The things I remember about Palo Alto while growing up:
Original post made
by Andrew L. Freedman, College Terrace,
on Oct 19, 2006
A&W Root Beer stand on Middlefield Road where the Safeway is now
The original Herbert Hoover on Middlefield Road across from Safeway
The Variety Store where 7-11 now is
Bergmann's and their Coffee Shop
Eddie's Coffee Shop and their Milkshakes with the Mixing Container
Poppycock on Cower and old Victorian house that used to sell candles, incense, "black light" posters. Eventually, it became, of all things, an attorney's office
$4.00 tickets at Frost Ampletheatre to see Santana, Grateful Dead and Tower of Power
The Recreation Department's summertime event where all the kids would camp overnight at the Lucile Stern Center after playing all day and having a marshmallow cookout
The Recreation Department's Penny Carnival (Each elementary school about 24 back then ran a recreation department during the summer. You could play Karems or check out a red rubber ball and also put on plays) The Penny Carnival helped finance this.
Riding our Stingray bicycles down Matadero Creek
Riding our Mini Bikes in all the empty fields on Middlefield Road
My beloved house on Wellsbury Way that was build new for my parents for $28,000.
Okay, there're my memories.
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Posted by Brian
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 30, 2006 at 12:09 pm
Rainy days at Stanford shopping center, when it had the Emporium, Norney's, a grocery store, The Nature Company (where I worked during high school), Something to Crow About, B. Dalton Books, a great game store I can't remember the name of, and The Great Hot Dog Experience (which wasn't).
Town and Country shopping center when it had Edy's Ice Cream (Alaskan Root Beer!), a grocery store with a sandwich counter and The Ultimate Cookie in front, the pharmacy with a post office substation, the Cook Book restaurant, Stickney's.
Bear Claws at Bergman's.
Getting Whacky Packs at Fran's Market.
Burgers at Kirk's, when it was on California ave.
The vacant lot across from Addison, where we'd have dirt clod fights, before it became housing.
Taking the bus to Mayfield Mall, then sneaking into the utility corridors at The Old Mill shopping center.
The San Antonio shopping center, when they had a Lotus parked in the middle as part of a contest tied into "The Spy that Loved Me." The smell of the Sears hot nut counter.
The street lights used to be white, not pink, and most of the roads were cross-crossed with tar lines where the tarmac had cracked.
Guitar lessons at Draper's Music. Getting kicked out of Swain's music.
Rinconada park, when it had painted cement cylinders in the play area and always had the snack stand open by the pool in the summer.
The haunted house they always put on at the Lucy Stern center. Halloween in general used to be WAY bigger and more fun.
Blowing my plastic models up in the street with firecrackers, and no one thinking it was a big deal. Setting off Red Devil fireworks in the street on the 4th, and no one thinking it was a big deal.
Taking off alone or with friends, on foot, on the bus, or on bikes, and it being safe and normal.
No homeless downtown, except for one guy on California Ave., generally referred to as "the sheep man", because he wore a ragged sheep skin, and not much else.
Plowshare books, Minerva books, Comix and Comics, the original Chimera Books house.
The funny looking box structure across from the Fish Market, which was originally a Banana Records, where I bought my Kiss albums.
Playing racket ball at The Supreme Court, and having orange whips while playing Galaxian afterwards.
The Bijou, Biograph, Varsity, and Fine Arts movie theaters. The classic double bill at the Varsity was "The King of Hearts" and "Harold and Maude". I also remember seeing Michael Hedges playing in the courtyard/restaurant area.
The original Ramona's, between University and Hamilton on Ramona. Went there on my first date, freshman year; we road our bikes there and back. Didn't know that ten years later I would marry her.
Paly High, before they put a chain link fence around it, and when they still had those ugly math portables.
A big bump in the road on Melville at Webster, which I used to launch the family station wagon off of.
Late night coffee at Denny's, Ken's pancakes, or the University Creamery (which, as I remember, got closed for health violations).
Henry's Bar. 42nd Street. The original Rudy's pub.
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Posted by Bill P
a resident of another community
on Apr 6, 2007 at 4:51 pm
What a wonderful collection of memories!
I came across this thread while "googling" some of the business names from my old Cubberley Catamounts (the student newspaper from Cubberley High School). I was a staff photographer for the Catamount, and I was scanning my old papers for a digital archive. So searches on some of that material led me here. What a fun find!
I spent my first night or two in Palo Alto (1960) at Rickey's, back when it was covered with yellow neon.
I attended Ohlones, Wilbur, and Cubberley. I was on the Ohlones safety patrol and remember Sergeant Meshinski as well. When I first attended Ohlones, there was no traffic light at Carlson and Charleston, and the safety patrol was using the semaphores to stop traffic. By the time I was in 6th grade, the signal was in, and we had a key to the control box so we could make the light stay green long enough for little kids to get across. (Mr. Bud Jamison ran the patrol at Ohlones the year I was on it). The semaphores were still in the closet with the uniforms though, "just in case".
We used to go to Charleston Center a lot. "The Doughnut Affair" occupied the space where "Feng Yuan" later came. It had another name with "Doughnut" in it also after the "affair", but prior to "Feng Yuan", but I don't remember what it was. In 1960, "The Doughnut Affair" had a speaker that piped in music "courtesy of the Disc Den", the record store down the row.
The ice cream store at Charleston (Bird's) used to buy ads in the Catamount a lot. The market in the 60s was "Mayfair". The drug store was great they filled prescriptions and delivered. I remember one of my aunts from back east was visiting, and she ran out of "birth control" pills, and the pharmacist in there counted out and gave her enough pills to get her home. (He said it was "easier to have a miscount" than to do the paperwork).
Tony, the barber at Charleston, was my dad's barber, and sometimes mine. We first went to him at one of the Midtown barber shops (the one next to Round Table, I think), and moved into Charleston Center around 1967. One of my Catamounts from 1968 has an ad that reads "Styling and Razor Cutting by Tony", so I guess he had it by then. Tony helped me set up a photo once for the Catamount three of the teachers (Miles Putnam, Michael Dale, and Jim Warford) came back from summer vacation with beards. We put Mr. Putnam in the chair with the cloth over him, and made it look like Mr. Dale and Mr. Warford were about to shave him with a straight razor. Mr. Putnam had a priceless worried expression.
Rudolfo's had two dining rooms, run almost separately. The one in the front was "Continental Dining", and fancy, but in the back was the less formal pizza concession. There was also a bar in between (more or less). My dad used to say that the host would take a look at you as you came in and guide you to one place or the other based on how you were dressed
we always went for pizza. The pizza part closed sometime in the mid 60s. One of my Cubberley Teachers (I think Duane Hinders) told us that the had talked to the owner and that they intended to get the ovens repaired and restart the pizza business, but I don't think it ever happened.
Anyone remember "Taco Tio"
on El Camino
which changed names later to something else (but not "bell").
My mom did most of her shopping at Midtown. She said she used to see Bill Hewlett in there sometimes.
My math teacher from Wilbur (Phil Schneider) used to sell me shoes when he worked his second job at "Children's Bootery" at Midtown. (We used to hit "Eddie's" for a soda or a float when we got shoes). When I "graduated" to adult shoes, he told me to "go see Gene or Jerry at Rapps", where I met the famous mynah bird. The electric train was still there, but was nonfunctional.
The shoe store at Stanford Shopping Center with the monkeys in the windows was (I think) "Sommer and Kaufman"
not sure about the spelling. Over in that area, I remember eating many times at Sandy's Jr., and the Stanford Barn.
We used to take the football players from Cubberley down to "TC Christy" downtown (later Wiedeman's) and take pictures of them trying on and wearing different things for Catamount and Yearbook ads.
I think it was the night Mayfield Mall opened (but it might have been later), there was a steel drum band first time I'd ever heard one. Great sound! When I was in college, I fell asleep on a water bed in one of the stores there. Later when I worked for HP, I taught and attended classes in that complex a few times.
Cinnamon bread was great at Harlan's Bakery on California.
Peninsula Scientific was one of my favorite haunts, first on El Camino, then they moved into the old DMV building on Park. Red Johnsons (Electronics) and Maximart were also places I went. Red Johnson had lots of old surplus Zacks downtown sold only new stuff. Maximart had the best prices on photo supplies.
Gotta list a few musical notes nobody mentioned Dana Morgan, where Jerry Garcia used to hang out.
At Cubberley, we hosted a concert with Buffalo Springfield and Sopwith Camel in April, 1967.
More obscure than that, Stevie Nicks sang at Cubberley's 1967 Christmas Dance, as the vocalist in the Fritz Raybine Memorial Band. There is a photo of her at the microphone in the 1967/68 Totem (p. 66) with the drum from the "Fritz" right next to her.
I've been working on a website (www.cubberleycatamount.com) to preserve the old Catamounts I've got, but it's not very pretty, and it's going slowly
but perhaps that's why I have so many thoughts on those great years.
Cheers to all,
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Posted by Mark Baum
a resident of another community
on Dec 26, 2007 at 4:35 pm
My folks moved into an Eichler around 1971 (I think), and I went to Parents' Nursery School (PNS), Garland, Green Gables, Jordan, and Paly. My notes here are not partcularly chronological...
PNS had a fundraising bazaar -- half craft sale, half garage sale -- where I bought an old Springbok puzzle when I started earning an allowance. I think my folks also got our much-loved felt Advent calendar (a tree with pin-on ornaments in a series of pockets) there. My father contributed wooden trains, and candle-holders in the shapes of animals, and little hardwood angels with gilt edges and wire halos. Or else he saw those there and started making them himself... I don't remember now... he did a lot of woodworking, building musical instruments and Spingerle boards and lovely toys...
PNS also had a chicken coop which inspired me to keep chickens in my backyard in East Oakland (where I still live now). I remember having a summer job where I took care of the chickens and watered the grass and the garden. And then later -- long after my watch -- the poor chickens were slaughtered by raccoons. That was tragic.
I had a big crush on a Japanese-American girl at PNS and even more so on her mother -- I almost remember her name after all this time, I think it started with an H -- who came to make us sushi rice. Then at home I became addicted to our version of it which involved cooked rice, vinegar, sugar (my passion), and frozen peas.
Every year we went to the Obon festival at the Buddhist temple on Greer Road. I wanted to dance in the Cherry Blossom Dance for the festival, so my mother found me a fan and a bright blue polyester kimono from Japantown in SF, and every week she dropped me off at the temple to practice (I was probably five at the time). I loved all the coin toss games, though I was terrible at them, and lived for the teriyaki chicken, but I wasn't ready for sashimi until I moved to San Francisco as a young adult.
The kids on my street played all sorts of games on one anothers' lawns, like Jaws and Freeze Tag and Out To See The Ghost Tonight. We also created our own small town by drawing different shops and traffic directions onto the squares of the sidewalk and then rollerskating around. Fat sticks of chalk were a big item.
The mosquitoes at dusk in the rainy season were terrible! We watched the larvae grow in standing water and compared them to sea monkeys (which were very much on our minds). And we were fascinated by the worms that covered the wet sidewalk.
We also held block parties for 4th of July and Easter. I became the organizer at some officious age. We decided to get more ecumenical and changed the Easter Egg Hunt (where we hid eggs all over the neighborhood) to the Spring Roll (where people rolled eggs in a contest).
My best friend's neighbors were nudists and we would try to spy on them through a hole in the fence, and also tried to hit them strategically with loquats from the garden.
I turned out to be gay, and I remember even as a child being fascinated by mens' bodies in the changing room at Rinconada pool. Since I was really nearsighted that whole experience was simulaneously sexy, mysterious, and stressful. I remember that you checked your clothes into these mesh plastic bags on hangers that travelled on some kind of cable. Did we have to wear bathing caps? Was there a sign that said a nude shower was required for proper hygiene? Of course we kids were all serious customers of the snack bar where Fire Stix and long rolls of SweetTarts were the hot item.
The Children's Theater was a haven for weird kids like me, though it had its own brutal pecking order. I loved the Secret Garden, especially after I read "The Secret Garden". I would check out huge stacks of books from the Children's Library. My mom made me start making lists after I ended up owing lots of $ in overdue fees. They would have a summer reading program where you had to read something like 5 or 10 books, and you got a sticker or a jewel for each book. I remember checking out 15 books at a time, and bringing them back in a week, and checking out 15 more, week after week. They stopped giving me the jewels pretty quickly. But they had a lot of good books!
My dad was a chemist and brought home articifial flavoring oils and we tried to make homemade Fire Stix. Not a success. We liked the lemonade that we made with artificial lemon oil, citric acid, sugar, and water -- which was crazy because we had a prolific Meyer lemon tree in the yard! We also gathered carob pods from a tree on Greer and tried to make brownies with them. Also not so good.
Our nextdoor neighbor had a waterbed which was of course the most amazing thing. She and her sister babysat us sometimes. They were big on sand candles, macrame, and stained glass. They would give us homemade brownies with chocolate milk that tasted so much better when we drank it through their treasured Crazy Straw.
One winter it snowed and we tried to scrape together enough to make a snowman, though the gender was somewhat dubious. That reminds me of a Halloween when I dressed in a mixture of stereotypically men's and women's clothing (hiking boots, a tutu, a Mounties hat, not sure what else) and went from house to house with my father. Each neighbor asked, "And what are you?" and I proudly replied, "I'm a boygirl!" Other years I moved on to characters like Daniel Stripey Tiger, a Tyannosaurus Rex, and a skeleton with glow-in-the-dark bones.
Everyone in my family took guitar lessons from Carol McComb at Gryphon who was a cultural icon for my family. And my parents got together with a bunch of friends for guitar-and-yoga potlucks while all us kids ran around the yard.
We would drive to the orchards in the south peninsula and pick up the windfall apricots for free, then take them home and dry them on our roof. We made apricot leather by drying apricot puree on pieces of plastic wrap. It was so difficult to peel off -- but it had a great crystallized sugary texture.
National Velvet was a major book and movie in our neighborhood. My sister and I got so excited when one summer we signed up for horseback riding lessons up in the Stanford hills. But the majority of the time we spent picking up trash in the hot August sun, finally we got to brush the horses, and then one day, finally, we rode them for about 10 minutes inside some circular corral, and it was amazing.
At Garland Elementary we had a fundraising carnival. I baked a yellow cake for the cakewalk -- which was sort of like musical chairs -- and then I won someone else's: bigger, with chocolate frosting -- and became a cakewalk convert right there. They also had a machine for making cotton candy which seemed to me like the one thing you needed for true happiness in life. There was also a dunking tank and Go Fish and maybe we had a parade?
One year at Garland they held mini-courses where parents came in and taught something special, like how to bake cookies, or tasty foods from Scandinavia, or cooking with a solar oven (I remember everything that involved food).
Oh! We took a field trip to Duveneck Ranch where a counselor sang the classic song "Evaporation, Condensation, Precipitation" over and over and over... which we turned into a song about masturbation and ejaculation (I forget the third word we used).
And the classes at the Junior Museum: Japanese brush-painting, and ceramics, and copper enamel! We went to some day camp at Foothill park where we made beads from unbaked clay and painted them with acrylic paint that I can still smell.
I LOVED the Art Thing Wing Ding at the Cultural Center too. I was very proud of a presentation I did for it on phonetic alphabets. Yes. That was me back then. And someone came up and started telling me why Esperanto was a utopian dream. And we made jigsaw puzzles from styrofoam cut with a hot wire...
A bunch of us went backpacking with the Lindbergs -- a husband and wife, both school teachers (I think) -- who made yearly trips into the Desolation Wilderness. I remember that a hypnotist came and gave a demonstration in Shirley Zimmerman's 8th grade English class, and that I immediately picked up the principles of hypnotism from his presentation, and started hypnotizing the kids I was babysitting, and the people in my tent in the Desolation Wilderness, and myself at the dentist's office. That was pretty exciting. I remember Mrs. Zimmerman saying to me, "I think it's so easy for you because you already know how to move though many states of awareness."
I don't know if she did this every year and it was a piece of theater, or if it only happened once... it's really hard to know: she would introduce us to new words, such as "lurid" (a clear favorite for her), or "extrovert", or "irony". When she taught us "irony", she had a hugely emotional moment when she revealed that irony was "when your husband the promising cardiac doctor suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack!" She was FURIOUSLY ANGRY. And then the moment was over and we moved on to the next word...
She and I played ragtime together for some fundraising event for Jordan middle school -- some kind of casino night for the parents. She was a brilliant pianist and loved to play ragtime like it was a racing event. She got there first. I almost tore pages out of my well-worn Dover book of Classic Rags trying to keep up with her. Actually, I just played from that book for a big party given for homeless families in San Francisco, and came across several pages with a chunk torn out of the top. I'm sure the damage dates back to Mrs. Zimmerman.
Speaking of amazing pianists, then there is Kathy Fujikawa whom I first encountered at Green Gables when she was teaching "Chorale" with Ms. Vogel (who was a rather butch lesbian fond of the song "Spurs That Jingle Jangle Jingle", in retrospect she reminds me a little of Meg Christian). We sang so many awful songs -- I don't know how Mrs Fujikawa survived it... Then she moved on to Jordan, and I studied with her there too, and finally she established her great legacy at Paly with the chorus, Madrigals, Spectrum, music theory classes, Honor Choirs, musicals, and so much more. What an amazing woman... there is so much I could say about her that I won't even try -- I'll just say that she had a profound influence on my life.
I can't stop! Now I'm thinking of Miss Macnamara the Latin teacher who with her sidekick Mrs. Evans had one goal in life: to teach middle-school students how to outline. She took us to some all-state Latin Festival somewhere in Southern California where I had to give a presentation on a passage from Ovid that I didn't really understand. Then there was an "orgy" (titter titter) where half the attendees where slaves and the others lay about in togas being fed grapes and asking the slaves to pass notes.
And there was Mrs. Mitchell (?)... I'm forgetting her name... she was in charge of collecting the attendance sheets at Jordan. She adopted particularly troubled students and had them help collect the sheets from all the classes. I had some kind of breakdown in 8th grade where the shop teacher and I went head-to-head. Hooray! I got to skip shop class and instead spent one period with her reading old plays and other school textbooks that she also kept organized. She was such a lovely, kind, and thoughful person. That time with her was so accepting and quiet and low-pressure... I will always be grateful for the care she gave to me.
I remember the intense social anxiety at Jordan and Paly. So painful! Especially since I was a gay nerd... though I found a group of wonderful friends. I remember as part of my coming-out process I joined the No on 64 campaign (against LaRouche's proposal to quarantine HIV+ people), and did a report on it for social studies in 10th grade. And three of us got the administration to let us make AIDS-education presentations where we talked about sex and condoms. On Tuesday nights, I started riding my bike to the Firehouse at Stanford, where they had the Gay & Lesbian Alliance, pretend to be a Stanford student, and go to their public events. I was so scared that I could hardly talk to anyone there, but I kept going.
I took ballet and tap classes as the only boy in a dance studio run by a friend of the family named Ronna Kelly. Ronna was great. I'm sure she knew I was gay long before I did. She introduced me to all sorts of classical music, got me interested in studying the piano, and lent me hilarious recordings by Anna Russell. She had polio as a child and had recovered her mobility by studying dance. Unfortunately her studio had a cement floor, so we all probably damaged our knees and hips for life. Probably it's just as well that I never learned to dance on toe, though it was my dream to do this and join the Ballets Trockadero whom I'd heard about but not actually seen.
When I hit adolescence Ronna made it clear that it was time for me to study dance somewhere else. I went down the street to Zohar and lasted maybe six months before I quit. Probably I was too scared to be in a dance studio where there were other guys and we were all changing our clothes. There was one guy, probably in his early 20's, who started walking part of the way home with me and getting to know me until he found out that I was 15. I was a very early bloomer, but totally scared of my changing desires and very short on social skills.
I remember studying piano with Ardis Wodehouse, who also taught at Stanford and specialized in transcribing piano rolls of Gershwin and other early century greats. Then I studied with a wonderful character who played rehearsal piano for the Children's Theater... was her name Jane Smith? Her daughter was a cabaret singer named Julie Valentine, whom I liked because she sang songs by people like Kate Bush. And finally I worked with a Trotskyite and ex-carpenter concert pianist named Sara Doniach who lived in a beautiful old Victorian house downtown. At some point she let me house-sit for her -- I think it was when she went off to work for the revolution in Nicaragua -- and I invited all these friends from out of state to come and stay with me, and we took over her house with the exception of the part occupied by her Stanford-film-student tenant. I don't know what I was thinking, but Sara didn't give me a hard time for it at all. My main job was to water and deadhead her beloved flower garden, which I did frantically in one afternoon just before she returned.
I remember that I left Palo Alto pretty angry though it's hard to say exactly why now. My time at Paly was really hard, and I made up for that in my mind by thinking of myself as a specially gifted person: I was one of the best & brightest at special high school in a special town... When I started encountering a larger world where maybe I wasn't so special after all, maybe I wanted to blame Palo Alto for its part in encouraging this attitude.
It's taken me a while to appreciate the place again, though my folks still live there in the same Eichler (with very few structural improvements). I love it when I turn the corner from Greer onto Elsinore and feel like I'm suddenly underwater with the branches of the elm trees moving like seaweed in the ocean. It's got to be one of the loveliest streets in town. My folks' street is nice too and has many of the original Eichlers, still inhabited by some of the people I grew up with. I'd say that most of them are unpretentious folks, and I hope that there still are lots more like them in the rest of the town.
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Posted by TL, living elsewhere now
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 4, 2008 at 9:05 am
Ditto to everything "nostalgic" wrote on 10/20/06!! I lived across the street from you on Crescent Drive & despite the distance in miles now, we're still BFF! BTW, you're from Crescent Park, not Charleston Meadows area.
I moved from Menlo Park to PA in 4th grade, 1970, & lived in the area until 1989 but visit frequently.
Anyway, CRESCENT PARK!!! Does anyone remember Mr. "T" (Takamoto) our Math teacher & coach? (That's "Mr. T" before the "A-Team" was on tv). Also, Mr. Campbell for 6th grade? He permanently killed any interest I may have had in sci-fi with his weird book readings & Star Trek shirts.
Seems everyone remembers the Rapp's Shoe Store myna bird. I loved it imitating the buses taking off in front of the store. Vroom!
Riding my bike everywhere. Riding my bike in 5th grade to Stanford Shopping Center to blow my allowance at Norney's or get lunch at La Fromage (I felt tres chic).
It was a different world then!
Peninsula Creamery milk in glass containers, delivered to a metal & styrofoam container on our side porch. Being a bit disenchanted with the cottage cheese the milkman left us instead of the chocolate milk I KNEW I'd ordered.
The Caramel Corn Store on University where I got a huge caramel apple right after my braces came off! I also got a warning from a policeman not to ride my bike on the sidewalk.
Bike lanes were new.
The dark room in my basement. Developing film with my dad & later a good friend.
Swenson's Ice Cream store & its balcony hang out.
Paly's Wall. Great place to hang, nerve-racking to walk past. Oh, the insecurities of youth!
Liddicott's Grocery Store opened on University. It was a food court & a very novel idea at the time. I had my first Lumpia, a Philippine version of a spring-roll. I thought it was such a novelty & that I was very cosmopolitan.
The fabulous snow day of 1976 and I was in 8th grade at Castilleja--yah, from 7th-9th grade--then Paly! Having to wear the Castilleja uniform midi & skirt while riding my bike to & from school in the winter. Trying to stay warm & not have the pleated skirt fly up when riding my bike. Wishing I were at Paly & could wear normal clothes.
Ladera Oaks Swim & Tennis Club. Learning to swim while watching Mark Spitz work out.
Blums for lunch & sundaes with my grandmother. Dressing up for Mings Chinese restaurant when my grandparents visited. My grandfather making everyone eat with chopsticks, except for my grandmother & mom. An old boyfriend wanting to dine-&-ditch at Mings. I didn't.
I. Magnin's pre-teen department & trying on furs in the women's departmentbefore PETA.
The yummy Eddies at T&C and their famous black licorice ice cream and their lollipops in a jar on the counter that looked like stained-glass flowers.
Sitting on Santa's lap at the old Emporium & getting my favorite taffy candy afterward. One year, wondering why Santa had acne. Seeing all the special Christmas displays with moving figurines at the mall was magical.
Oh!!! The pony rides at T&C!! No one mentioned them. I'd always go with a friend to ride them when they were there. In summers, T&C also had a mini-circus in a tent in their parking lot. I think it was the late 60's to early 70's.
Except when the VA Hospital released the crazies on weekends
No homeless people on University Ave., lots in Whiskey Gulch. Whiskey Gulch--wow did that ever clean up--who knew?!
Skinny dipping at Felt Lake & hoping no one stole your clothes.
Swimming in the summers at Lake Laguanita. Bonfires there in the fall.
Playing outside all day in the summer until we straggled in around 10-11pm. Happy we didn't need "play-dates" then. No one knew where we were, but assumed we were safe. How carefree (for moms too)!
Crescent Drive hide-and-go-seek games played even when we were beginning college!!! A friend & I hid in the bushes & saw a man hiding in the same bushes--yikes--he robbed our neighbor that night!
TPing & door-bell ditch. Turning off the main power switch on a neighbor's house. They had lots of cute guys in that family. What was with having their switch on the outside of their house? I'm sure that wasn't up to any code.
Basketball in the driveway under the lights until 10pm lights out!
Halloween haunted houses including sliding down basement steps on mattresses. Landing in a pile in the basement & getting scared by people in masks jumping out at you. Someone broke their armno one was sued!
Creek-walking in the San Francisquito Creek behind our house. Toads (they weren't frogs everyone) hopping every inch over our back lawn. Picking blackberries from the creek sides until my hands both bled & were stained purple. Blackberry homemade icecream or pie.
One Easter Sunday during our family BBQ, my cousins & I found a dead guy in the creek just behind our house. Made my Dad's movies!
Stapleton's Florist. Flowers, corsages & boutineers--do people do that anymore?
Sailing lessons at the Palo Alto Yacht Harbor. Getting my El Toro got stuck in the bay mud. Sinking, forever sinking, in the stinky muck. The smells.
Going to the dump on Saturdays and checking out the ring-neck pheasants living there.
Watching fireworks from towns all over the Bay while on a hill at the dump/baylands area.
Learning about salt marshes at the Baylands.
Watching the old local tv shows: The Friendly Giant, Captain Satellite (who looked like the Dialing-for-Dollars guy), and Creature Features monster flicks on Saturday mornings.
Fake IDs that fooled no one, but you never got busted. Different times, indeed!
The stupid droughts in the 70's. Military showers, the new evils of low-flow, and various unpleasantries & annoyances.
Buying 25# blocks of ice from 7-11 & ice-sliding down the hills of Palo Alto Hills Golf Course--at night or when no one will yell at you. Hey, we kept to the fairways--never on the greens.
Playing "goker" also on Palo Alto Hills Golf Course but during the pouring rain. It was a mix of soccer played with a golf ball with serious mud always ending in the pond. Great fun!
The University Club. I met my future husband there when I was 15! We've been married 23 years!
Rosatti's (no one called it the Alpine Inn).
Stanford stadium. Stanford football game season tickets--family end zone--from age 4 through 18 & all the tailgate parties. Running track for Paly there. Paly's Key Club & volunteering to work the student gate at the Stanford football games. Checking out the college guys who wouldn't give a high school girl the time of day! Braids, war paint, red feathers in the hair...when Stanford was The Indians, not a color. OK, after Stanfurd changed from the Indians to a color, I went Blue & Gold--Go Bears!!
Remembering when the Old Mill was new.
Roller skates with metal wheels that would vibrate your feet to sleep. Skateboarding while running the dog to Eleanor Park. Maybe a few wipeouts if my dog encountered cats or squirrels.
Picking mistletoe from the oak trees in the hills and selling it at Christmas time. OK, we were desperate & we had no $ for Christmas gifts. Could have been a great idea, but we didn't offer freebies or free-trials, so we lost some business in a key market--though not the market we were anticipating. High school girls, mistletoe=guys...no, make that naive high school girls & horney old men... 'nuf said. We gave up & sold it all to a local pharmacy!
The weird antique store on the corner of El Camino & Embarcadero/Page Mill was Polly & Jake's. My mom took me there when I was really young. "Don't touch anything!" It was like an old lady's garage sale--a whole lot of nothing except very dusty chipped breakables. For years, & years, & years we bet when they'd actually paint the place. We all lost--no one bet 20+ years! We were all too optimistic. It always looked creepy.
Dick Gould tennis clinics at Rinconada Park & Stanford. I wish now I took them seriously.
Cutting spring classes & going to the beach. Now, that was great. Beach parties.
The mean Paly English teacher in the late 70's/early 80's was Mr. Bergstrom & he was snarly. He had some old "cool" car he liked to drag race so he'd let guys check out the car during break. Otherwise, he was mean. My favorite teacher was Mr. Neff, the jolly English teacher. We kept in touch until he died a few years back. Not everyone liked him, but he was the most influential teacher in my life and really made me work toward my best.
Putting on my Pjs with the feet, piling into our station wagon, & going to A&W for dinner. The real roller-skating car-hop service was such a treat when I was 5--then off to bed! Same PJ routine at the Moffit Drive-In. Years later at the Moffit Drive-In, and not with my parents, seeing how many people and how much beer we could fit into the trunk without being caughtan alternative was steaming up a few windows.
Hubbard & Johnson Lumberyard gumball machines. Chewing gum & hiding while my dad seeks after he's done shopping. Hiding in cabinets and jumping out at the unsuspecting shoppers.
Riding my bike from the Baylands, to the Stanford Shopping Center, up Sandhill Road, along Portola & flying down Alpine. "The loop."