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

Dealing with pests, including human ones, in suburban Phoenix from 1993 to today


No matter where you live on planet earth, there will be pests. Mine is the attitude of a gardener, and I try not to let myself get too upset with pests. Over the years I've learned different techniques to keep them as far away from me as possible, but I know that there's really no such thing as "extermination" of the pests that plague my neighborhood, including human ones.

Here in my suburban neighborhood there really aren't too many pests. I discovered Amdro to control the stinging red ants, and I've never seen a scorpion here in over twenty years. I have block walls, so rabbits can't get into my garden and destroy my plants, but I know that in different areas of the valley, those pests are a consideration. As far as human pests, I haven't seen much either. Once many, many, years ago, while I was talking to a neighbor of mine, who had recently been bloodied up by getting in a fight with the people who were in a house nearby selling drugs, it occurred to me that I should take the same attitude towards that type of pest, and determined what to do. I'm all for the idea of "live and let live", but once I've determined that something is a pest, I do my research, and see what I can do. It was a fascinating process, and in a few months the pests were gone. Of course, like the stinging red ants, I know that I've only moved them away from my neighborhood, because that's the nature of pests. They find somewhere else to do their stuff, which to them in perfectly natural.

Pest control is part of life. I don't expect to live in a world without pests, because that would be unrealistic, but around my neighborhood I'll see what I can do to get them to go away.

Image at the top of this post: In my backyard in 1994.

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Walking with the Hohokam people in Peoria, Arizona


Today, as usual, I will walk with the Hohokam people. Well, where they lived - the Hohokam people left the Phoenix area hundreds of years ago. They left behind their adobe buildings, of which all that remains is what has been preserved in places like Pueblo Grande, at 44th Street and Washington. They also left behind gigantic canals, which were still very visible through the 1920s. If you've ever had to learn about them in school, you know about that.

But the Hohokam people didn't just live over by the museum at 44th Street and Washington, they lived all over the Salt River Valley, including where I live, near the McDonald's at 67th Avenue and Peoria. No, there's no museum, or velvet ropes there, but if you walk there you'll be tracing their footsteps. And I'm not trying to be mysterious here, if you walk anywhere in the Salt River Valley, from Tempe to Peoria and far beyond that, you'll be tracing their footsteps. They were there.

Even hundreds of years ago the Salt River Valley was a harsh climate. The freeways nowadays may have made the high temperatures as much as ten degrees higher than they were in the time of the Hohokam people, but it was still very hot in the desert. And I often think about these people, who lived along the banks of riparian rivers, which flowed in the winter, and during rains, and dried up at all other times. The rivers nearest to me are the Agua Fria and New River. And yes, there were settlements there. And those people lived there, with no air conditioning, no shoes, and no McDonald's.

The next time you walk in the Phoenix area, look around you. Squint your eyes and look past the buildings, the traffic lights, the signs. Look at the mountains and the sky. That's what the Hohokam people saw, from the White Tank Mountains to South Mountain. I can't recommend taking off your shoes, not when it's hot, but if you want to get into the true spirit of it, you should.

Thank you for walking with me, and the Hohokam people!

Image at the top of this post: Hohokam settlements in Peoria, Arizona, near 74th Avenue and Happy Valley Road. 

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Walking in LA in the 1980s


When I lived in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles in the 1980s, there was a popular song "Nobody Walks in LA", and it really was true. Because if you listen to the lyrics of the song, it says "only a nobody walks in LA". And I was a nobody. Walking there was awful.

I can only hope that things have gotten better, because Los Angeles, California is a wonderful place to walk. The sun shines, it hardly ever rains, and overall it's just gorgeous weather. Where I lived, in Canoga Park, which is on the western end of the San Fernando Valley, the weather there is pretty much the same as in Calabasas, where some of the wealthiest people in the country live.

I've always liked to walk - I call it "urban hiking". Usually I'll have some small reason for it, walking to the store to buy a Coke is my favorite, but mostly it's about just strolling along, looking at stuff. Of course you have to realize that real estate is valuable in California, and it's mostly dedicated to buildings and cars. People can walk there, but that space is an afterthought. I've always been pretty athletic, so dodging around obstacles I just took as part of the experience. But I remember seeing people who were just trying to walk, maybe elderly people, and it made me sad. Like me, these people were nobodies, because they were walking.

My job was only a couple of miles away from my apartment, and one day my car wouldn't start, and I walked. I hadn't intended to walk the whole way, I figured that a bus would go by (I lived on a major street - Saticoy), but it never did. The feeling of walking along the sidewalk of a major street there felt like walking along the edge of a freeway. Even for me, it wasn't pleasant. I know that I walked for at least an hour, and never saw a bus, never saw one go by, in either direction. And this was a major street, on a workday. I really had never considered that nobody walks in LA, and there was no bus service, either.

When I go back to Los Angeles I see that the streets are still mostly empty of people walking, although the public transportation system has improved. Even the more upscale neighborhoods don't have accommodations for pedestrians, just a curb and a driveway. The design is for cars, not people walking. And that makes people suspicious of anyone who's on foot. I'm a pretty respectable-looking guy, but I can tell that there have been eyes on me, wondering why I'm walking, in LA!

Thank you for walking in LA with me!

Image at the top of this post: Me walking in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles in 1987.

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Visiting an Astrologer in Phoenix in 1901


It's 1901 and I'm off to visit Diana Dee, the world renowned Astrologer. Yes, I read it in an ad in the paper, so it has to be true. Come along with me, and maybe she'll tell you your future, too!

According to the article, "Madame Dee is the daughter of the celebrated Astrologer, Dr. Henry Dee. She can tell you just what to do. If you are in trouble, seek her. If in ill health, she will diagnose your case and cure you with her wonderful magnetic healing powers. Will give you lucky days, months and years; tell you when is your successful time for any ventures. (Locating mines a specialty). Madame Dee makes no charge unless readings are satisfactory."

Well, that sounds perfect to me. I see that consultation is free, and if she can tell me where that Lost Dutchman Mine is, I'm sure that it would be worth fifty cents, even a dollar. She's at 22 S. 3rd Avenue, which is just south of Washington on 3rd, so we can walk over there. Watch your step, the streets a little muddy right there.

What are you going to ask her about? Maybe get a written horoscope of your whole life? Yes, I'd say it's worth two dollars. What? No, I'm not going to lend you any money. How about that money that you've been saving to pay the rent at the boarding house? They can wait a little longer! And once I get all of that gold from the Lost Dutchman Mine, I might even give you a little bit.

Thank you for visiting an Astrologer with me! The future looks bright!

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How, and why to tell stories about your life


I have mixed feelings about listening to people talk about themselves. Like everyone, I enjoy talking about myself, and I realize that everything about me is interesting - to me. But it's not necessarily interesting to other people, so I ponder that before I speak.

When someone lolls back in their chair, takes a deep breath, and says, "that reminds me of a story..." I have two reactions, one being that hopefully they'll talk about something I can relate to, such as what Los Angeles was like before the freeways were built, and the other being that I hope that they're going to buy me another beer, so I can just wait it out and stare into space until they're through talking.

So please do tell me about what it was like back in your day. I want to walk the places you walked, see the people you saw, through your eyes. Please don't share intimate details (which seems to be almost irresistible to some people when telling a story) but please do tell me how you met your wife, or husband. Tell me about the first car you ever owned, that sort of thing. If you have a prepared speech that you recite to everyone you meet, possibly over and over again, please stop that, and let me ask questions. For the "prepared speech" I'm expected to sit silently, never interrupting, never asking questions. Those things are just awful to listen to, and it's the reason why so many young people hate listening to old people.

In this blog I plan on sharing more about me, about my life in Phoenix and Los Angeles going back to 1977. I still consider myself young, just slightly past middle-age, and certainly not "old", but I feel that I'm at a point in my life where I can share stuff that will interest people, not just myself. My goal is to make what I say relevant to people who might be listening, the places I've been, the cars I've owned. I can't talk about "How I met your mother" because I don't have any kids, and while I've had a wonderful life filled with beautiful women, I'm not going to talk about that kind of stuff, so please let it go.

I'd like to encourage you to do the same. Not necessarily in a blog, but wherever you feel that it's appropriate. If you've gotten into the habit of telling long, boring, pointless stories which make people want to run from you, it's not too late to change your ways. I recommend that you set aside the "prepared speeches" and listen to questions, and answer them.

Thank you for history adventuring with me!

Image at the top of this post: In my first apartment in Phoenix in 1978. It was a furnished studio apartment, with one single bed, essentially one room with half a wall dividing it from the kitchen. On the table next to me is a digital clock, which had numbers that flipped down, and next to it is my copy of "Wyeth at Kuerners". 

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Being a corporate guy, and wearing a shirt and tie in Phoenix and Los Angeles in the '80s and '90s


Although I never told him so, I wanted to grow up to be like my dad. He wore a shirt and tie, and was part of the management staff at the Ford Motor Company in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was mostly a blue-collar environment, and I worked on the line the summer I was 18, and he would walk over and take me to lunch. I still remember how much the "guys in the overalls" hated management, and how strange it felt to sit in the executive lunch room in my overalls with my dad. I wanted to be like him, and someday I would work for a big company and wear a shirt and tie. I did.

My first corporate job was in Los Angeles, at the headquarters for Blue Cross of California. And then my next one was in downtown Phoenix, at the corporate headquarters for Bank One, which is now Chase Bank. I was just a graphic designer, never a manager, but I dressed in a shirt and tie, and wore them with pride.

Of course, there are challenges to wearing a shirt and tie. Luckily, in California it never got too cold, it rarely rained, and it never snowed. I did have a raincoat that went over a suit, but in Phoenix I never had to use it. In Phoenix the trick was to get into an air conditioned car, and into an air conditioned building, quick enough so that you wouldn't start sweating. Phoenix is hot! I always wore an undershirt under my dress shirt, which is what a gentleman should do, and besides, if I did sweat a bit, it wouldn't show on my dress shirt. Things you have to think about in Phoenix!

The process of wearing a shirt and tie to work brought out mentors for me. These weren't "fashion police", but they were older and wiser than me and would often put a word in my ear. Of course I started out making every mistake that a twenty-something does, but by my mid-thirties, I had it pretty much all figured out. And it is a secret language. Cheap suits, poorly worn, stand out like sore thumbs in a conference room, as if the person in them hadn't combed their hair that day, or worse. The well-dressed men, and women, were in command there, the same way that a baseball team would be intimated by the other team having sharp uniforms, if they themselves were dressed in rags.

I just loved being a corporate guy, and wearing a shirt and tie. I was well paid, got plenty of perks, including finding my girlfriends on the job. I always wore a single Windsor, and if you know what that means, you understand. Of course, most of the people I've known in a long life just hate the thought of having to wear a shirt and tie, but for me it was wanted I wanted to do when I grew up, to be like my dad.

Image at the top of this post: Me at my desk at Bank One in 1993, Central Avenue and Monroe, Phoenix, Arizona

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Why distance is always given in minutes in Phoenix and Los Angeles


I've really only lived in two places in my adult life, Phoenix and Los Angeles, so I don't know about the rest of the country, or the rest of the world, but people there have always given distance in minutes, not miles. So I've learned to translate that one minute means one mile. That means that if a housing development is thirty miles from a particular destination, it's described as "thirty minutes away".

The assumption is sixty miles an hour on the freeway, with no traffic. In Los Angeles, that's an interesting theory, but I've seen traffic move so slowly that I've been lucky to go ten miles in thirty minutes there. Even in Phoenix, where there's a lot less traffic, the "minute equals a mile" equation seems to be kinda iffy. From where I'm writing this right now, near Glendale Community College, at 59th Avenue and Olive, I'm "thirty minutes away from Scottsdale" - that is, thirty miles away. But at this time of the morning I doubt whether that formula would stand.

At first, when people started telling me that someplace is "fifteen minutes away", I'd ask, "Thank you! So, how far away is it?" and get a grumbling answer that they had just told me: fifteen minutes. After a while I learned to accept the minute equals a mile formula, and not argue with people, or I'd risk getting a punch in the nose. The minute equals a mile thing is Real Estate Agent-speak, and most people have adapted that, and don't even hear themselves saying it.

As someone who bikes, walks, takes public transportation, as well as rides in cars, I'm always interested in physical distances, not Real Estate Agent-speak. I can do a leisurely walk of half a mile (which is to my local McDonalds) in less than ten minutes. My walking pace is about 2-3 miles per hour. I can pedal that distance is less than half that time. Of course in a car, the time is so small that it's barely measurable.

Most of the people I've known in Phoenix and Los Angeles can only measure distances in car time. And cars do give the illusion of taking no time at all, which is why so many people are so surprised that they spend so much time in their cars. And that may be why that if they expected someplace to be fifteen minutes away, they're so aggravated when it takes them forty-five minutes to get there.

Thank you for traveling with me, in distance and minutes!

Image at the top of this post: The I-17 Freeway when it was new in the 1960s, Phoenix, Arizona.

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The joy of driving in California


Some of my fondest memories are of driving in California, specifically in the Los Angeles area. And since I've lived in Phoenix for such a long time now I'll often get met with "the look" when I say that, which means "is he kidding?" No, I'm not. But it has to do with what I've always defined as driving versus what I've learned over the years driving means to most of the people I've met.

The car I owned in California was a Saab Sonett. It was fiberglass, had two seats, and was as light as a feather. It sat low to the ground, like a race car, and it was one of the most ridiculous things most people had never seen. When people looked at it, they asked me how I could carry stuff around in it, and I would just point to the driver's seat. Of course, there was no rear seat leg room, because there were no rear seats. The tiny hatchback was so low that not much could fit in there, maybe a gym bag, but not much more.

It spent a lot of time on Topanaga Canyon, and Dume Canyon, and in the twisty roads behind Santa Barbara. The tires never squealed, it never "drifted", and it always stayed on its side of the center stripe. The tires, which were the very best, never lost contact with the road, never smoked, and never spun. The horsepower was all delivered to the road, and the vehicle moved like silk. The car was pure control. I describe it as more of an "Iron Man" suit than a car, and I suppose if I had ever ridden a motorcycle it would have been very similar to that. Motorcyclists, and people who had driven race cars, knew what the feeling was like.

I sold it long before I moved back to Phoenix, and by that time I had a much bigger car, with four seats, and much more room to carry stuff, a Ford Mustang. And a more reliable car that could carry stuff really did make sense, and it helped me act more like a grownup.

I've never really driven all that much, not the way that most of the people I know have done. I've done precious little commuting, and even though I tried to do it, I really didn't like trying to load stuff in my car at Home Depot. I've certainly never been one of those people who would drive something gigantic and fill it up with stuff at Costco. But I understand that's what a vehicle is for for most people.

So I do have fond memories of driving in California, which was rarely on freeways, and rarely on city streets, if I could avoid it. I was fortunate to have jobs that were right close by, and when I left them, I headed for a twisty canyon, like Topanga.

Image at the top of this post: with my Saab Sonett in 1987 in Santa Barbara. That car was meant for fun, not work!

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Why Los Angeles is called the city of angels


You really don't need to know much Spanish to recognize that the phrase "Los Angeles" means "The Angels". And that's a good start if you're interested in the history of L.A. But if you'd like to time-travel with me, there's more.

When what is now called L.A. was first established in New Spain, California, it was given the impressive name of "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles", which translated into English means "The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angeles", which of course is Mary, the mother of Jesus. New Spain was a Christian place, and specifically Catholic, and the first Europeans who settled there permanently were Catholic priests, from Spain. If you know your California history, you know that a Mission was built about every thirty miles, which was an average day's ride for a horse in those days, from San Diego to San Francisco. And of course towns grew up around these places, especially if they included a Presidio - which is fortified place. This was the King's Highway, and the King was the King of Spain. You can still see signs in various touristy places that mark "The Camino Real", the King's Road, although nowadays the exact route has been blurred. If you really want to know where the road was, just get on a horse and take the most direct route from Mission to Mission. Nowadays it's scenic, then it was just efficient.

By the time Richard Henry Dana, Jr. saw California, in the 1830s, it had long since belonged to Mexico, and anything of the "old glory" of New Spain had faded away. His description of the area was mostly of ruined Presidios, and Missions. He wrote the book "Two Years Before the Mast" about his experience there as a young man. By that time, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles was simply referred to as "El Pueblo" - the town. Just a sleeply little Mexican town about thirty miles from the Port of San Pedro.

After 1849, when the United States took possession of the area, the increasing use of the English language started to change the name from "El Pueblo" to "Los Angeles", probably because the full name was written on maps, and it was just too long to say. And naming a town "The Town" wasn't very helpful as new towns appeared in California. It just makes sense.

By the way, the correct mispronunciation of Los Angeles has varied over time. Spoken correctly in Spanish it would be LOs AnGeles, that is, with an "o" sound in the Los, and a hard "g". Nowadays I usually hear LAS AnjelAs, with an "a" sound for the "o" in Los, and of course the "j" sound for the "g" and an "a" sound for the last "e" In old movies I'll often hear it pronounced "LAS AnjelEs, with a distinctive long "e" towards the end. Knowing how to properly mispronounce place names is very important for locals, who can tell right away if you're from out of town by pronouncing the names differently than they do. It's true wherever you go, and here in Arizona, where I live now, being able to pronounce "Prescott" and "Mogollan" tends to be the stamp of a true local.

Speaking for myself, I get a big kick out of learning the names of things, but ultimately I know that a rose by any other name will smell as sweet. But if you ask me to say the full name of Los Angeles, be prepared to see a big grin on my face, because I love that kinda stuff!

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Crossing the Salt River between Phoenix and Tempe during the flooding of the early 1980s


I had only lived in Phoenix for a few years when I learned that when water flowed under the bridges, they fell down. I remember being puzzled at the time, as the bridges that I remembered in Minnesota, usually stayed up when there was water below them, but of course that was the slow-moving Mississippi, and I'd yet to learn about the terrific force that water can exert when it's let go from a dam, which is what happens on the Salt River.

This is a lesson that has stayed with me all of my life, and I learned that I really didn't have the patience that most people have. As the traffic jammed trying to get into Tempe across the river (only two bridges were left standing, Mill Avenue and Central) I'd wonder if there was a different way to do this. There was.

I've always been good at gathering information, and I learned that there was a free shuttle bus that went from the State Capitol Building to Tempe. So I drove there, parked my car, and rode into Tempe, in cool and quiet luxury, in a special lane for the bus, flying past all of the cars lined up to cross the bridge. And then when I was finished with my classes at ASU, I'd get back on the shuttle, get my car at the Capitol Building, and drive home easily. I remember doing this for quite some time, and as I looked out at the people who sat in their cars I wondered what other tricks a smart boy like me would be able to do in my lifetime. I became someone who was always on the lookout for information, and getting around jams. As you can imagine, it's made me someone who really has no patience, and I'm kinda envious of people who can just lean back, take a deep breath, and deal with it.

Nowadays I love taking the Light Rail downtown, which absolutely flies through the traffic, doesn't stop for traffic lights (they're always green for the Light Rail) and only stops at stations. There's no line to stand in to get in, like an old-fashioned bus, and sometimes I'm downtown so quickly that I'm surprised. I ride from "the end of the line", which as of this writing is 19th Avenue and Dunlap, and have yet to travel out to Tempe, or Mesa, but that's my plan, just to do it, maybe go get a burger at my favorite place, the Chuckbox.

I hate to wait, I hate sitting in traffic. I've found lots of tricks around doing that, partially because I wanted to, and partially because I've been lucky, even when I lived in Los Angeles. I'm always doing research for better and faster, since I've always been a speed demon. It's an imperfect world we live in, and if there's another way you'd better believe I'm looking for it!

Thank you for moving very quickly with me!

Image at the top of this post: The Salt River at the Mill Avenue Bridge in the early 1980s. You're looking northwest.

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Visiting Crossroads Plaza, which was built in 1986 in Peoria, Arizona


I don't have any photos of when the sign for Crossroads Plaza was new, in 1986, but I'm guessing that it made as little impression on people going by then as it does today.

My interest in architecture often causes me to see things that most people never look at. I've talked about this all of my life, and usually I'll just get a puzzled look. Because I can see Crossroads Plaza, which is just across from Brittany Square, and Peoria Station. And those signs, which have been there since the 1980s, are still up, still very large, and mean absolutely nothing to most people.

If you see the same things that I see, you know that Crossroads Plaza is in Peoria, and Brittany Square, right across the street, is in Glendale. In fact, the center of 67th Avenue there is the dividing line between the two cities. I've lived in Glendale for a long time, and I will often see the Glendale police cars turn back into Glendale (east on Peoria Avenue) and the Peoria police cars turn west. Of course, in the event of an emergency they cooperate, and are well-respected for it, but otherwise they stay in their own cities.

For the last couple of months I've been meeting a friend of mine over at Crossroads Plaza, and have breakfast at the McDonald's, which is in their parking lot.

As of this writing, that sign has been there for over thirty years, and I'd be willing to make a bet that most of the people who've driven past it have never seen it. The font, by the way, is Microgramma Bold, also called Eurostyle, which was very popular in the 1960s and '70s, but seems an odd choice for the mid-1980s.

Thank you for visiting Crossroads Plaza with me today!

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The ponderously-slow process of grocery checkout in 1970s Phoenix


I was at my local grocery store today, and used an app that allowed me to pay with my phone at the self-checkout. I had forgotten doggy treats from an earlier visit, and I was in and out of the store in just a matter of minutes. So naturally I got to thinking about old-time Phoenix, and remembered the painfully slow process of checkout at a grocery store in the 1970s, which is the first time I ever did it, in 1977.

In those days, every item had to have a price tag affixed to it, which a cashier would have to read, and punch in the numbers on a cash register, one at a time. For example, if a can of beans was twenty-nine cents, the cashier would push a two, then a nine, and then reach for the next item. And of course, many of the items had price tags that the cashier couldn't read, so someone had to go back and find out the price. At age 19 I wasn't in any kind of particular hurry, but I found this to be ponderously slow. After that process, when the groceries were totaled up, you were expected to pay with a check, in which you wrote out, in cursive, the name of the store, and the amount, plus you wrote that out as numerals, too. Then you signed it. At that point, the manager of the store would be called for, and look at you, and make sure that your home address and telephone number were printed on the check, and if the manager approved it, you got to take the groceries home. Phoenix was hot, and I rarely got home without melted ice cream.

But I remember one particular store was the first to get a new technology, which allowed the prices to be read by what I called "the beep-beep". And I still remember the blazing speed of the "beep-beep"! Groceries just flew, and I made a point of always going to that store. Of course, the rest of the process remained the same, with the writing of checks, and the manager approving them.

I left Arizona for California not long after that, after I graduated from ASU, and was always on the lookout for new technology. California is a very crowded place, and whatever technology that could be found that sped up standing in line got my vote, and my money. In the late 1980s I sought out gas stations that would allow you to "pay at the pump", and I also used ATM Machines (I think they were called Ugly Tellers back then!).

Every once in a while I hear someone wishing for the old days, and simpler times, and all I can think of is waiting and waiting, standing in line, and my ice cream melting.

Image at the top of this post: Phoenix, Arizona in 1972

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Why public buildings in Phoenix went from elaborate to boring


As someone who always wanted to be an architect but couldn't do the math, I've always had a fascination with buildings, especially public buildings. And in my lifetime I've watched them become dull and boring.

No, it's not a conspiracy man, it just has to do with spending taxpayer's money. Elaborate, expensive buildings had been getting a lot of backlash from taxpayers who were complaining that they were a waste of money, and by the 1980s, cities like Phoenix had heard. And the trend turned into seeing if a public building could be made to look as if it had been built as inexpensively as possible. This pleased a lot of taxpayers, but for people like me, it was a disappointment.

There was a time, before I was born, when taxpayers were happy to have their money used to promote and beautify their city. The thought was that in the long run it would be good for the image of the city, and would bring in more business, more jobs, more prosperity. And as an old Marketing guy, I can understand. Cities are like anything else, judged quickly, on appearance. Bright and shining buildings not only are expensive, they look expensive, and prosperous, like meeting a man in a nice suit, or a woman in a beautiful dress.

OK, I'll admit that I never earned enough money in my life to be all that concerned with taxes. I've known a lot of "deep pocket" people who sadly watch the government take away up to a third of their income, and that's gotta hurt. I've never been in that bracket, so I don't know. And those wealthy people have very strong voices if they feel that the money that's being taken from them is going to waste.

So fancy buildings, elaborate art displays, and anything else that looked like it cost a lot started to fade away. I won't point out any buildings in Phoenix, for fear of making it look like I'm criticizing them, but many were built to look as if they were built on a very tight budget. The elaborate marble columns were gone, and replaced with a lot of plain-looking "exposed" materials. It's a matter of taste, but I kinda like the old stuff - you know, that said "ta da!"

Image at the top of this post: Maricopa County Court House and City Hall in the 1930s, 1st Avenue and Washington, Phoenix, Arizona.

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The day I met Miss Sunnyslope of 1949


I remember the day that I met Miss Sunnyslope, although the year, which must have been in the early '90s, is kinda foggy in my memory. But she made a vivid impression on me!

She was in a thrift store in Sunnyslope that I used to go to, on Hatcher and Central Avenue, where I looked for antique cuff links, tie pins, and that sort of thing. I wore a suit to work, and enjoyed the slightly-goofy aspect of "accessorizing" with old-time stuff. I was on the lookout for Valley Bank cuff links, and never found them, but I found a lot of cool old stuff at that thrift store. And Miss Sunnylope of 1949.

She overheard me talking to the clerk and approached me, saying that she had a whole collection of wonderful stuff that her husband had left behind. I asked her if she would bring them there to the thrift store, where I could see them, and possibly buy them. Looking back now, that wasn't really fair to the store owner, but I didn't know what else to do. She did. She insisted that I come and look at them, at her house nearby.

I went there a few days later with my girlfriend, and it was quite a sight. She lived there with her sister, and from what I could tell having won Miss Sunnyslope in 1949 had not made her rich. She showed me a newspaper article, and I've been looking for it ever since. There she was, young and beautiful in a one-piece "bathing beauty" swimsuit in 1949.

I don't recall if I paid her for the collection of tie pins, cuff links, etc. that she gave me, which included the case. She may have just given it to me, she was so pleased to have visitors. It didn't look like the ladies got many visitors!

I still have the case, and over the years I added more things to my collection. I haven't worn a suit for many years, but through the '90s I did, and if you looked carefully I was also wearing a bit of Sunnyslope history.

Thank you, Miss Sunnyslope!

Update: her name was Gloria Brady, and she was Miss Sunnyslope until 1964.

Miss Sunnyslope in 1948, Gloria Brady


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The natural beauty of Sunnyslope, Arizona


When I moved back to Phoenix, in 1989, I spent a lot of time driving around, just looking at stuff. I did find a job, and looking back it doesn't seem like it took that long, but at the time it seemed like all I was doing was waiting. So I noodled around town, looking at stuff, and was particularly fascinated by the Sunnyslope area. It had a natural beauty that made me think.

If you're familiar with Sunnyslope, if you've known it all of your life, you may be wondering if I'm kidding here about its natural beauty. But I had just moved from California, and I was seeing it through a Californian's eyes. I'll see if I can explain.

Natural beauty, whether it's a view of the ocean, or a mountain view, is at a premium where I lived in California. I remember looking at an apartment complex and the one (1) apartment in the complex that had even the tiniest view from the patio was rented at a premium. And you had to go out onto the patio and lean out, and look past other buildings. But sure enough, you could see the ocean from there. The same thing applied to being able to see mountains. Mostly in that crowded mass of buildings and freeways called Southern California, an average person like me would never be able to afford a "view". And I thought that was a shame, as there is so much potential for enjoying the natural beauty of that place.

So when I moved to Phoenix, I got an apartment with a view on a golf course. I was pretty much living for golf in those days, and I was just tickled. I couldn't afford that in Los Angeles! And as I noodled around town I was amazed at the mountain views. The nicest area that I saw was called Arcadia, with wonderful views of the mountain, and the city. Being from Los Angeles, I knew that was where the rich people lived, up where they could look down on the city. The rich people lived on the slopes, and the poor people (like me) lived in the valleys.

But Sunnyslope surprised me. The rich people didn't live there, far from it. Those mountain views didn't bring up the property values, or increase the rent. Sunnyslope has brightened up a lot since I first drove around in it in 1989, but it's still not a place to brag about. When I first saw it, people were telling me not to stop at the Circle K.

Sunnyslope is on the southern edge of the western edge of the Phoenix Mountains, which begins just east of 19th Avenue and ends with Camelback Mountain to the east. It's all one continuous range, and if you have more energy that I do you can now hike just about all of the way from west to east. That is, from the Sunnyslope area to the Arcadia area.

Yes, in the meantime I've learned more about how one sunny slope of the Phoenix Mountains became Sunnyslope, while the other became Arcadia, but in 1989 all I saw were mountain views. Look at the mountains when you drive around, and you can see them, too.

Image at the top of this post: Sunnyslope, Arizona in the 1960s. You're looking north towards the Phoenix Mountains on Central Avenue.

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The wonderful West of the Imagination


Since I'm interested in the True West, most people assume that I have no interest in the West of the Imagination. This is simply not true - I love them both. As I grew older and wiser I learned there was a difference, but both have a place for me in my heart and in my mind.

Like most people my age, I grew up with Sunday afternoon movies that featured John Wayne. I've since revisited some of those movies, now that I'm older and wiser, and while I know that Texas doesn't look like Monument Valley, I'm willing to let it go. And by the way, if you think all John Wayne movies are the same, I suggest that you look again. Yes, some are outrageous and goofy, but some really do help paint a picture of the real West, such as "The Searchers". This one is actually fairly painful.

For me though, the West of the Imagination hit its peak with "The Wild Wild West" which I watched as a kid. And even then I knew it was exaggerated, but I didn't care, and still don't. I moved onto Clint Eastwood's "Spaghetti Westerns" and even learned a bit about the real West, and how a territory becomes a state by watching "Hang 'em High". Yes, I know that these movies aren't meant to portray the real West like a documentary does, but there's a lot of good stuff there.

If you know how colorful the Victorian era was, you can appreciate the TV show "Bonanza". Yes, that show was meant to showcase the new technology of color TVs, but it's actually historically accurate. The Victorian era was an explosion of color, made possible by the industrial revolution, which made mass produced products, including dyes, affordable to ordinary people. And the Cartwrights would have had the money to buy some nice stuff!

So please don't walk up to me and tell me that all of my favorite Westerns aren't 100% historically accurate. I know that, and I don't care. I love the True West, and the West of the Imagination!

Let's head 'em off at the pass!

Image at the top of this post: John Wayne in the West of the Imagination in 1956 - The Searchers. https://www.amazon.com/Searchers-John-Wayne/dp/B001QJUX24

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The joy of a sentimental journey back to old-time Phoenix



I'll admit it, I love the feeling of a sentimental journey. Most people love to go back and trace their footprints, looking back fondly on days gone by. Yes, I know some people scoff at that, but who needs them? It's a delicious feeling, and a very personal one.

I collect old photos of Phoenix, and I'm usually interested in learning more about the history of Phoenix before I got there, which was 1977. But lately I've been indulging in some sentimental journeys, and sharing them on this blog. Mostly I've written about cars I've loved, and lost, and the good golf shots I've made (which weren't many!). If you're scoffing at that, I'm sorry that you feel that way. If you ask "what was I thinking?" I can just reply that I was young, and to me all is forgiven.

Sentimental journeys are important to good mental health. Looking back at your life and seeing nothing but the mistakes you've made (and hopefully you've made a lot!) can have you not wanting to get out of bed in the morning. As a person who struggles to do his best every day, I try to look to my own personal past and focus on what went right, what I learned, and how I can apply it today.

Whether they were simpler times or not, at least I understand them better than I understand now. I'm working furiously to stay caught up with the latest technology, the latest news, today. When I look back to the old days I can "wrap my arms around it", and understand, because I was there, and also because I've had many years to try to understand it.

Many of the places that I knew in Phoenix are gone, but that doesn't mean that they've disappeared in my heart, and in my mind. I've been known to stand in front of a brand-new building, just to put my feet in the same place they were when I was 19. I'm not wishing that the old places would return, or that I could be 19 again, I just like the feeling that being there conjures up. If you've ever done this, you understand. If not, give it a try.

Sentimental journeys can make ordinary places extraordinary. And in a world that I often have found dull and dreary, I love to be able to conjure up some magic, just for myself. I especially like to walk around the ASU campus and recall the time I wiped out on my bicycle, or the way I felt sitting there on the bench in front of the art building waiting for the little red-haired girl to come out so that we could go to the Chuckbox.

I'm visiting these places right now in my imagination, and hopefully I'll be able to visit them again IRL (In Real Life). My wonky right ankle makes going to these places painful, but for the joy of a sentimental it's worth it.

Thank you for taking a sentimental journey with me!

Image at the top of this post: With my brand new Saturn SC in 1992, Phoenix, Arizona at my girlfriend's house on 7th Street, just south of Northern Avenue, in Phoenix. Ah, those were the days!

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How not to go "power mad" about Phoenix history


I've always been interested in history, and in addition to reading about it in books, I like to ask people questions about what they remembered "back in the day". This has led to me to many wonderful people, who have patiently answered my questions, explained things, and showed me a world that I was too young to have ever seen. I can't thank these people enough, and in this blog I try to repay a bit of it, in what I guess is called "paying it forward", or "linear kindness". I can never pay them back, so I pass it along as graciously as I can.

I was also fortunate to have met several people who became "power mad" when I asked them about history, and what they remembered. I discovered that these were people who had never really been asked anything of any importance, and this was their big chance to become power mad. No, it didn't start with Facebook, although I see a lot of it there, of course.

I sympathize with these people, who have often been shocked to think that they have something that someone else might want from them, just in terms of information. And the pattern tends to always be the same in what I call the "power dance". A straight answer is never given. Often I'm asked to come back later (a big power thing!) or it's given to me as a puzzle, or a riddle, and I'm supposed to guess. You may recognize this sort of frustrating thing done by people on Facebook, who want to stretch out their moment of glory for as long as possible. Sadly, there's nothing to be done with these people, and I regret having to set them aside. The most important lesson I learned from these people was to not be like them.

As I drift into the age that these people were when I first started asking questions of them (a senior citizen), I'm anxious to share. No power struggle, no games. If you ask me a question I'll either answer it, or say I don't know. Anything else would be against my principles. My age hasn't driven me power mad, nor has it made me an "old fool". At least I hope not.

Image at the top of this post: Looking north at the Fleming, and the Title and Trust buildings in 1945, 1st Avenue and Washington, Phoenix, Arizona.

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Attitudes towards money in old-time Phoenix



Like most people, I have a fascination with money. When I was a kid, of course, I had no idea how it worked, and I'm still learning. One of my brothers had figured that it came from grocery stores, as our mom would give the cashier a small amount of money, and get back lots more (change). As I write this, I have money in my wallet. Well, pieces of paper that other people will accept for goods and services. I haven't gotten any bitcoins yet, but I'll probably get some, just to do it. Just a bit. You have to be careful with money!

And all of this is making me wonder about the attitude towards money in old-time Phoenix. Let's time-travel to Wall Street in Phoenix, Arizona, right around the year 1900.

It's 1900, and we're young, and progressive, and we really have no memories of the "Greenbacker Movement" of the old days. But I know a lot of old-timers who wouldn't even think of accepting anything but silver and gold coins. I tried to give the landlady a paper dollar bill yesterday and see just stared at me - I had to go get a dollar coin, which is the only thing that she considers real money.

I'm a smart boy, and I plan on being so rich that I'll put my money in a bank. I like that bank on Wall Street, on Washington between 1st Avenue and Center [Central Avenue] called "The Valley Bank". I know the Christy family, and they're good people. I've also heard how rich Moses Sherman is, who lives mostly in Pasadena, so he must know what he's doing. I'm told that if you leave your money with them, they'll pay you what's called "interest" and when you take your money out, there's more of it.

I've been reading up on how money works. Seems like there's a big treasury somewhere in Kentucky where all of the gold of the United States is stored. I hope they're protecting it! And I understand that I can go there anytime I want, and get the equivalent of gold and silver in exchange for this here dollar bill. See? It says "Silver Certificate" right on it.

OK, I understand, you don't trust it. But I believe that someday everyone will, and they'll consider these little pieces of paper as real money. And who knows? Maybe someday money will just be things made up of that stuff called "electricity"!

Image at the top of this post: 1900 ad for the Valley Bank, Wall Street, Phoenix, Arizona.

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Living in less-than-fashionable neighborhoods in California and Arizona


If you want to start an argument, just try to describe any neighborhood that isn't expensive, or even middle class. OK, you start, I'll wait. Yes, I suppose "affordable" is as good a term as any. I lived in those types of neighborhoods, both in Arizona and in California, through my twenties. It was a choice I made, driven mostly by my anti-social refusal to share an apartment, or a house, and that I didn't have enough money for anything more, mostly because a big chunk of my income I used just to keep my car alive. And I like to describe these neighborhoods as "less-than-fashionable", a term I like that I learned from "A Funny Thing Happened to Me On The Way To the Forum". The main character introduces his neighborhood, with a wry smile, as "less-than-fashionable". I knew what he meant. There were some shady characters around, including a house of ill repute, in his neighborhood.

To me, the first neighborhood I where I lived in Phoenix was just affordable. I don't recall being nervous there, although there were definitely some dangerous things going on around there. No one said anything critical of my choice of neighborhoods until I moved to a particularly "less-than-fashionable" one in Tempe, and a friend of my absolutely gasped, wondering what in the world I was doing there. It was affordable, what can I say?

In California, the less-than-fashionable neighborhoods where I lived gave me an insight into places that I know a lot of "middle class" people have never seen. And yeah, it was kinda rough. But it was what I could afford. To give you some idea how "less-than-fashionable" one particular neighborhood was, nowadays the west part of the neighborhood has an entirely different name. If you look at a map of the San Fernando Valley, look at West Hills - it was just part of Canoga Park when I lived there.

The extremes of wealth and poverty that I saw in Los Angeles is part of what drove me out of there, and back to Phoenix. Many of my California friends consider all of Arizona to be "affordable", if you know what I mean. It's a snooty attitude, but I let it ride.

Image at the top of this post: At a "less-than-fashionable" neighborhood in Tempe, Arizona in the 1980s, on Wildermuth Street.

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Sitting under Ichabod with Judge Ruppert in 1901 Phoenix, Arizona


If you're a regular reader of these goofy little imaginary stories that I write about old Phoenix, you know about Ichabod, and Judge Ruppert, and maybe even about the Electric Belt that my imaginary time-traveling character sent away for in 1893. If not, please stay with me, and I'll try to explain as I go along. The most important thing to know about this is while the character I'm writing about is imaginary, everything else in this story actually existed. Especially Judge Ruppert, who was a big, big dog!



Walk with me. It's 1901, I've had my Sanden's Electric belt for many years now, and it's cured my lower back problems. I've also been exercising, and stretching, and eating better, but I'm sure that it's the electricity and the magnets that did the job. We're walking along Melinda's Alley, which runs east and west between Adams and Washington. We just crossed Center Street [Central Avenue] and since we've been walking for a while, and it's a hot day, let's sit under a tree.

There's a big eucalyptus tree just west of Center Street, behind the Occidental Boarding House. I don't know how long it's been there, but it's big, and everyone calls it "Ichabod", after the character in the book "Sleepy Hollow", I guess.

Look! There's Judge Ruppert, Ed Ruppert's dog, the Great Dane. And I do declare, that is one big dog! I've heard tell that he weighs nigh on up to 175 pounds. No, I mean the dog, not Ed. I don't think Ed weighs that much. And don't worry, he's friendly, and we're old friends. Here, Judge! Good dog.

I'm feeling so much better since I've been using my Electric Belt every day. That Doctor Sanden is a genius! You should get one, you look like you're walking around with a stoop. Very funny! Yes, you're walking around with me, I get it.

I like it here, and I'm in no hurry. Let's sit in the shade, with Judge Ruppert. I like Phoenix.

Image at the top of this post, Judge Ruppert with his owner Ed in 1901, Phoenix, Arizona

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The value of old people in understanding history


I've always like old people. When I was a kid, old people would mess up my hair, call me "Butch", tell me what a fine young man I was growing up to be, and just in general make me look forward to becoming an adult. You know, getting old. Some of my fondest memories are of old men teaching me how to shake hands "like a real gentleman", and the old ladies who admired my hair. Presumably these old people were in their twenties, or thirties.

Although I'm far from old (just slightly past middle-aged, which how I plan on describing myself through my sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, and one hundreds), I'm beginning to realize how important my age and experience is for the young folks, and how it can be squandered if I simply rant about the government, or talk about my aches and pains.

I've always asked old people what it was like "back in their day". And while it might seem kind of insulting, what I'm asking was what it was like when they were my age. That is, when they were eight, or twenty, or sixty. Most old people I've met are under the mistaken impression that I want to hear about their aches and pains, or how much they dislike the current government. But every once in a while an old person will help me to time travel, and it's wonderful. They aren't just launching out into long, boring stories, they're answering my questions. These people are rare, and precious, to me.

The old people who have helped me the most have shared two things: what they remember themselves in a long life, and what they've discovered in books, or wherever. I've always had a long reading list, which includes old movies, and old songs. The internet has made it easier for me to find these things, but there are only so many hours in the day, so I'll never live long enough to catch up with the list, which grows every day.

My dad always used to say, "There's no fool like an old fool", and it always worried me, because I knew that I would get old, and I hoped that I wouldn't become a fool. I wanted age to empower me, both with my own experiences, and understanding the experiences of people who came before me. I have a huge appetite to learn more about history, especially in the places I care most about, California and Arizona, and I very much appreciate the old people who will talk to me, and especially answer my questions.

If you're an old person who has helped me, thank you so very much! And I'll try to do the same thing you did, for as long as this old body holds out.

Image at the top of this post: Old Folks Day in 1920, Mesa, Arizona

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How dense traffic creates a more enjoyable city for people like me


This morning as I was enjoying my coffee, sitting in my backyard, I was listening to the call of the peacocks at Sahuaro Ranch, and mourning doves, and I could also hear the steady flow of dense traffic, which is so thick and consistent that it sounds like a river. And that river, fortunately for me, is a place I've rarely been in, either in Phoenix or in Los Angeles.

I've been lucky, I haven't commuted much. When I lived in Los Angeles, the distance from my apartment to where I worked was about two miles. When I lived in Santa Barbara, my job was so close that I could walk to it, although I rarely did. My longest commute has been from here in Glendale to downtown Phoenix, about twelve miles, and that was for only a few years. Like I say, I've been lucky.

Nowadays my "commute" is to my computer, and has been for years. Before that, it was just a few blocks to Glendale Community College, where I taught until 2012. Usually I drove there, but sometimes I walked, and even biked there. And looking back on all of this, I realize that the dense traffic around me has created a great excuse for me to live in a much smaller world.

The Woman in My Life in Los Angeles accused me of "living in a triangle" - work, the gym, and my apartment. Of course I often visited her, which made my tiny world a square, but her place really wasn't all that far away, either. People who know that I lived in LA asked me how I dealt with the traffic. I didn't. On the rare occasions that I needed to be on the freeway, I would take along a book. When traffic came to a halt (which I've never seen it do like that in Phoenix), I would read a bit, and when it started to move, I'd move. When I tell people in Phoenix that, they rarely believe me. Yes, freeways have been "parking lots" in LA for a long time. I would literally put the car in park and read. I got to read several books that way!

To me, dense traffic is similar to bad weather. I may not be going anywhere today (maybe the gym, which is just a few blocks away), and it makes me happy to think that "I don't have to go out in that stuff". And I sympathize with people who do, and somehow knowing that just seems to make me more happy with my smaller world.

And just to be clear on all of this, if you're one of those people who have to go out in that stuff, I appreciate what you do. I order things online all of the time, and I know that the drivers who have to do that are doing something that I've never had to do, and I appreciate it. They're the people who keep my two favorite cities, Phoenix and Los Angeles, running, and without them people like me would be in big trouble. So I thank them when I can, and I thank you.

I've just made another cup of coffee, and I'm going back to listen to the steady flow of the river.

Image at the top of this post: traffic in Phoenix in 1973

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Celebrating Chicken Day in 1921 Glendale, Arizona


When I first started running across ads for "Chicken Day" while looking at old Phoenix newspapers at the Library of Congress site, I immediately liked the idea. As far as I can tell, it only happened in 1921, in spite of how much the Glendale District Commercial Club made it seem as if it had been a celebration before that year, with the hopes of it continuing year after year. And as an old Marketing guy, I understand that it's just promotion. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. I'm sure that a lot of people were excited at the time. Let's time-travel back to 1921, and go to Chicken Day in Glendale. Come on!



I've been looking forward to Chicken Day ever since I saw it in the paper, how about you? What? You've never even heard of it? Well, my friend, get ready for the greatest celebration that the city of Glendale has ever seen. It's today, May 20th! Chicken Day!

Yes, I'm a member in good standing of the Glendale District Commercial Club, and a proud citizen of Glendale, Arizona. And that's why I'll be wearing my chicken suit. I have an extra one if you want to wear one, too? No? I understand.

I've lived in Glendale since old man Murphy started all of it, and I'm proud to say that I'm a temperate man, proud to live in a temperate community. Help me on with this chicken suit, will you? And I could sure use a shot of your whiskey! Just for medicinal purposes, you know, to get my courage up.

How do I look? Wait 'til the girls see me! It itches a bit, but I'm sure that'll go away. I'll only have to wear it from 10 am to 10 pm. Hand me that basket of eggs, and let's go to the parade. Chicken Day! This is going to be great!

I foresee a future when Chicken Day is more popular than the Rose Parade in Pasadena. Long after people have forgotten about the roses, they'll be thinking of the chickens! And someday I'm sure that whenever people think of chickens, they'll think of Glendale, Arizona! Boost for Glendale!

Here comes the parade. I think that I see Mr Lamon and Mr. Rommell. It had to be postponed because of them, but now it's here. Hooray! Boost for chickens! Boost for Glendale!

1921 article about Chicken Day, Glendale, Arizona

Wow, there must be about 4,000 people watching the parade. This is sure going to put Glendale on the map. You just wait and see, Glendale will be known far and wide as the Chicken capital of the United States, maybe of the whole world!

I'm having a lot of fun, but it's a hot day, and this chicken suit making me even hotter. I think I feel faint. Thank you for celebrating Chicken Day with me!

1921 ad for Chicken Day, Glendale, Arizona

1921 ad for Chicken Day, Glendale, Arizona


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Driving a Saab Sonett in Phoenix in 1979


In a long life that has included a lot of dumb things that I'm glad I did, driving a Saab Sonett in Phoenix is one of my fondest memories, and worst nightmares. Time-travel back to 1979 with me.

The car I drove down to Phoenix with, two years before, had been turned into a mashed-up little tin can by someone who tried to pass me on the left as I was turning left. Welcome to Phoenix! I only broke a leg, and it soon healed up. And for some reason, I wanted a Saab Sonett.

My Saab Sonett on Camelback Mountain in 1979. Wonderview Road.

If you've never seen one, or even heard of one, that's not surprising. They were cool-looking cars, and fun to drive, but mechanically awful, which is surprising because Saabs tend to be pretty well-made cars. My Sonett wasn't.

The Sonett in 1979 at the Saguaro Apartments, 4201 N. 9th Street, Phoenix, Arizona.

I spent every spare minute, and every spare dollar, keeping that car alive. The tiny little V-4 engine, which was nearly impossible to get to (that tiny black bump on the hood was the only opening), overheated no matter what I tried. Luckily, it didn't spend much time in traffic, as I really don't like spending time in traffic. It had a little plastic button that said "air conditioning", and a compressor that should have blown cool air, but it never did.

The Sonett at ASU in 1981, back of the Art Building, just south of the Chuckbox.

As my twenties wore on, and after I graduated from ASU and moved to California, I started feeling as if there might be more to life than just always fiddling with a temperamental little foreign car. Even the Saab dealership really had no idea what to make of it. Luckily, I was close enough to Solvang to have it serviced there.

The Sonett just before I sold it in Santa Barbara, 1986

The second time I paid to have the transmission rebuilt, I'd had enough. I polished it up and sold it, and bought my first "grown up" car, a good solid American car with an automatic transmission. I was nearly thirty at that time, and knew that I wasn't a kid anymore. I remember how sad I was to realize that I was getting old, and needed something reliable, and ordinary. And that's when I bought the Mustang, the car brought me to Los Angeles, and ultimately brought me back to Phoenix.

The Mighty Mustang, which brought me back to Phoenix. This is in front of Delta Motorsports, which was on Bell and 27th Street.

Thank you for driving around Phoenix in my Saab Sonett with me! Sorry the air conditioning doesn't work.

Image at the top of this post: My Saab Sonett in 1979, on Wonderview Road on Camelback Mountain, Phoenix, Arizona

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Complaining about politics in old-time Phoenix


Let's time-travel back to old-time Phoenix and complain about politics. I figure 1909 would be a good time to do it, when President Taft was visiting Phoenix.

It's 1909, and we're sitting near the Adams Hotel, which is on the northeast corner of Central Avenue and Adams, in Phoenix. And here comes President Taft. By the way, that building back there that says "New York Life Insurance", the Gooding Building, is still in Phoenix in the 21st Century - it was "modernized" in the 1950s.

Anyway, let's complain about the government. I'll get it started - These are terrible times! Politicians are all just a bunch of crooks, lining their pockets. Don't know what the country's coming to! Taft? I don't know. That's him there, the big guy, they must have reinforced the frame on that horseless carriage. Derned waste of taxpayer money, I'd say. No, I don't pay any taxes, but that's not the point.

Your opinion? What makes you think I want to hear your opinion? And put out that cigar, it smells like guano. Roosevelt? I don't know, I hear he regrets not running. I've heard tell that he wants to help Arizona, and is friends with Dwight Heard, maybe they're thinking about getting some of that Federal money to build a dam or something. I'll believe it when I see it. Bunch of darned fools if you ask me. Hand me the bottle.

Yeah, Taft's a darned fool, just like most of the presidents lately. Now Grover Cleveland, that was a president! They don't make them like that anymore. What? No, I have no idea what he did, I just know that he wasn't a darned fool. Or maybe he was. Give me one of your cigars.

Hold my whiskey bottle, I'm going to go up and shake hands with the President.

Image at the top of this post: President Taft visiting Phoenix in 1909. You're looking southwest on Central towards Adams.

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History Adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.