Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Texas Tidbits : Irving - My Hometown

I know many of my friends back in Texas will relate to this post. So many of them, like me, grew up or lived in Irving long enough to call it "my hometown". I moved to Irving the summer before my 10th birthday in 1966, and the population of Irving was, if I recall correctly, about 40,000. Now over 200,000 live in the City. Wow! My little town has grown up! Irving was founded in 1903 by J.O. "Otto" Schultz and Otis Brown (who was later mayor of Irving) and is believed to be named after author Washington Irving who was a favorite of Mrs. Brown. I haven't been to Irving in at least nine years, therefore I can only guess how much it's changed during that time. However, I do remember how Irving was when I was a little boy riding my Schwinn 5-Speed Stick Shift bike (even then the chicks dug a cool set of wheels :) ) literally all over town - from near Wakefield's Grocery and Mr. Wood's Barber Shop on Shady Grove all the way to the 183 Apartments where my Dad lived. As a kid , that was as cool as riding a Harley, pure freedom. Here are some other things that come to mind when reliving the '60's in my hometown, in no particular order...
  • Cliff's Donuts (and later next door Cliff's Pizza). Mr. Shasteen was a very nice man who on occasion let a group of young men of drinking age have all night get-togethers with FREE pizza ! Almost 40 years too late...thanks, Mr. Shasteen. Oh, yeah...Cliff's Donuts were a Sunday morning tradition for Sunday School at the Baptist Church just up the street on Story Road.
  • Denny's on Hwy.183...I spent many after partying hours eating chili there with Tommy Thompson and Mark Hardesty. Tommy's now dead (RIP BROTHER) and last I heard, Mark is a long-time guest of the State.
  • The 183 Drive-In - Where The Duke his own self, John Wayne stood on top of the concession stand with rifles a-blazin' for the World Premier of True Grit, in which Wayne won an Oscar for his role as Rooster Cogburn.
  • Texas Stadium - not only for all the Cowboys' games I attended there with Randy Randle, but for the thousands of fellow Nimitz High graduates who walked the stage passing from schoolkid to welcome-to-the real world young people.
  • Dar Roedel and Linda Staggs - These two ladies were more than teachers or counselors, they were friends and second Moms to an untold number of kids, me included. I love them dearly and will never forget the impact they had on my life. 
  • Friends - too many to mention, because there were/are so many of you. From waaaaaay back : Keith Story and Mark Warren. I have known those guys for over 40 years and I'll never forget them. Randy Randle, Marvin, Dee Dee, Dewayne, John and Marty. They treated me like one of their family and to this day, I consider them my family. Tommy Thompson...maybe the best friend I ever had, and that's saying something. I loved Tommy like a brother and wish I could have just one more beer with him. I hope I was half the friend to him that he was to me. Mark Hardesty... Mark was, shall we say, "rough around the edges", but he was a great friend. I would say more, but I'm not sure the Statute of Limitations has run out. All the friends I have re-connected with through Facebook. I love you guys and I can only say "It was fun" or "I'm sorry". You decide which camp you are in. :)
I could carry on for hours, but that will be for another time, perhaps. What are your memories of Irving? Or your hometown? Tell us in the comments, we'd love to know.


  1. Reading this post I felt like I was right there with you through the whole thing. Even though I was born in 1975 lol. However it brought a tear to my eye reading your feelings how you cared so deeply for your friends and I know they cared for you and still care for you the same way.

  2. Heather...thank you very much. :)

  3. Cliff's Donuts still exists but owned by someone else (they bought the name) and it is located in with the burger joint (old Braum's) that was behind it. In the spot where the old Cliff's stands a CVS Pharmacy.
    183 Drive In and Texas Stadium no longer exist. I miss them!!!
    Dar Roedel and Linda Staggs made an impact on anyone they touched. They are amazing women!!

  4. Sandra...thanks for the comment! A CVS where Cliff's used to be? That's a travesty! LOL I figured things had changed quite a bit, but dang. My Mom used to live on Patricia St and Braum's was one of her favorite places to eat burgers. I think I'd feel lost if I went back to Irving with so many of the familiar places going by the wayside. But it's still home...that won't change.

  5. Sorry to hear about Tommy, I occaisionally wonder. Used to get a lot of auto parts and quarter pounders from him out of the back door of Kissinger's Auto Parts.

  6. Thanks, Anon...I hadn't talked to Tommy for a while and found out quite by accident that he'd died. I was stunned to say the least. I miss that guy every day and hope that his wife, Rita Huerta, is doing OK. I appreciate you taking time to comment and don't be a stranger!

  7. Good times in Irving my hometown! They are in the middle of trying to redevelop the old downtown area (South Irving). They have torn down lots of buildings and sorry to say we lost our Denny's on 183 and MacArthur this year....making room for more lanes on 183. I have to say I'm glad they tore down some of those run down apartment buildings and hopefully it will be a better place but nothing like when we were growing up...our youth, learning and living life.

  8. Thanks for the info, Anon! I hate to see Denny's go. I had a million bowls of what they called chili and loved every damn bite of it! Of course after a hard night's drinking over at the Old Theater or some place on Harry Hines, pretty much anything was tastin' good. LOL

  9. You wouldn't recognize most of Irving now if you were to visit. There were two more stores at Shady Grove and Story Rd that should be mentioned. Kids from both north and south of Shady Grove made the trek regularly to Hutch's Grocery store and Parkit Markit. I know Carol Lotspeich and I spent many an afternoon collecting coke bottles and turning them in for a nickel each at Parkit Markit to buy more cokes and candy.

  10. Robin...I was almost getting a headache trying to remember Hutch's. Thank you for jarring my memory. And thanks for the comment!

  11. Kari (Washam) KolberJuly 29, 2010 at 3:06 AM

    You got the memory juices flowing...

    I have a lot of memories in Irving beginning in 1967 at the Vikings/Seven Seas Apartments. They were across the street from Treasure City and directly behind Ken Grantham Ford. My friend and I used to jack with the car wash at the dealership and always make it run halfway and stop where no cars could go through it. Then I might find a mouse or frog on the way home and take it indoors where my Mother would catch me, make me turn them loose outdoors, then spray the door handles with Lysol.

    Cliff's Donuts were indeed yummy! I can almost taste them now.

  12. Kari...great story! I was gonna mention Treasure City but was afraid no one would remember it. I played pinball there in the entrance way to the store a million tin times. Three games for a dime! Thanks for taking time to share and comment!

  13. Roaming the countryside, from Hunter-Ferrell Rd. (Deadman's Curve),the bowling alley @ Beltline & 183, OLD Las Calinas(when it was just pasture land, Irving Theatre, 183 Drive-in, O'Gee's Drive-in (my Mom worked there), the cow pasture behind Nimitz High, Friday night football games @ Irving School Stadium.....should I go on and on...the memories, the life, the friends...Tob, you started a flow here... Thanks.. Not sure how to complete the sending of this message,

    James Ott

  14. Great memories, James! Let 'em flow, brother! I appreciate you stopping by my little corner of the internet and commenting. Please come back anytime!

  15. You didn't mention the smell of Fritos cooking coming south down Loop 12 after a night in Dallas. Fritos always remind me of those times.

  16. That's so true, Anon! Thanks for the reminder. :)

  17. My family moved to Irving from Ft. Worth in 1946 when I was three years old. I graduated from IHS in 1962, and lived in Irving until I was 36 years old. At first we lived about three or four miles west of town on Rock Island Road. A couple of miles further west of us, down towards Beltline Road, there was a feed store and, I think, a grocery store. It was owned by Mr. Hymes (or Himes?). For some reason Mr. Himes liked me, and, with my parents' permission, would take me for rides in his Cadillac up and down Rock Island Road when I was four or five years old. Himes was trying to start his own town there, and called it Himes City. But about 1949 or 1950?, the store burned down. I still remember that day, and along with my parents saw it burning.

    Around 1951 we moved into Irving to a house we bought at 320 N. Britain Road, just next door to Blankenship's day care center, and, unfortunately, west of and downwind from the roofing plant. That was no fun.

    I attended Central Elementary and later Bowie Junior High. For a time my mother worked as a clerk at Lyndman's Toyland, which later became Cooper's Toyland. Cooper, who, I believe ,was the manager of the next door A&P Supermarket, was hired by Lyndman to manage Toyland. Later he, Cooper, took it over.

    A year or so before construction began on the new Irving High School on O'connor Road, just north of Lively Street (before it got swallowed up by Pioneer), our family moved to a new (to us) house, 540 Cedar Drive. Before the Haciendas Apts were built, I could have walked less than a hundred yards to the new high school. But I never did. I drove. No self-respecting teenager would be caught dead walking to school when he could have driven.

    During this time I worked after school at Hill and Martin Grocery and attended the First Baptist Church.


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