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...