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Alhambra memories from Moors of the past

Moors of yesteryear will be coming together to remember the Alhambra of their childhood. The Alhambra High School class of 1988 will be hosting a 25-year anniversary in August, while the class of 1964 will be celebrating 50 years in September 2014. As the alumni groups plan these memory-filled reunions, AHS graduates from both classes shared their favorite Alhambra memories with us. Read their stories below.

We lived on Westmont Drive between Valley Boulevard and Hellman Avenue. My grandmother walked with my brother and I to Fremont Elementary every day. After school, she came and got us and we went shopping at one of the local supermarkets and often stopped at the Grandview Italian Market for salami and cheese. There was also the infamous castle up the hill.  We heard rumors that it was surrounded by quicksand. It was a little mysterious and such a great landmark.

Lorna Collins's family home was built on old polo grounds.

I loved the Helms Bakery Truck, the ice cream truck, and the train station where Elvis made a whistle stop when he returned from the army. Unfortunately, I didn't get to go see him, but it was such a thrill knowing he had stopped in our city. The annual Hi-Neighbor Parade in downtown Alhambra and the Halloween Carnival at Fremont Elementary were always special events. The most unusual thing we did was, right after Christmas, our grandma would take us walking up Valley Boulevard and we would collect free calendars for the new year from the local businesses. 

-Scarlett Davis-Larkin, retired business analyst, AHS class of 1964

Alhambra was truly a small town in the 1950s and 1960s. My family moved into the first phase of the Midwick Tract in the fall of 1948. Our back fence marked the division between Alhambra and Monterey Park. The large vacant lot behind us contained no buildings, but was the perfect place for forts and other imaginative play. At the end of our street abutting Garvey Avenue was “The Gully" where all the neighbor kids collected frogs and pollywogs and snakes. Some of them even made it into the house before our mothers screamed and made us take them back.The Lund family and friends celebrating Lorna's birthday.Midwick was really more of an extended family than a neighborhood. Most of the original owners were GIs just starting their families following WWII, so nearly every house held at least one child our age or close to it. We’ve always joked that none of us could ever get away with doing anything wrong because by the time we reached home, our parents knew about it. 

Granada Park was where everyone hung out. It was within walking distance, but most of us rode our bicycles. The park was the home of Little League, and many of us learned to swim in the pool. During the summer, the park held programs where we learned to do crafts. I’m sure many of us still have the lanyards, key chains, painted plaster figures, etc. from those idyllic summer days.

-Lorna (Lund) Collins, author, AHS class of 1964

The Lund family in the Midwick Tract.

I was privileged to play sports all my life growing up in the 1980s.  Watching the Lakers’ "Showtime" and Magic Johnson instilled my passion for playing basketball. I was very lucky to be recruited to play basketball at Alhambra High as a freshman. My friends at AHS, Stephanie Ota and Paige Hashimoto, played basketball as well.  I had so much fun being their friends. 

I look back and remember how diverse we were. From disco to rock or Aqua Net hair spray to Local Motion attire, going to school was fun and Alhambra broadened these horizons.

Living in Alhambra has had a positive impact. I say this with great pride that Alhambra is a place where you give back with "MOOR PRIDE." The diversity at Alhambra has given me the tools in life to live contingent on friendships and family. From great caring neighbors to hard working civic organizations, it's a place where you want to see your children grow up. Alhambra is definitely a place where I see myself raising my son Lucas and will forever be memorable and thankful.

A 1987 clipping from The Moor

-Lucy Banuelos, PAC-12 Women’s Division-I Basketball official, AHS class of 1988

I still look back fondly on the memories I made in Alhambra. I remember seeing Ghostbusters at the theater at the corner of Atlantic Boulevard and Main Street. Fosselman's was always a favorite as was Norm's and Rick's. We went to Twohey's often after social functions.

We moved to our house on Midwickhill Drive in 1976. It was wonderful to have friends living down the street while attending Marguerita Elementary. At AHS it was so enlightening to meet kids from different schools. During my freshman year, I joined the swim team and the Tri-Hi-Y social club Laule'a. My teachers were the source of what I consider to be an extremely enriching experience. Throughout my time at AHS, I made friends who I keep in touch with to this day. I also became very active in student government and other activities. I think it was those opportunities to lead various groups that gave me the confidence to pursue my eventual career in law. The students and teachers were truly special.

Lucy Banuelos officiating a Pac-12 game.

-Antoinette Picon Hewitt, Esq., attorney, AHS class of 1988

The 25-year reunion for the Alhambra High School class of 1988 is on Aug. 17, 2013, at Almansor Court from 6 p.m. to midnight. The event is Hawaiian-themed with live luau entertainment. Price is $88 per person and includes dinner. Register and buy your tickets here.

The 50-year reunion for the Alhambra High School class of 1964 is on Sept. 6, 2014, at the Irvine Marriott. Pre-registration is $90 per person until Aug. 31, 2013. Send a check, payable to Larry Dicus, to AHS 1964 50th Reunion, c/o Larry Dicus, 11736 Rancho Verde Dr., Whittier, Calif., 90601. Alumni can send contact information and get more details by emailing [email protected]

The Alhambra Source encourages comment on our stories. However, we do not vet comments for accuracy or endorse links to posts in the comment section. The thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author of the comment.

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1 thought on “Alhambra memories from Moors of the past”

  1. I also learned to swim at Granda Park, although we lived near the corner of Garfield and Valley. My dad was a dentist near that corner, next to the Unemployment Building. There were also Shell and Mobile stations on the corner and the famous, “Best Pastrami in the Wold” Hat. I delivered the Los Angeles Examiner which had their office across the street from the Hat. And, there was the Garfield Theater on Valley where I first met Marilyn Monroe (on the silver screen) and fell in love with her.

    Alhambra was a great place to grow up!

    Alhambra High School, class of ’63, has their 50th reunion this year on October 5th at the Hilton Irvin/Orange County Airport. You may register for the reunion at Great Reunions dot Com. It’s only $99 per person.

    Dennis Davis