Back in the Day: You're old-school Fairfield/Suisun City if…

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By Tony Wade
Originally published August 1, 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.

Finally:

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 toekneeweighed@gmail.com.