North Town 1978

Thoughts of North Long Beach this morning – my high school reunion is tonight, and I finally, finally have time to sit and think about it, and about the past. If you’ve read any of my blog, you know that I kinda like movies a little bit, and oh, well, if I could have a movie soundtrack playing at all times in my life, how great would that be?  So I was thinking about what my life was like in high school in the ’70s, and I have to say that the movie “Dazed and Confused”comes very close.  I wasn’t in a sorority, and I never wore a cheerleader uniform, but I did have to lie down to zip up my pants, and when I saw that in the movie, I thought, OK, Richard Linklater did some homework. What else did he get right?  For me, pretty much everything; the clothes, the parties, the extracurricular activities – these were my teen years onscreen, and this was how I lived through them.

David Starr Jordan is located next to Houghton Park on Atlantic Boulevard in North Long Beach.  During the ’70s, we were allowed to go off campus for lunch, and the park was a popular spot for lots of us disaffected youth.  I did log some time in the park, but usually when I left for lunch, I would go home and not come back, preferring Match Game on TV over American History. If I decided that I probably needed to go to school for an entire day, I would head east for lunch, either to Winchell’s Donuts on Orange for maple bars and apple fritters, or over to the liquor store on Artesia for Slim Jims, the famous mystery meat sticks that I’m sure are still in my body to this day.

I don’t really remember how I managed to do this, but I ended up in the vice-principal’s office for being late to PE class 22 days in a row. I think it was Mr. Bowles who sat across from me and said, “Oh, yes, I remember your brother.”  Steve had his own incident file, which included getting caught smoking in the restroom; he told my parents that somebody gave him the cigarette to hold, and then he was caught – such a lame excuse,  I didn’t even believe him. I think I got off with a warning, and was  told to start showing up to PE on time – this was the only discipline I ever received in high school, which was pretty funny, since, as I mentioned,  I would “forget’ to come back after lunch so often, I’m surprised the school didn’t check on me to make sure I knew what my school schedule actually was.

I wouldn’t want to be a teenager these days, I have to say.  Teenagers have it rougher today; back then, you could get through a night being really stupid, and for the most part, be reasonably secure in the knowledge that, unless one of your more outgoing (read:gossipy) friends was there, most people wouldn’t  know about it. Today, have a bad night for whatever reason, and every second is posted on YouTube, or Facebook, or emailed to everyone you know.  Now not only do your blabby friends get to talk about you, they can back it up with photos and video, because everyone has a camera, don’t they?  George Orwell talked about Big Brother, but who knew the day would come where we would all have the potential to be Big Brother?

Check out Retro Housewife for all things ’70s, including Dittos (I had four pairs – black, white, blue, and orange); I’m saving this page for when I have a block of time to investigate it thoroughly, but from what I’ve see so far, it is sublimely ’70s.

Rock on, babies!


The reunion was at Tracy’s Bar in Long Beach last night.  When I left at 9, there must have been well over 100 people crammed in the place, and hanging out in the parking lot.  It was really nice to meet up and talk with friends; and it kinda reminded me of the old days, except no one was falling down (at least not while I was there). Good party, North Town.

5 thoughts on “North Town 1978

  1. Bob Mattocks says:

    Good Lord! Winchells maple bars were my favorite! Are they still around out there? My father was a LBPD cop and pretty much lived there (when he wasn’t at Dooleys LOL!). One of my best friends got mugged at Houghton Park so not real good memories there (went to grade school at Grant). Thanks again Julie, love the picture of Winchells! Bob

    • Carole Gibbons says:

      Hi Bob, probably a little late to respond to your post but I also went to Grant and Jordan and I for sure remember Winchells! However, my best memories are of Dooley’s where I use to go with my dad on many Saturdays and get a hot dog and all the supplies we needed for home repair etc.
      Moved away many, many years ago but my old mind still remembers 🙂 Thanks for the memories………Carole

      • robert george says:

        i remember 2 winchells on orange. one was on market and orange and the other on artesia and orange

      • californiabean says:

        Robert – thanks for all the great memories here! I remember Will J. Reed, as my brother was a Boy Scout, so we were there frequently. I really loved growing up in north Long Beach – it’s terrific to read everyone’s comments, you all make the past come alive!

  2. californiabean says:

    Hi Bob! Sorry it took so long to reply – Loved the maple bars at Winchell’s; not sure if there are any more around.

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