Summer Fun

This page is dedicated to our Summers and more as we were growing up in Camarillo. Places we hung out, visited and in general had some great times with our friends.  Here are some of those memories.


Ranch Boy, they had the best breakfast in town located on Ventura Blvd. It later burned down and never reopened.  Ranch Boy served as the first unofficial Camarillo Town Hall.  A fact of which is not recorded but known to everyone who lived in Camarillo in the 60’s.  All of the old-timers used to gather there for coffee on a daily basis and this was where the foundation of all the city planning took placeTruck Stop, this was the only place in town in the early years of Camarillo which was open after 10pm.  I can remember coming back from the parties at the Dunes and eating at the truck stop.     El Tecolote, this is where all the family's went on Friday and Saturday nights.  I remember going with Dave Dodson and his family on several occassions.  Margarita's Mexican Restaurant, They had very good mexican food and were located on Ventura Blvd and went down hill when they relocated to the Las Posas Shopping Center.  Sir Burger, had good burgers and was located next to Taco Bell,  Taco Bell, who could forget the bell burger and that Kathleen Yakley and Nancy Royce worked there and even got to light the firepit everynightT-Burger, had the cheapest hamburger in town as they were 5 for $1!   Pizza Inn, was located on Ventura Blvd and served up some good pizza. Love's, was a very good bbq style restaurant on Daily Drive off of Carmen behind Cawelitt's Mobile Station.

A&W, Do you remember that A&W had a miniature
golf course which went from the restaurant to Somis Road.  A&W was the 'cool" place to hang out after school.  I still remember when Mark Payne, Chris Rapp and Dave Dodson worked at A&W.  I had gone inside the restaurant when they were working.  I made a Papa burger and was pouring my root beer when the owner, Mrs. Ned walked in.  Mrs. Ned asked me what I was doing and like a stupid teenage I said nothing.  She then asked me to leave and she didn't have to ask twice.

Here is the Camarillo A&W shot from Daily Drive

Tommy Burgers, had real good slushes and were located on Ventura Blvd,  Frostie's Drive-in,was across the street from Tommy Burgers.  They had the great chocolate dipped ice cream cones.  Winferino's, Had very good Italian food and many of our families ate there. They were located in the Ponderosa North shopping center behind Von's. El Camino Restaurant, an upscale restaurant on the South side of Las Posas Road overpass. It was one of the nicer restaurants in Camarillo.  It closed years ago and was torn down.  Sambo's, Many of us at there after the drive-in.  It's now an iHop Restaurant. Denny's, like Sambo's was a place we went after our dates or parties. Hitching Post, was a good family restuarant on Ventura Blvd.

   Chicken Delight was a good chicken place that also carried pizza.  Remember their slogan, "Don't Cook Tonight Call Chicken Delight".Pioneer Chicken, Was at the corner of Las Posas and Arneill Roads.  Kentucky Fried Chicken, was located on Las Posas Road. Continental Bakery which was located next to AlphaBeta grocery store.  Many of us spent several years working there and I cannot tell you how many classmates and their families used to visit the bakery.  Bread was 39 cents for one loaf or 3 loaves for $1, a cake was $4.25, a cookie was 4 cents each or 3 dozen for $1.  Loves, was a  good bbq restaurant located on Daily Drive. Kompier's Bakery, Was a very good bakery in the Ponderosa Shopping center.  It was run my our classmates parents, Andre kompier. Somis Market, severd up some great mexican food. Dutch Inn on Ventura Blvd by the Valley Theater

Many of our classmates headed up to Mesa Drive on Halloween.  You didn't dare to drive down Mesa due to your car being hit with avacados, lemons or eggs.  At times there were a couple hundered kids roaming Mesa Drive on Halloween night.

Do you remember when the Byrds and Santana played at Camarillo High School. This was a big event a lot of us would always remember.Many of us would go up to the Thousand Oaks Rec Center as Kasey Kasem would host several groups from the 60's.  I remember seeing the Seed's playing Pushin Too Hard and Mr. Farmer. Our Los Altos dances were held at Pleasant Valley School Auditorium.  Most of the time it was a group call the Corvairs.
I will never forget two of my best friends getting into a fight over Candy Cole.  Sean Webb and Dave Dodson were outside on the lawn after the dance. They went to hit one another and fell.  I thought they had fallen on a branch as I heard a LOUD snap.  It was Dave's leg and it had broke when they became tangled up. 

Many of us would attend Mugu Night at Disneyland.  If you knew somone who worked at Point Mugu they could get you tickets which cost $3.75.  Patty Averill my next door neighbor's Father worked at Mugu and I was in!.....Thanks Patty. Point Mugu night at Disneyland started 8pm until 1AMt as the park was closed to everyone but the people from Point Mugu

Firestone in the Arneill Shopping Center where many of us would hang our on a Friday or Saturday night.  We would line our cars up and just hang out. There were many hot cars like Chris Nickel's silver 63 chevy with American Mags and a hot 327.  Mike Christensen's 389 GTO with a chrome straight axel and was raised up high with big tires and American Mags. Mike Shamlin also had a very hot GTO very similar to Mike's Goat. My car was a primered 55 chevy with a 365hp 327 with 538 gears and won every race that I entered.  I later got into drag racing for several years all over California and yes I got the car painted.  It was lettered on the side of the car, SPOHNtaneous.  It ran 10:80's in the quarter mile at 128 mph and carrried the wheels through first gear. 

We frequented many of the stores over the summer and most of them are gone.  There was TG&Y, , Cooley's Pharmacy, Mode O'Day, Sally's where the girls bought empire dresses,
John Brendon father owned Brendon Shoe's where many of us bought our shoes, Earl Joseph Shoes was on Ventura Blvd. Ray Liddle Jewelers, Lou's Jewelers, Max Raive Men's Store, Bob Kildee's Men Shop as we all bought our very itchy Pendleton shirts, Hang 10 & madras shirts which turned colors when you washed them.

We shopped at the Bi-Rite Market on Ventura Blvd and the State Food Market on Ventura Blvd..  I remember on many occassions buying ice creme and candy with Randy Elliott and he put it on his Uncle's account at the State Food Market.  WOW how cool was that he just wrote it down on a pad and we had our goodies.
Prior to the major grocery stores the only major food chain was in Oxnard named Fox Markets.  FAD was the corner or Arneill and Las Posas with a big orange sign.  It stood for Food At Discount was the first major food store in Camarillo and then Von's opened on Arneill Road in 1963.  .  I remember stopping every day at a very small market just off of Barry Street on Fulton on my way to Los Altos to buy candy.  There was a larger market called  Michael's Market around the corner from Barry on Lomita Street.  Many of us went to the small market which was in the Heights on North Loop just across from Chuck Asmus's home. This market had my favorite hot cinnamon toothpicksThere was  the small market in the Capehart Housing track which was for the military families and they had my favorite ice creme, Big Sticks. Higgins Meat Market was located just past Saint Mary Magdalen heading south on Ventura Blvd where they had the best meats in town.


In the late 50's and early 60's there were many new housing tracks being built. In a recent conversation with our classmate, Keith Everett reminded me how close we became with fellow studets who lived in our tracts.  It didn't matter about what grade they were in but quickly became your friend. Here is a list of those housing tracks where many of us lived.  There was the Sunshine Track behind the Truck Stop, Sunshine Track behind El Tecolote, Blue Lace Manor behind Los Altos,Broadmoore Estates just off of daily drive on Murray Ave & Rowland Ave. Rancho Lomita was off of Las Posas Road, Capehart Housing was the Military housing off of Las Posas Road. Edgemont Estates off of Las Posas South of Mission Drive. Suburbia,  Edgewood,  Rancho Lomita, Heights, Palm Park, Heather Glen, Woodhaven, The Estates,  etc.


Many of us spent our summers having fun at Kihi Pool.  What a great place this was and sharing fun times with our classmates.  
Unfortunately Kihi closed back in the mid to late 70's.  I was recently contacted by a former ACHS grad, Doug Miller who gave me some great info on Kihi. Here is the email which I received from Doug. I hope to have some pictures of Kihi pool real soon.

Hi, John

Doug Miller, ACHS class of 63 checking in in response to Kihi pool question. I lived in Somis and worked at the pool.

I'm not sure if you are the right person to send this to, but your name was the only link I spotted on the ACHS Alumni site, close to a paragraph about Kihi wherein the author wondered about its history.

I can fill in a few of the blanks, as I worked there every summer for several years in the early sixties.

Starting about 1961, I worked there as a lifeguard and swim teacher for owners Lillian and Leon Wilson. (I may have her first name wrong). Their daughter, Jane Broten, still lives in the area, I believe, operating a trucking company with her husband. She would have been class of 64 or 65. She and I alternated on the guard tower, cleaning the filters, etc. In the second year of its operation (or rather, in my experience--I'm vague on when they actually started it up and clearly it had existed prior to that, but I think they were new owners, and had moved from Yakima, Washington) we started a snack bar selling burgers, hot dogs, candy, etc.

I painted the first "Kihi" sign on the concrete block structure that housed the office, dressing rooms, pump and storage room.

In about 1962(?) the Pleasant Valley Recreation and Parks District, under the direction of Richard Pollack, took over operation. Since I was available and knew the premises pretty well, Mr. Pollack hired me back. He and I spent a few weeks mowing, painting, and generally spiffing the place up prior to its opening under PVRPD direction.

The pool offered swimming lessons in the morning and public swimming in the afternoon, and once again I did double duty as a swim teacher, having earned my WSI at the same pool under the Wilsons' ownership.

Bill Wucherpfenning took over operation of the pool shortly thereafter, reporting to Dick. I think Bill was an Oxnard High grad, but his younger brother Steve (Dutch) went to Camarillo. I've searched him from time to time on the web, but no success.

Other lifeguards during my tenure were Mike Zegarac, who transferred out of CHS to finish his high school career at the New Mexico Military Academy, but then returned  (His folks had a ranch on Santa Rosa Rd.); my classmate Ed Myers, and my sister Melinda (ACHS class of 65) worked there for a while, I think.

Jan Gill's sister, Lynn was able to provide some additional information regarding the beginnings of Kihi Pool..Thanks Lynn
I remember a little more about the beginnings of the pool but I don't have any way to verify my remembrances.  The Blymier Family from Las Posas Estates were very involved in competitive swimming in the late 50's early 60's .  The oldest son, Bob was in the class of 1964 or should have been and he was being groomed for the Olympics.  I believe Bob's father either developed the pool or was involved in its development.  Shortly after it was finished and tragically, Mr. Blymier committed suicide, somewhere around 1961 or so.  Bob's interest in swimming seemed to die with his father.  Eventually,  the pool was sold to the Wilson's who operated it beginning about 1963.  

Here is a great picture from 1963 at Kihi Pool.  Sylvia Lorelli, William (Bill) Wucherpfenning, Melinda & Doug Miller and Carol Goad.  

Kihi Pool Grand Opening

Thanks go out to Steve Bailey, class of 1970 for posting this Kihi Pool video

Here is a Camarillo Daily News article regarding the sleepovers at Kihi Pool. 

Many of you might recall this small, almost hidden pool in the Las Posas Estates.  It is located on  Ramona Place just around the corner from Sue Merridth's old home. It is still being used today and is unchanged.  Here is a picture of the pool and some of our classmates.

Picture below from left to right, Kathleen Pitts, Nell Abercrombie, Shirley Pitts, Ellen Etchechoury,  Martin Etchechoury, Melissa Etchechoury & Charlie Horton

The Valley Theater

This was a great "little" movie theater run by Howard and Wally who were brothersHoward ran the snack bar and Wally ran the projector  The tickets sold for 25cents and 35cents for Disney movies. If you wanted to sit in the Logue section you had to pay 35 cents.  These were the last 4 rows which were wooden seats.  The theater had 5 seats on one side and 4 seats on the other side with wood floors.  When you entered the theater it had red carpet and the small snack bar to the left of the entrance.  Do you remember back in the day they showed two movies with a cartoon in the middle. 

Sometime in the early 60's they built a new movie theater by the Camarillo Bowling Alley. It was huge compared to the quaint theater on Ventura Blvd. I certainly can recall many times while in Jr. High making out with our girlfriends at the new theater.  They had the small zig zigs along the inner walls which gave you a good corner for making The theater changed it's format in the late 60's early 70's to showing soft porn. Octavio's Italian restaurant took it over as a dinner theater.  They had some good shows but it didn't last long. It then became a banquet hall run by Octavio's for many years until it closed down in the late 90's.

Here is the only picture of The Valley Theater which I have found as it was taken from Dizdar Park

Wagon Wheel Skating Rink

I remember going to this skating rink at Wagon Wheel Junction for our 8th grade graduation party.  We had fun skating and then we had races for the boys and girls.  Our 8th grade graduation dance was held at the Camarillo Heights School.  We all got dressed up and Eddie Martinez aka Hoy Hoy from class of 1970 performed Wolly Bully with his band.

The following photos are from the Pleasant Valley Girl Scout Troop in 1963. They  were
working on their girl scout skating badges at the Wagon Wheel skate ranch

The girls in the PV troop were:  Melinda Grant, Shelly Elliott, Shirley Pitts, Cheryl Dalby, Debbie Carnes,
Teresa Zaich,  Estella Bautista,
Christine MyerVirginia Barber, & Nora Monk

Christine Meyer, Norma Monk, Shirley Pitts, Cheryl Dalby, Shelly Elliott & Debbie Carnes

For many of you who were born here this will bring back some memories and for those who were this will be enjoyable.  As this video starts out you will notice Mel's Diner which was at 5 Points and where many of us kids went after cruising A Street.  You will see Fox Markets where we used to shop before there were any major grocery stores in Camarillo.  What is interesting under the Fox Market sign is the S&H Green Stamps sign.  Check out the population sign with just 34,326 in Oxnard compared to 200,000 today. I love the old video of the GTE building showing all the switchboarders working.  I remember Dave Dodson's sister, Rhonda worked there for many years. Checkout all the old cars, buildings and all the new homes going up from the mid $10,000 range and the gas sign for only 29cents!

Picture from 1969

In the early 1900's Thousand Oaks consisted of chicken ranches, dairy farms, and apricot orchards, as well as acres of rolling, oak-covered hills. In 1926, a man named Louis Goebel opened his Lion Farm, which became a well-known tourist attraction in 1929. I believe that Leo the Lion (MGM's roaring mascot) lived in splendor at Goebel's Lion Farm! Hundreds of movies were filmed in Thousand Oaks back in those days, as well.

Goebel's Lion Farm opened to the public in 1927. In its day, it was as popular as Disneyland was in the 1950s. People came from all over the world to see the animals that Goebel trained to perform in movies that included the 1930s-40s "Tarzan" series.

The landmark attraction lasted through several owners until 1969, when it was called Jungleland. The land is now the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

The then-owners closed the show and auctioned off 1,800 animals. The Goebels, who had retained ownership of the land, later sold the property to the city of Thousand Oaks. The landmark attraction lasted through several owners until 1969, when it was called Jungleland. The then-owners closed the show and auctioned off 1,800 animals. The Goebels, who had retained ownership of the land, later sold the property to the city of Thousand Oaks. Louis Goebel died in 1981, Kathleen Goebel in 2004.

Here's a great photo showing one of the many fierce lions in action. Nice kitty! Jungleland gained a dash of infamy when Jayne Mansfield's son Zandor was mauled by a "tame" lion in 1966. Though critically injured, he eventually made a full recovery.

Rare Video Of Jungleland
This was shot around 1967 when Keith had his hit song 98.6.  Dick Clark is the announcer as they were filming the hit TV show "Where The Action Is". The video quality isn't that great and it's a bit short yet it's very rare to have video of Jungleland. Bobby Fuller Four & Sonny & Cher were also there. Jane Mansfield was  there that day & during the publicity photo shoot, her son was mauled by a lion.


The Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza is a performing arts and administrative center located in Thousand Oaks Ca. It was built in 1994 on the former site of "Jungleland" at a cost of $63.8 million.  The Civic Arts Plaza contains the Countrywide Performing Arts Center consisting of two theaters. In addition, Thousand Oaks' City Hall is located on  the property. The size of the entire Civic Arts Plaza Complex is 208,000 sq ft  while the size of the Government Center is 87,000 sq ft.

Resident performing arts companies in the Countrywide Performing Arts Center are the Cabrillo Music Theatre, Festival Ballet, and the New West Symphony. It has a six level parking garage with a capacity of 666 vehicles plus an additional 37 outdoor parking spaces.  They have several great plays and concerts from the Beach Boys to magic shows, and more.

Here is a very nice video paying tribute to Jungleland, 1929 - 1969


I believe it was 7th or 8th grade when I first went Grunion hunting.  I went with Sean & Michelle Webb to a beach in Oxnard.  Their Mother drove us there late one night.  If you recall they only run when there's a full moon and usually after midnight.  You don't go after the first Grunion you see.  The first ones are the scouts which make sure the coast is  We waited and saw the first few come in and then several minutes later the Grunion were running.  What a site to see as far down the beach you could see the silver shimmer of the  Grunion in the light of the full moon.  We caught well over 100 of these tiny fish. 

The next day we cleaned the Grunion, rolled them in flour and cooked them. It took about ten of these tiny fish for a meal but they were good.
Today it's a bit different as you now need a license to catch the Grunion. If you have never been on a Grunion run then check out this video.

Grunion Run In Orange County

Grunion Run At Dohney State Beach