Then and now, my Tehachapi
September 17, 2022
THEN: One weekend back in the early 1970s, my husband George flew us up to the Tehachapi Airport in our Cessna 172. We walked into the quiet town, found a pay phone and called my Uncle Jake and Aunt Rhea Dawn Jacobsen who were planning to come pick us up. The line was busy, and it continued to be busy no matter how many times we tried to call them. We decided to walk to their house on Old Town Road (about five miles), and hoped someone would drive by and pick us up on the quiet roads. When we reached Tucker and 202, we held out our thumb but soon retracted it because there were NO CARS! (I don't remember any stores at that intersection.) After about 10 minutes, we heard a truck! Out went our thumbs again, and a very kind woman picked us up and drove us in the back of her truck to the Jacobsen's door. We went into the living room and found the phone off the hook and buried between the sofa cushions.
NOW: I don't need to describe the heavy traffic with interminable waiting at that same intersection. And I don't need to tell you how quickly we can call for assistance with our cell phones. What a difference.
THEN: My grandson Dennis Ziegler was sitting in our car with his family in far away La Crescenta. He was about 2 years old. I told him we were going to Tehachapi for a visit. He listened and then started saying, "Ha to pee, Ha to pee, Ha to pee!" Causing his mother Mary to say to him, "I just took you! You don't need to go again so soon!"
THEN: Our grown children were amazed when they realized we had no fast food places up here. They were very disappointed!
NOW: You all know about the plethora of fast food places that are sprinkled throughout our area.
THEN: The only store downtown that resembled a very small department store was Koutroulis Store.
NOW: KMart is huge but closed. Walmart is even bigger, I think, and has almost everything anyone might want.
THEN: Old Town Market was convenient for those living at the west end of Tehachapi Valley and points west.
NOW: It's an empty shell that was going to become a space-themed adventure place, but that seems to have been halted by COVID.
THEN: George's Aunt Esther was ensconced in a Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Keene where she recovered over time.
NOW: Caesar Chavez National Monument in Keene is a beautiful memorial with gardens, water features, an interesting museum and a large building that serves as a gathering place for meetings and banquets.
THEN: Homemakers had to make do with tiny freezers that would not even hold ice cream.
TODAY: Many families have side by side freezers supplemented by giant freezers.
THEN: Procter Lake was full of water and quite pretty to look at.
NOW: Cattle graze on the land that used to form Proctor Lake.
THEN: At the entrance to Mountain Park, there was a pond with ducks swimming in it.
NOW: No ducks!
THEN: The loop, our local railroad marvel, provided fascinating viewing for many, many visitors to Tehachapi, but their viewing was dangerous on that narrow and curving road.
NOW: The loop has a new safe viewing platform and a wider turnout, making it much safer for all.
THEN: Tehachapi Hospital served our community for many years, thank goodness, but time marches on and a new hospital was a must. George and I used their emergency department two times.
NOW: We have a gorgeous new hospital, Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley, and when I walk down the hall I feel like I'm in the Taj Mahal. George and I both utilized their emergency department multiple times.
THEN: Our north garden was lined with gorgeous red tulips planted by the Perrymans who built our brick house.
NOW: Only two red tulips remain, due to the voracious gophers.
THEN: If I wanted to write an article like this, I had to do it by hand on a yellow lined notepad. I wrote one about Betty Mead in 1995 because I found her fascinating, but she was too modest and wouldn't allow it to be published in the Tehachapi News. Her husband Bill Mead was the publisher.
NOW: I whip out articles like crazy on my computer and really enjoy doing so!
THEN: Starting in 1995, Sheryl Bovi and I used to walk two miles along Old Town Road, Jeffrey Road and even once all the way up the hill of Banducci Road telling stories, carrying plastic bags and picking up trash. Sometimes we couldn't carry all that trash and had to leave it along the road so that we could pick it up later by car. But we did see a dead badger on Banducci!
NOW: Neighborhood Watch and kind neighbors brought about a great consciousness about all that trash and now there is little.
THEN: George and I really enjoyed opening the Apple Shed restaurant in 1995 with our partner Shirley Fuller. Her son Mike Fuller was our fine manager and became an owner, too. He also was lightning fast at catching up cooks in the kitchen when we were crowded. George really liked serving as the host at the front entrance each morning. I especially enjoyed featuring local gifts. I really liked getting to know the 63 local people that provided most of those gifts on consignment. When Mike died, it was the end of an era.
NOW: The place is now called The Shed and it's for sale. I am hoping that local restaurateurs, Mano and Mei Mei Lujan, will open The Shed again soon!