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What Phoenix, Arizona was like way back in the 1990s


If you're like me, and can remember not only the 1990s, but the '80s, the '70s, and the '60s, you probably chuckled a bit at the expression "way back in the 1990s". And although it really doesn't seem all that long ago to me now, it just occurred to me that it's as far away from the 1970s that the 1950s were, which seemed a mythical time, which I only learned from movies and TV shows. In fact, one of the most popular shows in the 1970s was called "Happy Days" and was set twenty years earlier, in the 1950s, a time where apparently you were cool if you rode a motorcycle with a leather jacket, among other things I learned from that show.

I don't recall the old-timers in the 1970s talking much about the "old days" of twenty years previous. I may have asked questions like "did they have cars back then?" or were "Did you have to study history back then? Was there any?" So maybe I was a smart kid, who should have asked questions in a more realistic way.

And maybe I'd react the same way to young people who would look up at me with wide eyes and ask "What was Phoenix like in the 1990s?" I've been pondering some questions that might be asked like if it was hot, and if there was traffic. And yes, it was hot, and yes, there was traffic.

I lived in California in the 1980s, and moved back to Phoenix in 1989, so much of what I remember is just comparing LA to Phoenix. It was hotter, and there was less traffic. And that's still true. I got a job as a graphic designer in the corporate headquarters of an Arizona bank called, believe it or not, Valley Bank. To me, Phoenix felt very much like a small town compared to Los Angeles, and the name of the bank seemed as if it had been invented for a children's book. One of my co-workers at Valley Bank attended Valley Cathedral, and that just sounded as if the author really hadn't given much thought to naming things in the book. I think I asked her if she shopped at "Valley Store" and stuff like that, because I've always had that sense of humor. As I recall she didn't think that I was very funny.

My business card from Valley Bank in 1990

I remember the 1990s in Phoenix, and I suppose you could call it my Happy Days. I had a great job, which I loved, a gorgeous girlfriend, and way cool car. In 1993 Valley Bank was bought out by, wait for it... Bank One. Yes, an even sillier name, as if an author had completely run out of names. They're called Chase now, and you can decide how you feel about that name.

Image at the top of this post: with my new 1992 Saturn Coupe in Phoenix, Arizona. Happy Days.

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