Monday, February 15, 2010

Burning Trash in the Backyard

Anonymous submits various memories of living in Garden Grove during the 1960s and 1970s, and interesting, includes a memory of using an incinerator to burn trash in the backyard...

I was born in Anaheim, Garden Park Hospital, a little local small hospital now gone, but grew up in Garden Grove in the 60's and 70's. Went to Gilbert Elementary (still there), Zeyen Elementary, Marie L. Hare, and Rancho Alamitos.

When I was really little I remember that our phone number had a word at the beginning. Ours was R-I and then the rest of the number. Our phone number area was called Richmond (R-I). Also, we had a party line on our phone, so we could overhear our neighbors conversations on the phone, of course, we were suppose to be respectful of their privacy, and you were not suppose to talk over 10 minutes at a time.

I also remember that we had an incinerator in our back yard to burn trash, eventually the city made it illegal, and then we took our trash to the dump, which is now Irvine!

I remember how Turtle Rock used to be very visible from miles around.

Some other memories:

Big Bernies Delicatessen: They had great sandwiches and pickles.

Piccolio's Shoe Repair: That man scared me as a child, he didn't like children.

Copper Penny: Both of my older sister worked as waitresses at that restaurant, everyone tried to dig the pennies out of the counter!

I really didn't think much at the time that I was living in such a wonderful community, but now that I think back, that was a wonderful time!

When we moved into Santa Ana in 1978, we had an incinerator in the backyard too. We didn't use it for trash burning however. But I thought it was cool we were one of the few houses left that still had one. My dad ended up converting it into a strawberry planter.

But I remember from 1969-1971, we lived in Yokohama, Japan, just on the outskirts of town. The city did not offer trash service out there. So, the neighbors would bring out their trash each week and dump it into a large steel bin, and then set it on fire.

This was the opportunity for neighbors to mingle and talk and get up to date with everybody. Neighbors would bring out snacks, drinks, and hors d'oeuvres they made specifically for the occasion. It was like having a block party. If we hadn't had the neighborhood trash-burn, I don't think neighbors would have ever gotten to know each other.


  1. We had the incinerator in our back yard in Pasadena. We burned trash in it many days each week.

    What a trip down memory lane. We moved to Garden Grove in 1949 from a dairy on Heil Street just off of Harbor Blvd where it crosses the Santa Ana River.
    We moved into on of the first tract houses on Sandra Place near 9th and Garden Grove Blvd.
    I attended Lincoln School on GG Blvd and then O.A Peters Junior High and then Garden Grove High School class of 61.
    I had a paper route with the Garden Grove News, worked at Disneyland when it first opened selling the Disneyland News and later at the Plantation House owned by Swifts Primium and finally at Carnation as a soda jerk at the Main Street location. I was working at Disneyland a few years after it originally opened when Disney had the Grand Opening called Disneyland 59. I even got to take away Wald Disney's salad when he was finished with it. My fomous words were "are you finished with this" and his answer was "yep". I even actually saw Annette Funicello there once from a short distance.
    There was no Little League yet so a soon to be city Counelman and World War ll parapelegic by the nam of Lee Bar with a few of his disabled friends started a team for us and coached us from their wheel chairs. At the time there was only one team we could play, they were from Westminster a bit older and better than we were so they tromped us every week but that was ok.
    I attended Ocia A Peters Junior High the first year it was built on the corner of Newhope and Paloma.
    I worked at the Polo Grounds owned by Harry Merrill as a hot walker on Saturday and Sundays and even became the caretaker there for a summer when the real caretaker got drunk and was fired it was great exercising the horses and getting the grounds ready for polo matches held on the weekends. Harry was sort of like a very strick father to me then taught riding and eventually polo when I was finally a good enough rider.
    It was a great life and GG was a great place to grow up. I think I am the only person from GGHS not te ever know Steve Martin, i don't think I ever met him. I did live down the street from Basil Paladoris (we knew him as Billy) who did well in music for the movies. Billy and his older brother Johnnie were great guys.
    The Gem Theater was the only movie house until the Grove sometime later came along. We went to the GEM saw 5 cartoon and a double feature on Saturdays for 14 cents. Part of the time the Gem had a snack bar and then other times it only had two popcorn machines a sack for a dime.
    Garden Grove Park was nearby where we had my 8th birthday party (I was borne in 1943). Nex to the park was the First Baptist Church and Violet Hall named after Dr. Violet attached to the church where we atted the Boys Club and scated on the hardwood floors of the church building. A long time before the Boys Club was built out by the Grove Theater.
    Pricillas Cake Box, The Copper Penny (I was a bussboy there) Rags by Rendano, Garden Grove War Surplus, Bob's Big Boy, Zestos, Cookie Jar, Zlakets Market, Martin's Men's Store, Mower's Variety, Smith's Ford when it was on Euclid, the feed store when the gave away free chicks at Easter so we would by feed for them. Bernies Barbe Shop.
    Our first phone number was 2708, then it became LeHigh 9-2708 then Jefferson 7-1461 and finally (714) 537-1461.
    GG was surrounded with orange trees then and fields that became strawberry fields. We then had a Japenese community replete with a Judo Hall, the best athlete in town was Jimmiee Takahashi. It used to take me 20 minutes to the beach then going down Brookhurst there was only one 4-way stop between GG Blvd and 101. The year of the movie Gidget and we all learned to surf and loved it.

  3. I remember the Gem Theater ! We used to stand out along Main Street waiting to get in. I saw Trog, Tora Tora Tora and Sam Whiskey there. We would go down to Rainbow Liquor (still there) and then to the Park.

  4. Re: Piccolio's Shoe Repair

    Was that the guy that spoke through the electronic voice box? He did scare me.

  5. Does anyone remember the record store in the plaza/mall that was on Chapman b/w Euclid/Brookhurst (same location as the Copper Penney). I think it was Denno's. I saw the Beach Boys perform right outside the store be4 Mike Love was in the group...probably ca 1963. Our phone prefix was LEhigh & my dad certainly burned our trash.

  6. Ah yes . . . incinerators! One of the few things I'm glad went the way of the dodo bird. Everyone seemed to have them, and those of us who used them were contributing to that fabulous condition called smog.

    But the phone prefixes were fun. Ours was KE for Kellogg. I liked having a cereal phone number!

  7. I went to Gilbert, Bell, Pacifica.. Class of 96
    Do you remember Highway 39 Drive in?
    That was the spot!

    Steve P

  8. i was born in garden grove in 65 i remember ed tunks grocery the turn styles and pickles in the barrel and how everyone seemed to be so different than now, does anyone remember the store with the big T sign i think it was red, havent been there since 85 but remember alot , the stawberry festival was always fun , we could see disney from our back yard , and the flea market at the drive in was a must.

  9. We moved to Anaheim in 1960 near Brookhurst and Katella. Every home in our neighborhood had an incinerator for the trash. As to the Copper Penny, my mom used to take us there on her trips to the garden grove mall. There was a Chinese place near there that she would take us too(cant remember the name). I went to Salk Elementary. We then moved to Westminster, we too had great times at the Strawberry Festival, and I do remember Ed Tunks with sawdust on the floors. Great memories. Went to Hill Elementary in Westminster 4th 5th & 6th.

  10. JEfferson 7-7235. I can't believe I remember my old phone number from the early 60's! Our neighbor had an old incinerator - my Dad demolished the one on our property and remade the bricks into a BBQ.

    Big Bernies was amazing! I used to go there on Saturday mornings with Dad for the corned beef hash and eggs. Yummy! The Copper Penny was another favorite hang out - open faced hot beef sandwiches. The chinese place was the Canton Gardens, I think - near the old Vons store.

    I live about 1 mile from the old Ed Tunks location. A strange but cheap store!

  11. I too was born at Garden Park General Hospital (1960) lived in Garden Grove til 1979 when I got married and moved to NM...moved back to Garden Grove in 1986. My mom lived in the same house on Jackson Street from 1953 til 1999 when she passed away. She worked at Belisle Restuarant (corner of Harbor & Chapman) for 22 years and used to serve Walt Disney when Disneyland was being built. our phone was JE1-2967... I remember asking what that meant and my mom said it was short for Jefferson1-2967. I went to Clinton , Doig, and the Santiago High.

  12. i live in santa ana and the duplexes we lived in on 4th street had incinerators. the one for our set of duplexes was busted up by the time i came around in 1970. but the one for the other set of duplexes was still there. but i don't remember anyone ever actually using it!

  13. I was also born at Garden Park Hospital (1968) and spent my childhood in Garden Grove. I went to Zeyen Elementary, Alamitos Intermediate, and then moved to the high desert. (My friends went to Rancho, though.) I lived directly behind the GG Library that was adjacent to Hare School. Small world!

  14. I used to have my paper route right behind the GG library. Went to Hare and Rancho. Spent many an afternoon at the library.

  15. I grew up in the "Bird Cage" behind the "Plaza"
    Some stores as I remember:
    Thrifty Mart and Thrifty Drug, Pennys, Copper Penny, Tangs Imports, DK Doughnuts. Meat Cleaver, National Lumber, Millers Outpost, Kandy Kane, Winemans, a shoe maker behind the doughnut shop, Famous Footwear, Safeway, Radio Shack, Farrs Stationary, a toy store (I can't remember the name), and an Ace hardware store.
    Zodys, Newberrys, Big Bernies, I HOP, A&W, Knowlwoods, KFC, Licorice Pizza Records, Savon, Pavilions, Collar and Leash, Demicellis, Garden Grove Bank, First Interstate Bank.

  16. Burning trash in the backyard was banned in 1958. There's a twenty-year-old Scientific American article about that:
    When I was little, living in Orange, our phone number began with "KE," folowed by five numbers. I think the KE stood for Kellog.


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