old school ff

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You’re old-school Fairfield/Suisun City if …

By From page A2 | August 01, 2014

I offered up a helpful guide last May to discover if you were locally old school. It was completely subjective and was not meant to be all-inclusive. To wit, today’s sequel.

You know you are old school Fairfield/Suisun City when:

  • Someone told you where they lived and you didn’t ask for specific directions. You just said, “Is that in the states section, the birds section or the dead presidents section?”
  • You not only know what TV vacuum tubes are, you used to test yours at the Fairfield Grocery on West Texas Street.
  • Everyone knew there were cheap dates and then there were Beamer’s 35-cents-a-hamburger cheap dates.
  • You frequented Eucalyptus Records and Tapes in all three of its locations. First in the Country Corner Shopping Center on West Texas Street by the Peanut Patch bar; then in that funky-shaped building by the skating rink and 7 Flags Car Wash on North Texas Street; and finally in the old Pinkerton’s Hardware store that is now Big 5. Bonus points if a Eucalyptus clerk ever acted snobbish toward you.
  • In addition to eating Jiffy Pop popcorn because there were no fancy-schmancy microwaves, you also dialed (yes, dialed) the letters spelling out P-O-P-C-O-R-N on your telephone to get the accurate time of day.
  • You scorched your rear end in the summer sun playing on the awesome West Texas Street/Allan Witt Park rocketship slide.
  • Not only do you remember local video stores, such as Ye Olde Video Shoppe and Videoland, but you also recall the lil’ curtained off area where the naughty movies were kept. If anyone asks why you remember the latter, the answer is nunyabidniss.
  • Thinking about the carnivals that would come to the Wonder World parking lot (where the North Texas Street Food Maxx now sits) brings a smile to your face. Until you recall how the spinning Zipper ride made all your quarters fall out of your pockets and the ride workers scooped up and kept them by invoking the universal law of Dibs.
  • You remember when the best Chinese food in the west came from Eastern Café on North Texas Street . . . until business went south.
  • A sudden wave of nostalgia hits you one day at Little Caesar’s Pizza on East Tabor Avenue and you are awash in memories of pulling your old high school hoopty into the A&W drive-in that used to be there. Consequently, instead of a $5 pizza, you would kill for a Papa Burger in a basket and a frosty root beer float.
  • Stopping off at the Iwama Market on Rockville Road to get a case of beer on the way to Lake Berryessa was a must because the only ID they checked was Washington’s, Lincoln’s or Hamilton’s.
  • You know that Muffin Treat, at least in the context of this column, refers to a restaurant that used to be where Texas Roadhouse now sits, as opposed to being a stripper’s stage name. Bonus points if you ever referred to the adjoining bar/entertainment lounge part of the establishment called The Moon Room as “The Menopause Lounge.”
  • You had way more fun trying to figure out how to exit the Fairfield Post Office than that lame Wooz maze in Vacaville.
  • When you hear the beginning of the old slogan for the delivery restaurant that used to be on East Tabor Avenue: “Don’t cook tonight . . .,” you instantly recall the rest: “Call Chicken Delight!”
  • You were strictly a Mr. Steak (where Les Schwab’s is now) person and would no more give the time of day to a Happy Steak (now S&L Thai restaurant) person than a Hatfield would a McCoy. Especially if you had just called P-O-P-C-O-R-N and knew the precise time.


  • Your adult son Cam asks you why you chose his name since it is not short for Cameron and you finally admit that it stands for “Chief Auto Movies,” the name of the Fairfield Drive-In Theatre whose screen blew down in a 1988 windstorm. You further explain that Cam beat out Rocky – the movie that was showing at the outdoor theater when he went from being a twinkle in your eye to a bona fide tax deduction.

Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at [email protected]

Tony Wade

Tony Wade

Tony Wade is the slightly older yet infinitely more handsome brother of long-time DR columnist Kelvin Wade

Discussion | 13 comments

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  • S KAugust 01, 2014 - 7:44 am

    Love it Tony. Really brought back some memories. We've been here since 1976. Oh and I loved those Beamer Burgers. I'd always ordered their double, or did they also have a triple??? Because if they did I got those. You see back then my Cholesterol jumped up to over 265, but it was not my fault. It was my pick ups, because every time we were driving down the road, my pick up would turn into every hamburger joint and force me to buy one or two, OR THREE>>LOL LOL :-)

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  • Seriously.....August 01, 2014 - 8:12 am

    Love your column Mr. Wade! I didn't grow up in Fairfield or Suisun but always enjoy reading your stories of yesteryear. Love the old pictures too. Fun to see the Then and Now.

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  • Tony WadeAugust 01, 2014 - 9:30 am

    Well, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

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  • P.J.August 01, 2014 - 9:17 am

    Have lived here since 1967 and used to buy fabric remnants at Woolworth's, (corner Texas and Madison), stop by Marty's Mens' Store, or maybe, try on a dress at Hyde's. Often stopped at Dave's (Heimburger?), where Dave himself manned the grill. Sometimes I even stopped at Orchard Supply, also in the Food Maxx building. Orchard Supply gave Fairfield two chances....lost both times!

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  • MikeAugust 01, 2014 - 6:39 pm

    Was it called Orchard Supply or was it Ole's?

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  • DudeAugust 01, 2014 - 10:04 am

    Worked a McD's on N Texas St in the 70's when there was no drive through. They used to write down orders & hang them for the fry cook "me". And we "made" the shakes, they didn't just squirt out of a machine. Bought my beer at Dave’s Cheaper out by Grossman's Lumber cuz the guy would laugh at my fake ID & sell me beer anyways. Tuff choice on the beer, blue can, brown can or Hamm's, what can I say, I worked at McD's.

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  • tomAugust 01, 2014 - 11:33 am

    I used to work for Joe Damboise in his many gas stations, and befor that, Johnnys mohawk car wash & gas, and I even worked for Bud at flakey creme

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  • mikeAugust 01, 2014 - 2:42 pm

    we moved to fairfield in 1956. my dad was army and in charge of the nike sights surounding travis afb. he would trailer one and tow it in the 4th of july parade. i got to sit on it in my sunday clothes,wave and throw candy. thanks tony for bringing out a great memory about the old days but especally one about my dad.

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  • S.B.August 01, 2014 - 4:58 pm

    Wow...If I remember correctly Chicken Delight delivered in a car with a chicken head on the roof. A treat for us when my mom could not cook inside that night? They were located near A&W? Don't forget Johnsons Bakery.. what a gem of a place!

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  • archieAugust 01, 2014 - 6:00 pm

    great job as always Tony

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  • renee brownAugust 01, 2014 - 6:26 pm

    Love it

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  • edAugust 01, 2014 - 8:54 pm

    good job tony from a 1966 armijo graduate

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  • kleifgenAugust 02, 2014 - 9:53 pm

    Thanks for all the memories, graduated in 1980 armijo rules leda kleifgen

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