Current and former residents flock to discuss "old school Arcadia"

More than 5,000 posts in a week on Tina Sweet's Facebook Group topic.

Nostalgia has a way of bringing strangers and friends alike together.

Just a week after Resident Tina Sweet posted a Facebook group topic, “You Know You're From Old-School Arcadia if You Remember...,” the thread became inundated with more than 5,000 posts.

At first, it was all in good fun.

People talked about favorite hangouts of bygone eras and even favorite or not-so-favorite school teachers. A mention of a particular restaurant, bar or moment in Arcadia history would prompt a dozen people to weigh in.

But it didn’t take long before the less attractive side of human nature came out in comments later decried by group moderator Sweet as offensive, obscene and even racist with regards to statements about Arcadia's changing demographics.

Eventually, the comment thread regressed to wallowing in the past.

It seems many of us want everything to stay exactly the same as it was in our youth.

I’m not sure what it is that makes us so fond of reflection. Even though we complained about life and parents and school in our pre-teen and teen years, as adults we often look back on those times as our glory days.

Is it that we see those days through rose-colored glasses? Or that, like the Barbra Streisand song says, “What’s too painful to remember we simply choose to forget; so it’s the laughter we will remember whenever we remember the way we were?”

Some of us have few unpleasant memories from our youth. But when we reflect on our youth as superior to the life we lead now, what does that say about us?

For others, reflecting on their youth is simply a momentary recollection of happy times from a different chapter of life, golden memories to be cherished.

Let’s hope that’s the perspective that future generations have on today’s Arcadia as it eventually becomes their “old-school Arcadia.”

Read more by Scott Hettrick at ArcadiasBest.com

Gene Glasco August 12, 2011 at 04:14 AM
We had a hunch you'd find a story in a bunch of former Arcadians reflecting on their youth, and their coming of age and remembering a much different Arcadia than it is today. It's fun sometimes to look back, make the comparisons, and realize that we probably live much better today, than we, and our parents did before us many decades ago. I think the infatuation with reminiscing the past is more a vicarious step back in time to our youth , living "la vida loca", and knowing we still had at least four times as many years ahead us then we had already lived. Beard Papa may be great, but give me back the good old Foster Freeze on Live Oak and I'll be happy!
Dawn Hess August 12, 2011 at 09:22 PM
As noted on the Arcadia site mentioned in this article: Is Scott originally from Arcadia? If not, it might be an interesting experiment, and probably a good subject for an article or two, if he started a site for his old home town to see what differs from ours. It may give him quite a different perspective. Mr. Scott Hettrick, what do you think? I was happy to see your article about this site, but really wished it had had more focus on the great stuff being shared here, instead of the negative, as I think there is much more of the positive on this site, as it was intended!
Scott Hettrick August 12, 2011 at 10:44 PM
When I got here there was a Foster Freeze in the El Pollo Loco on Live Oak at Baldwin, and then there was one in the El Pollo Loco on Santa Anita at Duarte until recently, but both are gone now. And I'm sure neither measured up to the ambience of the stand-alone ones.
Scott Hettrick August 12, 2011 at 10:53 PM
No, I did not grow up in Arcadia. Been here a mere 21 years. I grew up in several towns but primarily one town from 6th grade through high school; they have all also gone through the big changes as most towns do. My primary town went through huge economic changes -- the primary good ol' downtown business and residential area became a ghost town and very run down (as did Old Pasadena and Hollywood), and drug houses became prominent, as young people moved out to more affluent and newer developments and nearby cities with more contemporary offerings. Now, like the other cities noted, my primary home town has had somewhat of a resurgence through investment in renovation, but still nothing like it was in the good ol days. All the nostalgic comments on Sweet's Facebook Group page are very fun to read; I was just pondering what makes us all reflect so fondly on the days of our youth -- nothing disparaging intended.
Richard Rapp August 12, 2011 at 11:41 PM
It is very rare that painful old memories dominated your days, no matter how how bad they were, and all but the most fortunate of us continue to have trials in each new phase of our lives. Looking back, one thing everyone knows for certain is, I survived the trials and enjoyed the good times. Juxtaposed against today's angst, that will always make the "good old days" seem better. People are extremely social as well as curious. We all had relationships to varying degrees that the circumstances of life put an end to. Suddenly, technology has provided a conduit to satisfy old curiosities and awaken suppressed emotions. It seems perfectly natural to me that people take advantage of such an opportunity and reestablish (if only temporarily) some of those old connections. Personally, I love the old places and the memorable events, but in reality, it is about the people I have reconnected with; the rest being simply the vehicle for that connection.
Bob Fasching August 13, 2011 at 12:58 AM
Scott, You didn't grow up in Arcadia, so you will never understand and don't try to.
Scott Hettrick August 13, 2011 at 01:42 AM
Not trying to. I did grow up in a town I am equally nostalgic about. This is not about not understanding your nostalgia as you'll see I said those comments were fun to read.
Scott Hettrick August 13, 2011 at 01:46 AM
Addendum to my original post: Sadly, I see some people on this Group page are now using profanity and telling me to leave Arcadia for what they perceived as a negative take on Tina's thread and that this must be a case of me feeling sour grapes because I didn't grow up here. In fact, I had very similar experiences in my hometown and am thrilled to see so many have the same feelings of nostalgia for people and places of old Arcadia. As I noted in my blog -- those comments were fun. My blog was referring to the other comments that Tina herself described as racist, and also just asking why it seems that some people revel in that short period of time in their childhoods -- I do it too. Sorry that many people on the Facebook Group are now taking a simple post here as negative and choosing to castigate me far more directly and abrasively and judgmentally than what they incorrectly perceived me to be doing. I love my adopted hometown of Arcadia; I also have fond feelings for my original hometown; I love that people who grew up here love Arcadia (even all those who moved away as I did from my hometown). There is no negativity or judgment here (except for the racist comments); just pondering some things; which is part of my job as a blogger. Kudos to Tina Sweet for prompting so many people to reconnect on a topic of such obvious wide appeal.
Dave Samarzich August 13, 2011 at 03:51 AM
I know Scott folks and he is a "pro" Arcadia dude. In fact when i did a lot of fundraisers in arcadia to help the Special Olympics, AHS football team Scot was always a stand up guy. SO everyone back off him. What I am having issues with are taking the name SALTER off the Stadium-- Coach Richard S. "Dick" Salter was an incredible person whom shaped the lives of many, many of the "old" school youth. I am simply saddened that the 85 year old man that i looked to as a father figure for many years sits in a wheel chair humbly not asking why? It makes me sick that his family is left to sit and ponder why? So without question these are the things that that little news paper needs to write about. In fact i have another issue-- they wouldn't even put a bronze plaque of Bruce Matthews 19 year NFL HALL OF FAMER up at the high school-- I hope they enjoy seeing the $$$ i will raise for dinner in 2012 go over to a different city because of their selfish, inconsiderate way.
Marian Bower August 13, 2011 at 05:37 AM
I was technically from Sierra Madre, we lived in the Arcadia Unified School district. My stomping grounds were everywhere from Upper Hastings Pasadena to Monrovia. I went to both Alverno Heights Academy and Arcadia High School. My youth was an unencumbered time and full of fun. I think we look back so fondly more because of learning what true respnsibility is and desiring the carefree time of our youth. It isn't that it was all great, but that it can't truly be recaptured. We just know too much to be that carefree anymore.
Scott Hettrick August 13, 2011 at 05:40 AM
Thanks Big Sam. Yikes, didn't know about the Salter situation and Matthews. I'll start asking around.
Scott Hettrick August 13, 2011 at 05:43 AM
Very intelligent and thoughtful response. Thanks Marian -- you and Gene Glasco offered some good perspective; much appreciated.
Gene Glasco August 13, 2011 at 03:22 PM
"Old School" Apaches share a special bond and wonderful heritage. We grew up in a different and less complicated time. Memories of our formative years in Arcadia are both unique unto ourselves and at the same time universally understood and celebrated among us all who were fortunate to be raised here.
lynne adams asdel August 13, 2011 at 11:30 PM
Great place to growup. With the racetrack traffic and all! Lol still have wonderful friends from my childhood there. Also a husband, Joe Asdel, AHS class "57" of 51 yrs.
Al Hamichart August 16, 2011 at 05:11 AM
I like this article and I am one that has removed myself from that particular Facebook group because of some idiots that can't let go of the past and cannot except change. I am an Asian American who grew up in the Arcadia School system throughout the 80s and early 90s. I really never experienced racism and I have mainly Caucasian friends. But as time has moved on and I get older, I see more and hear more racist comments made by people about how Arcadia has changed and the Asians have ruined Arcadia. The sad part is that I've called some of these people friends of mine. These people that have taken shots at the change in Arcadia don't factor in that this is what happens to a society or city over time. Boyle Heights was populated by Jews before it became Hispanic. Inglewood was mostly Caucasian before it became mostly African American. Glendale had various ethnicities before it became populated of mostly Armenians. Arcadia didn't just get invaded by an army of Asian people who forced the residents of the city to leave. These racists forget that Mom and Dad sold their homes and got top dollar and moved away to Glendora, La Verne, Orange County, etc..Nobody put a gun to their head to sell and to move away.Instead, they blame the people who put the money in their parents pockets. They blame these people for doing the same exact thing their great grandparents did years ago when they landed on Ellis Island. What a shame that people have to live in the past and blame the present.
Scott Hettrick August 16, 2011 at 11:13 PM
Big Dave, Good news: Principal David Vannasdall told me that Salter Stadium wording is scheduled to go up at the AHS stadium, specifically on the outside of the elevator tower where it will be visible from the street, as was always planned. These things take longer than everyone would like to get accomplished -- Wording for Arcadia High School itself has not even been completed on the front of the new Student Services Building. He is looking into the Bruce Matthews options. In meantime, Mayor Kovacic had a great idea for our Arcadia HIstorical Society to create our 9th Historic Marrker at school near stadium that would include references to both Salter and Matthews, among others, which Society is already looking into and which Mr. Vannasdall is very agreeable to.


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