Retro-Meditation: What Do You Remember as a Child in Tucson?by Tyler Woods on Jul. 24, 2009, under Life
I had such fun remembering what it was like to be a 10-year-old hippie that I am not quite ready to leave 1968 behind. I sat and looked at old photos reminiscing once again about the good old days of my childhood living in Tucson. Memories sometimes come harder at my age. Being in my 50s and menopausal I am surprised my memory serves me at all. I walk into my office and decide to do some retro-meditation. I set the mood by putting on my 60s mix of songs from the Doors, The Beatles, Gary Lewis and The Playboys, The Rascals, and The Grass Roots and allow my mind to wander.
As my trance begins, visions of me sitting in the Kgun 9 studios at the Uncle Bob Show, wearing my Campfire Girls’ uniform, come to my head. I was selected to be on one of the games to be played on live TV. I am fairly certain I did not win, but each time I went to the Uncle Bob Show, played by Bob Love, I came home with a bag of treats and a cheap toy. I would feel like a celebrity for the day because I was on TV. It’s too bad I was eventually kicked out of Campfire Girls. I guess they just did not allow wanna-be hippies.
Next, I see my mother driving the old, white ‘63 Rambler downtown where McLellans, Sears, Penny’s, Lerners, Woolworths, and Kresge’s, a variety of small venders and the Pioneer Hotel all once stood. Memory reminds me that it was like a huge shopping mall. A great time was to be had once upon a time ago in downtown Tucson when there were shops galore and fun places to eat.
Speaking of eating nowhere was more fun to eat than at Johnnie’s Restaurant when it was still on 22nd St and Alvernon. The Fat Boy hamburger was to die for. Two all-beef patties and special sauce still make these taste buds water. Of course, Farrell’s at El Con Mall was a great hangout for a kid, and watching people eat the “pig trough” was something else. Eating an open-faced roast beef sandwich at the restaurant in Levy’s department store was also a scrumptious treat. However, for a good and fun time there was always Shakey’s Pizza on Drachman, a few slices of pizza and the old-time piano player made even this hippie child smile.
Shifting views, visions of the super-slide on Alvernon dance through my head. As I took my burlap sack and walked up the stairs, which seemed like an eternity to climb, a single scream and I was down that slide in an instant. Of course, if super-slides were not my bag, then I could go to the corner of Swan and 22nd to the old Sunset Rollarama that had two rooms to skate in. One rink was for beginners like me and the other was loud and large. They had good food, flavorful fountain drinks, and live music occasionally.
It’s time for me to come out of my trance and get back to work. Off with the music and open my eyes. Wow! All this leaves me wondering, what do you remember about Tucson when you were young?