Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California.

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.

Image above: road construction on Central Avenue at Jefferson in the 1890s. If you're an Old-Timer, you know that Phoenix always, always has road construction!

Phoenix Arizona in the 1930s Tile Coaster