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My Palo Alto Memories

Original post made by jan monasmith, Midtown, on Mar 9, 2008

The "pony man" who used to come around with his camera to take pics. I used to get to lead the pony for him on our Higgins Court.

The Winter Club ice skating rink that I used to get a membership for every Christmas AND new ice skates if I had outgrown my old ones.

Attending Hoover Elementary through 1963 and my most memorable teacher Mr. Pike 5th grade!

Playing in the fields at the end of Colorado Ave at Frontage Road when there WERE fields.

The big birthday fire engine that would come around for parties.

Waiting for my dad at the corner of Higgins Ct and riding on his police motorcycle back to the house.

All the same stuff like Andy remembers like the A & W, Bergman's, the Variety Store.

Going downtown to the Stanford Theatre for monster movies and getting in and treats all for .25 !!

Comments (13)

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 9, 2008 at 1:20 pm

How about the guy with the vegetable truck who cruised the neighborhood, stopping in the middle of the street to do business?

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Posted by jan monasmith
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 9, 2008 at 2:19 pm

AND the bakery wagon! oh the smells that would come out of that panelled truck when he opened up the back doors!

Getting the striped gumball at Duca & Hanley's and going in to trade it for a REAL candy bar!

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Posted by Nickie Nasr
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 9, 2008 at 4:23 pm

The lollipops with a looping string the produce man would give kids at Duca and Hanleys from his pocket.

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Posted by Andrew L. Freedman
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 10, 2008 at 3:21 pm

Hi Jan,

Mr. Pike. I had him too. Whenever Mr. Pike's students were asked who they had, they would sometimes hold up their hand and turn the ring finger down and say, "Mr. Pike." He was missing two digits on his ring finger.

What I thought was remarkable was the contrast between Mr. Cushing and Mr. Barns when they were walking down the redtop to their classrooms. Mr. Cushing walk really tall and straight while Mr. Barns walked kind of hunched over with a limp. I had them both.

Remember the yard duty lady? She looked a little like the witch in the Wizard of Oz, but she really was a nice lady. She’d supervise me eating my entire sandwich when I was in the 1st and 2nd grade (I was predisposed to eat half and throw the rest away).


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Posted by Lisa
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 11, 2008 at 6:06 pm

And what would our kids remember 20-30 years from now? The Winter Lodge, perhaps, but what else?

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2008 at 7:22 pm


I think you underestimate our City.

The duckpond, the junior museum, the turtles at Seale Park and the Bears and moleholes at Mitchell, the children's library, the old wading pool at Mitchell Park and now the fountains.

As they get older, hanging out for hours playing baseball at Middlefield Little League, Rinconada Swimming Pool, the bowling alley (for a little while anyway), Mayfield soccer field and all the other fields where ayso, cysa, little league play and then the Baylands athletic field where babe ruth play. The Y is a great hangout place for some and places like the Eichler Swim Club for others. There is Round Table Pizza in Midtown and Rick's Ice Cream. Then of course as you say, the Winter Lodge.
Many middle schoolers love to hangout at the Drop at Mitchell Park library and even the libraries themselves. Also, many kids go to Score and although this is for tutoring, I know that the kids do have fun there and will remember this place with fondness.

Yes, it seems that we have a lot less than we used to, but kids will remember with fondness the places we take them and the fun they have with their friends, wherever they are.

I can't think of more, but maybe the teens who read this will add some themselves.

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Posted by Ken
a resident of another community
on Mar 12, 2008 at 9:50 am

Having read and thouroughly enjoyed the other thread started by Andy F. about childhood memories in Palo Alto, I've wondered how much of our fondness is a result of what Palo Alto was like when we were growing up, and how much of it is just everyone remembering his or her youth fondly. I suppose it's at least a little of both. I do think that the thread produces a level of response you wouldn't find in many other towns.

In any event, one common theme running throughout that thread is how much we, as children, were free to roam Palo Alto and explore things for ourselves. Of course, today's junior Palo Alto residents don't have that opportunity anywhere near as much as we did. (That's true everywhere, not just in P.A.)

So, while I understand "Parent's" point that there still is much about Palo Alto today's kids will remember 20 or 30 years from now, I don't know if they'll have the same emotional response we have had on this topic.

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Posted by Ken
a resident of another community
on Mar 12, 2008 at 9:51 am

Oops...make that "thoroughly."

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Posted by Bill Strubbe
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 27, 2009 at 11:43 pm

I grew up on University Ave. and after leaving home 35 years ago, I am house sitting for the last 4 or 5 months....And have been having a wonderful time getting reaquainted with my hometown, and many people who I grew up with, some since kindergarten, who still live here.

A couple things I remember fondly was the big old Victorian House that was in Eleanor Park. (the park, I believe named after that woman who lived in the house and donated the land for the property). It stood until the mid- or late-60s, until she died. When we were young we used to go stand nearby and lookd up at one particular window to a room that we were told (by older siblings and kids) that was golden or had a golden spinning wheel. We would get spooked when a curtain would move. (How strange it must have been for the elderly woman to have all these kids outside peering at her house)

And though there is still the Christmas Tree Lane on Fulton Street, does anyone remember the other Christmas Tree Lane that was on Walnut St? Each house had two of those gaudy aluminim trees, no light strngs, but a light on the the ground that shown on the trees, sometime turning slowly and changing colors. I seem to recall that they stopped doing it by the late 60s when all things hippie, groovey and natural would have come into vogue and aluminum trees passe.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2009 at 8:47 am

It is really up to us as parents to make sure that our kids have the same memories from their childhood as we have for ours.

Kids need to have their own little adventures and whether it is getting "lost" in Target or being told off by "Joe" the crossing guard for not crossing in the cross walk, they will have their memories. Walking or riding bikes to school will always produce more adventures and memories than being driven everywhere. Being given freedoms of any description, taking lunch to Baylands on bikes, or going for their first real bus ride to go to San Antonio for BurgerKing during Spring Break will be great memories.

Don't pack their free time with activities which you organise, but give them the abilities to find things to do for themselves including the getting there (even if you follow the bus in the car) will give them a sense of achievement and independence which they really do need as they grow up and become ready to enter the adultworld with maturity and confidence.

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Posted by John
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 13, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Yeah, the vegetable man..we used to call him "Veg" over in the Crescent Park area back in the early 60's. Talk about a cool truck and a cool guy!

On the other hand, if you ever had The Colonial Breadman pull open one of those giant drawers in the back of his doughnut truck, get a bag filled, and then plop down in front of some Saturday morning cartoons...well, need I say more?

Hey, I've got an idea..let's head over to Town and country for a ride on the Haywagon!

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Posted by john
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 15, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Have you recvd any info re: your Paly reunion? Go to!
Our last names were close together alphabetically, beginning with M-o so we were in a lot of class pictures together. I think I was a litte shorter than you though. Thanks for letting me have a spot up front!
Hope all is well!
Little Johnny Mo....

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Posted by Hilary Dixon
a resident of El Carmelo School
on Oct 14, 2010 at 6:35 pm

I was born February 6, 1965 at El Camino Hospital. I lived in the same Apartment with my mother on Alma Street from the age of 2 to the age of 24. I remember fishing at Foothills Park and catching my first fish at the age of 4. I was so excited I wet my pants. I learned to ride horses at Stanford Stables. I remember going to the Stanford Barn and eating lunch and then stopping at the candy store for the best fudge in the world. I remember the doll collection at Children's Hospital donated by Shirley Temple. I remember Buster Brown shoes in downtown and the Canyon Art Studios. John Canyon painted a beautiful painting of my mother and me. Does anyone know where John Canyon is???? My mother use to sing at The Winery and at Rickey's Palo Alto. Her name was Alice Dixon show name Alice Grey.

My mother passed away last July and I miss her daily. She missed Palo Alto and will always consider it home. She was never happy living anywhere else. I now know I have to bring her home. Maybe Foothills Park. I have been told Palo Alto is not the same anymore, but 3 years ago I was home and 3013 Alma Street was still there. I remember the old redwood tree El Palo Alto.

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