Usually a surefire way to get a noticeable eye-roll out of kids nowadays is to start a conversation with “Well, back in the good ole days when I was your age …” This generally elicits responses like “Yeah yeah, let me guess. You’d go out and saddle up your dinosaur and ride it to your one-room schoolhouse 100 miles away.”
Well, I actually walked, in the snow, barefoot, uphill in both directions.
Seems the past has a way of bringing out the nostalgia in me, for whatever reason.
My sister-in-law’s father just passed away at the ripe old age of 102, which led me to reflect on what this amazing man had experienced during his lifetime. To him the “good ole days” included massive changes not only in this country but on the world stage as well.
I look back on the circumstances surrounding my childhood and the changes that have occurred since I was a boy and I wish sometimes I could go back to those much simpler, carefree times. Thinking back on all the things I used to do and experience as a youth (and adult) in Cache Valley, with all the changes that have happened since, thinking of “the good ole days” prompted me to share just what I miss about those times.
I miss getting a bag of 19-cent hamburgers from Dee’s drive-in and going to watch a double feature at the Cache Drive-In movie theater. I miss fresh warm spudnuts from Pete’s Spudnuts and hot fudge cake from JB’s Big Boy on Main Street. I miss seasoned ribeye steaks and fresh dinner rolls from DeVerle’s Juniper Inn and thick sausage pizza from Godfather’s Pizza.
I miss “hooky bobbing” behind trucks and cars as they made their way through our neighborhood in North Logan after getting two feet of new snow and admiring the strands of Christmas lights crisscrossing above Main Street in downtown Logan.
I miss the ice skating rink in Central (Merlin Olson) Park and roller skating in the Logan Roller Rink across from the Tabernacle. I miss my summer employment working the fields and crops of USU’s dairy farm, its barns, corrals and cows now long gone, replaced by businesses and office buildings. I miss burgundy cherry and butter brickle double scoop ice cream cones from Baskin Robbins and renting tuxes for the Jr. Prom from Blocks clothing store. I miss getting all my Christmas shopping done in one night at King’s department store and stopping to get an armload of holiday videos from Sommer’s Video on my way home for the family to watch.
I miss meatloaf Mondays at Glauser’s restaurant, eating stacks of pancakes at Sambo’s Restaurant (Now Angies) and watching midnight movies every weekend at the TSC theater on USU campus. I miss riding with my friend on the back of his motorcycle around town collecting aluminum cans (behind the Cactus Club was our most profitable stop) in order to fund our addiction to quarter pounders with cheese at McDonald’s when they still had the portrait paintings of Merlin Olson and Hal Garner hanging above the booths.
I miss the Cache Valley Mall the way it used to be with attractions like Trafalgar Square, JB’s, Karmel Korn, The Sandwich Shop, ZCMI, JCPenney, Waldenbooks, Aladdin’s Castle, The Candy Factory with the taffy-pulling machine in the window, Orange Julius, Baskin Robbins and the Hallmark store, just to name a few. I miss Santa’s Workshop and towering Christmas trees right in the center of the mall along with Hickory Farms and musical groups caroling throughout the concourses.
I miss buying general season deer tags over the counter the day before the hunt and the great memories made at family deer camps over the years. I miss getting out of school on the Friday before the deer hunt opener and seeing the numerous pickups in the parking lot that sported a rifle or shotgun in a rack behind the seat next to the window.
I miss driving from Logan to Smithfield at night without seeing another set of headlights and trips to Logan Cave to slither through the muddy flooded sections with our dates. I miss unloading tubes up the canyon by Second Dam and tubing the canal through the golf course, finally arriving above Lundstrom Park. I miss group dates and parties at Logana Pool and waterslide and grilling marinated turkey afterwards, doing our Halloween shopping at Grand Central and taking dates to “The Pumpkin Walk ‘’ at Beutler’s Farm in North Logan.
I miss walking up to the horse arena above Hyde Park, which used to be the highest large structure on the east bench. Now it’s one of the lowest. I miss duck and goose hunting with the boys in the fields and marshes along 10th West and pheasant hunting along the east bench between Smithfield and Logan, now mostly posted as “private property.” I miss seeing movies in the Capitol, Utah, Redwood and Cinema theaters in downtown Logan along with wandering the Emporium during the holidays and visiting the penny candy section in Merrill’s store in Trenton.
With the accelerated growth in the valley, including all the new big box stores, I’m reminded of Joni Mitchell’s 1970 song “Big Yellow Taxi” that says:
“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot”.