Memories of weekend outings with my dad

One of my earlier memories of an outing with dad was going to get gas on our assigned day during the gas shortage crisis of the late 1970’s. We would putter down the road in our boat of a car, which I believe at the time was the emerald green LTD. Then we would wait in a long line of frustrated motorists to fill ‘er up. If I was a good girl, dad would buy me an Orange Crush soda.

As I got older, I remember my dad having this odd habit of only filling up the gas tank by a quarter or half a tank. I never quite understood the logic behind this, I just assumed he was trying to pinch pennies, though we were never so bad off that we couldn’t afford a full tank of gasoline. Maybe he had been permanently scarred by the gas shortage.

Michael Brown/

We would also go see the waterfall at a place called the Tahitian Village. It was a kitschy Tiki-themed mini-resort, with a hotel, lounge, restaurant and coffee shop all rolled into one. I guess it was kind of a poor man’s version of Trader Vic’s. The over-the-top decor could be found on the exterior as well, and that’s where I remember walking on a bridge while holding my dad’s hand, to see a waterfall. It was especially refreshing on a hot summer day. Tahitian Village had its heyday in the 1960’s-1970’s and has long since been torn down.

Looking for photos of the Tahitian Village led me to a whole collection of photos of my hometown, Downey, Calif. on Flickr, that really brought back a lot of memories. So many places that I associate with my childhood have either been torn down or are on the chopping block, all to make way for another strip mall. It should be of no great surprise, as not many small businesses survive 30 years or more in this world anymore. Still, it’s a bit sad to see that all I have remaining of my childhood landmarks are captured in photos or in my memories.

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