I posted it here for your consideration.

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