Special Memories

What made growing up in South Gate so Special

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Famous "Johnies" in Downey Torn Down...
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final chapter

This new section of the SGHS web-site is dedicated to your special memories you have of growing up in South Gate.. Whether it's just be a line or two, feel free to send any memories you would care to share with others..     I remember as a 10/11 year old stopping at Save-On's for the 3 for a dime candy bars to take to the Allen (flea pit) theater on Saturdays...6 big-o-candy bars to eat while watching 2 cartoons, a 20 minute serial or comedy short such as "The Little Rascals"or 'Bowery Boys" then 2 full length 90 minute movies .. Gave my folks a break and ultimately created my little sister....DM

11-20-06..We lived on Otis and the Sav-On was  in the opposite direction from the Allan. However, the popcorn was only a nickel a bag AND the bag was as long as our arms (popped fresh at the store).  So we walked to Sav-On, bought the popcorn and then walked to the Allan and had enough popcorn to keep us busy during the walk AND the movies, cartoons and serials.
Those kids who lived on the other side of Long Beach Blvd. were deprived they didn't have the SavOn so their popcorn at the Vogue was a dime a box (as I recall - the regular size boxes AND because our popcorn was only a nickel - I/we had a nickel for a SINGLE SCOOP ice cream cone at the SavOn  for "show day" or later, after school at Bryson Ave Elementary School - across the street and up a tad!.....   Jan Gillespie Jones


Playing "Hidegoseek", "Kick the Can", "Captain May I", and other fun stuff on Walnut Ave with about 20 kids. Our house had a lamp post, so all kids gathered there. We traded comic books with other kids by the wagon load....then read for weeks. They only cost a dime each in those days. Walk to the park and swim all day for a quarter in the summer. Beggar's Night and Halloween night to go "Trick or Treating". (No body else I know of my age has even heard of doing 2 nights!)...... 
         Billie Holloway Marxmiller

11-21-06...  Although most services came to us by way of truck, clothes and tools did not.  Often, however, our parents did their shopping by ordering through the Sears Catalog, and the items were delivered to us.  Many of our mothers had sewing machines, and made many of our clothes at home.  The fabric for our clothes was purchased on State Street.  Sebastian's was within walking distance of our homes, and some families bought ready-made-clothes there - often, however, the ready-made items were beyond our budgets.  I remember the time Norma Jean (Leva) found a top she absolutely had to have; she couldn't afford it, so she took the price tag off and switched it with a cheaper item that she could afford; I, of course, thought that was absolutely awful - but I never told anyone (the code of silence?) about it until now.  I wonder if Norma Jean would remember the incident as clearly as I do.  For special occasions we were often permitted to shop in Huntington Park - Wineman's being our favorite store there.  Often, however, our parents would make lists of needed items, and we would drive down Alameda to the big Sears store in Vernon.  To arrive at the store, we had to drive through what my father termed “The Pooie Part of Town” - that meant we had to drive past the slaughterhousesThey were awful!  I hated going to Sears, but once there, inside the front door, on the left, was a huge popcorn machine; the popcorn smell was absolutely wonderful, and the popcorn was delicious.  My father made a deal with me - if I wouldn't gag, cry, or vomit, driving through “The Pooie Part of Town”, he would buy me a bag of popcorn when we arrived at Sears.  More often than not, I went without the popcorn!
   Marsha Caddell (Davis)W'56

11-21-06...True story.  I crowed before I talked!  My father raised chickens.  The Culberts raised rabbits.  When I was very small (long before the tree house or the badminton court), our entire back yard was a “chicken yard”.  Chickens were able to go though the hedge (before Mr. Nichols and my father built a brick wall) to the driveway in front of Harlene's garage and then into her yard.  Anyway, there were always chickens outside my bedroom window, and I awakened early each morning to the crowing of the roosters.  One morning, according to my father, my mother became very angry with him because he had let a rooster in the house, and she could hear it crowing in my bedroom.  My father got up to investigate, and there I was, sitting up in my crib in the dark, crowing with the roosters.  My father said that the sound I made was exactly the same as that of the roosters.  After that, my mother insisted that all the chickens be moved to an area behind the garage and fenced in.  Soon after, I learned to talk - human talk.

The doctor.  The doctor was like the deliverymen.  We didn't go to the doctor - he came to us.  Our doctor was Dr. Moore, an Army surgeon.  When either Mother or I became ill (Dad was never ill) he would come to our house with his “little black bag”.  Inside he carried a stethoscope, a thermometer, and an assortment of pills.  He made his diagnosis on the spot and told us what we needed to do (yuck - chicken soup meant that my father was going to kill another chicken).  We always followed Dr. Moore's directions.
   Marsha Caddell(Davis) W'56

11-21-06...South Gate Memories:
1.  House prices.  Ours cost $2,700 (yep, that's it)
2. Deliverymen
     A.  The Ice Man.  He used to bring ice before we had refrigerators -- a big chunk of ice.  The ice went in the bottom of the box; the food went on top.
     B.  The Helm's Man.  He had a distinctive whistle, and when he blew it, we would go to his truck to get our bread.
     C.  The Newspaper Man.  He was referred to as "Crazy Sam The Newspaper Man."  I think that he was somewhat retarded.  He used to walk down the middle of the street on San Carlos with a large-red-wooden-wagon, calling "Pay-purrrrrrs," and we would go out and buy a newspaper.
     C.  The Good Humor Man.  His truck had the most delightful sound.  He was our
favorite.  If we were very fortunate, our ice cream stick would be marked "free" and that meant that the next time he came, all we had to do was give him our stick, and we got a free ice-cream.
     D.  The Milk Man.  He left our milk on our porch in glass bottles very early each morning.  Our parents would leave a note for him in an empty milk bottle each night telling him what they wanted to have the following morning.  He also delivered chocolate milk, which we thought to be a great treat.
     E.  The Egg Man.  We didn't use The Egg Man much because we grew our own chickens in the backyard and had our own eggs.  However, many of the neighbors did buy eggs from him.
     F.  The Vegetable Man. His truck had an entirely different sound, and we could buy what vegetables we didn't grow in our backyards from him.
3.  Transportation.  To get to Huntington Park, we would take the bus to "The Loop" and transfer to a streetcar (that was a big time experience)!
4.  Air Raid Practice.  These occurred during the war.  City sirens would go on, and the street lights would go off.  That meant, no lights anywhere.  We were to go to a place in our homes without windows (most of us had center halls in our homes that closed off) with a flashlight, portable radio, and water, and we were to stay there until the "All clear" siren sounded.  That was so the enemy planes couldn't find where to bomb us, if and when they came.
5.  Games We played the following:
     A. marbles
     B.  jacks
     C.  pickup sticks
6. Music.  It seems that many of us learned to play the harmonica (our harmonica's were called Marine Band Harmonicas; I don't know why).  Harmonicas were followed by ukuleles; we used to sit on our front porches playing those.  I bet I can still play "5 ft. 2" and Maybe" although I haven't seen a "uke" for years
  Marsha Caddell(Davis) W'56

11-21-06...SOUTH GATE - CHRISTMAS 1945 World War II had ended earlier in the year. The families of San Carlos Avenue in South Gate had celebrated the end of the war as one large family. Our parents sat in their cars and blew the horns, and we children had stood on our front lawns banging our mother’s pots until our arms had grown tired. The end of the war meant many things to me as well as the other children on the block. It meant that we would no longer being turning off all lights at the sound of the air raid sirens, and sitting in the dark. It meant that we did not have to go to the bank with every cent we earned to buy stamps to paste in a book that would eventually yield a war-bond. It meant that the large posters of "Uncle Sam" dressed in read, white and blue, wearing huge top hat, and pointing his finger toward the viewer, over the words "Uncle Sam Wants You", were gone. As Christmas approached, the only real reminder of the war seemed to be large blue banners with a single star hanging in the front-room windows of those families who had lost a father or a son. For the children of San Carlos, it meant that we could dream of receiving Christmas gifts that our parents would not have considered during the war. For me, a child of seven, the end of the war meant that I could expect to receive a doll similar to those I had seen in store windows, and dreamed of one-day owning. Up until this point, my dolls had been rag-dolls made by neighbors and friends. My dream-doll was made of china, and had eyes that would open and close. Christmas 1945 was, without question, going to be the most exciting of all Christmases. I named my doll-to-be in early October – "Judy". I didn’t know if she would have blue eyes or brown, or if she would have blond, red, or brown hair, but it didn’t matter – I knew she was coming. It was usual for my parents to put presents under the tree as they were wrapped, but this Christmas there weren’t any packages under the tree for me. I knew that meant that my father had hidden my present somewhere. It was the tradition of our family to have all the relatives from my mother’s side of the family over to our house for dinner and the opening of presents on Christmas Eve. I knew that my father would wait and have me open my doll in front of all the relatives. It was so difficult for me to wait until Christmas Eve, but I really didn’t have any choice. Finally, Christmas Eve arrived, as did all the relatives. However, there still wasn’t a present under the tree for me. After we had finished dinner, my father finally said: "Kitten, the war is over, and your mother and I have a special gift for you this year." I was so excited, that I said "Wait a minute Dad, I have to go to the bathroom" (that was always the case when I became overly excited). Dad said, "That’s okay kitten, I hid your present over at the Nichols house; I’ll go get it, and have it under the tree when you return." My father’s eyes were sparking. He was almost as excited as I was. My mother just smiled. From the bathroom, I could hear my father return through our front door. I could also hear the voices of my relatives, so I knew that "Judy" was not wrapped. When I entered the front room, all eyes were on me. There under the Christmas tree were a baseball bat and softball. I remember saying "Just a minute Dad, I have to go to the bathroom again". I ran for the bathroom. For the first time in my life, I knew I absolutely could not cry. It took me a very long time, but I returned to the front room smiling – my first experience at "faking it". My father showed me how he had selected a bat with perfect wood grain, and he pointed out how beautiful it was. The bat was a "Louisville Slugger", and he said that was very special. The softball was a "Spaulding." Dad was so proud! On Christmas morning I learned how to properly tape a bat handle. To Dad’s credit, he spent hours teaching me how to swing the bat. I don’t believe Dad ever knew about "Judy"!.... Marsha Caddell (Davis) W'56

11-22-06....It was a very special time, and South Gate was a great place to grow up.  My thoughts go back to how I would feel walking to Helen & Dorothy’s houses, I always felt safe on the streets.  As kids we always walked, even from Liberty Blvd. , near Otis, to the city park to swim in the city pool.  We walked to the Al len theater on Saturday for the movies.  The only time we took a bus & street car was to go to Huntington Park to shop at Winemans or to go to the show.   If I wasn’t going to the Saturday movies I would take my blue bike to the library, so I could fill my bike basket with books that Ellen Jones mother, who worked there, helped me pick out to read.  I still love to read.  I have such good memories about our town.
   Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours,
        Phyllis Henry (Sheue)  S'56  

11-25-06... When my folks bought our brand new home at 10524 Annetta Ave in 1941 they paid $3,500.00 for it...It was a 2 bedroom 1 bath 900 sq ft home.. They later added a large family room...
   Today, the third day of the long 4 day Thanksgiving weekend I was browsing the web and found a current list of homes for sale in the South Gate area and thought it was interesting. I cannot figure how the local people of South Gate can afford to buy a home as the average yearly income there is around $37.000.00..
Here is part of that list...amazing....
9632 Bowman Ave..2 bedroom, 1 bath 892 Sq ft...$429,000
8925 Virginia Ave 2 bedroom 1 Bath  925 sq ft...$499.000
5234 Batavia Rd 3 bedroom 1 bath  1474 sq ft
....$540,000 (I sold my home at 5253 Batavia in 74 for $37,500.00)
9222 McNerney   1152 Sq Ft......$625.000
10236 Hunt Ave  3 bedroom 2 bath 1378 Sq Ft....$559.000
10521 Walnut Ave 3 bedroom 1 bath 1121 Sq Ft...$534,000
8470 San Gabriel Ave.....$739,000....
9925 Jackson Ave ..... Todays value $494,500..    (I bought this house in 62 for $13,500)

12-03-06.... Going to the movies at the Allen Theater on Saturday; we walked.  My mom always telling me not to go into the Pool Hall that was right next door.  But....the pool hall had some real good candy, stuff you couldn't get at the movie and cheaper.  The smell of beer and cigarettes was strong and the men looked scary but we went in anyway.  Then running home after the movie if it was starting to get dark.
   As we got older and wanted to go to the movies, we had to go to the Vogue theater.  Our Mom or Dad would pick us up and always told us we could see the movie over if we wanted to.  I'm sure our folks were glad to get rid of us for a few hours and we thought it was great seeing the movie twice and maybe sitting next to a boy or girl you knew from school.

When the big swimming pool opened up at the South Gate park that was really something.  My cousin lived on Jackson Ave and she and I would walk down to the park in hopes that we would run into some boy we thought was really cute.  The older boys always seemed really handsome but they never paid any attention to us.
Walking home from High School with about 6 girls laughing practically all the way and stopping for a donut at Winchells.     

Walking down to Sav On Drug store to get an ice cream and maybe get our first tube of lipstick; I think it was Tangee.  It looked orange but when you put it on it turned pink!
Walking with my Mom and Dad to The Tweedy Christmas Parade.  Once you got there trying to act like you were alone so maybe if you ran into some of your friends it wouldn't look like you were a "mama's baby."  However; I always knew my folks were there and I was glad they were......      Bette (Weninger) Murch  S-56

12-4-06....The Christmas parade on Tweedy. I marched in three of them, if I remember correctly, as a Ramblerette. We just had so much fun, even in the rain. I think the last one I marched in, we were right in back of some marines and when we ended the parade at the park, we flirted with them. It was fun, until I saw my boyfriend at the time angrily watching me from a short distance. The fireworks at the park were wonderful, weren't they? We were able to sit in our front yard and see them all. During the war, when we had the blackouts, I remember all the neighbors and their kids would meet at our yard. Us kids had a ball.......we had no fear......it was just a part of life. I remember the days during the war of seeing airplanes fly by and us kids would call any small plane at P-38 and any large airplane we called a B-52. I don't really know what they were, we just called it out like we were experts. We loved playing jacks and hopscotch.......sure was cheap entertainment. And Monopoly! We could play all day! We also used to tie a towel around our necks and jump off the garage roof, as if we were Superman and that towel would help us fly. Its a wonder we didn't break arms and legs. Raymond High, DeeDee and Leland Kidder, Keith White, Sandy Romberger, Dotty Hunt were my best friends and we all went to Tweedy Grammar School.   
Billie Holloway Marxmiller

12-07-06.... There are so many things to remember while I lived my younger years in South Gate and like many who have written their special memories and placed them here, I also remember the park, 3 for a dime candy bars and 18 inch bags of popcorn at Sav-On Drugs plus the Saturdays at the Allen theater… but one odd item comes back as vivid as if it was yesterday and it was before high school…This special memory comes back at a time during my 3 years at South Gate Junior high…Does anyone remember The big ol glass jar of large dill pickles that sat on the counter of Vondes Market located on the corner of Southern and Otis street??.. At least twice a week or when we could afford it, after school, my girlfriend and I would go to Vondes and get a dill pickle for as I remember 25 cents and have them cut it in half, wrap both halves and home we went…At this time I lived on Orange Ave almost to the So Gate, Lynwood border so from Southern and Otis it was quite a walk but if you timed your pickle eating just right it would last you almost home..gnaw the sides, suck the juice etc.. Such simple things but were important to us at the time…Well until next time… back to reality…Hey it is Dec 7th time to pay that property tax bill…An adult important thing…          Virgina "Kay" Headley, Mandeville, Holmes… S-58                                                    

12-10-06......Boyoboy do I remember those dill pickles! It seems they were a nickel. They would take such a long time to eat. Also at the Jr. High was the best cinnamon rolls ever! I think those cafeteria ladies made them from scratch and at the first recess, I would race over to the cafeteria and stand in line to get one. Remember we couldn't walk on that grassy area where the flag pole was located until we were in 9th grade. I think we called it the "square". Anyone else remember that. Also in Jr. High was the A-bomb drill where we had to dive under our desks and hold our heads down with our arms......as if that would help save us. Anyway, we weren't allowed to wear pants to school in those days and it was quite hard to be modest in those positions. Of course, we wore our skirts pretty long in those days too.....   Billie Holloway Marxmiller W-56

12-23-06....I remember those pickles at Vonde's.  I could either ride the bus home from Jr. High, or buy a pickle. I mostly bought the pickle and it would last most of the way home.  I lived on Chestnut, so that was a long walk.  On occasion I would buy a Foster Freeze.  Chocolate Malt.  Always my favorite.  While living on Santa Ana St. the neighborhood would play "kick the can" "hide and go seek" "blind man's bluff" plus others I don't recall the names of.  I feel sorry for kids today.  They don't have the vacant lots to play in and no dirt clod fighting!  We rode our bikes or walked when we needed to go some place of distance.  Our parents would have never dreamed of taking us when we could walk.  Very fond memories of South Gate. I think I would have been a better student if I could do it over.  BUT, nothing can replace the fun we had.  We lived in a good time.  A lot of us went on to ruin the next generation.  I guess we wanted more for our kids and grandkids than what we had, but actually we had it all and didn't know it....  Zona Webb Neighbors S'55

1-5-07....  I get tears in my eyes remembering the wonderful times in South Gate.  We had the drug store on the corner of San Carlos (where I lived) and Firestone.  To go there and have a hamburger and coke was such a treat.  George owned it and Mable worked there. Then Jone's market.  Before we moved to San Carlos we lived 2 doors from the market.  My mother was friends with Mrs. Jone's so Carolyn and Ellen became my friends. I remember peeking out of my window to watch the spot lights in the sky.  They were looking for enemy airplanes.
   We used to go to the BIG LOT on the corner of Ardmore and California Ave to fly kites.  THEN they went and built the police station and the City Hall.  Had to fly kites on my own street after that.  
Vesta Gebhardt was my best friend.  I spent many days at her house.  SHE HAD A PLAYER PIANO and we loved to play it.  Also she had a place in the back yard we could have a bon fire so lot's of kids used to hang out there. 
The Vogue was great.  I used to go to Huntington Park to Warner Bros. and The California Theater (I think that's what it was called) with my Father.  Just think we got to see TWO movies every time we went to the show.
So sad our Children and Grandchildren will never experience those days.  We were never poor???  We had food and clothes (that our Mother's made) and we didn't need all the games they have today.  WE MADE OUR OWN, out of sticks, rocks or anything we could find in our yard.  Many many more memories but had better stop here.  
       Arla (Easlick) Olejnik '54     

1-6-07.......I see there are many mentions of the Allen Theater on Tweedy Blvd listed here… I have one special memory of the grand old theater that happened to me many years ago.. The time I was asked to leave the theater…. well not asked, told to leave… This goes way back when I was going to Bryson about the 4th or 5th grade…and I had this friend who was a very odd lot.. some thought crazy.. and who had no friends that I knew of except for me…Some of you may remember him… Gordon Moe… His mother was a teacher at Bryson.. Mrs Laura Moe…. Well Gordon could get in trouble no matter where he was.. nothing serious that I know of just caused problems where ever he went…We didn’t spend too much time together as my folks did not approve of him one bit…but one Saturday morning Gordon called and asked if I wanted to go to the Allen with him and I said ok…well I think I must have realized something would happen but I went anyway… What I didn’t know at the time but found out later was that Gordon had consumed a large amount of Sauerkraut and ribs the night before.. which in turn gave him a huge amount of gas… And let me tell you when Gordon had a gas problem the last place he should be was in a theater….. I didn’t know any of this when we sat down near the front of the theater and the cartoons started…Everything was ok for a while but then Gordon leaned over and said he had a problem and we had better move quick… He didn’t have to tell me twice… wow… we moved quickly out of that row, up the isle to some seats on the right side of the theater…as we were sitting down I heard someone down front say out loud in a nasty tone…"O my gawd"…… Well it looked like we were ok for a few minutes when Gordon said one more time … we better move… well with no place to go we went to the lobby then back into the theater on the left side and sat down but was too late… A usher and manager wanted to see us in the lobby then told us to leave the theater… which we did… Gordon and I laughed all the way back to his house ..I then went home…. Gordon and his mom and dad moved to Downey a few years after that…and I didn’t see Gordon again…..except for a few times he dropped by when he was about 18… Many years later I found out Gordon had died at 50 years old in a emergency room in San Diego from a brain aneurysm and they had listed his occupation as a junk man….Gordon was an odd sort….. so long ago…….  ????  ??????  Class of 56

1-7-07....... Moved to South Gate from Akron, Ohio in early 1945. Lived on San Juan and attended San Gabriel.
On "VJ" day, a couple started dancing in the street at Firestone and San Luis. Within an hour, hundreds were out there dancing, I picked another nine year old to two step with, Barbara Sanders.
  The crowd built this huge bonfire in the middle of the street that lasted for hours, and the local motorcycle cops just sat on their machines and let these Americans have a ball.

At age 11, Winifred Tucker, Carol Bennett, Phil Erickson, and I, plus someone else I have forgotten, represented San Gabriel on Art Linkletter's "House Party" radio show. We were driven to CBS on Sunset Boulevard and had a private lunch with him before the show. Can't begin to tell you what "hot stuff" we thought we were!
My early teens at SG Jr. High are memorable to me as the sports editor for the school paper. I had the golden opportunity to participate as a "role player" in a truly competitive hardball league at the park.
Some of my teammates and opponents were; George Negrete, Bob Schwartz, Jim Dunn, Jeff Salisbury, Jim Vedneff, Buddy Ferguson, Bill King, BG Randolph, Bob Waldron, Joel Atkinson, Bob Lopez, Whitey Kerslake, Bob Mercer, J.R. Winfrey,and Carlton Claunch.
High School found me as a third-string-quarterback on the Bee team for two years. What in the hell did my coaches know? The first stringer, Johnny Torrey made all league, and the second stringer, Bob Hivner was a scholastic All-American at Washington and played in two Rose Bowls! At least I backed up an All American.
As a senior, I was a "ticket tearer" at the old "Allen" and I worked along with candy girls,   Nanette Lefevever, Marfae Masters, Vivian Cannella  and my first wife, Carole Adams. 
We were all soooooooooo proud of being from that area, and I wouldn't change a thing.
Paul Cardinal
Summer 54

3-23-07........I wonder if anyone out there shares this same fond memory of mine....The Y Dances at YMCA. Oh did we have fun! I don't remember anyone getting out of hand or fights or any other thing that goes wrong in this day and age. We just danced and had a lot of fun. I particularly remember dancing most of the night with a particular upper classman and he drove me home. I completely forgot about and abandoned my sister, who had to walk home. Boyoboy did I get in trouble for that escapade............grounded for a month!! By the time I was ungrounded, the upper classman had forgotten about me and ended up going with a girl that ended up being his wife!   But, you know, my sister walked home probably about 2 miles and got home perfectly safe........probably would not be safe these days..... Growing up in South Gate was special.
   Billie Mae Holloway Marxmiller W'56

3-29-07....I  grew up at 10625 Pescadero Ave in South Gate. My parents, Elvin & Elaine Lewis, bought the house in 1949
for $8,500.00! Can't even buy a new Hyundai for that now.    I remember the old Scott's drive in on Long Beach Blvd
and the old Vogue Theatre where on Saturdays you got a double feature, cartoons and other short subjects for only
50 cents! I used to cruise Tweedy Blvd in my hopped up '54 Chevy Bel Air with KHJ Boss radio or KRLA or even
XERB with the Wolfman turned up full blast.  I'm shocked at what happened to Johnie's Broiler and think the people
responsible should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.    P.S. my mom still lives in the same house on Pescadero and is determined to die in it.                         Jim Lewis SGHS class of 1968   elewis7669104@adelphia.net

4-14-07...Dear fellow South Gatetonians,

          I was born and raised in South Gate from 1946-and finally left in 1981. I was a waitress at Ernie's Taco House from 1969 to 1973. Somehow my daughter and I stumbled onto the SG website in search of something else, and was thrilled beyond tears to encounter the photos of Ernie's Taco House. I have so many wonderful memories from there and yet had failed to take one single picture! I'm sure you know Ernie's burned down mid 70's, and in recent years I never dreamed I'd ever get a picture of the playground of my youth where I spent so much time with dear friends who have now passed on. Only one dear friend from that era remains in my life, he is Ernie's brother-in-law, Jaime Rodriguez, who was evening manager of Ernie's in Lynwood from the late 1950's until the day of it's demise. He is now 70 years old-alive and well, still a resident of South Gate. Surprisingly he also does not have a single photo of Ernie's, so of course I intend to surprise him with these treasures from our past. By chance do you have any others of Ernie's, inside or out that I would be most grateful to get copies of.
       Also I was a waitress at La Siesta Restaurant on Tweedy and Malison from 1967 to 1969, then returned there to work in 1974 to 1980. By any chance do you have any photos of La Siesta? Do you have any other websites where you have more pictures of South Gate posted? You'll never know how  seeing pictures of the "old haunts" has deeply touched me. There's nothing like touching the green green grass of home...... Thanks for the Memories !       Georgia....

4-15-07....My home was on Rosewood Ave. and at the end of our street was the South Gate Park. This is where I spent most of my time playing sports. I attended Tweedy grade school and after school I would often meet with Jerry Child, Pete Geanakos, Ron McBride and others to play football at the park. I remember getting hit so hard in some of those games that it would put tears in my eyes, but I still loved it. In the summer of 1954, I would go to the park to play baseball. Sometimes pro ball players would be there to workout and I would field for them. When they finished practice they would give me a tip. I remember on my first day of high school talking with Jerry Child who said to me "from being the big men on campus, we are now nothing". During my first year of varsity football as a freshman, I remember the starting week and Coach Seminario had a chock board showing where we were on the team. I was on the 8 th string. The week that our season started, coach had me moved up to 2nd string behind Geanakos. That week at practice I injured my knee and spent the rest of that season on the bench. While warming up for a night football game my senior year I was running deep pass patterns when I saw either a Flag Girl or a Ramblerette in front of me who looked like a deer caught in head lights. I grabbed her and dove through the air landing on my back with her on top of me, I wonder if she ever thinks of that moment. I participated in Senior Ditch Day along with Jerome Greenwalt, Jerry Child and Dick Buckerfield. We went to Huntington Beach and had a great day. What I most remember about South Gate in the 50's, is how safe it was to live there. Almost no one locked their houses or cars. I guess the old adage is true that "you can never go back home".           Bill Billingsley W58


4-19-07...  John Swanson         johnalyc@earthlink.net
I lived on Jackson ave just about a half block from the park me David and Donald Gist spent so many great times at that park, The plunge was great you  could go in the evening swim till it closed a then for  I think ten cents see the movie at the band stand .So many good times now So Gate is a arm pit. I moved my mother out about  six years back because she was mugged twice  my good friends Dave and Donald live on Hunt Ave. I talk to them once in a while to see how thing in the Gate are doing.  Every one is right, you could not have lived in a better city in all of Los Angeles county. .

Hi.  Just a memory from my days at SGHS involving "Mr. A," as we called him.

During nutrition break one day, a girlfriend, Elzina Vincent, and I boldly (and stupidly!) decided to cut classes for the rest of the day.  So, with that, we simply walked off the campus that morning and started to walk home.

As luck would have it, a South Gate police officer cruised right by us as we headed west on Firestone Boulevard.  He pulled his squad car to a halt beside us as we tried our best to look like we were exactly where we were supposed to be . . . heading away from SGHS at around 10:15 on a weekday morning . . . r-i-g-h-t!
The police officer politely inquired as to where we "ladies" were going.  Stupid though our decision to leave school was, we weren't so stupid as to try to make up a lie right then and there, so we offered the simple truth.  "We're going home," we said, somewhat tentatively, and then started to walk away a little too quickly after our response.
The cop then suggested that perhaps we ought to head back to the campus.  By this time, we were definitely seeing the error of our ways and rushed to assure the officer we would act on his suggestion immediately.
The officer, wanting to be helpful, I'm sure, then offered to drive us back to campus.  We declined, stating we didn't want to be any trouble and so we'd just walk back.  But, true to the police motto to protect and to serve, he insisted he would save us the trouble of walking and ordered us into the squad car.
He drove us back to campus alright - - right through the middle of campus as the nutrition break was about to end!  Our fellow students gaped at the police car driving through campus and did double takes as they saw who it was in the backseat of the car.  Elzina and I were mortified beyond belief!

That nice police officer sure was thorough.  He even parked his squad car in front of the administration building and escorted Elzina and me into the Attendance Office for an interesting visit with Mr. A.  Nothing Mr. A. said or did, however, had any better rehabilitative effect than that police ride through the campus of South Gate High!


That's my memory of Mr. A.  Luckily, my life of crime ended with that incident and I had no more personal dealings with Mr. A. after that.  I hadn't known he was at SGHS for so long a time before we came along, but he seemed like a really nice and fair administrator.


(Dave, feel free to post this story if you'd like.)




Chris Huerta

SGHS Class of 1970



    I was born in the Suburban Hospital on Southern Ave. and lived on Ohio Ave from the time I was 2 until I went into the Navy at 18 then lived a short time with my folks when I got out .                    
  A few things I remember about South Gate when I was young was standing in front of Bear furniture Store and watching TV. We didn't have one yet. Bear furniture was on Long Beach Blvd, on the corner by the Vogue and the Vogue drug store was on the other corner.
   We would go to the movies and then go to the drug store for a root beer float for a dime . Then they raised the price of a float to 15 cents but could still get a root beer for 5 cents and a cone for 5 cents so we put then together and still got away for a dime with more of each in the deal and you got to eat the cone.. Then as I got older the place to go was JACK'S across the street from the Vogue.
   I loved to go in there and look at the girls working there, drink floats and eat chile fries.  I still like chile fries and floats and I'm married to one of the girls that worked there. Barbara Inglett.
                                                                                           KYLE WILLIAMS  Winter 56


 9/15/07.. I had chile fries many times over the years, but they have never compared to Jack's.........    My sister was a usherette at the Vogue. I was so envious of her with her little broom/dustpan and flashlight!....while I worked at little Ted's Market on Abbott Rd in Lynwood (so boring). Before that, we babysat for income.....$1 an hour! Thought we were big stuff when we came home with $5 in our pocket!
          Billie Holloway Marxmiller Class of '56

11/14/2007 .....
.It has been interesting to read what many have written about their memories of living in South Gate.  I too, was born in the Suburban Hospital in South Gate, as was another writer.  It was on Southern, but has been gone a long time now.  My folks were living in E. L.A. at the time of my birth and we did not move to live in South Gate until Jan. 1942.  It was a brand new house and cost around $4,500 and only three short blocks from the South Gate Park.  It was great to have a nice big park so close and then later, when in the Boy Scouts, our troop had one of the scout huts on the south side of the park
close to Tweedy Blvd.  We got involved in saving grease and newspapers for the war effort, buying victory saving stamps, air
raids and of course the ration stamps for meat, shoes, gas, etc.  My step father had two different service stations on Tweedy Blvd., the second of which was a Mobil station at Dearborn and Tweedy and I worked there for many years on a part time basis.  Bertie Tweedy, of the Tweedy family was in our high school class.  I had a paper route, north of Southern Ave, between Otis and Atlantic so I did a lot of bike riding.  I have been involved in our 50th year and 55th year reunions.  They were interesting and fun, but unfortunately there were many classmates we could not locate.  It was especially hard with females who get married and changed their last names.   Chuck D. W'51


1/6/08.....So how many times lately, have I said, you kids should have lived in South Gate.
You don't have a clue what good is, and that I feel so sorry for the grand kids.
No, vacant lots to play in and build forts or whatever.  No playing in the street, kick the can, hide and seek, baseball, red rover, hop scotch, jacks, marbles and the freedom to do almost anything, because it was safe.  I rode my bike for miles, skated for blocks.  I remember, and I lived on Deeble St, which was behind the Franilla Ice Cream plant , riding my bike all the way to the park, which was about a mile and a half, with about five kids to go swimming at the pool at South Gate Park.  I remember the great fireworks every fourth of July.  And Oh the Allen, I saw the Wizard of Oz for the first time there, it was great even though it was known as the flea pit.  I too, went next door to the pool hall, and got candy there to take into the show.  They had these huge jaw breakers, and all of those bottles filled with kool aid, and a big sugar daddy.  And if that was not enough pop corn from the show.  And like everyone else, we walked there & back.  We walked everywhere. Also, went to the Vogue.  We use to always go into Sabastians.  I use to get my fabrics there for my clothing classes. The dime store just down the street.  It was great, you could find almost anything in there.  And then the drug store, on the corner, that my dad and I always went into for a malt, at the soda fountain. It was great.  I remember the bakery on the other side of the street, but for some reason I can't remember the name of it.  They made the best cakes, and cinnimon twists ever in the world.  In the summer, I did not have to come in until the street lights came on.
Think of kids doing that now.  I remember going to the Y all summer long and having a great time. It was on Southern and State St.
    And I too, went to Vonde's by the Jr High and got those great dill pickles. I also got a bag of pretzels they seemed to go together good.  It lasted me the mile I had to walk home. I also got that stinkin Fan Tan gum there.  It is easy to see, why the kids in those days were far more fit.  Between the walking, riding the bikes, and skating or having running races, we were always on the move.  We could play board games for hours, if it rained, or do jig saw puzzles with thousands of pieces, and every time you walked by, you tried to find a piece.  We got our eggs from our next door neighbor, who had road island red chickens, and they were always fresh.  How great was the good humor man, and the helms man.  That bread was great, and I loved the molasses cookies.  Milk from the milk man, those were the days....They were the best of times, never to be seen again.  What a shame.  And it is sad, to go back and see South Gate, the way it is now.  It was a wonderful place to grow up , and I am very happy I got to grow up there. Time goes by and things change, and not always for the better.  The last time I was there, I said, I cannot come back here again, it is just too sad.  Let me just say, that I really was surprised to read, what other people had to say, some of them were so similar to mine, it was like it was my sister telling it.
It sure brought back all of my childhood memories. They are lovely ones, that is for sure.
L. Lynch    S'58


  Hi, this message is for L. Lynch S'58.  If I have my memories intact, I believe the bakery was Hansen's-on the corner of Virginia and Tweedy.  It is where we had our wedding cakes made.  I lived on Elizabeth one street west and my husband lived on San Juan.  He grad S'57 and I,S'59.  The 5 and dime store on Tweedy, Woolworths? Ben Franklin? Newberry's?  It was just east of Greenspan's  I had a lot of fun snooping around in there.  Remember buying a purfume called April Showers- very CHEAP, and making up scented bathsalts for my Mom and others as a kid.  After we had been married awhile we lived and managed an apartment house on Deeble close to Victoria Elem. which we had both attended.  We were there when we had our second child, and when the Watts riots occurred.  We could hear things and see the smoke from Watts.  Then we moved out here to Lakewood the next month.  I get the impression that our four kids feel about Lakewood almost the same as we feel about South Gate.  Andrea (LeMert) McKinney


Hi, all. This is not a memory, but rather a note of interest:
Not sure how many of us from South Gate were aware that Lee Greenwood, of 'God Bless the USA' fame, was born in 1942 in Suburban Hospital in South Gate! His parents split up while he was very young and he was subsequently raised in Sacramento. But, be it known that Lee Greenwood was an original South Gater!
Chris Huerta   Class of 1970


Does anyone remember a movie being shot at SG park? I believe it was called Stranger on a Train, starring Farley Granger (I think). Anuyway, the part of the movie where Mr. Granger played tennis was shot at the park. We would get out of school and practically run to the park to see the rich and famous.....never did get close enough to see anyone, but we tried.
I also remember the polio scare. I was a student at Tweedy Elementary and sometimes we would walk through the park on our way home. We had heard that someone got polio by being in the park, so we decided to walk through the park without breathing! I was with my sister, Vickie, and our neighbor Dotty. We swore we didn't take a breath during the whole trip. Silly kids.
I used to help my boyfriend/neighbor with his paper route once a week. I think it was called the South Gate Press. We would fold those little papers into squares and toss them in the recipient's yards. It was so fun. Sometimes my boyfriend would ride me on the handlebars of his bike.....no helmets in those days. We would either walk or ride bikes everywhere.....households in those days didn't have two cars. My dad worked out of town (with the only car) and would come home on weekends. During the week, we walked to and from school, rain or shine, helped mom with grocery shopping, and of course visiting friends and/or family.
Billie Holloway Marxmiller

4-9-09.....If you lived near South Gate Park, you might have been bothered by my flying model airplanes at the Scout Huts on Tweedy Blvd. on a Sunday morning. The gasoline engines made quite a lot of noise, and the nearby church wasn't very happy having their homily interrupted by the buzzing of our model planes. Our model plane club, the South Gate Skylarks, finally had to move to the Community Center at the Lynwood Park, where we continued making lots of noise. While many of my classmates spent time at the movies and drive-in eateries, I tended to hang out at Walt's Hobby Shop on California Blvd. If you were an automobile buff, you might have met me working at Munn's Auto Supply on Tweedy Blvd.

Floyd Carter W-51


1950's: Sprouse - Reitz 5 / 10 / 25 Cent Store on Tweedy near Alexander had a front and rear entrance, so it was easy to walk through on the way home from school at Bryson Avenue. You had to be careful not to touch anything, because the thin, nattily-dressed, elderly manager seemed always to be lurking nearby and carefully waiting for unaccompanied kids to do anything that would warrant asking them to leave the store. I was once asked to leave because he didn't like the way I was "just looking".  I remember their collection of Comet model airplane kits, ranging in price from 25 cents all the way up to a dollar. I imagine only 10 per cent of those kits ever finally realized completion, but their inspiration value alone was worth the price. I also remember playing in the dirt lots next to and behind the store - and our Boy Scout Troop sold Christmas trees between the store and the Bank of America, after it was built. Penney's Market across Tweedy was the prime location to spend lunch money on candy and collector cards before school. There always seemed to be a group of kids at the candy rack shortly before 9:00 AM. Walking to school, walking home - or skating, but you had to take one skate off to cross with the crossing guard. Good times, good memories.
Wendell Jackson (S '62)

6-26-09 South Gate Drive-In..... It was going to be a nice summer evening at the South Gate Drive-In. My brother, Ralph, was driving his '49 Chevy, and Larry Dillion I were riding with him. After pooling our funds together, we realized that we had just enough money to get in after we saw how much the admission was. So the logical thing for our adolescent minds to conclude was that Larry and I would ride in the trunk, and then let Ralph drive in by himself, giving us some extra cash to buy some beverages and snacks. We drove out of the drive-in's entrance and found a nearby residential area to park on the street, and Larry and I moved from the passenger area to our hiding place in the trunk. We proceeded back to the drive in, and everything seemed to be going pretty good; Larry and I were laughing and joking in the trunk, and Ralph was moving along at a pretty good clip when all of a sudden, he hit the brakes hard. The tires were unusually loud skidding along the pavement since the two of us were next to the rear wheel wells. The next thing we experienced was another car hitting the rear section of the Chevy on my side, which caused us to collide with each other in a very small space. The first thing Ralph did was to pull over to the curb and yelled toward the back seat, "Are you are right?" We were a little shaken, but we said, "Yea, we're ok!" Ralph said. "The other guy is coming over to my car. Do you want me to let you out?" Larry said, "No! We'll be alright!" Ralph recalled later that it must have been a little weird if the other guy saw him talking to nobody in the back seat, but he didn't say anything...... We didn't say anything either, but when they began exchanging license and auto insurance information, they were writing on the lid of the trunk, making a little scratching sound from the pen or pencil; Larry and I started to giggle a bit, but we got our composure back and stifled our humor.
After assessing the incident later, we decided that we were glad that it wasn't any worse than it was, and our adolescent minds kicked in again and we concluded we would be more cautious in the future- - - and we were.

Jim Hales, W '








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