Nostalgia in the 60’s

Im’ soon to take a trip to Berkeley, California.  I’m staying at the Claremont Hotel, where I grew up just a few blocks away!  Sounds like a great, fun time.  Now I thought I’d try to think of as many places that were around when I was growing up.  Maybe you’ll remember a few of them.

    • The Smoke House on Woolsey, I think.  It was a little, and I mean little hut with a big grill that continually cooked hamburgers.  You could smell the hamburgers from blocks away and most of us found our way to this afternoon delight.
    • Botts ice-cream on College Avenue near Ashby.  The ice-cream was never disappointing and it took at least 15 minutes to choose the special flavor.
    • the Donut Shop on Ashby, just a couple of shops from College.  A walk to that store was a way to start any Saturday morning.  We’d bring them home and put them a big beautiful platter.  And that was caused everyone to wake up fast!
    • There were two drug stores with a soda fountain  — and a soda jerk.  Might sound like a funny name to call someone who was putting together a chocolate soda or banana split.  Drug stores had a way to cure people’s ills by letting them sit on a spinning stool next to other neighbors and share a story or two.  Everyone always felt better after the visit.  In my day, there was Roger.  We all had a crush on Roger who would put extra cherries in the cherry coke. We also enjoyed watching him drive off in his hot rod.  He was the coolest!  By the way, a cherry coke had coke syrup, cherry syrup and soda that spurted out from a metal fountain.  Half the fun of drinking the coke was watching it get made and talking (flirting) with Roger.
    • Hink’s Department Store.  A two story department store on Shattuck Avenue.  It also had a little eating area upstairs, where you could buy a piece of pie or have some ice tea or even a sandwich.  I think it was there to let you think about that outfit that you put back.  Hink’s had a feeling of fine clothes and you always were glad to bring home a special something.  They also let you charge on your mother’s Hink’s credit card.  Can you imagine that?!
    • Berkeley High tennis courts.  There were “pro’s” who could and would teach you during the summer as part of a city program.  It was free.  All you had to do is walk down to the courts and play.  It was hot and fun and memorable.
    • John Muir Elementary at the corner of Ashby and Claremont Avenue;  There was a brick wall that was the back of an auto shop.  We used to use it to play tennis by hitting the balls against the wall.  I also went to school there in fourth grade.  Fun school.  Fun playground.
Okay, that’s all for now.  I’m sure my memory will start conjuring up lots more.  Let me know if you’ve been to any of these places.

Wait, there’s one more:  the Dry Cleaners on Ashby across from the Donut Shop.  They once sponsored Mr. America to stand outside their door.  I went down to meet him (I was in the fifth grade).  I was VERY disappointed to see that he was the same height as me!  But again, I was sort of empowered that I could look him right in the eye as I shook a man I had seen on TV.

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