Crossover Special from the La Mirada Blog on Facebook: Growing Up in La Mirada E-mail
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Thursday, 18 March 2010 19:05

This story is a compilation of several forms of correspondence sent in over the years, by former La Mirada resident Russ Tice. Russ is one of the very early "fans" of the La Mirada Blog, even before Facebook. He grew up in La Mirada in the 50's and 60's.

An Apple Valley resident now, I grew up in La Mirada. I have wonderful memories of La Mirada. My parents bought a brand new home on San Cristobal Drive in 1955 for $15,000, across from a vacant field. That vacant field soon became Rancho Elementary School.

Neff Park was truly a kid's adventure paradise in the late 50's and early 60's. Chickens, forest like trees, the main house, and best of all, the caretaker's house. A sweet older lady lived there, and she would sit and tell stories to we kids about the place. Even better, Neff Park was right next to Rancho School, which was across the street from my house.

I don't recall we kids needing much in the early 60's. We all had a bicycle, and some other toys of the day. It's all there was, and that looks better to me every day. We did fairly well, even without any wireless communication devices. We all had one phone, usually in the kitchen of our home. The lucky kids had two phones in their house. All, of course, were still on party lines. Two or three homes were hooked into one phone line. That seems scary....

The sounds of La Mirada are what I miss most. The Santa Fe Trains roaring by Stage Road, hearing the train horn from Knott's on a still and clear night. Sometimes, I can still smell Valley View Farms, it seems. Somehow, I do miss that a little. That, because it was a part of Camelot-named La Mirada.

The Neff barn still had a couple of 20's era dust covered cars in it, as well as an old buggy and some farm equipment. I now live in Apple Valley, California. How cool to remember the La Mirada places we loved. My folks drove into Valley View Farms for their milk each week.

Even the era was different. Once a month we would have air raid drills on a Friday. We could visit Fire Station 49 at any time. The firemen would always have cookies for the kids. The La Mirada Parade was exciting. Seeing T.V. personalities like Dennis the Menace in the parade was really special. One time I won a prize when Engineer Bill made a visit to Market Basket. 

La Mirada was indeed a special place to grow up in a special time. My Dad was the Saturday Projectionist at The La Mirada Drive-In. I always thought that was pretty cool. My Mom was seceretary to the girl's vice-prinicipal at la Mirada High. I loved that town.

Russ Tice on his 1969 Roadrunner in 1970

Let us not forget the Stage Road dip! Stage Road took a deep dip by the Santa Fe Bridge. When it rained, some fruitcake would always try to cross the water going over Stage Road. When we heard the sirens headed that way, we would jump on our bicycles and brave the rain to see the car that got washed over the side. Never any injuries to the occupants of the cars, it was interesting even at 10 years of age to imagine some moron with kids in the car trying to cross the water.

A five minute detour would take you back on Stage Road to Biola, Biola to Rosecrans, then over to where you were headed to begin with. Then you could do a 4-wheel drift turning from Stage Road to Biola north. Good times. Had to keep an eye out for "Skinny" though, He would write tickets just because he felt that "kids" should not be driving fast cars. He actually said that to me. Why did he stalk drivers right next to where I lived on Biola at San Cristobal? Very funny.

Recently, my wife and I visited her mom in La Mirada. She still lives on Tacuba. Taking mom out to lunch, we were driving on Biola going to Stage Road. Returning down Stage Road to Biola again, I mentioned how I used to love the corner of Stage and Biola (as mentioned above), in the early 70's. My mother-in-law asked why.

Alas, the intersection was wet on that corner ( as it has been for 40 years now apparently). I turned the corner, tapped the gas on the gar, and experienced a wonderful 4-wheel drift around the corner, just like I used to in my '69 Roadrunner back in 1971-72. " Skinny" wasn't there this time, to write me a ticket on Biola, so I finally scored! It just took 40 years.


This 1954 La Miradian moved from La Mirada in 1975, but my heart remains in that town.




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