Cary Stolpestad submitted some nice memories of growing up in Orange County, including Disneyland, Tinkerbell, roller skating, television, and x-ray machines at the Buster Brown store...
Since Big House was two stories, towering over the one story tract homes, we had a perfect view of Disneyland's fireworks everynight out of the upstairs windows. My dad, an Orange County fire captain, once went on a call to unstick Tinkerbell, whose cable tangled midway between the castle and the Matterhorn. He broke our Disney bubbles when he announced at dinner that Tinkerbell was really a man.
On payday my mom went to the main firestation to get Dad's paycheck. I've heard the station became a youth center and later burned, but in the 1960's it was a child's dream come true as it had a brass firepole that would quickly trasport you from the upstairs dorm to the firetrucks parked below. Neither Knott's nor Disneyland had a better ride.
Life was grand in the old days. When the Santa Anas blew we'd put on rain slickers and roller skates. On the sidewalk we'd open up our rain slickers like giant outstreatched wings, and then -zoom! - the wind would propell us down the street at frightening speeds. Often our metal wheeled skates would catch a little rock, and we'd experience the worst scabbed knees and palms imaginable.
My dear neighborhood pal, Carol, was named after Christmas Carols as her parents were listening to them on the hi-fi when they received a call that a baby was available for them to adopt if they could come down and pick her up now - Christmas Eve. They did, but I'm not sure her mom ever adjusted to children as every stick of upolstered furniture was covered with plastic and there were plastic runners throughout the house for us to walk upon. Her mom always had the best kid snacks, such as Moon Pies and Otter Pops, but Carol's mom dolled them out through the kitchen door so we could receice and eat them in the garage. They moved out of Clinton Ave. tract house to the first developments going in at Knoll Ranch.
After dinner car trips to the Carnation Ice Cream Parlor on Tustin Ave., Sunday dinners st Knott's, experiencing "lung burn" from swimming during smoggy afternoons, watching Hobo Kelly and hoping she'd put on her magic glasses and say, "I see a present under Cary's bed!"... yet she never did. To this day I still sometimes get the "Go see Cal, go see Cal, go see Cal" commercial stuck in my head, and I still wonder if Cal ever had a real dog in his backyard or if his kids had to play with bears and alligators and monkeys.
My sister and I also wonder if we will die an early death as we always were taken to the Buster Brown shoe store, just off The Circle, for our shoes. They had an x-ray machine that you put your foot into to check to see if the new shoes fit properly. As Mom paid for our shoes we'd stick our newly shod feet in and out of that x-ray machine over and over and over again. Radiation maximus.
We moved from OC in 1967. Our one acre of paradise, surrounded by oceans of tracts, wasn't the OC life my parents remembered, nor the smog choked life they wanted us to lead. They bought a plum and peach ranch in the San Joaquin Valley, and moved us, two dogs, four cats, and 47 rabbits (who traveled in cages systematically stacked inside our ski boat) to start farming anew.
Visiting OC in the 1970's and 1980's always seemed a little too busy, smoggy, crowded. Visiting Villa Park stilled seemed low key and country, yet in the 1980's the old dump road, that ran up the canyon behind one grandparents' house, became a road leading to million dollar houses, not a road leading to the dump. Go figure.
(part of the Thomson, Popplewell, Workman, Smith, and Bennett clans)