Route 66 in the News

Citrus Evokes Route 66 Memories

2010-03-25 07:38:23

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA - Favorite cafes, long since vanished. The fragrance of citrus carried on breezes sifting through prolific orchards. The satisfying gulp of freshly squeezed orange juice from a stand along the Mother Road. These are among the memories that linger for those who traveled along Route 66 in the San Gabriel Valley.

JOY FRENCH

When she travels on Huntington Drive in Arcadia these days, a particular Route 66 memory returns to Joy French. It was in July 1954 when a mutual friend introduced her to Ron Paris at Carpenters, a cafe once famous for its shrimp and fried chicken.

Ron and Joy's first date was to the County Fair in Pomona, and they were married that December. The couple recently celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary. They have raised three daughters. When a lady named Joy French marries a man named Ron Paris, well, that is a story in itself!

Joy has resided in Temple City since 1935 "but I went to El Monte Schools because there was no high school in Temple City," she said.

"Unfortunately Carpenters has been demolished, but the good memories return when I drive in the area of the race track and see the current 100-to-One Club."

She also has fond memories of traveling with her folks on Route 66 when she was a child headed to the local mountains "and passing little stone houses with stands selling orange juice."

DON PASCOE

Give Don Pascoe, 77, a whiff of orange blossoms and his mind drifts back to the days when, as a 10-year-old, his folks loaded him and his twin brother, Ron, into the family Oldsmobile and traveled on Route 66 from West Hollywood to cousin Dorothy's house in La Verne.

"It was such a long drive from West Hollywood to La Verne" he said, "that we had to stay the night and come home the next day."

But Don didn't mind because cousin Dorothy owned a roadster and she would run them up to the snow at Mt. Baldy, an experience still fond in his memory. Today Dorothy Doyen remains in La Verne, and Don resides in Covina.

Besides the permeating sweet fragrance of orange blossoms, Don remembers seeing smudge pots in the orchards, and many orange stands along the way. "You could buy a crate of oranges, or a fresh-squeezed cup of orange juice."

CHARLOTTE PLUNKETT

"I've lived in the same house in Glendora for 57 years," said Charlotte Plunkett, who recalls many trips on Route 66 when she was a child. Her sister moved to Los Angeles and her mother would drive the family from Iowa to Los Angeles to visit. Eventually they moved to Glendora.

"I loved Glendora because it was country," she said, "But, oh, how we loved to see the lights when we would catch the red car into Los Angeles."

Orange juice stands were all the rage in the 1940s, but precious few remain. Many juice stands added food to their limited menus and eventually morphed into restaurants. Walt Wiley's Drive-In located at Grand and Alosta avenues in Glendora featured fresh orange juice, eventually carrying on as The Hickory Inn before it joined the list of long-lost Route 66 icons.

~Claudia Heller, the Weekly Star

 

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