Place and Memory

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This used to be Papoo’s Hot Dog Show.  After 60+ years they closed.  Renovations are under way to turn it into an Umami Burger.  Which is going to be okay because I’ve read that they are keeping some of the signage and designing a Show Burger especially for this location.  So, good: they are showing some respect.

When I heard they were taking over the space, I emailed the corporate office with a plea to retain the old building. Never heard a peep from them, but I am willing to take complete credit for saving the building.  Ahem.

In my mind’s eye, I can see Maria the waitress striding back and forth behind the counter, hear her East Coast accent calling out my name as I push through the doors. I know the faces of the guys in the kitchen who used to look up and give me a nod when I came in to pick up a breakfast burrito or one of their grilled pastrami Reubens (with avocado on it as a default!). The old red booths and black and white check floor, the secluded outdoor seating area, the faces of the other regulars will always be a part of this neighborhood for me, no matter what.

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Imagine, if you will, a walkway between outdoor seating and handicapped parking that leads to one of those classic brick and leaded glass Marie Callender’s restaurants.  I didn’t go there often, but I remember the pie cases inside the door, and the huge salad bar, and a handful of company lunches during which I indulged in a pot pie or one of those evil cream soups of theirs.

That’s what occupied this space until about a year ago.  Strangely, as I approach I can also see the day deconstruction started, and the scoured lot that developed a few weeks later behind chain link fencing.  Months passed.  Construction started.  I walked past a row of construction workers sitting on boards having their lunch and longed for my camera.  All these layers of reality overlap as I tread the smooth pale sidewalk.

And now this edifice. I can’t help but consider what might come next.  With any luck it’s the future site of a Starbucks, like so many former banks in Southern California.

I can really see myself settling into a leather chair in that window with a cup of coffee and a notebook.

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This is what it is.  I don’t have memories of another building here, only other seasons.   This has to be the best time to sit out front of Toluca Garden, which is a good Chinese restaurant that serves some Vietnamese specials.

I really hope I don’t ever have to walk by here and bemoan the passing of these crepe myrtles, which were stunning under this morning’s partly cloudy skies.

Is it possible that all of us who recall vivid details about places keep them alive somehow?

laf Custom Designs

This was my first Walk and Click Wednesday.  I enjoyed it!

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10 thoughts on “Place and Memory

  1. Sandy Layne says:

    Wow i used to eat here in the very early 80’s…worked down the street ….thanks

    Sent from my iPad

    • Sarah Huizenga says:

      It is so sad when favorite places change hands. I do hope they keep some of the character of that restaurant.

    • Sundry says:

      A couple of the servers from Papoo’s moved down the street to Honeybaked Ham. One of them got choked up the first time I came in and discovered that she was there, along with the old breakfast menu from Papoo’s.

    • Sundry says:

      You ate at Papoo’s Sandy? How cool. It’s a great work neighborhood still.

  2. bettyl says:

    What a great walk and thanks for sharing. It’s sad to see an old favorite change but that’s just part of life. Good thing we still have memories.

  3. Sundry says:

    Yep, it’ll always be there in some way!

  4. Sometimes it’s hard to see things change. Fun to think that you may have played a part in preserving just a bit of the past of Papoo’s Hot Dog Show. Recently I went to Penney’s in a mall that was no more and all I could say is, “oh my gosh, they tore the whole mall down!” Only Penney’s was left. I even wonder if they will last. I can remember when Montgomery Wards went out of business. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, that’s where I bought my refrigerator that I still have (22 years!!!) Love your vibrant Crepe Myrtle. ;-> I could sit nearby with a journal and a cup of something too. I’m so glad you joined in Walk and Click Wednesday! Welcome and do come again.

    • Sundry says:

      Thanks, Lissa. I found you through the Sea Blue Lens blog. It’s amazing, isn’t it, how places like these stick with us? We bought our first new furniture in California at Wards.Can still see the furniture floor.

      Thanks for starting Walk and Click Wednesdays. It’s a good, free flowing exercise both physically and creatively!

  5. What a great walk, I can relate to your words… memories keep alive our favorite places but it´s sad when they change even when this is part of life. Hope the myrtles will stay there for a long time, they are wonderful

  6. Sundry says:

    Thanks, Zena. We have a crepe myrtle in our yard, but it’s not this bright. The house is 45 miles from my work neighborhood, but we’re at 3100 feet, so spring lags here a bit and ours have yet to bloom. Looking forward to it!

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