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more articles like this

Growing Up SB
updated: Feb 23, 2013, 3:30 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

What was it like growing up as a teenager in the Santa Barbara area? Any good stories about your teen years in SB?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 377890 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 03:33 PM

Oh boy, I bet this question breaks the all time EdHat comment record! Ya' ready? GO!


 COMMENT 377892 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 03:35 PM

La Cumbre Plaza wasn't here...no big growth. Horse back riding where you couldn't now. Goleta was a tiny place, quiet and serene.


 COMMENT 377893 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 03:39 PM

You don't want to know. It will only make you misty-eyed for what's lost to us now.


 COMMENT 377894 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 03:42 PM

Whew!!...It was awesome! I attended all 3 high-schools, the old gas station on Hollister [by Venoco] was my club-house for a while [full of birds,thousands],
lived next to Robbie Benson on the Mesa, Frimples existed, folks dressed-up to go out, sirens were rare, most of my family lived in town. Circa 1975 to 79.


 COMMENT 377900 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 04:19 PM

It was killer!!!! What's scary is how fast it changed and continues to change for the worse.


 COMMENT 377904 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 04:36 PM

Riding skateboards at T-bowls, golf & fun.
Rolling the yachts at the fig tree for a sack of boo.
Hanging out a t Pickadilly square and the arcade.
All the cool old bands we had in back yards, r.k.l, rat pack, crucial dbc, and many more.
I could go on and on.


 COMMENT 377905P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 04:36 PM

It was a smaller town, with the neighborliness, freedom, and safety that implies. Kids (up to and including college students) could and did safely ride their bikes all over town, and even left them unlocked until they returned to them later. SB & Goleta were more of a single entity, without the animosity and separate identities that have recently become more prevalent. We had bonfires on the beach, long before the Bacara came, because the cops didn't want to hike 1/4 mile to the beach to tell us not to. (And we never had a wildfire or left behind garbage.) It wasn't a problem to visit the beach 24 hours a day; no one got upset if you were taking a walk at 2 AM.

We hiked all over the hills. We indulged normal teenage urges in lots of less populated parks, remote roads, etc. It used to be fun and safe to walk down State Street to window shop in all the non-chain stores. I actually liked the traffic lights on 101; it made us unique. The only bums in town all hung out at the fig tree. We could travel all over the state more cheaply on inexpensive airline flights or bus rides, so could make and keep friends at various UCs and state colleges.

We practiced archery in the parks and shot gophers in our back yards without neighbors calling the police. Personal responsibility was the norm, and privacy was still respected. There were no gangs and fewer crooks. Hitchhiking was common, but wasn't very safe. Sexism was prevalent, but on its way out. Our area had very low racial bias, with dating, marriages, and neighborhoods pretty mixed.

Aerospace jobs were prevalent and meant we had a fairly prosperous and vital middle class. There was more open space, so wandering was more fun. There was little graffiti. College was very affordable, and the state was prosperous and admired as a harbinger of the future. Overall, it was better 40 years ago, and it's a shame we can't recapture the best of that.


 COMMENT 377907 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 04:38 PM

Pony rides on Cabrillo and Garden, bonfires on Butterfly Beach without getting hassled by the cops, cruising the hobo village at the Childs Estate, roll a bowling ball down State St. anytime after 8:00 pm and not hit a single person, checking out the hippies hitch hiking at the 101 lights, fishing off Stearns Wharf and actually catching real fish - halibut , bonito, , barracuda etc. Times were simpler , and yes multiples of better then.


 COMMENT 377908P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 04:39 PM

Thank you Edhat readers for your postings - love the details. There must have been, though, some negative aspects growing up in Santa Barbara long ago.


 COMMENT 377909P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 04:42 PM

time rubs the sharp edges of memory smooth.


 COMMENT 377910P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 04:43 PM

It wasn't fun being stuck in Isla Vista, as it seemed far and such a hassle to amble around downtown Santa Barbara.


 AUNTIE S. agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 04:43 PM

It was very sweet, with small-town values. We were the " '50s kids" - well-behaved with very few trouble-makers. Both boys and girls belonged to teen Y clubs and the SBHS dances were the big social events. (Santa Barbara High was the only public high school so we all pretty much knew each other). There was plenty to do for fun too - beach parties, miniature golf, dances at the "Rec", sailing,hanging out at friends houses for dance parties (parents were always present) The only "bad" kids I remember were those who smoked or grabbed an occasional nip from their parents' liquor cabinet. Any "trouble" was usually of the high-jinks kind - like painting the Milpas St. cow - usually olive and gold. know it sounds phony but that's really the way it was and I miss it!


 COMMENT 377913P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 04:47 PM

Remember the dress codes at SBHS? Girls skirts were measured, guys had to have a collar on their tucked in shirt.


 COMMENT 377914 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 04:49 PM

Surfing campus point,overhead, with maybe 2 other people . As close to heaven as you'll get.


 COMMENT 377915 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 04:50 PM

A lot less crowded and a lot nicer people. We used to be known for how nice people were here.


 COMMENT 377917P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 04:58 PM

Yes, hitchhiking could be chancy back then. I remember when a college administrator picked me up and then placed his hand on my crotch. Usually those memories have been submerged. Overall, however, loved the spirit of serendipity back in the late 1960's and 1970's in Santa Barbara. Concerts at Earl Warren also. Lots of funny and eccentric characters. Laughs, innocence seemed to prevail. However, I do remember a classmate who told the scary details of crossing the border for an abortion.


 COMMENT 377919P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 05:01 PM

Is there some time-specific aspect of the question I'm missing? Is it _only_ about the 50s/60s etc. (the "good ol' days"), or is this some unspoken acknowledgement of likely Edhat demographics?


 COMMENT 377920P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 05:02 PM

Not long ago I was walking by an elementary school and could hear one of the kids talk about "humping." As a teen in SB way back, our vocabulary was very different.


 COMMENT 377921 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 05:03 PM

Skate park where the Chevy dealership is now. Ice skating on the mesa. You could boogie board WITH the surfers at Rincon. Endless access to the Los Padres on a weekly if not daily basis. Free access to Little and Big Caliente. A Cachuma that had water in it rather than the silt filled basin that it is today. Skateboarding WITH traffic. Bombing Carrillo on skateboards. Abandoning my first car at the State/101 signals to jump into a limousine full of girls on New Years. An Isla Vista Holoween that was more partiers than cops. Bob fires at Mesa Lane. Washing neighborhood cars for ski money. A&W at State/Cabrillo and at 101/154. The Wallabies that lived around the tree at the Blue Onion. The Milpas McConnels cow being painted for Santa Barbara/San Marcus. The drive in movies in Goleta. Just a few fond memories.


 COMMENT 377922 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 05:03 PM

I went to Santa barbara Junior High & High school. I remember the dress codes. I beg to ddiffer about gangs. There were gang fight in Ortega park a lot. Once a Don, always a don; I loved being in singing groups & writing for the Forge. We used to walk downtown and hang around woolworths and bennets where we could listen to music. And then take the bus home.


 COMMENT 377923 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 05:07 PM

Ialmost forgot that we used to go to the rec center after football games & dance. Verry Fun.


 COMMENT 377931 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 05:16 PM

Ditto 905P


 COMMENT 377932P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 05:21 PM

REXOFSB - I guess I will not be reading any of your posts again. Michelle Obama has not forced anyone to eat anything. She has just recommended that healthy eating is best for children and she would not exclude meat, butter and gravy. As for the expression you used - people are entitled to their opinions, but just because they are not the same as yours does not warrant an offensive remark. Which remark says more about you than her.


 FIRST DISTRICT agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 05:25 PM

If there were negative aspects I must have missed them.

I felt like the luckiest person on the planet and I still feel that way. . .


 COMMENT 377941 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 05:29 PM

The attitude today is different. A lot of selfishness, materialistic, aggressive, stressed, and fast paced in today's society. Then the number of people living here must have doubled since 1980 and there's many more collage students and tourists. All those things make it difficult to move around town and town and enjoy it especially if you remember how it used to be. And every time I hear our local government talk about the need for more housing and development I think to my self don't they realize that just means more crowds? All we have are the great memories and a few secret places the tour busses haven't found yet.


 COMMENT 377948P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 05:37 PM

Wasn't it good back then when the education system didn't have to buy into the "core curriculum?" There were lots of electives, instead of teaching to the test.


 COMMENT 377949P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 05:40 PM

Then, as now, there were horrific wars, while teens were often spared the realities of a harsher life.


 COMMENT 377966 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 06:23 PM

Cruising State!


 COMMENT 377970 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 06:40 PM

Ah yes! When kids were the heartbeat of neighborhoods riding their bikes and playing ball in the streets. It really was a great community. I remember parent's of kids I knew honking their horns and waving as I rode my bike daily with my pads and helmet on my handlebars making the 3.5 mile trek to the YFL fields on Los Positas for practice. I remember riding my bike to Roland's Nugget to get the motherload... a triple decker burger with all the fixings! Things were much more carefree back then.

Looking at all this craziness in today's society... it's amazing that I even made it! My Mother smoked cigs, we didn't have anti-tipping furniture, we rode around without helmets, and generally lived a carefree life. Maybe less politics and lawyers back then... I don't know, I was too young and having fun to care.


 COMMENT 377974P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 06:45 PM

It would be interesting to have a virtual Happy Hour at a local bar or restaurant with Edhat readers. Those posting on this question, please state what years your lo local teenage experiences occurred. 1950's , 60's, 70's, 80's


 COMMENT 377977 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 06:47 PM

It was boring as heck. But, safe (ish.)

But mostly? Boring.


 COMMENT 377978P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 06:48 PM

Some of these postings remind me: Does anyone recall a food fight in junior or high school here? I vaguely remember a few.


 COMMENT 377982P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 06:51 PM

977 - am interested how was SB boring? What years? Am curious if kids were more bored back then or now. Would be hard to quantify.


 COMMENT 377987P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 06:58 PM

Raised my kids here during those years starting in 1974. During those years, they would have agreed - boring. Now all three look back with major nostalgia when they remember all the good parts that somehow have disappeared. I think all teenagers think their lives are boring. It is only as adults that they look back and realize that it was really pretty good.


 COMMENT 377990 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 07:02 PM

"These are the good old days".


 COMMENT 377992 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 07:03 PM

Hippy, idealistic time...Sunburst Farms!...Nude beaches and granola...


 COMMENT 377997P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 07:14 PM

We were able to walk thru a park to go to school. (homeless people sleep in there now). We were able to be dropped off at a movie (a double feature - remember those?), without fear of being abducted. Milk at school cost 5 cents. There were 2 kindergarden classes. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. Field trips did not require body guards. Most moms were home when you got out of school. There was a place off of the wharf that was called Undersea Gardens (I think) and we went there all the time to see the creatures. There was implied trust that if your child should get into trouble every parent would be looking out for you. No one wanted to kidnap any of us. Just totally more innocent and simple.


 COMMENT 378000P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 07:19 PM

Back in the late 60's some teens talked about going to the Mission. It was the Mission theater on lower State Street that viewed mostly films in Spanish. Am uncertain when that theater was closed.


 COMMENT 378002P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 07:34 PM

It was nice back when we had institutions for the mentally ill, we were not as divisive and litigious, and there were fewer people who were casualties of a rigged, economic system. Santa Barbara in the 1970's seemed down home, unpretentious, there wasn't arugula on restaurant menus. Teens felt more of a sense of security with confidence in a future. Deregulation and privatization were not on the horizon yet. Almost daily I have gratitude for being a young person back then.


 COMMENT 378005P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 07:52 PM

Being a student in Jack Nakano's SBHS theatre class, and Youth Theater in the 1970's was awesome. Professional actors appeared in SBHS drama productions. A lot of our fellow students had successful careers in cinema and theater. It was a vibrant time though I recall being in class when the MLK assassination was reported. And Rob't Kennedy was killed around that time also, shortly after speaking at the Sunken Gardens of the Courthouse.


 COMMENT 378013 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 08:34 PM

Red top burgers/ minature golf behind el patio hotel /bowling alley carillo hotel/ under sea gardens at the harbor


 COMMENT 378028 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 09:10 PM

The best!


 MESARATS agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 09:33 PM

In was more of a live and live mentality, people didn't sweat the petty stuff, but sometimes we petted the smelly stuff. Kids and dogs ran arround like free range chickens, there were few fences on the Mesa and we didnt have a set curfew, but you just knew when it was too late. Skating the bowl, the ice patch, the skake park and full moon skating back from a night at the hot springs, Ashley Road skate shop on the Mesa, leaving for a weekend on Friday nights to Mono, as a kid figure drawing on Mountain Drive with my mom, naked surfing at Mesa Lane, never needing a bathing suite at Cold Springs, 7 Falls or Tear Drop which had the best water slide before the big storm left it full of boulders, 4th of July with the pits and street dances, all the open space on the Mesa, box sliding the hills after school, abalone burgers were cheaper than hamburgers at the snack shack at The Pit, concerts in the field at UCSB, the Dead, Fleetwood Mac, on the lawn at the bowl, Marley,Tosh, Cliff, etc...concerts at El Paso under open sky, dancing up the street in the first and following Solstice parades that were so ribald and fun, places in town where you could buy beer, or bars you could drink at if you didnt act like a jerk drunk kid, big Italian dinners on Sundays, my crazy Doberman dog my mom let me adopt out of quarenteen for biting that decided it was her life mission to pull me on my skateboard from the Mesa to Monticito and back and was my main source of transportation, when the beach bike path was just for bikes (and high speed dogs), being a sous chef at Casa Dorinda at 16. 6:00-2:30 and never was late or called in sick no matter how late was out the night before even if i had to walk (6 miles, in the snow, up hill both ways) Kid life was seperate from family life, like Peanuts. We all learned how to get ouselves where we wanted to go, deal with our social and practical problems and make mistakes, good or bad. Different style of parenting as well as the mores and folk ways back then. Yes, there were some casualities of the times. Santa Barbara was boring, so you had to make your own fun. In many ways I thought it sucked. Leaving town for better opportunities and coming back was a good thing. Broader perspective on life, but still having a blast, still doing much of the same and still just a Mesa Rat. Right now I can hear the kids next door running arround, throwing balls, running amuck, skateboards down the hill, climbing trees in the dark and that makes me happy. There is hope for the next generation.


 COMMENT 378037P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 09:50 PM

Back in the 1960's I vaguely recall there was an whistle like sound downtown which signaled something like 9 or 10 pm and the curfew was now in effect. Or is my memory fuzzy?


 COMMENT 378038P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 10:03 PM

Come on Edhat readers who were teenagers in the 1950's - what was it like being a youngun here?


 COMMENT 378039P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 10:12 PM

905P - So true!

919P – It’s been a lot different since then.

First District – I couldn’t agree more. We were just lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

941 – Run for City Council.


 COMMENT 378040P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 10:18 PM

Born and raised. 1953. We played outside until it got too dark to see. We walked to school and back, one mile each way. We went to summer camp at a local park. We walked everywhere and rode our bikes all over town----at ages 8-12.

Women were still wearing hats and gloves. Men wore suits. Divorce was just becoming less of a dirty word (mid- 60s). Divorcees were still stigmatized up until then. If you were a young girl and you got pregnant, your parents sent you out of town to have the baby: the child was then put up for adoption.

The negroes became blacks and then African Americans. They were relegated to Haley St., until mid-60s. If you saw a black person on State St. near, say, Thrifty's, it was a big shock.

We had eccentric people, harmless, and each with his/her own special strangeness. We had a few men expose themselves to us young girls, over the years, but we never heard much about anyone being raped. No one ever talked about family abuse. If you hit your kids (or your wife), it was your business and no one else's. (Glad that's changed!)

No kids went missing, dogs were still able to roam the neighborhoods (until mid-70s). My dog used to sleep in the middle of my street. We had the ice cream man and the Helms delivery truck. There were still some milk men, too, but not many.

When people ask me how much and how SB has changed, I tell them I used to ride my bike up APS with two dogs running behind me (1970-1972). When we were eight years old, we used to ride our bikes from the Mission to "The Plunge" and swim all day. Then mothers would come pick us up.

We practically lived at East Beach, when we were in our early teens. We loved our transistor radios. You had to wear your shorts (no swimming) if you were girl and it was "that time of the month." The lifeguards used to let us use their paddle boards. We body surfed all day, if there were waves.

We played upstairs at the Cabrillo Rec Center. Free pool and free jukebox and lots of ping pong. We got to know the black kids and everyone was good friends.

W... [ more ]


 COMMENT 378041P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 10:22 PM

I remember in the early seventies, my two friends and I were driving in IV. We had been drinking beer. A cat jump out in front of my car and I swerved to miss the cat. A foot patrol officer saw me and told me to pullover. When he opened the car door empty beer cans fell out onto the road with a clanging noise. After talking to us for a few minutes he ask if I could drive. I said yes and he allowed us to drive home. It was a much smaller town and life was different.


 COMMENT 378044P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 10:45 PM

Thanks for these insights, especially appreciate 040P
What a pleasure (mostly) gaining insights from fellow Edhat readers.


 COMMENT 378047P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 10:52 PM

I remember the A & W in Goleta where Rusty's pizza is.
Dressing up and being in the Fiesta Parade every year.
Riding horses on the dunes. Helmans bakery truck on the way to 3rd grade.Swenson's ice cream parlor on Calle Real. Coronet store on Holister . Grocery store ,library and bike shop and Post office all in one shopping center on south Fairview 1960s,Driving up old San Marcos pass trying to drive the curves. Thrify ice cream 10 cents cones.
Smorgasboard great food where part of Vons is now.Skating rink in Santa Barbara So Much fun learning how to skate to music.Brays 101 restaurant,Sambo's in Goleta. Bob's big boy Yummy! I remember grocery stores had round check out turn tables.The oil spill at Goleta Beach! Timber's Restaurant where while eatting dinner cowboys would walk around shooting fake guns in the air.Wonderful times, life was so much easier.


 COMMENT 378070P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-24 08:07 AM

I was born in 71 so my teens were in the 80's and we had the State Arcade (awesome!!) and spent a lot of time downtown. Back then we knew most of the homeless by name, like "Twitch" and the nice guy in the wheelchair and then there was the blues musician that hung out by the Fiesta and had a beautiful smile. Lower State Street was dangerous, there were addicts and bums down there and hookers too, the pimp would drive around in his white Cadi and big hat and try to talk to us girls who hung around the State arcade but we always told him to go away!

On Friday nights there were break dancing competitions near the State Arcade or De La Guerra Plaza and it was totally entertaining. Not much else to do for us poor kids really, we snuck into the Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight on Friday's, got bums to buy us booze and drank in the circle at Alice Keck Park, got chased by gang members because some of our friends were punk rockers and had mohawks... most of the punk rockers hung out on "Rooster's Corner" which is the corner in front of the Art Museum on State and Anapamu.

We still had Picadilly Square back then and felt that going to the beach and the pier were for tourists. Sad that we felt that about our own hometown! Except for Hendry's and Goleta Beach, and Hammonds beach, those were for locals. Back then Hammonds was a gated area with a dirt road that led to the beach and had ruins in the center with blackberries all around and we used to go down to the beach and have bonfires & party all night. Good stuff! Too bad that there wasn't anything for teens to do but party lol, but we did have a good time and everyone knew everyone else.


 COMMENT 378074P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-24 08:13 AM

Rex, I have kids in SB schools and they like the healthier lunches way better than the lunches before they were modified. And Harding has probably the best food out of all of the public schools in SB because they have, for longer than any other SB school, gotten all of their food LOCALLY and they make every bit of it fresh, daily, at the school. My kids had been at Roosevelt before moving to Harding and they totally loved the Harding food, in part because it tasted and felt healthier because it was fresher. :)


 COMMENT 378075P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-24 08:16 AM

Yes, being a teen or young adult and experiencing the bizarre midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show which was exhibited weekly for how long? Surreal - with flying toast, etc. Silly fun and more engaging than connecting via Facebook and the internet.


 COMMENT 378088 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-24 09:05 AM

@074P: I'm actually glad to hear that, since I don't like seeing food go to waste, even if it isn't as palatable as in days of yore. Despite snarks to the contrary, I never advocated pizza or McDonald's for cafeteria food; rather, when I went to Harding in the 1950s the food was fantastic--mashed potatoes with shredded beef, bread with real butter on it, real milk, etc. The funny thing is that the kids of that era didn't seem any more obese than the kids of today.

I don't know how things are today, but it's my understanding that "back in the day" there were all kinds of government subsidies that assured very low prices to schools of things like dairy products, meat, etc., sort of on the order of "gub'mint cheese."

There have been a few recent TV reports of many kids not eating today's "healthy" cafeteria food and throwing it away. After seeing first-hand some of the concoctions that are being served in school lunchrooms, I can well believe it.


 RED CREEK agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-24 09:36 AM

We liked running around by what became the harbor and playing around on the sand hill while digging for giant fossil clams.

We liked going to El Paseo for family dinners when the food and service was old fashioned but good.

We liked watching the La Cumber shopping center being built and then buying our prom dresses and suits there.

We liked the quiet downtown streets, even quieter local beaches and parks, more or less clean school sports rivalries and lack of hard drugs.

It was kind of boring, but we could always cruise State Street or hang out in the growing IV area on Friday nights for parties, or if you were really daring get your palm read at the fortune teller in downtown Goleta.


 COMMENT 378107P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-24 10:28 AM

I didn't grow up in SB, but have read similar nostalgia for the place where I grew up. The whole country has changed, not just SB. Likewise, our memories have become selective -- many people have a nostalgia for the simple days of the '50's (when people actually felt the threat of impending nuclear attack and built home bomb shelters, which seems anything other than carefree).


 COMMENT 378167P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-24 03:07 PM

Yeah Rex, the kids that throw away the "healthier" food are probably the obese kids that have parents that don't cook for them and instead feed them junk food. If you cook at home your kids will be healthier, period, because actual cooking usually includes food in its natural form. Personally, I think that the price is too high to go out to eat and I can feed my family of 4 for about $10 a day or less but going to taco bell costs about $20 for all of us. Not that we don't do that once in a while and we for sure use butter and real milk and stuff in our food but we always have veggies with our meals. My kids will hit up the school salad bar if given the option, and I think that most kids will as long as their parents feed them healthy food at home. And I recall cafeteria food as being really disgusting when I was a kid, it's much better now!


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