Dave_L's Tacoma Occasional

Jan. 11, 2009 at 9:39pm

Sheepishly, Dave L's Occasional Blog:

(Digging into my pack-rat stash of Tacoma-stuff.)

O.K., here goes...

Inspired and encouraged by many, including but certainly not limited to Morgan, Kevin and Erik, I have decided to make the time to start a FeedTacoma blog to share things I have that may be of interest.  There will be few opinions and few references to what I did today.  Little politics and no personal attacks.  Not even a boat-load of factual information like History Link.  No in-depth reporting like the Tacoma Weekly.  No quality that approaches the Tacoma Then-and-Now blog.  Yet I think I have some interesting things that I can dig out and share.

Having lived in Tacoma and Lakewood since the 70's (when Lakewood was a Tacoma address) I have become more and more fascinated by this region, that, while not home (military brats often do not have a sense of "home"), has felt like my town more and more each year.  Back in the day it seemed that everyone I knew (outside the military families) were born and raised in Tacoma.  I used to think that was so weird.  Today, the vast majority of all the fine people I have met in the last few years are transplants from elsewhere.  Though it had been refreshing to learn that many FeedTacoma bloggers and commenters are also old-time Tacoma, there is a new influx of people who love Tacoma more than I have ever witnessed before, yet for better-or-worse, lack the benefit of long-term perspective.  This realization peaked in literal black-and-white when Cysewski's decades-old photos of old Tacoma surfaced.  And very often when a "new" development happens in Tacoma, I remember a time when something similar happened before, with either success or failure.  We older-Tacoma people wish we could take the newcomers in the Wayback machine to take a stroll down that Pac-Ave of yesteryear, see Ivan at the B&I, ride the Escalade to the Pie Patch... Still, I can't help but to recall what older Tacoma people tell me about a Tacoma before my time, about all the businesses and stores downtown, or the jazz-playing bottle-clubs, etc....  Someday all my new Tacoma friends will be telling (or texting or emailing or telepathically exchanging) to another generation about saving the Murray Morgan bridge, the resurgence of 6th Ave, the rebuilding of Tollefson Plaza, chalk competition at Larry Frost Park.....

So in this spirit of looking ahead while looking back, I will dig into my old Tacoma-related ephemera and mementos and dust off thinks that I think would be worth sharing.  I really don't know how far this will go, but I will post something new every week or month... I think I have enough things (some tiny), for several months of show-and-tell.  I hope it sparks enough interest that people would share their thoughts or memories or their own Tacoma mementos, from the new arrivals to old-timers who remember this stuff and can add so much to the long-term perspective.  I invite all to do so.  I think such a sharing of perspectives will be fascinating and worthwhile.  With little time and even littler skill, this is my first attempt at blogging.  If it weren't for this FeedTacoma forum, I wouldn't even try it.  I will see how it goes and see if I can figure out how to make it work.  My attempts will surely have many errors.  I'm so glad there's a preview-function now, but I'm still having some formatting issues. So kindly bear with me.  My first installment, coming to a monitor near you, will be something that is old, but still resonates with as much strength today.  I hope you enjoy it.

comments [10]  |  posted under articles, History, mementos, Tacoma


by Mofo from the Hood on 1/12/2009 @ 12:45am
Oh yeah, the Pie Patch cafe down on Broadway Plaza. My little sister worked there and so did one of my girlfriends at the same time. The year was 1977 and the Disco movie "Saturday Night Fever" was playing in local movie theatres. The Pie Patch was a pretty successful lunch spot and I remember when one of the owners hosted a Christmas party for the employees at his somewhat elegant home on North Stadium Way. He and his wife prepared a wonderful buffet on silver platters, and drinks were served in crystal goblets. We were all dressed in our best polite society finery. I really started to enjoy myself after we were all invited to the rec-room because, to my delight, there was a pool table. Anyway, the thing that made the party so memorable to me personally was when a guest couple had arrived a little late. They eventually came into the room where me and some other guests were playing pool. The young woman was a Pie Patch employee and her escort looked like maybe he was from Saudi Arabia or Iran. At that point in history, as I remember, quite a few Arab oil type rich kids were in the Seattle-Tacoma area, attending university or whatever. But this guy–beyond his slim stature, dark skin, and black hair–the thing that really made him stand out was his suit. It was pure white just like the one John Travolta wore in "Saturday Nite Fever." Now don't get me wrong. I'd seen some pretty extravagant clothing before. In fact, Mac the Knife men's wear (pimpwear) was right across Broadway Plaza from the Pie Patch. But when I saw the "Saturday Night Fever" suit comin' at me----Well, as you can tell, it made a big impression on me. (It's one thing to lose oneself in a movie–but to reincarnate the leading character–that's where I draw the line.)

by Dave_L on 1/12/2009 @ 2:29am
Ha - I had two high school friends who worked there as well - Trish and Barb (can't place what year, but it was probably within a few years after your story). I do remember there were many Iranian students in the region, and after the '79 hostage crisis began they were quickly deported. Thanks for commenting, Mofo. It's fun learning about fellow FT regulars, and hearing the personal recollections. This is odd, because I was living in Lakewood at the time, but one of my first jobs after high school was helping to move the Sears from downtown (wasn't it near the Pie Patch?) to the newly-built store by the Mall. Of course I was let go after the move was complete.

by morgan on 1/12/2009 @ 10:37am
Thanks for sharing, Dave! I'm glad you took the plunge into Tacoma's blogosphere. I look forward to reading the Tacoma Occasional.

by Dave_L on 1/12/2009 @ 10:44am
Thanks for the inspiration, tips and encouragement, Morgan. I posted an entry containing excerpts from the 1991 article on the Tacoma Renaissance, and while I won't have much to say, I do have several other smaller things I'll throw out there as I have time - occasionally. One item will complement your Brain's post about the new Tacoma Dome. Thanks also to Kevin for continually tweaking the program to make it more user-friendly to us non-code writers.

by Erik on 1/12/2009 @ 5:11pm
Nice work Dave. Perhaps on your next post you will add pictures!

by scout on 1/12/2009 @ 5:48pm
In 1975 when I was twenty one, my boyfriend and I hitch-hiked from Berkeley, CA to Vancouver, BC.

It was safe back then when Dinos roamed the earth and pre-humans walked on all fours.

I had never been to the Pacific Northwest before and when we arrived in downtown Tacoma, I was shocked at how run down and depressing it was.

Who could have known that downtown would come to be revitalized into the cool place it is now.

The trip north to Vancouver was fun - we stayed at a student hostel for $4/per night that was run by an Austrian ex-baroness. Lodging included dinner and fresh baked pastries made by the baroness, who ran a tight ship with an 11 pm curfew. If you came in after 11 pm, you were out of luck - locked out.

The first day we got there she told us in a thick Austrian accent, "There will be NO sex - if you want sex, you go to the park!"

The first night there we went out drinking at a local pub. Several hours later we realized in horror that not only was our table completely filled with empty beer mugs, but it was nearly 1 am!

We were terrified of what the baroness would do to us.

Our solution? We scaled the side of the building and climbed in the window of our room on the second floor.

by Dave_L on 1/12/2009 @ 6:28pm
Erik, I should have known those Frost Park cleaning photos you made me pose for would haunt me forever. (I did use pix in my subsequent post.)
Scout, do you send people staying at your condos to Frost Park or Fireman's Park?

by scout on 1/12/2009 @ 6:37pm
I assume you mean to get any action - my answer is of course both parks!

Then when the guests go to the park, I lie in wait, dressed up as the baroness, wielding a rolling pin!

The rest is up to your imagination.....

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 1/12/2009 @ 6:47pm
No doubt the rental rates will go up at the condos if you render such a service.

by NineInchNachos on 1/12/2009 @ 6:48pm


Dave L. dusts-off his stash of Tacoma-related stuff to share.

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