Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hello from an exile from OC!

I have been invited by Steve to contribute to this wonderful collection of memories of Orange County, and he asks that I give a bit of an intro to his readers:

It is both wonderful and bittersweet to see others' memories of my beloved Orange County. I was born and raised in what was then unincorporated section of OC, in 1960, literally in the county, since our back fence was the city line of Orange, and our cross street was that of Tustin! (Prospect and Fairhaven). As a kid, there were still orange groves across the street, down on 17th Street, major streets still lined with eucalyptus windbreaks from the groves. Back then, Knotts didn't have more than the chicken restaurant and ghost town-no fence or rides- 'Its A Small World' was the big attraction at Disneyland, and you would get a bag of fries at McDs for 15 cents at the Tustin Avenue store, near the Marie Callendars pie shop.

My life was both typical, and unusual for an OC kid, growing up in the wonderful ethnic melting pot of southern California, sharing in the multitude of customs and traditions from around the world, hearing my parents talking about people they knew or used to see around OC that I later realised were famous, and being friends with some of the great characters of the area, such as Joe Holtz. My family went to the Mission San Juan Capistrano for many years, where we had been given a master key to the mission by the pastor, Msgr.Vincent Lloyd-Russell. So I grew up on the mission grounds, with it as my private playground in the early morning hours long before it opened for the tourists....misty mornings, scented by the guava and olive trees wet with fog off the ocean. My parents, who had moved to California back in the 1940 and lived in the LA area first, introduced me to so many of the southland's fascinating places and history, from going to the original Bob's Big Boy, running our dogs behind my dad's VW Squareback along the dirt lanes in Irvine's orange groves, visiting the Bower's Museum so much that we were on a first name basis with the staff, and on and on.

I lived in OC from 1960 till 1987, when I came out to NE Kansas to college, married, and still here because of my husband's teaching position at a small Catholic school here. This is a quiet, small town, where you can feel safe about allowing children to go to the minimart, but boring in contrast to the ethnic diversity I loved in OC.

I always thought that I would live in OC, but it seems God had other ideas, and I've been 'exiled' out here in northeast Kansas since 1987....where He sends asthmatic Californians to purgatory! ^_^ My family is tired of my telling about OC, and it would be nice to be able to share what I remember, with those who love this place as much as I still do. I may live here in Kansas, but home will always be Orange County, California. It is my hope that I can add to this treasury of memories of Orange County at its best.


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