Memories of Downtown Westchester – Just changed the title here. All our comments are safe!

What a complete little town it was for us growing up. Some of us could walk there, even on our own as we grew older…

What are your downtown Westchester memories?


132 thoughts on “Memories

  1. I remember Westchester was a place where we didn’t always have to lock our doors.
    We rode our bikes all over town, after dark even without worrying about the things we have to watch out for with our kids and our neighborhoods sometime.
    Going to Toy Palace and having Gus? was it? watching us, yelling at us not to touch.
    I remember staking out the Airport Marina Hotel lobby waiting to see famous basketball players like Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain…

    I also remember making off with a baggage cart with my best buddy and accidentally driving it through one of the plate glass windows in one of the offices there too…

    Westchester was an AWESOME place to grow up..

    • You mentioned the Toy Kingdom. That was my 1st job in Dec. 1958. My best friend Bruce Barnard who passed away around 2011 also worked there & got me the job for the holidays. Yes, they watched their customers & employees like hawks. I think they were paranoid about theft. They rented a double garage for a small warehouse off Manchester near Arbor Vita, I had a 49 Ford woody wagon at the time & they always wanted me to go there & get boxes of merchandise. They never offered to pay for gas. The following June I got a job at Sid’s Toys & Baby Furniture on Lincoln & worked there for 3 yrs. while in HS & attending SMCC. Sid was a great guy to work for. I used to think there were nothing but pregnant women in the world while working at Sid’s.

      • My parents met Sid in Palm Springs while she was prego with me circa 1961. He gave them a great deal on all my mothers needs , my father always lauded Sid’s generosity and rightly so !

  2. I remember walking to Visitation church every Sunday with my brothers Robert and Jerry and my sister Lisa stopin at Savon for icecream 5 cents and monsiehnior O’Sullivan stoppin the mass cause my brothers were fightin. I remember a very bad wreck with a plymouth duster tht I witnessed think it was like1967-68 The car burned and I think there were fatalities Behind Visitation school. I remember fireworks on the 4th of July in the park Playin kick the can in the street at dusk with Danny Mahoeney and Suzy Quinn. Bein a cheerleader for the Bulldogs(my brother played) Listenin to Ginger Baker on the radio at Joni Speaks house Modeling at Broadway stores and mostly hangin at the beach avoiding a guy named Neil and the Duck pond

    • You reminded me of my accident: April 1968, I was a Senior, SBHS, driving one of our many cars ( dad sold cars) it was a 1955 Dodge Sedan with a “Red Ram V-8” engine, 3 speed on the column. I could drive a stick but not well as U will see. I stupidly pulled out of an alley near SBHS, thinking it was clear, BOOM I hit a new 1967 Mustang. Ms Hoffmann, a college student at Marymount had just dropped off her Brother at school. I could hardly get out of the car the door was damaged by the crash, no one was hurt, She was emotionally a wreck, my dad’s insur paid for the damage prob totaled the Mustang. I continued to drive the dodge all caved in left front no left headlite! Classmates called me Crasher till Graduation Jun 68 PS the Dodge was purchased for $50 before the crash good old days cheap cars

    • I love you Kathie Johnson! I remember all of these things and more. Don’t forget about Dan Mahoney and the first time we hear Led Zeppelin at one of his house parties.

  3. I still live in Westchester, having moved here from Inglewood in 1975, other than a few years away just after high school. The changes since that time are astonishing and there’s a good chance most of the places you remember are gone.

    Of the places mentioned in the comments above, the Airport Marina Hotel still has the tower, but the 3 or 4 story “annex” on the Manchester side is gone, replaced by townhomes (see but the hotel tower is black, not the color as shown at this website) with retail on the ground level. The hotel is now Custom Hotel (, having also been through the names Amfac Hotel and Furama Hotel. I don’t remember Toy Palace, but remember Karl’s Toys and Stationers which is now a Farmer’s Market. Also don’t remember Hartfield’s. The theaters are both long gone – Loyola is now a medical building (but still has the facade) and the Paradise is an office building. Visitation is still there! Savon is now a CVS and recently had a major renovation – I guess the multi-color-flecked Savon floor tile I remember as a kid is long gone too. I worked at Broadway in around 1981, which later became a Mervyn’s until they went under and Kohl’s opened in the store within the last few months.

    Kinda sad, but inevitable I suppose. Thanks for this site!

    • Wow! The multicolored floor tile at Sav-on, how do I remember that while: waiting for medicine with my mom, reading magazines, waiting in line for ice-cream…what great detail.

      • Sad to say that after all of these years – since 1975 except for two years – I recently moved from Westchester. It’s getting far too crowded with all of the tech companies and its hipster employees moving into Playa Vista (the old Hughes property along Jefferson for those who’ve been gone awhile). Besides Playa Vista, there’s a new mixed-use condo complex near where I moved from called Playa Del Oro that’s also gumming up the works. It’s where Precision Automotive, Gerald’s, and that 2-3 story (?) “wing” of the old Airport Marina Hotel along Manchester used to be. To add more density, the old IBM building on Lincoln is now Otis College of Art.

        The old Westchester we knew is quickly becoming unrecognizable. Not that this hasn’t happened in countless other cities, but I was feeling the squeeze.

      • I’ve lived here so long, as a kid, my friends and I crawled under the const. fence and spent the whole day playing in the basements of all those buildings down to the Penneys store. Its fun reading these posts. Mike

      • No damn for sure…. And you had to go around that Switchback to stand in line then after that went got
        the ice cream. And you remember that machine that gave you the glass tubes for your TV

  4. Oh my gosh! What memories I have of beautiful downtown Westchester! Well, of course, we all hung out at the bowling alley and played pinball for hours! “Pinball Wizard” was the best machine. We’d go to Lucky’s supermarket; they had awesome prices. Of course, Sav-on’s had the best 3 scoop ice cream cone for 15 cents! Bought my shoes at Thom McAn and school clothes at JC Penney’s. We couldn’t really affort Broadway’s, but it was a nice store. My fondest memories are of movies at the Paradise Theater-seeing Phantom of the Paradise with Paul ???? (what was that singer’s name?) Argh, can’t remember! Also my dad taking me to the House of Pies! He loved that place, and I love the pie there. And there was a woman who went in there all the time who was very eccentric and strange, with very odd table manners. We called her the Witch of Westchester. Yeah, I did love that time and place in my life. Del Rey and Westchester…back then it was paradise.

    • OMG, My boyfriend and I (WAYYY back in the day) and my BEST friend (so sad, that they are both not with us anymore)
      used to go to House of Pies and I just recently told my 3 daughters about that “weird lady” …we called her “cat woman” she had the strangest , as you put it, “table manners” which made us laugh hysterically, although, we never were rude enough to let her see us laughing. You put into words, what i never could…”strange table manners” perfect! Loyola and Paradise theaters for movies, Sav-ons (3 candy bars for .25 cents back then and now that my Mom and Dad are gone (just within the last few months, Dad and 5 years ago , almost to the day, my mom; I live (after renovating) in their house with my 3 beautiful kids and everything I do, see and experience in Westchester are Bitter/Sweet memories. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with memories and yet, I get through them all, by telling my kids…”mom went there for movies, mom and Grandma shopped there for christmas/Hannakah gifts, etc.:….so I guess its my job to carry on the legacy of my “growing up” in Westchester!!!
      Thanks for this.

      • My mom taught at WHS in the 60s 70s. They called her Crazy Claire (Wilson) she died in 2012 at age 97, outlived many of her students. She taught English and Guidance, we call it counseling now. and yes Sav on store 2 snickers for 15 cents late 60s, 70s, I now live in westchester Osage area very safe

      • WOW!!!!!!! I remember Claire! I was one of her students around 76 perhaps. What is so amazing is that my sister who is 10 years older that me also had her as a teacher!!!!!

        Connected by DROID on Verizon Wireless

    • the singer is Paul Williams I also have fond memories of downtown Westchester I loved the Temple of Good Things which was a great store I bought a crystal necklace there
      Scottsdale Arizona

      • The Temple of Good Things was an awesome store. Louis was the owner. It was my favorite place to buy gifts. I remember being a student at Orville Wright Jr. High and thinking that going there and Pier 1 was so grown up and exciting!

        North Central Florida

  5. I lived in El Segundo and would go to the movies at the Loyola and Paradise almost every week. I remember that eccentric woman at House of Pies, we called her “the Crazy Lady” but I’ve seen her also described as the Witch of Westchester. How many hours did we spend imitating her???

    • I still talk about the Witch of Westchester every now and then…she was the eccentric of the town. I just wonder if she knows how much joy the brought to the lives of kids in the area.

      • Everybody talks about her but no one seems to know what happened to her. She was around for years and I think the last time I saw here was about the late ’70’s or early ’80’s. My bestie Dave Reimer would really harass her but she always seemed to not understand that she was the object of derision.

  6. I lived in Inglewood, but took the RTD bus up Manchester Blvd. to go to the Loyola and Paradise theaters, and I went countless times. Those theaters gave me hours of enjoyment, and I thought they would last forever. I went to Inglewood High School and was, as they said, “white trash.” I wasn’t popular, I got bad grades, and all I wanted to do was go to the record stores, go to the movies, and read the books that were banned from the public schools at that time.

    All the theaters in Inglewood are closed, except for the Academy, which is a church. Some showed X-rated films in the 1970s. What a loss. Those theaters were my life. I loved the anticipation of going on the bus to the Paradise. I remember seeing “The World of Henry Orient,” “Red Sky at Morning,” “Winning,” and many others on Saturday afternoons.

    Life isn’t the same without the downtown theaters, vinyl records, the drive ins with the huge screen towers, and movies that had a good plot but without all the profanity.

    I still drive over to Westchester once in a while and look at the theaters. I want them to be open again, I want the Marina Federal Savings free shows at the Loyola, and the candy from Sav-On.

    It’s never coming back, and I will always miss it.

      • I remember going to see Ryan’s Daughter at the Loyola with some girlfriends there is one scene that they were in the forest making love and my friend Kris got so embarrassed she slipped down in her seat what great memories
        Phoenix AZ

    • Yeah – I remember the free show sponsored by Marina Federal. Buying candy at Save On. Like you, I still go there a lot (I live in Carson now) and while a lot of it looks the same, when you get out of your car and put feet on the ground you know how much its changed. So many of those friends and families that I grew up with are gone on to the 4 corners and not many remain – miss those simpler times a lot.

  7. Does anyone remember pizza napoli?
    I think its still there
    I remember an older Italian guy there in about 1973-1974
    He made the absolute best Italian cold cut sandwiches!
    And how about HAnks piZza

    • Oh yeah! Pizza Napoli had the best meatball sandwiches, too. I used to work at the Security Pacific National Bank nearby. I believe it was sold to new owners, but it is still there.

    • Hi Jim. I went to Pizza Napoli alot. I don’t think it’s still there. Last time I was in Westchester, it was something else, I believe. The older guy was probably Vinny, the owner. Great guy. He turned over the business to his brother and opened up another shop, Vinny’s Pizza, on Lincoln just north of Manchester.

    • My mother used to take me and my brother there. Vinny would always ask, How’s you a Stubby,” their six inch sandwich. If we didn’t go there, we were over at Don’s Deli.

    • I remember it well. I use to go as often as money would allow and have the 6″ meatball sandwich. Always great. I miss it and the many other business’ there !!

  8. Grew up in El Segundo, but went to Westchester often… for some reason a memory of the Witch of Westchester popped into my head today and I googled her, finding this site. 🙂
    I worked at Woolworth’s when I was 16 and she used to come in and eat at the counter.
    Loved the theaters – I remember seeing Sound of Music and Mary Poppins there.
    My friends & I actually rode our bikes thru the LAX tunnel to go have hot fudge sundaes at House of Pies. It was a miracle that we weren’t killed getting there. Cars would honk as they drove past us in the tunnel.
    Broadway was the coolest store – they had that roof top parking which they had to close I think because of structural problems.
    Thom McAnn’s & Leeds were the shoe shops & I bought my girl scout gear at J.C. Penneys.
    Ice cream at Savon’s was the best!
    Westchester had everything you needed.
    I miss those times.

    • So glad that you found this site. We have very similar memories. I was a Girl Scout and I remember those movies. I saw the opening of Mary Poppins at the Chinese Graham theater in Hollywood on opening day with my dearly departed Auntie Jean who was visiting from Boston. She bought me a stuffed snake that was huge (and a fad at the time). I named him Sir Syrupy because he was brown and white. Growing up in Los Angeles, but having the small town feel of Westchester, and, of course, the beaches was absolutely awesome. I did not appreciate it at the time, but I sure do now.

    • It is 4 years later, but I have just discovered this great site!
      Anne, I have nearly the same memories as you do!
      I also grew up in El Segundo, and my girlfriends and I used to take the bus to Westchester (before we drove) to shop and go to movies at the Loyola and Paradise! We also rode our bikes through the tunnel a couple times.
      I too worked at Woolworth’s, but when I was 19 and attending El Camino College. I loved the ice cream cones at Savon for 5 & 10 cents. And Karl’s was such a wonderful store, as were Broadway (parking up on top, also the restaurant up top), Leeds, Hartfields, JC Penney’s (yes, girl scout stuff, and our P.E. clothes I believe, tho I may have later bought them at Jerry’s in ES). Also, loved sitting at the counter eating fries and drinking a coke at both Woolworth’s and Newberry’s. And Westchester Music Store was the best ever. Bought all my 45s there, plus sheet music (I play piano) to all the popular songs, they had everything there. It was one of the saddest days for me when they closed.
      And my El Segundo High School English Lit teacher, Mr. Peterson, actually worked summers at Monroe’s Men’s Clothing Store. Do you recall that if you had Mr. Peterson?
      There was also a lovely gift shop called Joy’s I believe. I enjoyed browsing there as their prices were a bit high for me.
      So many great memories of Westchester! Thank you to the person who posted the great video.. I sure miss those days!


      • Pup n taco oh yeah we would go there and get a bag of the 19 cent tacos and the chili dogs were 19 cents each I think that was in the early 70 s till we moved to Redding ca my Jr. Year me and my sister weren’t have happy about that , I would like to reconnect with some of my friends that I went to school with from K to 11 grade
        Mike kuykendall

      • I used to shop at the Surprise store in Culver City and Hartfields in Westchester these are great memories
        Scottsdale Arizona

      • Yes I remember Pup n Taco and Pioneer Chicken too. How about Airport Village? I think that is what it was called. Just down the hill from Westchester I believe.

    • Yes, I do remember Zody’s well! But I shopped mostly in the one in Redondo Beach. It was a fun store. We lived in El Segundo and we had a store called Leonard’s, same idea as Zody’s.

    • Hey Paul…you didnt live on Will Rogers Street did you? with your Backyard facing LAX ? I so, then you were my across the street neighbor, and you were into Military Soldiers all the time, with AirFix 1/32 soldiers and plastic model planes all over your home. Then you’d dress up in US 7th Calvary military outfit, and /or a German African Corp outfits, and a Nazi Gestapo outfit as well. So you possibly graduated from 8th grade at Emerson Manor Elemetary? BTW Zodys, had the Best GI Joe Collection as well as Captain Action Toys (Thrifties across from Mayfair did too).

  9. Great walk down memory lane reading all these posts. I do not remember Zody’s in Westchester, only in other parts of L.A. One place I do remember that I haven’t seen mentioned is Bonds Clothes. I believe it was a men’s store and I never went in there, being a teenager in the late 60’s. The place I did go was Turkish Delight, a small head shop near Pier 1 Imports. They sold things like imported rugs and hookah pipes in the front room. However, in the back room, there were black lights, posters, buttons, incense and smoking accessories, basically everything to outfit a teenage boys bedroom with in the 60’s.

    A note to George Haider above. I grew up in Westchester and did the opposite, going to Inglewood in the 60’s with my mom and then early 70’s on my own. Two standout memories were playing miniature golf at a place on Manchester and then walking over to the Academy near Crenshaw to see a movie. I did this with my black friend of many years, Derek. One of the highlights was riding the RTD to the Academy, flirting with the chocolate girls along the way, and seeing “Shaft” and then “Shaft in Africa” when it came out. That was about as rebellious as a shy white kid like me could get at the time. Another thing George, those kinds of years feeling on the outside are fertile ground for an artist.

    • In 1957 I was 5. So LA Cal. My best friend was Erik, a black kid. I am white. His mom looked like Halle Berry, his dad, like Denzel W. Erik got 4 boxing gloves for Christmas, showed me them. My dad wanted me to box eric, my friend. No way !!! I am not the hitting kind of kid, I refused, my dad slapped me hard with one of the gloves, ashamed of me. I ran inside crying to my mom. My dad was a fighter all his life, from Texas, even at age 70 he hit a 90 yr old man, fired many times for fighting, went to jail many times but still a good dad provider and salesman, He made $50 K per yr when the avg dad made 10.

  10. Great replies. Lots of great memories. To Jim, I went to Pizza Napoli quite often. Vinny, the owner, opened up another shop on Lincoln north of Manchester. Also, the witch lady, us kids used to call her sexy rexy. I frequented Westchester Music quite a bit. Still have alot of my vinal I bought there. Anybody else remember when the Mayfair market on Sepulveda burnt to the ground?

  11. Wow thanks for the memories! I went to Pizza Napoli alot and Hank’s pizza was the absolute bomb!!! I lived in Westchester from 1960 to 1979 on Lilienthal ave next to the old Caviler restraunt.

  12. More memories: 1960s, SBHS I overheard big football players I looked up to bragging about beating up any black guys they saw in Westchester. I used to look up to them but no more. Also I was from “East of Crenshaw” but I was never looked down on as “white trash” at SBHS. Oh yea just remembered, 1st day of 9 th grade SBHS, I was 13, Sept of 1964. I wore a cool Beatles suit (no lapel) just like the Beatles wore. Plus I wore Beatles boots like they had, we would call them Spanish boots, just stylish dressy boots, black. I thought I was very nappy dresser but Father Zimmerman, a very nice, tall good looking Fred MacMurray type took me aside and very gently told me not to wear the boots. The kids did call me “fruit boots” as in Fag boots but what did I know? So I obeyed, never wore them again. Good advice. I learned later it is good if a man thinks U R gay… it makes it so much easier to sleep with their wives! Just kidding. Fabio said that, he was not gay but was thought to be.

  13. Getting swats at Westport Heights Elementary, building underground forts and planning to live forever at bean fields, 5c coke, 5c candy, sneaking/smoking cigarettes behind HillMart, riding red wagons at high speeds downhill streets, mechanical pencils were hot, cub scouts at the ymca, peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches at Steve Popes house, 5c ice cream at savon, my first big crush on Laurie Hasbrock, delivering papers for herald examiner and the the headline the morning Robert Kennedy was shot, falling and breaking my leg otw to Loyola to watch a movie, going to catechism every Saturday at Visitation church, getting my knuckles rapped there sometimes by the nuns for messing around, listening to Led Zeppelin for the first time at Mike and Danny Mahoney’s house…

  14. My memories of Westchester were something like this…..I remember growing up in the very early 60’s and going to Westchester Elementary. I don’t remember the cross street but we lived just down the street at 9122 Fleetwing Avenue. I remember the school with multiple sandboxes with the classrooms surrounding a courtyard of some kind with a huge playground. I remember skating around our block with a leather buckle strap on the rear, front clamp on the front with a key roller skates. The Westchester public library. The 25-cent arcade next to the massage parlor. Ralph’s super market. The Sav-On drug store and the Paradise theatre where I saw my first James Bond movie.

    I remember moving to 8506 Naylor Avenue and transferring to Westport Heights. Teachers I remember there ….Gladys Price, Walters, and Townsend with principal Marks. Losing and then recovering my first Timex watch at school that had green glow-at-night features and a second hand. After school and summer playground with carum board games, over-the-line softball, kick-ball, handball with the large rubber balls that you hit on the ground first than the back-board. Summer playground with the same kind of games opening at 10:30 AM and the Summer free movies sponsored by Marina Federal Savings and played at the Loyola (SINGLE-SCREEN) theatre.

    Then there was Junior High School starting at Airport Junior High in 1969 and graduating junior high at Orville Wright. Again, teachers I remember at Airport …… Ms Adelman (home room) Mr Fiske where I worked as a projectionist, Mr. Ball, my electric shop teacher, and although I don’t remember the names of the teachers, good times in both wood and metal shops. Then there was Orville Wright ….. Mr Belba, home room, Mr Dutton, history, having to share a locker because of the combining of Airport students and Orville Wright.

    And finally, Westchester High School. Wanting to join baseball there and having a teacher and coach my father had when he was in school. Working at the Finance Office, having contacts to get my 1974 class ring (which I still have). Being on the winning JV Baseball team with coach Brubaker. My senior year finally getting to drive to school in my own car. and graduation with 2087 students at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium with 3 other high schools.

    All in all, mostly good memories, some not so good. My favorite places such as Karls toy store with models and kites, the small Italian eatery next to Ralphs for meatball sandwiches, and the Broadway at Christmas time with Santa Claus in the display window. And of course, See’s candy store.

    Charles Jackson
    Memories 1960-1974

    • Charles,

      Mr. Ball, had him at Airport Jr High at that time he taught, basic electrical and woodshop, made a Danish dish and little case that my 92 year old Mom still has and displays. Also did projection for Mr. Fiske at Airport, thanks for the memory flashback.

  15. Am very anxious to get back to westchester in September for the 1964 class reunion from westchester high school. Will always be home to me even though I now live in iowa. Does anyone remember nick at the beauty shop? How good he was! Those were the good days.
    Noreen viviano yakos

    • Noreen….so happy to see your name here…was thinking of attending the reunion but not sure….and you are in Iowa!!! We have lived in the Thousand Oaks area for over 30 years…married nearly 40 yrs, 4 kids…still working….may not remember me….Susan (Sue) Seltzer….we were in drill team together etc…
      Hope all is well….I was at the ten year…I’m on the cover of the smaller reunion book from that time….
      Take care…

      • Susan – do you remember me? You and I went to Cowan Avenue, Orville Wright and graduated from WHS together. I am Lynne Freid Lillard and live in Ladera Ranch, CA. I married Reed Lillard in 1967 but he passed in 1989. I have one daughter and one granddaughter. I have attended all of our reunions. Living in Westchester are some of my happiest memories. Are you in contact with Noreen Viviano? I hope to hear from you – I accidentally ran across this website.

    • Interesting, Noreen. I moved to Iowa in 1993 and came back to the coast 2 years ago, had a bookstore in Eldora, Iowa. Left the Westchester area in 1970. It was such a great place.

  16. I don’t remember Nick but 1964 was my brothers and husband graduation year. One was summer and one was winter class. I’ll have to ask if They know you

  17. My mother, Toni Knerr graduated WHS 1970, she died in a car accident in 1975. My family doesn’t talk about it and I have conflicting stories about what happened. If you remember her and or details surrounding.her death id appreciate it..

  18. These are all wonderful memories I hadn’t thought too much about since 2006, when my son graduated from high school in Mesquite, TX, where we lived. Exactly 30 years ago, I left California and then came back to show my son where I went to high school. Westchester High is now surrounded by homes and a few multile-level buildings. I graudated in 1969 – class of Estarri. Loved Napolis Pizza – was in the WHS band and maching season we always seemed to wind up there after a game. Don’s Deli was a great place for sandwiches. My father and mother opened the first dry cleaners in Westchester and it’s still – or at least back in 2006 – there just a block away from where Napoli’s used to be – I was very surprised the dry cleaners was still there. My son played in the drumline all through high school as I did back from 1966 – 1969. I remember you were not allowed to wear open-toed shoes or nylons to school – until you were a senior and they allowed that on Fridays, only. I remember my first job when I was 15 1/2, which was the age you were legally allowed to work, part-time. My first job ws at Pier I Imports on Manchester Blvd near the airport – it was such a novelty store – a real break through type store at the time. I remember Sav On Drug store, the 5 cent ice cream cones and the penny candy at Woolworth’s. I rmember the soda fountain in Woolworths and they had the best sandwiches. I remember taking my driver’s test, when they had driver’s education classes in high school – we has to drive through the LAX airport – scary!!! Thanks for all the great memories!!!!

  19. Hi guys! I noticed posts written to me, and I haven’t been back here in this group for years, so I missed the communications, but you can connect with me in Facebook, and, I have 60 foto albums on Westchester and the 50s-60s, there in the group “SBHS VIKINGS THEN & NOW”, as well as the page “St. Jerome & St. Bernard High School Alumni”…(LIKE!) with all the Yearbooks & news of Westchester times in Newsletters called “MEMORY-LANES! And of course all the posts I’ve featured at the group “Westchester, CA Memories 1960s-1970s”. Stay in touch & stay Young!
    Pat Caspary ’69

    • Pat Caspary

      Please contact Phil Ankofski. He would be interested in your Weschester Information . (New Blog: Calling all authors | Memories of Westchester Calif ).

    • I had a duplex on lilienthal from about 1975 – 78. I then got married and moved to Simi Valley. I graduated from Westchester High in 65 and was a member of The Mid Coast Surfers Club. We thought we were cool but obnoxious was closer to the truth !! 😂 Residing in Paso Robles wine country now.

      • Hello Jeff , I see you worked at Leonard’s in the early 70’s. I am most curious if you were aware of Don Steinke, the man who operated the food/ snack bar located inside the store.
        If so, could you share with us any ” stories ” or insights about him.
        I knew of Don from his days at the Woody’s Smorgasburger …. prior to Leonard’s.
        Phil Ankofski

      • Hi Phil,
        I didn’t know Phil but ate hot dogs at his snack bar occasionally. My brother, Clark, worked there for only one day.
        Not sure of the details !! I dated the girl Debbie who worked in the candy concession.

        I remember that the pay scale was
        $ 2.50 per hour and that I purchased a new VW for $2,325 out the door from Russia Thor VW in Torrance.

  20. What ever happened to the “CAT LADY”? If you ever lost a cat back in the day, it probably ended up at her house. She was a stray cat hoarder!! What about Barry from Soundsations? Talk about creepy!! And what about the white dude early 30ish who hung out at the OLD library everyday..the library back behind BofA (wasnt it security pacific back then? ) he had fluffy coarse richard simmons type hair and he combed all forward instead of towards the back, and he wore thick black rimmed glasses and smoked a pipe? He lived next door to the library and would gaulk at u from his balcony. Leacherous uncle fester if you ask me. We used to chase the ice cream man, and jump on the back of his truck till he yelled at us. No doubt, watching the free movies at the paradise and loyolan from the balcony seats during the summer. My mom would roll up to the bank in the station wagon and yell for one of us to run into the bank and get the tickets. Great days of summer. Lol. Learned to drive stick shift in the fields next to the airport so i wouldnt kill anyone. One of the last houses in the fields was that one with all huge fishing nets hung down the sides from the rooftop . Westchester park and the fourth of july fireworks show!! Bicycling til the street lights came on. Dales. Red onion in pdr!!! Girlscouts at the townhouse. Big red christmas candles- actually saw one 2 christmas’ ago. Looking for golf balls in the nets and trees then selling them back to the golfers!!! Paul Kinison and his lame paper route. Summertime at the Westchester pool then candy raid at Luckys. Playing Pacman at the el dorado bowl. Ice cream triple scoop at Thriftys. Westchester pharmacy great candy selection. Karls toy store for night before science fair projects. The Broadway secret basement shopping for some sweet deals. Mr Laner my hero in his light blue volkswagen!! Deadchester- instead of westchester- lol. Got my ears pierced at zodys. And bought albums from Fedco. Too many great memories to list. This would end up a novel. Thanks to all those who contributed. PS – can’t forget about that huge white statue of the man next to his horse (on the side of loyolan theater sepulveda and Manchester) and every Halloween they would put a pumpkin over his head and leave it there until it would rot off! Now that fellow peeps of Westchester was hysterical!!!

    • Which Mr Laner? we lived next door to the Laners until the airport bought our homes and we had to move. Remember Monsignor O Sullivan and the cigar he always smoked. Remember the path cut thru to Westchester park and if you were brave enough to run across the field, before the golf course was built.

  21. I grew up in Westchester from 1961 till we moved to northern cal in 1975 we lived on 80th place just off of Kentwood .those were the best years of my life going to the movies going to Savon 1st to get our candy bars for 3 for 25 cents and going to the House of Pies or Lums for tacos the thrifty drug store for lunch at the counter or Woolworths Woolworths I loved all of westchester Karl’s hobby store Oh and Dons deli and we can’t forget the Westchester Witch and watching the way she would drink her coffee and the counter at thrifty drug or war thrifty drug riding our bikes all over the place me and my best friends Eric and John and Alan those days are over now it’s been 25 years since I made back to my home town and I know I won’t like to see how it’s changed when I go back to visit this summer those were the days when life was so easy I live in Reno now I’d love to move back to westchester

  22. I used to love to walk to downtown Westchester Hartfields was my favorite store I used to buy all my jeans there I also love eating at Woolworths and Newberrys what fond memories

      • Hello Kathy R. ~ During the early 1970’s , a Mr. Don Steinke was the in house operator of the food/snack bar inside the Leonards store in El Segundo. I would enjoy learning anything that can be shared about Don S.

      • Hi…..I worked at Leonard’s from about 1971 – 73 in the camera department. It was a fun place to work. There were times during the winter when I got off work at 9pm and then drove to Mammoth. We would arrive around 3 am and sleep in the car until sun up. Couldn’t do that now ! Yikes. I graduated from Westchester High in 65.

  23. I had one more comment about Westchester, in fact I was just there earlier this evening. I LOVE the street lights in the residential neighborhoods. They are so nostalgic and I often just go over and drive through there to enjoy this wonderful feeling of being back in the 50s/60s! It is so warm and inviting, and such a happy feeling with those old-fashioned street lamps. I wish we had them in El Segundo. And I love the little Von’s Market there at 80th and Emerson. It is so cute and friendly. SOOOOO glad I found this site and enjoy reading all memories from so many former residents. I have always lived in El Segundo, but Westchester just feels like a second home to me. Always went there to shop with my friends, loved all the stores and the two theaters, loved the Triangle and Karl’s, loved Westchester Music Store, Broadway and all the many stores (5c ice cream at Savon), worked at Woolworth’s one summer after high school, I could go on and on. I think I may have nearly as many memories as you all who lived there!!!!

    • Thank you so much for visiting, Kathy. My dad worked in El Segundo for many years. Although I do not know the neighborhoods, I do know the town. Eventually, years later, I worked at a school there, too. Canyon Verde, I believe was the name. It was closed down after I left. El Segundo will forever be a big of my experiences growing up and then living as an adult in Westchester. I wish I never left. Thank you again for sharing!
      Debra J. Chandler, originally from 6606 W. 81st Street, Westchester, and then, later, 7900 Reading Avenue.

      • Ah, that is so nice Debra. You must be living far away from us now. I do not recall Canyon Verde School??? Must have been a private school, but I sure do not remember that.

    • I also loved those streetlights… we used to call them “acorn tops”. They’re still there on most streets in Westchester and PDR… and a whole bunch of abandoned ones are still standing in the empty streets by Emerson Manor School. Here and there you can still spot one of the old street signs, too (the ones with the capital letters and blocky text) – very vintage Los Angeles! The city replaced most of them in the 1970s and 1980s but there are still quite a few lurking on back streets in Westchester. Just adds to the nostalgic feeling.

      Growing up in the 1980s, we referred to the Vons on 80th and Emerson as the “secret Vons.” It was so weird to be driving on a quiet street through a residential neighborhood and then suddenly come upon a supermarket.

    • We lived on West 80th Place. The Millers, Mara, Lisa and Eric. I think you must have been our neighbor. Two story House? Fancy playhouse? The house on the corner on the other side of you had all that ivy and SNAILS.

  24. Okay it’s time to wax nostalgic…
    I grew up across the street from Westport Heights from 1971-1992. These were some of the best times in no particular order:

    – Riding my bike around picking up firework duds on July 5th
    – Riding my bike above Hughes aircraft at a place called Hamburger Hill
    – Eating at Two Guys from Italy on La Tijera
    – Eating at Compari’s next to the Loyola Theater
    -Buying candy and cookies from Sav-on and sneaking it into the Loyola theater
    -Getting good deals at the rooftop bargain bin at the Broadway
    – Luv’s pit BBQ at the Ladera Center
    – Eating other people’s leftover pizza at Round Table in the Ladera Center after a day of surfing
    – Getting my bike fixed at Manny’s bicyclery in the triangle
    – Getting my haircut at Danny’s barbershop and looking at adult magazines from afar and enjoying the cigarette smoke!
    – Going to Bob’s Big Boy on Centinela and watching movies going on at the drive-thru while waiting for the to-go order (loved their chili, cheese-cake, fries and burgers wrapped in yellow paper
    – Going to Pizza Napoli near the old BoFA and Ralphs. Owners were real Italians. The best pizza and meatball/sausage sandwiches
    – Riding my bike to the bean fields near Foxy car wash and getting chased by the teenagers!
    – Playing bike tag on the roof of Orville Wright JHS
    – Ditching WHS to go surfing/body boarding
    – Take a jaunt to Culver City to eat at Tito’s
    – Go to Woolworth’s with my mom and read MAD magazine and look at skateboard parts
    – Buy balsa wood gliders at Karl’s. I loved the smell of that toy store!
    – Going to that Mexican restaurant and night club next to A&A liquor (forgot the name), but my parents thought it was just a restaurant and we ended up getting to be there when it switched over to a disco one evening in the 70s!
    – Going to Safeway on Manchester where the checkers had manual push button registers and had to push your groceries down the counter
    – Eating at ItzaNicePizza next to VONS near Orville Wright JHS
    – I remember the Fruit-o-Matic vending machine at Orville Wright. Yes it served fresh fruit and was across from the student store that I worked at
    – Doing a paper route for the Daily Breeze
    – Eating at House of Pies on Sepulveda near the airport after dinner
    – Learning to drive a stick-shift at the airport fields
    – Riding my bike around the airport fields and checking out all of the homeless encampments
    – Returning airport Smartcarts at LAX and pocketing the $.25
    – Eating at Little King sandwich shop in Inglewood
    – Trying to get my parents to allow me to order a hamburger at Peking’s in Inglewood
    – Getting a tour of the Centinela Adobe, which little did I know was in my backyard
    – Riding bikes between the “kitty-walk” paths that crossed between certain housing blocks in Westchester
    – Taking the bus to the Fox Hills mall when it was safe and fun: going to the arcade, getting a slice of pizza and some cookies, checking out the “action”
    – Eating at Taco Bell when a beef burrito was wrapped in yellow paper and was 100% beef, cheese and onions; nothing else
    – Going swimming at the pool near Westchester Park
    – Learning to ride a bike by going down the big grass hill at Westchester Park
    – Climbing up the “rocket” play-structure at Westchester Park

    So many good memories I could keep going. I now live in a town of under 30K people and would never let my kids do what my folks let me did in Westchester in the 70’s; sad but true. That was a special time and special place. I hope other kids are able to form as good memories as we did in Westchester. Thanks for sharing a space to reflect.

    • Wow I did exactly the same thing as you I lived in westchester from 1963 to 1975 and lived next to Orville Wright junior high and rode our bikes on the roofs there too . Maybe we know each other

  25. Anyone still remember when we had Fourth of July fireworks at Westchester Park ???
    How about catching lizards in the empty fields on the bluffs above what is now Playa Vista ? The fire department used to practice on an old rusted out plane on the flat plain off Lincoln — occasionally those bluff fields would catch fire — I remember riding bikes with my friends all over Loyola University (before Marymount) in the summers, and playing ‘over the line” on the football field beside the baseball field…
    The ice cream cones at Savon were the best – I remember when a single scoop went from a nickel to a dime – (where has ‘marbled fudge’ ice cream gone) ???
    Sports Den (Sepulveda) & Sportsville (Manchester) for sporting goods ???
    Loyola Village Elementary in the 60’s – Orville Wright – climbing the ropes to the gym ceiling in PE CLASS — do kids today still do that ???
    The gum ball machine in front of ‘Gerald’s Hardware’ – used to love the ‘smell’ of that store –
    There was a ‘polliwog pond’ in Playa Del Rey where we would catch frogs & tadpoles —
    Pretty sure every one of those things are gone forever, save for our memories of them…

  26. Wow yeah that would me and my family you moved away in the early 70s or late 60s right so what one of the millers are you ? And where are you now it’s been a real lone time

  27. Oh I LOVED Gerald’s Hardware! So sad when that store closed. And I LOVED Bob’s Big Boy (probably both were actually Playa del Rey). I too LOVED Hartfields, got so many cute dresses there! Even though I did grow up in El Segundo, I have such special memories of Westchester always. It is still nice however, and though Broadway was such a great store, I am so glad Kohl’s is there to take it’s place (after Mervyn’s). Broadway was wonderful, they too had the best clothes! And then up the escalator to the restaurant or better yet, parking on the roof of Broadway to eat at the coffee shop.

    • Does any know Eileen Romm? She is a girl I dated around 1959-1961. She was part of band called Romm-Antics. We used to hang out in Westchester.

  28. Lived in PDR. Family moved there around 1959. Went to Orville Wright and, of course, Westchester HS. Graduated in winter class of 1966.

  29. Wow. Lots of fun memories. I grew up at the end of la tijera blvd with the airport directly behind our house. Spent many hours there exploring the land of LAX . Traveling through the storm drain piping from a small pond that had what seemed like a million balls lost by kids in Westchester drain inlets . We started at a 60 inch pipe and went as far as we could and came out in a sidewalk near Lincoln blvd. Our parents didn’t know where we were but those days, as long as you were home by the time the street lights were on, you were OK.
    The Marina Fountain at Culver had a 50 cent hamburger, unheard of at the time, mc Donald’s was 17 cents, was about 6 inches round, tomato, lettuce, cheese, very extravagant but well worth it.
    Went to ST. ANASTASIA, ST Bernards and Westchester high. Class of 71.
    Shoppers market
    Nike Base
    Surfing Balona Creek,Toes,D&W,EL PORTO
    Toy Palace
    Loyola Theater
    Sand boarding the dunes in playa del rey
    So many good memories, jim

  30. I’m a decade or so younger than most of the folks here – grew up in Westchester in the 1980s. That was kind of a quiet decade for the neighborhood… all of the Boomer kids had grown up and left home and the “Baby Bust” was in full swing. We lived on West 90th between Rayford and Stanmoor (almost in PDR), and there was only one other set of kids on our block. Every other house was elderly empty-nesters; it was like living in a retirement community in Florida. The one benefit – we had “adopted grandparents” up and down the street and were forever running in and out of their houses to get cookies, candy, and just generally get doted on and fussed over.

    Most of those kind old folks have passed on now, or sold their homes. Westchester is full of kids again today – it’s become a somewhat sought-after neighborhood and most of the elementary schools are well regarded. Orville Wright and WHS are a different story, sadly. Some of the houses have been demolished to make way for McMansions, but with renewed interest in mid-century architecture, quite a few of the houses have been very sensitively restored to preserve the original styling. It’s great to see!

    Some other memories:
    – many of the homes on our street still had VERY vintage 1950s interiors. Almost all of them have been updated now, but in 1985 a lot of our neighbors’ houses still felt like the Cleaver residence inside.
    – Just south of our street was the “no-man’s land” where the airport had bought up all the houses and removed them. Today those streets are very overgrown and it’s almost hard to tell there were houses there, but thirty years ago the scars were still fresh. We would sneak under the barbed-wire fence (there was a spot at the Rayford dead-end where you could lift it up) and run around in there for hours. You could still see old retaining walls, crumbling front steps and house numbers painted on the curbs. It was really eerie playing where hundreds of people used to live. We just had to keep an eye out for the airport police, since they owned the land and didn’t want anyone trespassing…
    – I went to Loyola Village for elementary school, starting in 1985. Between the “baby bust” and losing half of the houses in its attendance zone during the 1970s, it was a very empty-feeling school. There was one whole wing that was closed off when I went there. LAUSD responded by busing in kids from outside the neighborhood, which made for a more diverse school experience.
    – all of my babysitters in the early/mid 1980s were students at WHS or St. Bernard’s. My siblings and I would be taught to cheer for the Comets one weekend, and then the next weekend a different sitter would angrily re-program us with a Vikings cheer. I was always partial to the idea of being a Comet, although by the time I started high school in 1995 my parents decided that WHS had become “too rough” (my older brother went there and had some bad experiences) so I was sent to private school.
    – As we got older we started roaming a bit further from home. I remember exploring Hastings Canyon before it was cruelly filled in for new houses, walking along the old Cabora dirt road to get to Culver Boulevard and the beach in PDR, and coming back up on Manchester past Del Rey Liquor (now a gym), Winchell’s (now Yum-Yum Donuts), and the original Dales Market.
    – The commercial strip along Sepulveda looked kind of sad in the 1980s, even though most of the storefronts were occupied. We would go to the Ralphs there (the old one, not the shiny new one that was built later) and park in the back, and things just looked very aged and worn-out. Today they’ve all been smartly remodeled and are packed with shoppers.

    I live in Playa del Rey today and still love this area. It’s changed a lot, particularly in the last ten years. Many of the old-timers are very worried about the influx of money and gentrification from the tech companies in nearby Playa Vista. It’s good for property values but there’s a lot of concern the neighborhood is losing character. Time will tell, I guess…

  31. I lived on Denrock which was a block from the Vons Market I remember going there and getting snacks there what great memories
    Phoenix Arizona

    • Such great memories. I lived on McConnell and 80th between the Reesings and the Webers from 1949 till I got married in 1968. Living in Utah now, but growing up in Westchester was such a great experience. I still re-visit about twice a year, visiting old friends like Al Seth, Joe Figueras (who just passed away), Mel Durham, Lou Molina. I’ve got a million memories, so here we go with a few:
      Cowan Ave. grade school from Mrs. Debruin to Mrs Rogers
      Be-Con day camp, playing caroms during summer, kicking the kickball over the fence
      Hangin with Lynn Hinshaw, sliding down ice plant on cardboard at Loyola bluffs, sneaking into Hughes Aircraft, being chased by the Jesuits at Loyola for tresspassing
      Chasing and returning foul balls at Loyola baseball park for frozen snickers
      Pop Warner football at Aviation Jr. High, buying Revell model cars at Karl’s
      Dropping by Von’s on the way home for candy and rubber army men
      The Helm’s bakery man, the ice cream truck, buying my first baseball mitt and football shoes at Sportsville when Mr. Bailey owned it, Al Ruggsegger at Sports Den for fishing stuff
      Orville Wright, Mr. Dutton, Mrs. Sundstrom, Mr. McDonald, Lindstrom and Geres, et al
      Hanging with Steve Hunt, borrowing his dad’s car for a joyride,raiding the Coke machine at Orville Wright afterwards,Summers bodysurfing Gillis, D and W, Centinela and Studio Drive-ins
      Making my own skateboard in woodshop, crashing going down 80th street hill
      Woody’s mushroom burgers, Tiny Naylors food trays in the window, buying my school clothes at Munroes near Save-on ( my mom loved the good looking guy who worked there)
      Hangin with Brett Morehead, Lloyd Baggs, and Tom Oglesby at Westchester High.
      Watching the Beach Boys perform free at Loyola field in the early sixties till somebody threw an egg at their drummer, Dennis Wilson.He got pissed, and the band quit playing
      Bar Melody, Jack’s Bar (now Tower Pizza), Moes , Prince of Wales in the Peninsula along with all the great establishments there ( I still frequent when I can)
      I realize that Westchester has changed over the last 30 to 40 years, but you can never take away the great memories of the 50’s and 60’s. My heart is always there. Go Comets

  32. I grew up in westchester in the 60’s and 70’s.and a few years of the 80’s. I remember all of the mentioned above along with my own personal memories.

    My friends and I would skateboard everywhere including the concrete sewage pipes, vacant pools along the eminent domain homes along Trask ave. Some of you may remember but we used to go to the top of the broadway roof parking ramps and skate to the bottom and see who could stop and stay on the board.

    Grabbing flashlights and climbing into the gutter drains at the corner of the streets and walking blocks till we came out near a friends house.

    Playing baseball at the American little league field and continuing to play in Babe Ruth. I still have many of the westchester Little league letters they would send out after the months end. Filled with highlights of the games and who did what and when. Read some names I have not heard in 30 plus years. Working the snack shack and score card changer and then eating my pay in candy.

    Chasing lizards above Dinah’s and riding bikes down the hill and trying not to end up in the rain ditches. Jumping off the Ballona creek bridge and watching the small sharks, sting rays and fish go up the creek when the tides were coming in. Catching rock crabs along the jetty’s and fishing and snorkeling off them and getting kicked out of the water by the lifeguards. Going to Tiny Naylor’s or Dinah’s for Sunday dinner or breakfast.

    Riding our bikes everywhere, the best rides were to Marineland and then home again without letting our moms know where we were at. Riding down Manchester hill both ways to the beach and then racing down the end and slamming on the read brakes of our Schwinn stingrays. Doing wheelies all the way down our street and having friends make sure no traffic was coming so I could cross Kenwood. My finest hour was 2 blocks and a half coming back. Building wood ramps to jump out bikes and used wood stilts our dad made for us to measure how high we could get.

    Sitting at the beach under the oasis palms waiting for the hot dogs and burgers to finish cooking and having ice cream after lunch. There was no smell greater than those dogs and burgers cooking on a summer day. Forgetting your flip flops and finding the sand was hotter than the surface of the Sun. Body surfing and later surfing from Malibu to Hagerty’s. Hanging at Venice beach to watch the world and playing games on the pier before it burned down.

    Racing go carts on Sepulveda by the horse stable. Weekend drive-in movies at the Centinela drive-in or the studio drive in. Waiting for that pizza, popcorn and snack from the snack bar and playing our friends in the kids area during intermission. Going to race our slot cars.
    During the Christmas Holidays I used to enjoy watching as the city employee’s would hang the giant Christmas decorations across Sepulveda from Manchester to Lincoln blvd. That was so cool driving down that road when lit up at night. Sitting in Santa’s lap in the window display at Broadway. Where I worked in the restaurant as a dish washer. Another job was at Basil Taylor’s Phillip 66 right next to Gerald’s. Working at Bob Hauses Hillside florist on Centinela ave and Sepulveda right on the railroad tracks. Man that was hairy working there. I also worked at the Chevron station across from Dinah’s, and behind Hillside Florist. I don’t remember his name but the kid had a bad to the bone black Camero. That whole area was sold and turned into the Hughes center.

    Sitting on Sandpiper or Vista del Mar watching the Malibu fires burn the way over the top of the hills towards the beach or watching the oil tank fire from our front room bay windows.

    The Westchester witch, used to live a block down from me and right next door to my best friend, (she had a disabled son who rode a yellow Honda 90 all over town to work and back) and when she fell asleep with a cigarette the house burned down and she and her husband if I remember correctly passed away during that fire.

    As I write this I keep remembering more and more of my childhood and growing up in Westchester. It was truly a more peaceful time and as we remember a safer time. Our parents said the same thing about their childhood. What we do not realize is that even back then we had monsters that roamed the streets and it is only because of the advancements in communication technology that we hear more and more about it. Back in the 60 and 70’s it took a long time to hear of a child being kidnapped, as today it is almost immediately on your phone.

    Lets hope that our grandchildren will have a somewhat safer childhood than what we are living today.

    Peace Love and Rock n Roll.

  33. THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR MEMORY !!! Again, it is good to hear of the good ol’ days and the memories of others. If it helps you, the guy at the Chevron was Bob Lamkin and I, too, worked there !! His father, Bob Lamkin, Sr., was a mechanical wiz when I was there and Lamkin’s brother had a camero very similar to Bob’s. The only difference I recall was the brother had a 1969 AUTOMATIC where Bob had the ’68 5-speed. I actually got to drive Bob’s Camero to pick up parts and return to the station. What a rush !!! Take Care.

    Charles Jackson

  34. phil wilson | September 14, 2016 at 3:06 pm
    Loyola village 3rd grade 1966 Mrs. Roof… Gerald,s hardware store, putting soap in the fountain in front of the airport marina hotel to watch it foam up, running down the hallways of the airport marina hotel when it was under construction, playing in the concrete triangles around the base of the IBM building, exploring the fields around the wetlands and Hughes aircraft, we knew where all the fruit trees were in westchester to get a free meal anytime, stealing matchbox cars from Karl’s was so easy my favorite was James bonds Aston Martin, a lot of my friends who lived north of LAX had their entire neighborhood removed for the runway expansion, climbing the brick wall of shoppers market next to el dorado bowl, climbing up the inside of those 100 ft towers at the Nike base unscrewing the 2500 watt light bulb and dropping next to my big brother on the ground and laughing. the in door slot car track on la tijera, the blue chip stamp catalog ordering store on Manchester, watching 4th of july fireworks at westchester park, swinging on the flagpole rope at westchester high, eating at pickburger on Manchester, the fun house at loyola marymount college fair,exploring the inside of the baldwin hill reservoir after it was empty

  35. I remember pretty much all that. I built a raft and went up and down the creek also sat out on the big L of Loyola collage at night during santa ana winds drinking beer, Sand boarding in the playa del ray dunes i did go into the Nike missile silos after they were abandoned. I had friends lived on north side of LAX we would go out at night and and get blue runway lights. Used to play in the wheel chairs in the tunnels at LAX. The trampoline place next to Sportsville wen it closed at night would go under trampolines a collect the change that fell out of peoples pockets. Throwing rocks at cars from behind sign that said airport marina hotel coming soon and getting caught by police after hitting one and breaking window. And much more.

    Sorry for the bad spelling

  36. I remember playing in the fields near Hughes and catching polliwogs and bring them home in a jar throwing water balloons at cars from the roof

  37. Terri and I used to go down in the canyon and play hide and seek we also used to catch frogs at the pond down there

  38. Gee, so many fond memories of growing up in Westchester, where do i start. We lived on Isis Ave. just a few doors down from Osage Ave. school where i attended K-6. in the 50`s and early 60`s we would fly our control line Cox airplanes on the school playground usually with our Dad.
    I had the PT 19 trainer with the Thimble Drome 049 engine…a real beginners special in those days. We played a lot of hide and seek and “army“ with all the neighborhood kids…in the summertime usually until dark or when our father`s whistled for us to come home…seems each dad had his own unique whistle.
    We playted in the `gully“ which is now the the San Diego Freeway. We would catch tadpoles and polliwogs…and take them home.
    Does anyone remember the incenerators that most of the houses had in the backyard..or the Adobe on Midfield­….or kiddyland or Karls toy store or the year the big paper next to the Fritos plant burned down.
    I attended one year at Aiurport Jr. High before we moved to Upland, Ca. I loved most everything about my childhood in Westchester from the saturday matinee`s (two feature films plus cartoons) to watching the first commercial passengwer jst land at LAX….things i will never forget.

    • Just wanted to comment on your memory. Although we did not each other, I had similar memories with the control line Cox airplanes and Carl’s Toy Store. Really miss those care-free times and my wish of re-living them. My Dad, too, had the unique whistle to get your but home. If you have the time, see my earlier comments made on this site. Take Care.

      Charles Jackson

      • Thanks Charles. It’s so nice to remember the joy of our childhood in Westchester. I remember paper drives each year, flying kites (10 cents for a paper kite you assembled) making marble roller coasters with our garden hoses, carbide cannons, spud guns, water rockets, fireworks in the street on the 4th, my father building me a pair of wooden stilts, putting playing cards in the spokes of our bikes with clothes pins to make them sound loud, skates you buckled on to your shoes, going to POP (Pacific Ocean Park) going to Disneyland in 1955…the very first year they opened etc. etc. It was just so much innocent fun. It certainly helped build character and a sense of personal responsibility.

      • If you went to Disneyland in 1955, I am slightly younger than you. We also had paper drives; mine were in elementary school at Westport Heights and there was rival competition between classrooms as to how much each collected. I also purchased those 10-cent kites and rolls of string each year of the “flying season” from Karl’s Toy Store. In addition, I must have purchased 4 or 5 model boxes of the F-104 Star Fighter there, too. I managed to screw up in putting them together and wanted the model to be perfect.

        So many memories, so many good times. Thanks for Yours !!!


  39. I lived and grew up in Westchester. I lived there from 1954 until 2004. I went to Cowan Aveue Elementary, Wright Jr. High (now Wright Middle School) and Westchester High, graduating in 1972. My older sibs also attended Kentwood Elementary, Wright (called Westchester High before the “new” high school was built) All of my children, nieces and nephews also attended WHS. Unfortunately, WHS is a nightmare and very dangerous. So sad 😔

    The only reason I’m now living in Hawthorne was LAX decided to expand…my home was in the area of a big buyout. Sure wish I could have stayed in Westchester, but the committee decided not to cough up enough money for people to be able to buy a place there. After the gung-ho attitude of acquiring properties from Airport Avenue to LA Cienega and from Arbor Vitae to Century, the buy out stopped, leaving more than a few single dwelling homes and numerous apartment buildings built in the mid-80s.

    I can still name all of the shops in “downtown” Westchester, in order, on both sides of Sepulveda. I share many of the same memories of folks who’ve posted here…even knowing a few.

    The whole area has changed so much, if you haven’t been there in the past 25 years, you’d never recognize the place. Gone are the days of parking on 96th, on the airport side (used to be the secret back entrance to get into the airport) to watch planes take off and land. It was kind of a rush to be that close to the airstrip AND it was free. FREE was always good!

    I’d also like to mention the closing of two iconic establishments: The Culver City ice rink. 😳 It was sad to see the building degrade, as the interior was removed, but to date, the ice-skating figure is still atop the roof. Don’t know for how long it will remain perched up there…Also gone is “The Wild Goose” on Aviation. I’m not sure what’s going to happen with the plot of land, but it’s across from the main bus terminal/
    metro system on Aviation just passed Imperial.

    I’m going to wind this up for now or I won’t know where to stop…BUT, there are just a few last things to mention: before it was “House of Pies”, it was a “Kinneys shoe store”…now it’s Hometown Buffet~

    • The “Goose” is gone? Oh, noooo!!!

      See my partial list of stores/shops on Sepulveda and try to fill in the blanks. 🙂

  40. Any one remember the “white witch” .. she was an old woman lived in Lawndale calf, that I can remember seeing her in the mid 1970’s.. she dressed in white vinnel material with a large draped white hat! She’d often walk along Hawthorn Blvd between Manhatten and, (?) north from the freeway (405) off ramp! !… I was sure there was a news article write about her. The daily news, .. I remember my parents telling me she’d be around a very long time, ans she said yellow was the Devils color cause she wouldn’t get into a yellow cab… I was only a kid at the time, but for some reason I’ve been thinking about her often the last few years. .. does anyone else remember the white witch? ?

  41. WESTCHESTER IN THE 1950s and 1960s FROM MY POV: West side of Sepulveda between Manchester and La Tijera: Sav-On Drugs, See’s Candies, Thom McAn, Leed’s Shoes, Penny’s. East side of Sepulveda: Loyola Theatre, (small restaurant), Ralph’s, (other stores). Corners of Sepulveda and La Tijera: Whalen’s Drugs, Thrifty’s, JJ Newberrys five-and-dime and The Broadway with its rooftop parking. Tiny Naylors sat on the NE corner of Sepulveda and Manchester. Further south on the west side of Sepulveda: Mayfair Market, Westchester Music, Denny’s (then called Danny’s). On the eastside of the street: Bank of America, Paradise Theatre, Paradise Lanes. The “Triangle” included Karl’s Toys and Stationary, AA Liquor (owned by Gil, RIP), the post office, medical and real estate offices, later The Red Onion and whatnot. Los Angeles Airport east of Sepulveda before it morphed into LAX and Sepulveda was tunneled under the runways. Hamburger Handout at Sepulveda at Centinela and Hamburger Handout Jr. on Manchester. The Big Donut (now Randy’s).The milkman, the Good Humor truck and the Helms Bakery truck. The paperboy on his bicycle.

    Personal: Kentwood Elementary (grades 1-2) a block from Engine Company No. 5 and Emerson Manor (3-6), Wright JH (with Von’s right across the street) and WHS Comets class of summer, ’63. Lived on El Manor, West 82nd Street and Westlawn Avenue (the bells of Loyola ringing in my head). ORchard 2-8922. International Little League, Cub Scout Pack 907C and Boy Scout Troop 588. Surfed Toes, the Creek, D&W, and Gillis was the beach to pick up girls. The Pits at D&W. RIP Playa del Rey as it once was. The Jungle. The Shack in del Rey (best burgers of all-time), WestRey Surfers, Westside Surfers, “Those” Car Club. The Trees. Westchester Park. The Crossfires! Date nights spent at either the Centinela, Studio or Century drive-ins with a girl and a six-pack. Cruising “The Boulevard” from the A&W in Hawthorne (“Well she got her daddy’s car and she’s cruisin’ through the hamburger stand now”) to the Wich Stand in Inglewood and then back to the A&W. So much more and too many people to mention.

    • I don’t know how old you are Bill, but your memory is great . Thank you for sharing ! Your list here is very extensive and I am adding : Visitation Parish and school. St. Anastasia Parish and school, and the Loyola University Chapel. During the mid 60’s I was single and on my own, so I rotated Sunday Mass between these churches plus Saint Monica’s in Santa Monica.

      • Hello, Phil. I’m 72 (WHS Class of ’63). Yes, Visitation—right across the street from Emerson Manor Elementary. I’m not Catholic but often I felt I was. Many of my childhood friends went to school at Visitation and later a girl who I had a crush on occasionally took me to Mass there. I attended some sort of summer program/camp at Loyola where a priest taught us kids the rudiments of baseball, my first “true love” went to St. Bernard’s, and I was married (and my daughter baptized) in St. Jerome’s. Can’t say I’m familiar with Saint. Monica’s but I did attend SMCC and my first job while still in high school was as a stockboy at Leed’s Shoes on 3rd Street long before it became the 3rd Street Promenade.

      • Hi Bill,
        Since you got around the area so much and for so long, I am betting you were a patron of Woody’s SmorgasBurger. I myself am 72 with #73 coming next month. I was a lineman server at the Woody’s in Culver City during 1964 and 65. I was promoted to manager at the El Segundo store in 1966 and then off to the Redondo store in 1967 / 68.
        My aunt and her family sponsored my relo from Detroit in early 1964 and they lived on McConnell for six decades. I also attended SMCC on a limited part time basis due to the fact I needed the 40 hours at Woody’s to break out on my own.
        Perhaps you remember a Bryans Bar B Q……. I was never a patron, but wondered if it was a quality place.
        Since I was 19 when I arrived in Westchester, I experienced a lot of ” first time for this ” episodes in the South bay area. I rented in Playa del Rey for most of my seven years, living on Rindge and Fowling Streets. I now live in Dublin, Ohio with intentions of moving to Ann Arbor, Michigan this year.
        I always enjoy adding new pen pals , so please reply if you so desire.
        Phil A.

  42. By the time you arrived in Westchester I had already moved to Manhattan Beach where I lived for twelve years so our paths would never have crossed. I imagine you’re not familiar with many of my references but you might know The Crossfires who went on to become The Turtles of “Happy Together” fame. At the time, the Crossfires (originally named The Nightriders) were a Westchester HS surf-rock band known for their high-energy performances and rowdy crowds whose behavior always ended with the band being banned from the venues wherever they played. . . Woody’s? You bet I remember Woody’s, one of my favorite places both as a kid and later as a married twentysomthing. I was familiar with all three locations you mentioned and ate at all of them on a regular basis, especially the Redondo Beach location when I worked in Torrance. Can’t say I remember Bryan’s but the name sounds familiar. . . . Except to visit my mother in the ‘70s, I haven’t been back to Westchester although I’m sure I would not recognize much of it today. After Manhattan Beach and my divorce, I lived in the Valley for two or three years with my new girlfriend and then she and I moved to the Bay Area (Larkspur and Sausalito) where we lived for a dozen years and then off to Chicago (with a two-year stop in Houston, TX) for a number of years more. Now I’m in Riverside County in the home I inherited from my mother. Even when I was living in Manhattan Beach, LAX had pretty much gobbled up half of Westchester and most of Playa del Rey, and what I’ve read here, much of what remains would be unrecognizable.

    • Hello Bill P.
      Thanks for sharing your short auto biography. 1991 was the last time I visited Westchester and the South Bay area. I enjoy using the Google map site to peruse all the places I patronized.
      The most impressive feature is to see how much the Loyola University has grown.
      I understand past alumni ( Fritz Burns and others ) donated millions to make that happen.
      The multi use development on the old Hughes airstrip turned out pretty nice. (Playa Vista )
      Two big negatives which will always remain is the LAX property and the Hyperion Waste treatment facility. The marina looks the same , but more condos.
      All in all, I feel the area has done okay.
      Happy Fathers Day Bill.
      Phil A.

  43. How about a list of old Westchester (and surrounding area) eateries etc…?
    – Paco’s Tacos
    – Pizza Napoli
    – Buggy Whip
    – Cavalier’s
    – Italy’s Little Kitchen
    – Vinny’s Pizza
    – ItzaNicePizza
    – Hillmart (they did have a deli)
    – VanDeKamp’s Deli
    – Happy Gates
    – House of Pies
    – Compari’s (near the Loyola theater. They’d put a pumpkin on the head of a horse rider statue out front)
    – Little King
    – Peking’s
    – The Shack (still there right?)
    – Prima Pasta
    – Gino’s Pizza
    – Tino’s Pizza
    – Service Merchandise (okay no food here, but what a weird catalog shopping concept)
    – Food Barn
    – Gemco (they did have a cafeteria of sorts)
    – FedCo (the had a grocery store)

    So many more…

    • And Tiny Naylor’s!!! That was a go to for lunches or a soda or just time with friends after a movie. And also Pann’s further out near Ladera Heights. From what I understand Pann’s is still there! Many fond memories of a shared pot of coffee and Sunday morning breakfasts!

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