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Brothers Chuck House, then and now
The war's been over nine years now and it's 1954. Korean War, too. Business looks good, better than ever before, and the family moves to Fullerton, a quiet, pretty town with nice people and good schools. You just moved in today (continued at bottom)


to a beautiful house on Valley View, with plenty of trees and a gully in back where the boys can play with their new friends and build forts. Your new job starts Monday, and you'll be getting everything in place all day tomorrow, Sunday. The kids have been well-behaved and your wife's tired. No one wants to go grocery shopping, not right now, and where is the market, anyway? The place that looks like an Old West ranch? 

But you saw a place coming up Spadra and the boys even called out the name. 

"Grab your jackets!" you say. "Honey, we're going out to eat tonight!"

It's getting dark but the new neighborhood is beautiful, with the sweet smell of orange blossoms nearby. Families have horses, and there's sage in the evening mist, too. You start the family DeSoto and drive the only way you know to get there. Everything you see is new, and the town seems friendly. Quite a few neighbors already came by to introduce themselves and offer to help. They mentioned square dancing and a pool club where the kids can learn to swim. You're feeling like a lucky guy when you turn south on North Richman and ride over the dips and rises. 

You come to Chapman and things are already a little familiar. There's the grade school and the barranca, and off to the east you can see the top of the movie theater. 

"I'm hungry, Dad! Can we go faster?" 

"Yeah! I want a cheeseburger!" 

You come to the stop sign and it's Spadra. (What is a spadra, anyway?) Now it's time to turn south again. The whole town is closed and it's only a few minutes after 6 PM. But you don't want Los Angeles, and that's why you moved here. 

Your wife admires the stores silently, and you'll give her money to shop here next week. A new dress, a couple, maybe, and maybe you'll surprise her with a bracelet or a necklace. There's a coffee shop, a music store, a stationery store, a drug store on the corner, and Fender's Radio Service on the left. What can that be? 

You've passed Commonwealth, and then the Melody Inn and Charlie Hale's Spadra Market, and you reach the Chevron gas station where a nice man named Johnny Trowbridge filled up your tank.  The place you had in mind was right along here .. where is it? 

Brother's Chuck Wagon! 

"OK, boys! We're here!" 


Years pass. Sixty years pass. The kids are grown now, have adult kids and grandchildren of their own, and most of the older people have passed away. Almost the whole population of Fullerton is new now, people who came into town to live later. Much later. 

There's a young Mexican-American boy who's a senior at Fullerton Union High School. He gets good grades and he's played varsity football and baseball. He's decided to join the Marine Corps this summer and get his college education that way, later. First there's the Prom coming up in a few weeks, and he already has his date. She's a pretty girl named Eliana, a senior at Rosary High School in Fullerton, and his family has known her family all their lives. Eliana just might be the one .. 

The young senior decides he'll honor his Mexican-American heritage like so many other guys he knows, and wear a zoot suit. They have fantastic ones at the Pachuco Zoot Suit Store down on Harbor, which is where he'll go. A guy can rent one or buy one, and he decides to rent. He'll use the money he earns working at Kinko's on Harbor at Chapman. 

He looks around in the store and an employee comes to help him. 

"This is a great store," the senior tells him. "How long has it been here?" 

"I'm not sure," the employee says. "I've only been here a month. But I think the building's been here a long time." 

"I think so, too," the senior says. 


And so it has. We remember.  George Klimpel had his automobile dealership near here, and Ron and Harry Schecter's dad had the business that sold little plastic flags to flutter on lines at all the used car lots. There was a donut shop where our friend Avril Ford, '66 worked. After a while, they built the Orangefair restaurant with their excellent Roquefort dressing and salad, and the Orangefair shopping center where Terry Hackett, '66 was once a market box-boy. Down the street on Orangefair there was a miniature golf course, and of course, two blocks south on Lemon, the Anaheim Drive-In and Carter Bowl. 

Things change, but they never really leave our memories, or our hearts. 

We're Fullerton people. 


Dedicated with love to all those who have left this world but not our hearts. May 8, 2014.