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Remembering downtown Menlo Park “back in the day”

by Laura Pitchford on September 15, 2012

Joe Prein (right) at his music store in downtown Menlo Park

Recently, I was lying awake in the middle of the night trying to remember the name of the record store in downtown Menlo Park I went to with my younger sister Shell to buy Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (the 1978 movie version featuring The BeeGees and Peter Frampton). I could remember the day like it was yesterday, down to the name of the guy (Johnny Ransahoff) who sold me the record (yes, record) and how much I paid for it, but I could not for the life of me remember the name of the store.

The next morning I sent an email to my siblings and several of our lifelong friends who also grew up in either Menlo or Atherton to ask if anyone could remember the store’s name. With over 500 years of memories between us, we were able to come up with it — Joe Prein’s Music Store. [Joe Prein is right in photo circa 60s; anyone know who the other man and woman are?]

My one question was the beginning of a chain of emails filled with long forgotten Menlo Park trivia. Our 50-year-old memories began to wake up. We all remembered certain things: That life was simpler then.  That we rode our bikes everywhere in search of the best candy, toy, beloved pet, music and fun.

We remembered getting pixie sticks, red ropes, gum balls and chewable wax teeth, lips and mustaches from the Little Store, dipping into the pickle jar at Duca and Hanley, buying cinnamon sticks at Toy and Party, and sitting on Santa’s lap in this little holiday house in front of Menlo Camera. We all seemed to remember certain stores: Mary’s Stork to Teen, Stevens Fabrics, Derry’s Feed and Fuel. 

Charline reminded us of the over abundance of Palm Readers in Menlo Park. We counted at least three. We recalled charge accounts at Draeger’s and Preuss. We could even remember several of the shop owners and employees who fitted us for school shoes and restrung our tennis rackets.

Almost all of us remember Edy’s Ice Cream [on Encinal, now the Carriage Stop portion of Roger Reynolds Nursery.]. LeeLee said that she can still hear the little bell ring as the screen door opened, the smell of the refrigerating ice cream, and having to climb on a step on tip toes to see over the counter. Lisa loved the Swedish Raspberry and Bayomints. Pat remembers puking there when Rooney and Seamus took Mark’s and Pat’s Little League team there post-game.

Some of the fun was trumping others as the emails crossed paths. Lisa came up with Gindell’s Pet Shop, a name that escaped the rest of us, although we all could remember exactly where the pet store was located on Santa Cruz, and that Mrs. Gindell had a blonde beehive hairdo. Lauren remembered getting her hamster there, while Rooney remembered buying his box turtle and riding home with it on his handle bars.

We also remembered that there were two bike shops but we only went to one, Menlo Bike and Key… that the Pink Pastry was a particular favorite and that Oxford’s Delicatessen had the best roast beef sandwiches. And, of course, George and Bob [who owned a Chevron station] actually filled your car’s tank with gas at a fraction of what it costs to self serve today!

All in all, we came up with a close to a hundred businesses but even more wonderful memories!  What started as a forgotten store name on my part turned into lots of laughs.

Do you have memories and photos from some time “back in the day” whether that’s the 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s in Menlo Park? Let us know: tips[at]inmenlo.com

Photo courtesy of Menlo Park Historical Association

{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Askins September 15, 2012 at 1:13 pm

The Little Store was a weekly stop for a candy treat after school! Good memories. I also remember Alec shopping center (where Safeway stands now), The Children’s Bootery, Ann’s Coffee shop (still there!), The Velvet Turtle in Sharon Park, Shaw’s Ice Cream (where the tanning salon is now on the corner of El Camino and Menlo Ave.), The Menlo Theater on Santa Cruz Ave., and who can forget Round Table Pizza, Mc and Bud’s Ice Cream on the Alameda de las Pulgas? Can anyone recall the name of the pharmacy on the Alameda, Mc…something, I think.

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Cherry Jones June 1, 2013 at 3:27 pm

McQuarries Pharmacy on the Alameda

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Bill Wohler September 15, 2012 at 7:41 pm

McQuarries. Used to go there for candy after school when I was going to La Entrada.

I found this: http://www.almanacnews.com/morgue/1999/1999_09_08.golden.html

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Joe September 16, 2012 at 9:29 am

It was McQuarries Pharmacy.

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Joe September 16, 2012 at 9:38 am

And let’s not forget the two previous locations of Kepler’s.

[Note to moderator, please combine with previously submitted comment]

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Glenn July 16, 2013 at 5:09 pm

The first Kepler’s with all the Fillmore posters was an excellent hangout. It also had all the necessary Cliff Notes when needed.

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SusieDW October 1, 2013 at 11:40 am

Kepler’s was my second home. Remember the Free University?

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James Lathe September 16, 2012 at 5:46 pm

I believe the name of the Pharmacy on the Alameda was McQuarrie’s.
I lived in Menlo Park, on Oak Avenue across from Oak Knoll School from 1957 to 1966, First grade through Freshman year at Menlo Atherton.
I remember Purity Foods at Stanford Shopping Center, Norney’s Toys also at Stanford.
I remember Kepler’s Books in their original location as one of the first places to buy paperback books. I did not quite understand what Beats were (Herb Caen coined the term Beat-nik, a takeoff on Sputnik) but they were at Kepler’s for poetry readings
I remember the listening booths at Prein’s where you could take a test listen to a new 33rpm single record.

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Erica February 17, 2014 at 2:54 am

You people are literally stimulating my brain cells! I remember Norney’s at Stanford, the Little Store, Ann’s, Stevens (I still remember vividly the lady who always helped my mother there, a lady with a tall white/blue bouffant, and the locked case with all the wedding hats). McFarland’s Candies’ huge icebergs of real white chocolate, and a thousand flavors of fudge. Now I have a Palo Alto question: does anybody remember the high-end ethnic dress shop by the Varsity Theater on University Ave. during the 70’s called FOLKLORICO? Obviously it’s gone. Where? Why? When? It seems all the amazing things about the area (Ramona’s Pizza in P.A., Ken’s House of Pancakes in Menlo (the only place a teen from M-A could stretch a cup of coffee into a three-hr visit) have gone, and all that’s left is a Yuppie all-night sameness, all of it costing far too much. I remember using the johns at the old Kepler’s and reading the manifestos on the stall walls. I once ran away to Keplers–I figured it was sure to be better than home. Miss it all.

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Sidney September 16, 2014 at 8:28 am

James, do you have sister named Lisa? She was a friend of mine at Oak Knoll

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Lydia Cooper September 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm

I grew up in Menlo in the ’50’s and have fond memories of a very simple downtown. Need flowers? Menlo Florist. Uniform brown shoes for St. Joesph’s? Anderson’s Shoe Store. Needed a religious gift? The Angelus. Pencils, pens, etc.? Sprouse-Reitz Five and Dime. Along with Kepler’s, there was the Guild Book Shop and nearby Menlo Toy and Party Shop. And how can one forget Menlo Park Hardware which carried everything in between.

Take a trip down memory lane and visit the Menlo Park Historical Association office located in the Menlo Library. One can spend hours looking through old fotos, clippings, books, etc. And while there, talk to Frank. He knows everything about Menlo.

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Dan L. September 16, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Don’s Hobby shop
Guitars Unlimited
Discount Records
Children’s Bootery
Mini bus
The Recorder (Wednesday weekly paper)
Johnny’s Smoke Shop
Jeff’s Jeans
Shepperd Cadillac
Eddie’s Arco
Village Host
H. Salt Fish and Chips
Fox and Carskadon

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Marilyn September 25, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Jiffy Burgers (19 cent hamburgers) located where Barones is. Also the old big yellow Cement Factory on El Camino across from Cook’s Sea Food. And, my favorite, next to Cook’s was the Bib and Tucker that had great roast beef sandwiches. oh yes, and The Hippo restaurant (now Mattress Discounters) that had hundreds of different types of hamburgers.

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cathy September 25, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I still remeber those Jiffy Burgers with the thousand island type sauce and served in a yellow wrapper

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Jan Davis January 23, 2013 at 3:13 pm

I worked at Jiffy Burgers when they were $0.34 each. The burgers wrapped in yellow were cheese burgers.

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cathy September 25, 2012 at 9:16 pm

I grew up in Menlo park from 1964 – 1985, wish now I had taken pictures of the town before I left. It has changed so much in 27 yrs. There was a store for everything (no walmart) the old Draegers, Toy n Party, Pruess and Cliffords pharmacies, Menlo Camera in the old pink house, Stork to Teen, Menlo Hardware, Stevens fabric, Congdon and Crome (sp?). Fremont elem. school – now Jack Lyle park (went to school with Donna, but I didn’t know about her dad) How could I get old pictures of the downtown area and Fremont school.

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cathy September 25, 2012 at 9:23 pm

oh! and who could forget the old Keplers, I loved that place it was like a labyrinth of book shelves.

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Lydia October 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Cathy, you can find old pictures of the downtown at the Menlo Park Historical Association located on the lower level of the Library.

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Stephen Lussier October 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Thank you for sharing your memories. I remember riding our bikes to Derry’s Feed and Fuel at Easter time to pick up free baby chicks. We must have made five or six trips because we ended up with about 30 chicks. Dad built a chicken coop to house the new comers. Thanks Dad.

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Diane December 14, 2012 at 12:00 am

Does anyone remember the name of the restaurant which was next to Marche and Flegels on Santa Cruz Ave? It closed sometime in the ’90s or 2000?
It has changed hands a few times. A friend and I were at dinner going down memory lane and can’t remember it.

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gerard July 23, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Diane, it was called Del Baffo

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John December 28, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Lot’s of good memories here – a few more for ya . . .
From the 50s:
Howabout the best burgers and shakes on the mid-peninsula (along with carhops and juke box machines at each table): Marquad’s on the SW corner of El Camino and Cambridge. Got our St. Joseph’s uniforms at Van de Sande, also Dudley’s Delicatessen, Duca and Hanley Market, Franes, Hoot-n-Toot Cleaners – all on Santa Cruz Ave. Bank of America (now BBC), SE corner of El Camino and Santa Cruz Ave. Rappy’s Richfield on east side of El Camino between Oak Grove and Valpariso. Shreve and Price Sport Shop on Oak Grove. Janes Swim School and Golden State/Foremost Dairy on Willow Road. And, yes, Prein’s (along with Melody Lane in Palo Alto) was the place to go for the latest 78 or 45 rpm record. Joe’s daughter, Janice, was in my class at St. Joseph’s and graduated in 1960. Don’t recall the name of the lady standing next to Joe, but I remember her well. She rang up all the record sales and made sure you weren’t over-spending your time in the listening booths! And does anyone remember the daily 12:00noon horn that used to blare out from the old city yard next to the old Burgess Park (just to the south of the library)? It could be heard all throughout MP when tree foilage was much less in the early 50s.

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Audrie January 5, 2013 at 5:11 am

Living in Menlo Park..how about Shaws Icecream where ‘Just Add Water’ is or use to be..and good ole Swensons Icecream on El Camino!! What about POP’s Baseball card shop!!!

I recall many of the ones mentioned. Those were the simpler days..its too high end now. Thank you Draegers, Su Hong and the infamouse Dutch Goose for at least still being there.

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Scott January 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm

There were two “Ann” businesses along Santa Cruz Avenue. The aforementioned “Ann’s Coffee Shop”, but there was also a retailer selling women’s undergarments also named “Anne’s” back in the 1960’s.

There was also a laundermat along Santa Cruz Avenue, and next door a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream place.

There was also a movie theater on Santa Cruz Avenue. Can’t remember the name, but I do remember the “tag line” for the theater ” . . . A Walter Reade Theater”.

What replaced that movie theater was a Chinese restaurant, named “Yuen Yueng(?)” The food was good and was great for carry-out up to the early 1990’s when it closed.

Competing with the Menlo Camera shop in downtown Menlo Park was “Gompert’s Camera” (or was it “Gompart’s?”). For some reason my parents preferred Gompert’s over Menlo Camera.

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Paul F October 14, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Somehow I remember Magoo’s Pizza Parlor was there before Yuen Yung.

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Gen X March 28, 2013 at 12:17 am

I believe the man on the left is one of the great jazz pianists Meade Lux Lewis who wrote the song for his close friend and supporter Joe Prein titled “Joe Prein’s Boogie”. Joe passed away in the mid eighties but his wife at 92 can remember the times as if it were yesterday. I will have to ask her who the girl in the middle of the picture is….

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Donna Collins Cook March 31, 2013 at 2:52 pm

The Pharmacy was McQuarrie’s, the owner was blonde but now his name escapes me. My Dad worked at The Alameda Food Center and was the meat cutter there for many years. Then he opened his own shop across the street. Louie’s Hardware was in that block and Lynham Jone and I used to roller skate on the cement slab when they started building it.
The girl in the photo looks like one from our Menlo Atherton High School year book, could have been Betsy Prein. I bought all my fabric at Steven’s and made my own clothes from babysitting money. Joel’s Hamburgers on El Camino made the best hamburgers! Rose Ann had a dance studio and I took ballet lessons there. Saw many a money at the Guild
Theatre after I started dating. Given time I remember a lot more!

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Donna Collins Cook April 1, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Anyone remember sneaking into the huge Sharon Estate? We did it often, no homes only one grand old mansion. The gatekeeper was Jenkins and we would let us wander around but never took us in the house. Now the whole Sharon Estate is built out. What a fantastic playground that was! I used to sneak in with Diane Johansen and Marlene Brown. It was right up behind my house on Ashton just off the Alameda. The 50’s were so different. We lived in South Palo Alto and moved to Menlo in 1951. I was there until graduating from Menlo Atherton from 1957. Loved school then, all the home ec classes and sewing with Lorraine Bradley teaching. Older sister of Phyllis Butler. When we had our nursing portion of the Home ec series, we were instructed on bathing a patient in bed. We were to wash up as far as possible, then down as far as possible and finally was possible! Who can forget Don McClean and his speeches? He loved talking about the “lunatic fringe”! Used to crack us all up.
More memories to come…

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Jan Claire November 17, 2013 at 11:14 am

Loved your comments about the Sharon Estate. Friends, the Jankords, lived just down Ashton Ave. (in fact they might have had the first house east of the Alamada de las Pulgas) They had lived across the street from us near Bayshore prior to moving up there and Bill Sr. relocated his barbershop up in that area, as well.
I graduated from Menlo-Atherton in 1958 so probably knew of you or knew you.

Regards,
Jan Claire
Orland, California

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Carol Collins Gartz March 31, 2013 at 3:52 pm

grew up in Menlo Park. First job at Roy’s Bike & Toy on the Alameda. I was 10 yrs old earning a whopping 10 cents an hr. Painted old bikes to sell. Next job at Duncan McQuarries Pharmacy. I was 16. This was in the 50’s. Anyone remember Don’s Fine Meats and Art Gallery? That was my pops shop. Working at Menlo Toy ans Party, remember I was at the register when the announcement came over the radio that JFK had been shot! Many memories of that beautiful little town and the simpler life. My backyard was the Stanford Golf Course and Stanford stables. I was a lucky kid indeed!

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Carol Collins Gartz March 31, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Anyone hang out at the “jewel Box” ice cream parlor on the Alameda in the 50’s? They put in a ping pong table and juke box. A “Rock n Rollers” dream come true!

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Donna Collins Cook June 17, 2014 at 5:58 pm

I am the above Carol Collins big sister by 15 months! Good for you Carol for remembering Duncan Mcquarrie’s first name. Anyone else go to Dr Kenneth Romanoff above McQuarrie’s? I baby sat for his kids 35 cents an hour. All day and did ironing, cookine and dishes. Such a deal! Raised my rates to 50 cents when I was asked so many times to stay all day. Then he hired me to work in his Hayward office for the summer after I graduated from Menlo Atherton. Menlo Park was such a quaint little down in the 50’s. I can still see the bus driver that would pick up on the Alameda in the green bus and take us downtown. Ah, freedom, take the bus to Palo Alto train station and hop the train to Redwood City.

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Nels Winkless May 7, 2013 at 9:17 am

I had just sent this to a granddaughter, when it occurred to me to Google Joe Prein’s Music Center…astonished to find you.

“…article speaks of Arthur Fiedler, who was conductor of the Boston Pops
for fifty years, THE pops conductor of all time, probably. I was at Joe Prein’s Music Center, a record shop in Menlo Park, California one time when Fiedler (who was conducting the San Francisco Pops that summer… must have been 1953) was being interviewed there on the radio. It was a promotion both for the pops season and for the store …anyway…Fiedler was a very cranky, testy man, quite rude to the interviewer.

Friend Bill Agee, an announcer for a couple of classical music stations
in the Bay Area…KSMO and KSFR…had a dismissive attitude toward
Fiedler. I remember his saying ‘Yep, Art shakes his stick, and the boys play.'”

Who’d have thought?

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Dave July 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Holy cats! The memories are flooding back I’m amazed at how many of these stores, etc. I remember.

First, a few I think y’all missed:

– The Red Cottage restaurant on El Camino, across from Menlo College. The late, great Vince Guaraldi (“Peanuts” T.V. music) used to hold court there.

– Magoo’s Pizza Parlor (my first taste of pizza!) on Santa Cruz, which became The Menlo Theater, and then the 2nd location for Yuen Yung. The Grateful Dead Played their first gig there after changing their name from The Warlocks. They had a fantastic jukebox (I remember hearing Hendrix and The Rolling Stones for the first time there at a very young age). There was also an upstairs area with pool tables and, quite often, Hell’s Angels.

– Blum’s Ice Cream – Stanford Shopping Center. Pink exterior, wrought iron furniture, and gaslights outside.

– Discount Records – El Camino, next to The Guild Theatre. If you look at the bottom of old Fillmore and Winterland posters you’ll see: “… tickets available at Discount Records, Kepler’s… “.

– Howwit’s Burgers – Middlefield Rd., just south of the fire station. The line to order passed literally within a foot of the massive charcoal grill. The heat was sometimes overwhelming.

– The huge tire swing at Peninsula School – My best buddy Mike Goletta lived on Berkeley Ave. and we’d hike down the block (along the way passing by the house of the beautiful Laurie Glenn, on whom we both confessed a furtive crush), hop the fence, and terrify each other swinging from the oak tree.

– Willie Mays’ house – He lived in Atherton and on halloween would pass out full-size Hershey bars ($.05 cents!).

– The soda machine at Motel 6, just over the fence from the small play field at James Flood School. We figured out how to tap it for free Cokes.

– Foster’s Freeze – Used to go there after Little League games over at Burgess field (I played on “Kiwanis”. “Menlo Automotive”, “Lions”, “Hare, Brewer & Kelley”, “Board of Realtors”, “Rotary”, and “Alec’s” were other teams)

Other memories…

– Kepler’s – When located next to The Guild, had a batik, African print bedsheet (with occasional bead strands) as a door during business hours. They always had the latest Zap comics and never gave me or my buddies any grief when we thumbed through them (or Playboy, if we were feeling saucy!). They also kept Abbie Hoffman’s, “Steal This Book!” right by the register. Always felt like a dare to us, though we never tempted fate.

– Round Table Pizza – El Camino location is the FIRST Round Table Pizza, BTW.

– Edy’s Ice Cream Parlor – Ahhh, Edy’s. That was kind of a magical place. Tucked away from any other real business (save for the nursery) between El Camino and Middlefield, nestled in the trees… it felt like another world. As I got older I eventually noticed that they always had the cutest girls working behind the counter. A great place for a stop on high school dates after the movies.

– Jiffy Burgers – “Double burger with mustard and pickle only”, was my standard order as a kid.

– Don’s Hobby Shop – Bought my first slot car there.

– Guitars Unlimited – Bought my first guitar there ($350.00 for a used ’68 Fender Telecaster. It’s now worth about 6g’s… Gulp!)

– James Flood – After school I would sometimes act as Bat Boy for Menlo Atherton High’s baseball team at the park right across from the school. This was before M.A. had their own field. The inimitable coach Bettencourt was the manager and was bigger-than-life to me. And very kind.

Thanks for blowing my mind, folks! If anything else bubbles up you’ll be the first to know.

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SusieDW October 15, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Shared a joint with Vince Guaraldi in the back of his VW Mini Bus at the back of In You Ear on University in Palo Alto. :)

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Johnny July 5, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Hey all! I started a Facebook page for the old Menlo Park. Please check it out and share the love!
http://www.facebook.com/groups/280701541973554/

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Pat Maughan July 5, 2013 at 3:18 pm

I am in deep admiration at everyone else’s fabulous memories. I would never have remembered any of this, but once I see it in writing, my memory is jogged. I’m not sure if anyone mentioned the following Menlo establishments from the 50’s, so I will add them here: Lum Toy’s (florist) on El Camino and The Stone Celler, also on El Camino.

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Dave July 6, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I used to deliver flowers for Lum Toy Flowers back in high school. The Lums were part of an extended “second family” to me. Rod Lum was a good buddy and we’d make the delivery runs together. Got to meet Shirley Temple Black and “Tennessee” Ernie Ford.

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audrie July 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm

How about Swensons Ice Cream on El Camino and thank goodness the Dutch Goose is still there on the Alameda.

Preuss Pharmacy and the Pink Pastery were on Santa Cruz along with Dona’s Hallmark shop; my favorite.”Mr. J’s hair dresser too.
Who remembers Add Janes Swim Club? Late for the Train was always there for us to grab a bite to eat and of course Fosters Freeze.

Thanks for the memories..they are wonderful.

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Pat white July 6, 2013 at 9:25 am

what about the original Menlo Hardware, Phelps Turkel, Menlo French Laundry, Menlo Square Market, Peninsula Building Materials, Bill’s Shoeshine in Johnny’s Smoke Shop or Little Johnny’s

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Laura Pitchford July 6, 2013 at 1:20 pm

So many great memories. I have compiled a list of all the shops that my siblings and friends came up with when I originally wrote the article. Add the additional spots from the comments and we are doing pretty well!

A & W
Alec
All American Market on the alameda
Alpine Delicatessen
Anderson’s Shoes
The Angelus
Ann’s Coffee Shop
Arby’s
Bank of America
Baskins and Robbins
Bead shop
Book Store where Mrs. Calendar worked
The Black Elephant
Blums at Stanford
Boucher’s Appliances
Butterfields
California Savings and Loan
Children’s Bootery
Chuck Thompson’s Swim School
Ciardella’s Meats
Clifford’s Drug Store
Cook’s
Crocker Bank
Degnan Printers
Derry’s Feed and Fuel
Discount Records
Don’s Hobby Shop
Dorel’s
Double Rainbow
Draeger’s
Duca and Hanley
Dudley’s Deli
Dutch Goose
Eber Hi Fi
Eddie’s Arco
Edie’s ice cream parlor
European Jeanery
Formost Dairy
Foster’s Freeze
Fox and Carskadon
The French Laundry
George and Bob’s Chevron
Gindells Pet Shop
The Golden Acorn
Golden Shears
Gomperts
Gray’s Paints
The Guild Theatre
Guitars Unlimited
Guy Plumbing
H. Salt Esquire Fish and Chips
Hair Mill
Harry’s Juvenile
The Hippo
Hoot & Toot Cleaners
Jane’s Swim School
Jan’s deli
Jeff’s Jeans
J&M Market on the Alameda now called Country Corner
Jiffy Burger
Johnny’s Smoke Shop
Joslin’s Bike Shop
Julie’s
Ken’s House of Pancakes
Kepler’s – although is has moved three times!
La Luna!!!!!!!!
Lerners
Livingston’s
Ludcke’s Paints
Marquad’s
Mary’s Stork to Teen
McLaughlin’s Shoe Repair
McQuarrie’s’
Menlo Atherton Glass
Menlo Bike and Key
Menlo Camera
Menlo Hardware
Menlo House
Menlo Square Market
The Menlo Recorder – Newspaper
The Menlo Theatre
Menlo Vacuum
Morey’s cement plant
Nak’s
Norney’s toy store
Oasis
Oxford Delicatessen
Palm Reader
Palm Reader
Palm Reader
The Park Theatre
Phelps Turkel
Piccadilly
The Pink Pastry
Pot au Feu
Joe Preins
Preuss Pharmacy
Rappy’s Richfield
Rats(where Fred Stamey worked
Rayburg Lumber
Refectory
Roseann’s Dance Studio
Scherba’s Auto Store
7-11
Shepherd Cadillac
Shreve’s Sport Shop
Sproutz Reitz, otherwise known as the Dime Store!
Stanford Ice Cream
Steven’s Fabrics TLC
Sugden and Lynch
Swenson’s Ice Cream
TLC
Toy and Party
Dr. Twohig’s animal hospital
Van de Sandes
Velvet Turtle
Village Host Pizza
The Waterbed store – next to Don’s – can’t remember the name – next to Chelsea Shop
Weingarten’s Stereo
Wells Fargo
Woolworths at Stanford
Yuen Yeng Chinese Restaurant

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Pat white July 8, 2013 at 9:05 am

You forgot Marquards(I did too, until now)

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Donna Collins Cook June 17, 2014 at 6:01 pm

I thought everyone missed Marquards too but I see it in her list. Many cokes with date after movies there. Jim Stanford used to take me there.

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Gary W July 9, 2013 at 6:22 pm

I Lived in Menlo Park from 1957-1997….My first job was at Vic Budnik Cleaners (One Hour Martinizing) on Santa Cruz Avenue. Next job was working for Ray Hudson at Santa Cruz Avenue Shell where the Mc Donalds is now. There was a Phillips 66 station on the next corner owned by Emile “Frenchie” Pommes and opposite that was the Mobil Station first run by Rich Linehan, then by Willi Bering. I worked the Mobil station for both of them. The Mobil is now the Chevron, owned by John Conway who used to work for Frenchie Those were good days!

There was also another drug store on the corner of Avy and the Alameda, as well as the Alameda Food Center and earlier than that the All American Market I don’t remember the name of the little toy store between the All American and the Shell station… We had an Arco across from the All American (Richfield originally). There was a barber shop and dry cleaners in the strip of stores with the drug store and a TV repair on the other Avy side. Of course, there was always the Dutch Goose and the Rats…What about the hardware store? We had EVERYTHING up there along the Alameda!

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Audrie N. July 27, 2013 at 4:53 am

What about Mr J’s….hairdresser on Santa Cruz down from where Pete’s Coffee..

Pappa’s Baseball Cards on El Camino
Menlo Travel on Oak Grove

Dona’s Hallmark Cards on Santa Cruz

Payless on El Camino – everyone shopped there!!

What was the name of the store on Santa Cruz..it had a Xmas Tree in the window I think with little white lights on it and inside sold all kinds of cute gifts, ornaments. It was located in the block where Pete’s Coffee is I think.??

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Kat September 1, 2013 at 1:42 am

I lived with my family in Menlo on an old estate off of Middlefield Rd. from 1962 until 1976. Does anyone remember that Sommer & Kaufman shoes at Stanford had live monkey’s in a window cage?? A free balloon tied onto a striped plastic stick and a free monkey show to every kid buying new school-shoes. Please tell me I did not imagine this. Alec super-store was a favorite with it’s weird under-ground parking-lot and automatic shopping cart conveyer system. Draeger’s triple-decker rye sandwiches were the best surprise delivery at school when Mom didn’t have time to make sandwiches for 5 school-kids :D. Always got a a nickel Coke at Rodger Reynolds nursery on muggy after-school nursery runs as I trundled along gravel paths sitting amongst geraniums in an old metal wagon cart. Chicken Delight was Mom’s fall-back dinner delivery..a blueberry muffin with every chicken dinner. Played a lot of tennis with my Dad at Burgess Park courts. Got picked on by kids from Hillview school during the big school transfer for attending “Freakmont” grammar school, but Mrs. Barbara Felix was the most wonderful Kindergarten teacher in the world. Nak’s Sukiyaki and grocers held wonderful weird products to try ..like sushi and dried cuttle-fish snacks..quite progressive chow for 1973! Gal pal Paisley Feldenheimer’s mother owned the Lounge Lizard women’s fashions. Visited Stevens Fabrics a lot. Baskin & Robins Ice Cream was always good..especially if you had a postcard for a free Birthday cone. The 5 and dime was great for all sorts of rubbery fake frogs that hopped with the help of a squeeze-bulb and many many cheap dolls to choose from. Allied Arts was a visual feast for the creative spirit. Ate a lot of green jello cubes and egg salad at Ann’s diner at luncheons with Mom and Aunties. The fake-meat(textured vegetable protein) Jiffy Burgers weren’t bad either. All in all a wonderful place to grow-up. Love you Menlo.

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SusieDW October 1, 2013 at 11:53 am

Menlo Cleaners. Owner was Eleanor???? She knew everything going down in Menlo Park. *heart* Nak’s next door… and ooooh I got in so much trouble at the Rat’s. All that taxidermy on the walls. I lived in the little red two story house on the Alameda just a few houses south from Flea Street Cafe (still there) on Avy. Grew up at 1735 Santa Cruz Ave. Duncan is my last name. My next door neighbor father played poker with Willie Mays. Friend was tasked with buying the players beer from the Little Store. Under age. Eldridge Cleaver running down Santa Cruz Ave in his overalls. Cracked my up!

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Paul F October 13, 2013 at 11:26 pm

I remember The Little Store selling larger than life Milky Way Bars and Snickers for 5 cents! I lived a few blocks from there on Valparaiso with my sister Julie while at MA from ’72-’76. I worked at The Park and The Guild movie theaters from ’75-’77, A&W, and at Jerry’s clothing store.

My brother Roger would post all his record receipts from McDaniel’s record store on his bedroom wall and hang mobiles and posters that came in LP sleeves, like The Moody Blues, John Mayhall, Jefferson Airplane, Jimmy Hendrix Experience, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Doors. My Uncle proposed to his wife at The Village Host pizza parlor and was their favorite hang out for years until it closed.

Anyone from Oak Knoll school take ballroom dancing lessons at the Masonic Lodge in sixth grade followed by an Arby’s sandwich? One of the songs they played was Primrose Lane, and I couldn’t stand that song. Well now I sing it in the Doo Wop group I’m in! Go figure.

Great memories and reminders of those special years. Thanks for this site.

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SusieDW October 15, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Anyone remember Michael Angelo? Lived in an older home on Santa Cruz West of Elder? A neighbor denizen?

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gary February 28, 2014 at 10:06 am

I do , saw him at the smoke shop several times in 67

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SusieDW October 14, 2013 at 7:53 pm

In the mid-70’s there was a very good French restaurant on El Camino called Le Pot au Feu, as I remember. Very good. It was near the dance studio between Santa Cruz and Valparaiso. My dentist’s wife taught at the dance studio.

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SusieDW October 14, 2013 at 7:55 pm

The Hippo for burgers.

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SusieDW October 15, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Anyone remember Michael Angelo? Lived in an older home on Santa Cruz West of Elder? A neighbor denizen?

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SusieDW October 15, 2013 at 10:05 pm

The creche at the park at University and Santa Cruz… do they still do that?

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Joni November 17, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Does anyone remember “Little Tikes Preschool” in Menlo Park? Circa 1958/9. I’m hoping someone can find old photos, my memory is somewhat vague on my year there – though everything remembered = wonderful !

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Jim Harvey January 1, 2014 at 7:06 am

I used to buy hi-fi gear at McDaniel’s Hi-Fi on El Camino, near the Guild Theater.

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Hal Williams February 22, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Whatever happened to Michael Angelo with his turret syndrome ?

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Donna Collins Cook June 17, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Wow! I knew the name sounded familiar and that he had a problem, yes I do remember him.

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gary February 28, 2014 at 10:11 am

My brother was born in the old stanford hospital , before the shopping center was built, any one remember tom kennedy ?

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JAMES BOEDDIKER July 7, 2014 at 9:06 am

MA Class of ’67.
The last I heard about Tom Kennedy, is that he is leaving near my brother, Bob Boeddiker, in the Cook City area on Kona, Hi.. Also there is/was Tom Rosenbaum.
And yes, I remember Michael Angelo from Saint Raymond school (class of ’63,) on Santa Cruz Ave. and San Mateo Dr. No idea of his later life, but he was a real character and entertainer. Jim

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madeline July 7, 2014 at 9:19 am

Good Morning…….I’m hoping you remember my dad, Ed Terry?? He owned the bakery on El Camino in Menlo. My dad used to supply the donuts for St Raymond’s School…….on Mass Day?? Michael Angelo spent MANY hours in my dad’s shop…….nobody seems to know what happened or where he is/was living. I’m in my 60’s so he would have to be at least 80 years old…….maybe older than that??
My sister still lives on Santa Cruz Ave……..she keeps me in the loop!! Hope all are well….

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Munchkin April 28, 2014 at 3:56 pm

The Hippo had a $50 hamburger on their menu back in around 1970. IIRC, it was called the “Texas Burger”? I always thought it was B.S….

I’m pretty sure Peet’s Coffee was there when I got here in 1968.

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Madeline June 16, 2014 at 10:31 am

OMG…..I was born at what used to be called Palo Alto Hospital!! Kindergarten at Fremont School in the early ’50’s…..1954? 1955? I attended elementary school at St. Raymond School……..the first house I remember was 1001 University Dr across from Draeger’s Market…..I remember the grand opening of Draeger’s….they had pony rides in the parking lot but it was a dog…not a pony?? My very first job was at Ann’s Coffee Shop as a cashier……then on to Clifford’s Pharmacy……..then hostess at a restaurant on the corner of Santa Cruz and El Camino….can’t remember the name?? The owner was Mr Jeffrey……I worked there until I went off to college~~My Dad owned Menlo Bake Shop on El Camino………YIKES I love Memory Lane!!! I’m looking for anyone from St Raymonds Class of 1964….50 year Reunion…..Are you out there?? Contact me

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Pat Maughan Lakos June 17, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Why, you must be Madeline Terry! F.Y.I. I have a copy of a photograph taken of you and me in the infamous Drager’s parking lot dog cart.

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Madeline June 17, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Patty………..we were in that dog cart together…….remember!! It’s so good to hear from you….how are you?? Lynne Laney and I are putting together a reunion….are you in??

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Pat Maughan June 30, 2014 at 3:28 pm

I could be, Madeline, depending on the date.

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Emily July 2, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Does anyone remember Chealsy shop over where the new Keplers is and the Black Elephant ?

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Tina October 2, 2014 at 8:40 am

I think this is an Atherton question: does anyone remember the name of the cafe/tea room which was located in an old white Victorian house in the early 1970s? There was an American flag hanging outside on the porch. They served salads, sandwiches, tea, etc. Not sure if the house was in Atherton or Menlo Park.

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Emily October 2, 2014 at 9:39 am

Think you might be referring the The Bright Eagle. It was an antique store called Rafferty Antiques and then a tea room and then I think offices. This was and hopefully still is on Noel drive off Oak Knoll.

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Tina October 2, 2014 at 10:57 am

Yes, that’s it! Thanks, Emily.

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Mary Jeanne Oliva October 13, 2014 at 8:56 am

My sister Louise just found this blog because she and her husband John were wondering about Edy’s ice cream. We grew up I’m Menlo and mom lived there until 4 years ago. After kindergarten at Fremont school, I went to St Raymond. We played in Nealon Park all the time in the summer. My first job was at Alec department store where Safeway is now. Madeline, I would love to attend a 50th year reunion if it’s still in the works!

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Kris Angelo October 19, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Such great memories…
Does anyone remember the name of the coffee shop that was on the corner
of El Camino and Santa Cruz where Stacks is now? Used to be able to go there late at night for breakfast.
Also, Michael Angelo was my ex husbands first cousin. He ended up living near Sonora and died at the age of 60 in 2002. He had Tourette’s before anyone really knew what it was, and was finally able to somewhat control it with medication. He certainly was a character that everyone in Menlo knew
of, and usually had a story to tell about him!

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