Soaked up Memories…
Traveling from West to East, and then returning from East to West, I put about 550 miles on my truck traveling from my side of the state and round-tripping it to Kennewick, Pasco and Richland (Tri-Cities), WA.
As I went to the event of the evening, I noticed some restaurants by name that I had not seen in a while – like Tony Roma’s, Shakey’s Pizza, and, honestly, there was another one but the name slips me right now.
Then, a book I picked up to read (doesn’t matter which one) referenced a time period of my youth. Just last week. I saw, for the first time in a long while, a place we used to shop at as a kid, and a place that I used to work for as a young adult (So did Brenda and her really good friend, Lynn). Weingarten’s… A grocery store from the Houston area. There it was. The name in print. I figured the author had really spent some research time in order to come up with “that” name!
This started my mind “a-thinking.” I began to think about all the other places in my past that are part of another state, or no longer exist. So, I started researching some of these obscure names and found some really good websites with stories and pictures. It was so good to spend the time thinking about the past.
My memories conjure up these images.
- A little corner gas station in Seabrook, TX, where in about 1963, Dad took a tire off of the tractor and trundled it into the truck and down to the station where I learned that some of these early tractors actually had water put in for the weight factor.
- Ship Chanel – the Baytown and Pasadena tunnels that went under the Ship Chanel, and the ferry that crossed it by the San Jacinto Monument. Although many remember the big restaurant by the Battleship Texas (San Jacinto Inn???), I remember the seafood place, the old seafood place, you know, the really, really, really old seafood place… It was right next to the ferry landing and was a little hole in the wall type of place, but a really good place for Shrimp – my favorite seafood… There is a more modern place by the ferry now (Monument Inn???).
- K-Mart in Baytown (I have absolutely no memory of a Walmart, but I do remember Globe) – I remember this as the place where mom would grocery shop on double stamp day, and us kids could go to the toy and books. They sold Hardy Boys cheaper than Sears did. This was the place I bought my first LP player – it was black with pearl looking front panels, it folded and the speakers attached to the side and it became a very portable device.
- And while in Baytown, Dunkin Donuts – a favorite after church stop and where I first started drinking coffee (!!) – and just a few doors down my first drive-thru experience – Jack in the Box… This must have been about 1965/66. I cannot tell you when I first remember McDonald’s or Burger King, except that Burger King used to sell Mustard Whoppers and Yumbo’s and I first remember going there after I started driving my own car in about 1968.
- Prince’s Drive In at the corner of Market and Federal Road. There were two drive-in’s but I do not remember the others name. After a Gospel Concert in downtown Houston, I remember the “young people” stopping there… Probably about 1968 or 1969.
- And while I’m thinking about it, wasn’t it “Carlton’s” cater corner that had open soda chests where you could dig through the ice and pick what you wanted?
(I sure hope someone will correct all my mistaken names and memories – I find I’m not as fresh about it since I’ve been out of Texas for over 25 years…)
- Houston Intercontinental Airport – I remember when this was first built and open. It was an “outing” to go there and wander down the jet ways and sit and watch people coming and going. Back then you could even go outside and stand on the top of the end of the jet way, just a dozen feet or so from the airplanes… This made me remember when mom and dad moved to Alaska – 1977. Mom and I drove from Houston to Anchorage in 4 days, 5,000 miles, and before I flew home we were site seeing and ended up on a taxi ramp and could have driven across the runway… Simpler (and perhaps more dangerous) times back then.
- Between Seabrook and I-45, we used to go to a hamburger shack that sold burgers (meat and ketchup only) for just a buck… That’s right. You heard me. One Whole Dollar… Only thing is, you got 6 burgers for that price! Between Texas and Kentucky, I remember stopping at a place that had 8 cent hamburgers, small ones that were on buns the size of biscuits.
- Then there was that seafood restaurant in Kemah that we went too infrequently – but it is where I first ate stuffed crab… Yep. Whatever they did with the innards, they repacked the shell with something, baked it, and I ate it… Sure was good.
- Monterrey House – My first after school job in 8th grade, busing tables, washing dishes, and making guacamole salad. I do not remember the sanitary instructions of the day… But I walked to it on my way home after school, worked a couple of hours, and then we were allowed to take all the leftover food home that did not sell. Sure love Mexican food!.
- Mentioning restaurants, I wonder what ever happened to Tree House Inn (?)… Brenda and I went there after her sisters graduation – it’s like the inside of a tree with little nooks of private type table dining.
- What was the name of that little park out of Houston that had roller coasters and “stuff” but disappeared after Astroworld?
- Antonio’s – one of the best Italian style deli’s and sandwiches – unless you ordered a special made one they came based on the color of their wrappers. I always had the green wrapper.
- Anyone remember the 610 Ship Channel bridge before it was completed? We use to creep over it at night after church – a shortcut home… No side railings, and you never knew if the cops were waiting for you on the other side. After a time or two, I quit – feared for my safety, I did.
- Dr Hook (or Hooker). Our family doctor, just a few blocks from home when we lived in the Pasadena/Deer Park area. Mom and dad were gone and we had a sitter. Now, mom and dad had bought us a swing set that did not have a slide – it had a small roller coaster instead. I fell. Busted my head above my left eye (just went and looked). Blood all over my favorite shirt. I think grandmother made it. Rushed to the doctor. I remember he covered my eyes and the lower side of my face while he stitched me up. The only thing I really remember about it is that he poked his finger in my eye while sewing… I do not remember getting the stitches out, but years later he did burn off one of my many warts… Ha!
- The Salvage – one of the best secrets about Navigation Street just out of downtown Houston. It was near the ship channel and the coffee roaster, now Maxwell House roaster, but back then it was for Maryland Club – Coca Cola’s brand of coffee. At the Salvage you would find an eclectic selection of items that were damaged in shipping from the containers off the ships and trains in and around the ship channel. A three wheeled trike made up to look like a Police Motorcycle – we hauled everything in the back of that fun toy!
- Colt .45’s – The Astro’s before they were so named. Dad would take us boys one at a time to a ball game. High in the nosebleed section. This reminded me of Jason and I going to see the Astro’s in the Astrodome – we would eat cheap fast food, pay $3 bucks for parking, $4 dollars for me, and $1 for him and we would get there early to see the teams practice.
Well… I think I have remembered enough. But imagine what all of our collective memories would do if we could all share these historical memories together. A richer life we would most certainly have.