Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Being a Phoenix Old-Timer

I use the term *Old-Timer* a lot. I'm a Phoenix Old-Timer. And I use it as a way of expressing both positive and negative parts of being someone who has lived in Phoenix for a long time. On the positive side, I'm a local. I know my way around. On the negative side, I have memories of how Phoenix used to be, and I grumble at the changes. I was a newcomer at age 19, when I first moved to Phoenix, and I became an Old-Timer at age 31, when I moved back from California.

It's easy to become an Old-Timer in Phoenix. People who are new to Phoenix can be boggled by the streets, and the freeways, and how to get around. Of course, Old-Timers know that it's easy, it's just a grid. Here's a test to see if you're a Phoenix Old-Timer: Dunlap turns into what? Olive, right? If you're a Phoenix Old-Timer you probably don't even give it a second thought, but the same exit on the 101 as on the I-17 has a different name. Newcomers just hate that kind'a stuff!

I like talking to Old-Timers. Of course, you have to let them grumble a bit about how nice it was in the past, before something changed, like that new Walgreens, or whatever, was built. But I like to see Phoenix through their eyes. I have friends who grew up in places, such as Maryvale, that have changed so dramatically in a single lifetime that it just seems incredible. My old neighborhood in Minneapolis, by the way, looks pretty much the same as it did when I was a kid, and not really too different from when it was built in the 1920s, just an ordinary neighborhood. I've found old photos. Trees, houses, streets. Lots of trees!

When I lived in Santa Barbara, people who grew up there called themselves *locals*. They resented all of the new people who had moved in and crowded up their beaches, etc. So I listened to them. And they also turned me on to some extraordinary stuff, such as Joe's Cafe, and Hendry's Beach.

I am happy to have found a city that I love so much. I have no interest in the resale value of my house, I don't want to ever leave. I'm a Phoenix Old-Timer.

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  1. My parents moved here in 1959 when I was 4. After much consideration I decided to move out here with them.

    Does that make me a local? Is a person required to have been BORN in a city to be considered a local. Is it based on how many years I have been here, or how early an age that I arrived?

    Where is the cutoff? You, Brad , for instance know more about Phoenix than most people, but you were neither born here nor lived here continuously all of your life. And what about people who were born here but moved away for 20 years, only to return. Are they still locals?

    If my last name is Yokel can I be a local?


    1. Hi Mick - I am proud to call myself an Old-Timer! You can be one, too, if you want to!