Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fullerton in the 1960s

Cindy writes to us about her memories of growing up in Fullerton in the 1960s, going to the Orangefair Mall, playing in the orange groves, going to the Fox Fullerton theater, the "tiki" garden craze, and listening to "The Happy Organ"...

I was raised in Fullerton until we moved to the Palm Springs area when I was 9. What a bunch of fond memories I have! Do kids today have these kind of memories???

I remember the big Saturday outing every week was going to the outdoor Orangefair Mall on Harbor & Orangethorpe. It was THE big shopping destination in town. We would have lunch sometimes at Grant's (they had the most awesome grilled open-bun hot dogs!), and if it was around Easter we could buy blue, green, or pink dyed chicks in the basement, or a duck or bunny. At Woolworth's there were 25 cent hot fudge sundaes (in the metal sundae dish), and we would spend the rest of the day paying on our layaways for school clothes (no credit cards back then), buying shoes at the shoe store where they actually had an xray machine you could put your foot in and see the bones in your foot, going to the toy store and drool over all the neat toys (you just didn't get everything bought for you the minute you wanted it) and finally, buying the week's groceries at Mayfair Market. There was a Helen Grace Candies where you could buy ice cream and I bought all my school Valentine's every February at the Long's Drugs across the breezeway from Helen Grace.

Across the street was an A&W Drive-In and behind that was a miniature golf course where my dad would teach me the proper way to swing a golf club. We usually went to A&W after for a root beer float. I never got to keep the little glass mug because it cost more and we were always on a budget.

After school the neighborhood kids would play in the orange groves that still surrounded our little tract, although when the apartment buildings started being built, we played there too! I still remember the smell of freshly plastered walls mingling with orange blossoms.

Our favorite game was "wagon train", where we used our Radio Flyer wagons until we upgraded to a big refrigerator box on skate wheels, pushing it into the orange grove and pretending we were in a wagon camp with wild Indians sure to show up at any second.

We were one of the first 2 families to have a swimming pool in our neighborhood, a kidney shaped one with a diving board, no slide. We still had plenty of room in our huge yard for a couple of orange trees and a wooden playhouse my dad built us. In the summer we would make our own ice cream in a circa 1960 aqua ice cream maker, turning the crank until our arms were tired. We had solid redwood patio furniture with a yellow flowered fringed umbrella and bamboo covering the redwood fence for that current "tiki" effect.

My dad would drive me around with him in his big coral & white Chevy station wagon and I would stand up with my hands on the dashboard-no seatbelts back then. I remember listening to Elvis sing "All Shook Up" and a song called "The Happy Organ" on the AM car radio.

Going to the movies at the Fox Fullerton one summer usually meant trying to drink down a big green bottle of Bubble-Up, because you could get in the theatre for 2 bottle caps for the matinee only. I made myself sick on it one day I tried to drink it down so fast!

All I remember doing as a kid is running around the neighborhood with my friends, walking everywhere, and the only time we stayed indoors was to watch Sheriff John, Lloyd Thaxton Hop and cartoons. Kids today don't know what fun really is...

13 comments:

  1. I remember a restaurant called The La Palma Chicken Pie Shop...much better than Marie Callendars..I think I might have been at La Palma and maybe Brookhurst, but not sure. You could take them out or eat right there at the restaurant.

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    1. I think it is still there!

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  2. I enjoyed reading Cindy's post and was familiar with everything she mentioned. We too used to play out in the orange groves for hours at a time. I don't let my 12 year old daughter go to the mailbox alone nowadays. Can you imagine? It is a different world. I didn't appreciate the freedom we had in the 60's. Remember Joni Mitchell's song "you don't know what you got till it's gone..." It is sad Orange County will never be the free-spirited place it was. It seems it has lost it's innocence.
    We do have our wonderful memories.

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  3. The Chicken Pie Shop is still open @ La Palma & Euclid,

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  4. Giovanni's right by Euclid and Commonwealth, Ray's pet shop, Boys Club, the Snack Shop, A & W, Laguna Lake and just running free. Anyone remember the Hunts whistle or spring training at Amerige Park? Those were the days. We're are fortunate enough to live in a small town in western Washington now where grandkids can run as free as we did.

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    1. The Snack Shop on Commonwealth and Euclid had the best hot fudge sundaes ever!
      Amerige Park also had a fair every year with all the old carnival rides. We lived in a tract off Euclid and Valencia and walked to the Fullerton High school pool or to the Orangefair Mall every weekend. Also, my kids don't believe me, but the stores closed late afternoon Sat. and didn't open until Monday. Once the mega-stores opened, family weekends and holidays took a nose-dive!

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  5. Yeah, Cindy we used to hang at the Orangefair Mall. Rremember the time Hobo Kelly made an appearance outside Penneys? That place was more hectic than a Bieber gathering! I didn't get close enough to get any of the toys she was tossing off the truck. Was the Giant Slide on the corner of Harbor where the El Torito is now? Or was it Lemon and Orangethorpe? I still have a bumper sticker from Gooney Golf,as well as my OddRod stickers. Does anybody still have an Ooobie? I've tried to duplicate the Grants hotdog that you mentioned on many occasions.When we were really hungry we would get all you can eat Fish and Chips at Penneys on Fridays. I think my brother and me may have put them out of business! Then we would check out the bassboats, camping equipment,and toys that were right outside the diner. Anyway, maybe thats too much detail for now. I just thought I'd through my two cents in. Take care!

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    1. Did anyone go to Orangethorpe school or Nicholas Jr. High School. I went to Nicholas the first year it became a Jr. High school.

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  6. I realize this is a little late in the game, but I just stumbled across this site and figured I'd pile on a few memories.We lived near the corner of Highland and Orangethorpe in the 60's. My friends and I could be found at the little liquor store on the corner buying Clark Bars and Baseball Cards, or walking through the Montgomery Ward parking lot on our way to Orangefair mall.Walking to school took less than 10 minutes as we lived just a few blocks from Richman elementary.I'm still amazed how much freedom we had: One Christmas I rode my bike at night to Orangefair to get some presents for my family - I had just turned 10. There's no way my kids would be doing that today. I get a kick out of returning to visit now and then but I'm a little bummed at how much things have changed in the neighborhood.
    Brad,
    August 1, 2011

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  7. Does anybody remember at the Buena Park Center which a outside playground with giant rocks and tunnels for kids to play or how about Lion Country - You can thank insurance preminums for that past-time

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  8. I am late in the game on this too. We moved to Tustin from LA in 1968. I can't believe someone mentioned Gooney Golf! That was our favoirte miniature golf place for special occasions. Also Skate Ranch in Santa Ana was great, and I must mention Disneyland back in the 1960's it was so wonderful. Now it just seems so commercial and changed. We used to wash cars and do chores for neighbors for months to save up to go to Disneyland. Our mother's would drop us off and we would run wild all day at Disneyland, using up our "E" tickets in about an hour. Then by the end of the day we would be all out of tickets and would have to ride the "Inner Space" ride by Monsanto because you didn't need a ticket for that dumb ride. It was so fun to live in Orange County in the 60's as a child, with all the orange groves and so many less people, traffic etc... Thanks for the opportunity to share!

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  9. How 'bout Hillcrest Park, and Jimmy Smith's, a public swimming pool.

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    1. I took swimming lessons at Jimmy Smiths and remember a ranch style market nearby to get a popsicle afterward.

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