Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Southern California Childhood

Most kids growing up in Southern California in the 50's and 60's had, as part of their growing up experience, any number of visits to the wonderful new world of theme parks like Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm.  We were completely spoiled since my father worked in an industry where he had daily contact with various city agencies--and in Anaheim, you got gifted with BOOKS (notice, BOOKS, not just one book) of Disneyland tickets.  Of course after a day at Disneyland you'd wind up with no "E" tickets and a bunch of "A" tickets.  Like who wanted to ride that stupid horse-drawn trolley that went up and down Main Street?

Another favorite of ours was Knott's Berry Farm--when we went there weren't many thrill rides like at Disneyland but boy oh boy, you sure could ride the heck out of a stagecoach!  And visit the Calico Mine and pan for gold!  But best of all, for me at least, was Mott's Miniature Museum.  Here are tickets I saved from a 1963 visit, which always included one final stop at the Knott's Berry Farm restaurant for fried chicken and, of course, some kind of incredibly fattening dessert involving fruit.   When I read the linked article, I felt rather sad about what ultimately happened to all the miniature homes and shops that made me ooh and aah every time we visited.

I also saved a newspaper from my junior high in Sepulveda, California--Francisco Sepulveda Junior High School's "The Sepulvedan".  That is one messed up name for a junior high newspaper!  Amazingly, I just discovered that Sepulveda doesn't exist any longer!  It was renamed North Hills in 1992.  Additionally, the junior high is now a "middle school", has only grades 7 and 8 (instead of 7-9 when I went) and is about 85% Hispanic.  I believe the only kid with a Hispanic surname who was there with me was a horrible little boy named Louie Carillo who used to tease me unmercifully about my chubbiness.  I HATED Louie Carillo and often wished that a piano would fall on his head.
Can you imagine today's kids having to physically cut and paste a teacher's head onto a crude drawing of the Easter Bunny?  Photoshop was waaaaaaay in the future!

The featured kids for April were an interesting bunch--the girls totally looked like virgins and all three boys looked like hoodlums.  Nancy Naples and Tim Harrington (the one with the "dreamy brown hair and dark brown eyes to match") were a couple, although I think the lovey-dovey feelings were more on Nancy's part since when asked, Tim responded that his one wish would be "more GIRLS".  And unfortunately for the A7 girl with the poufy hair, she was mis-identified as A8 Carole Pedlar.  I'm sure everything was corrected in a subsequent issue, however.  But OH MY GOD, how embarrassing was THAT?!

There's this little admonishment from Mr. Mortenson (who was highly feared, as I remember) on the back page:

Boys Urged To Watch Manners
Committees were chosen and Mr. Mortenson gave a speech at the Boys' League meeting.
One of the main points of conversation was about the spitting and stomping by students.  Mr. Mortenson urged not to do it or you may be suspended.

Oh, for those long-gone days of innocence . . .

Oh, and speaking of innocence, check out this photo Lowly Trooper Sally took at work the other day:

When she sent it, I was trying to figure out exactly WHY she'd sent it, since as hard as I tried I couldn't see Jesus anywhere on the chip.  But no, she took a photograph of this Lay's product and sent it to everyone she knew simply because it was the biggest freakin' chip she'd ever seen!

I love my sisters.


  1. I posted about my folks going to Disneyland before it was opened, taking pics from the dirt parking lot. Gee I loved going there! That Ride Through Inner Space was just so cool, no matter how silly the props. And the Carousel of Progress. Yeah, I liked the dumb stuff lol...

    And Knotts Berry Farm! I still have an old menu when my folks visited for the first time in the 50's. I panned for gold and still have the little vile jar with the tiny gold flakes! We never got to eat at the famous restaurant (boo) but I do remember going to some miniatures place in the area of Buena Park. Did I see the Miniatures Museum AT Knotts? I'm SURE I did. I seem to remember things like the smallest bible in the world, a camel passing through the head of a pin and the dollhouses(!!!) Mom got me a dollhouse made around that time. So I'm sure I saw it before it was... Whatever happened to it....

    Gee what fun to remember these things =)

  2. Oh those were the days. Mr. Toads Wild Ride ruled! Enjoyed the personnal stories, thanks for the laughs.

  3. You are too funny...couldn't see Jesus on the chip. LOL, me either! Your school paper looks a lot like the one I used to work on. Pre-Photoshop indeed, lots of cutting and pasting going on. Fun post!

  4. You know Christine, junior high was my absolute favourite time in school. I didn't have a clue about too much but was it fun finding out! lol I had the prettiest girlfriend in the school....or at least I thought so.
    I see it was pretty much the same everywhere. Now to have access to Disneyland? Well, that would have been the clincher!

  5. We moved to Oklahoma from Calif. when I was six. But every two years we'd head back to visit my grandparents. ALWAYS went to Disneyland while out there. About five years ago I threw away all my junior high yearbooks. Thought it was time to get rid of them. I knew my kids wouldn't want them. Good memories though.

  6. Good holy God. We were one step up from you in our newsletters - ours were mimeographed! When I look back at our old high school papers I think "what the hell were we thinking?" However, we never described anyone with "dreamy eyes". I'll bet that kid moved to another state after that.

    Disneyland when it had tickets was the best. Remember the flower shop by Pirates? You could get your silhouette cut freehand? I must have seen Mr. Lincoln 42 times - it was so High Tech!!

    Thanks for making me laugh today. I've been cursed by the flu and I'm coughing up body parts.

  7. hiya, thanks for your comment about Kit.
    Reading about your childhood, makes me realise even more than ever before the gaping difference between US childhoods, and ours in the UK.
    Visting friends and family now each year, I feel the gap has narrowed considerably and so much American has been integrated into our lifestyle here, but to visit DISNEYLAND as a child...well we got excited about a treat to the circus, and the fairground was a no-no anytime apart from the very early evening!
    Have a lovely weekend xx

  8. Oh I loved Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm. I also had leftover A tickets! I need to go look through my scrapbooks and see if I saved any.