Well, I’m back home on Ralston Street after my Olympic story. I just got an envelope from one of my neighbors, Don Hartman, who lives up a couple of blocks from me kitty-corner from Maynard’s Market or the Pub ‘n Sub, whatever they call it now. Here’s what he wrote me on binder paper:
Hi Karl; You often write of Reno when you were a little boy….great stories. I am writing this on the Reno site as folks in 2080 might, who were ten or 12 years old in Reno in the early 2000s. In a sense, it is a future look at Reno and I bet some will be true. If you do decide to post it…you may correct any grammar, spelling, etc….. thanks for letting me borrow that time machine that you mentioned last summer [pictured below], that let you look a little into the future so you could write about stuff that happened after 1946 when you were older than six-years-old. I’m afraid that I cranked it up too far, to the late 2000s, and hope I didn’t bust it. But I walked around Reno like you do after I turned it on, even though I’m a couple years younger than you, and here is what I wrote. You can use it if you want for your friends in Reno. See you at Mary S. Doten school down the hill…Don….
How many remember when the Reno airport was off Plumb Lane? Fun to watch the planes take off. Now to watch planes, we have to go to the new airport in far north Spanish Springs…….
How many remember when UNR had one campus on Virginia Street? Now there are two… the old, north campus and the new one where the airport once was. I drive by the new campus today and marvel at the veterinary school and law school but still think of the single old UNR campus.
How many recall when UNR north campus had a lake called Manzanita Lake? We use to go there to catch crawdads…sadly it was filled in years ago to built new dorms.
Do you remember those pools at Idlewild Park? I took swimming lessons there and was later a lifeguard in 2029 when I was in college… Too bad they filled those pools in for tennis courts.
How many remember an event called “Hot August Nights”….my Dad use to take us there to see the antique and classic cars. Too bad it ended in 2045. August is not the same in Reno anymore.
How many remember you could get a breakfast at the Squeeze Inn in NW Reno (the place is now a real estate office). A family of four could eat a wonderful breakfast there for under $50 with tip……..today, lucky to find a breakfast anywhere in Reno for a family for under $200.
How many of you recall the Reno Arch? As a kid, I use to love to look at those lights. I understand today, the arch is located at the new UNR South campus.
I remember how fun it was to pile into the family car and Mom would take us to Meadowood Mall to shop and eat at the food court. Now we have driverless cars and the mall itself is gone…..Google regional offices today. I sure miss it when Mom and Dad drove us around Reno back in the 2000s. Kids today in Reno have no clue how cars were in the good old days in Reno and Sparks..
How many of you remember when the area from th former Stead Airbase to Cold Springs was nothing but sagebrush and a few ranches? My Grandpa use to take us there to target practice when I was a kid. I was shocked when I drove out to that area recently. Nothing but homes! A blanket of homes called Peavine Highlands from Stead to Cold Springs. I understand when the new Red Rock Parkway is completed, there will be five thousand more homes built in the area. Please give me back the good old days in Reno in the early 200s!
How many can remember old downtown Reno? It was so run-down. My grandpa would take me there on the River Walk and the homeless scared me. Luckily, they renovated the area and it’s now condos and office buildings.
Do you remember how cheap groceries were? My Mom would shop at a place called Safeway (now gone)….she could buy a week’s worth of groceries for the family for $150 – $160….now it would cost $850 a week and a drone will deliver groceries. It was so fun to go to Safeway in Reno and ride in the cart as Mom pushed me around the store.
How many of you remember John Ascuaga’s Nugget before it became the “Nevada Biltmore,” and the Grand Sierra before it became condos on one wing and the “Sierra Hampton Hotel” on the other wing? I think they were going to demolish the Nugget about 15 years ago and it lay dormant and run-down for many years. So glad the building is still there even though it is no longer the Nugget. I remember both when I was a kid. Great places back in the day. My late Grandpa told me when I was 10, that he used to order a giant burger at the Nugget many, many years ago when he was in college.. …forgot the name of the burger… I recall kind of an odd name for a burger; I might even say an Awful name…
It used to be so fun to ride the bus down Virginia Street or the bus to the airport off Plumb Lane. Today, we have to take light rail especially if we want to go to the airport. I miss the old buses in Reno especially those blue ones UNR use to have back in the day.
How many recall, that Reno was so safe to raise kids? I used to walk or ride my bike sometimes two blocks away in the 2000s. Not sure if kids could do that today in Reno.
How many remember the old Reno High School? How many attended Reno High? I loved that old brick building at Booth and Foster Drive. The new RHS is nice, but I miss the seeing the old one when we’d drive by with my Dad. My Dad even took us there to watch high school football.
Do you remember when your parents could drive you to Lake Tahoe for the day?. Sure a pain today as there use to be so much traffic to Tahoe, they started toll roads. My Dad would be so upset.
How many recall that Aces Stadium that once was in downtown Reno? How many went there as a kid?. My Dad took us to games at that downtown stadium. If you went to Aces games, do you remember when your Dad could buy a hot dog and drink for you for only $9.00? Last time I took my grandson to the new Aces stadium located near Verdi, it cost $35.00 for a dog and drink. I miss Reno of the 2000’s.
I recall it only cost me $9.00 for a child to go to the movies in the 2000s. Heck, I took my granddaughter to the movies the other day and it cost $30 just for her….and, damn, popcorn at the Reno theaters with butter cost eight dollars in the good old days. Lucky my granddaughter did not ask for popcorn as today it is $40 for small buttered popcorn.
I use to love to watch the mail carrier come to my house on Ralston Street. So cool to wait for my new video games to arrive in the mail or a letter from grandma who did not know how to use a computer. Can’t understand why there are no more post offices in Reno like the good old days.
In the 2000s we had computers, but Dad loved to read a large, flimsy magazine-type thing called a “newspaper.” I can barely remember what they looked like when delivered to my house on Silver Crown. Drive.
How many remember a place called Wild River or Wild Island (I forgot the name). It was a wonderful place in Sparks where my Mom took us for birthday parties. You could swim there and slide there and even drive bumper cars. I think it was torn down sometime around 2035 to make way for a large warehouse. I sure miss that place.
Remember when Reno was a fairly small city back in the 2000s? I loved the old Reno back then. I heard Reno and Sparks now have close to a million residents.
How many recall that big whale near the river? I thought it was a real whale. As a kid, I thought it was cool.. My Dad said the whale was a waste of money. I think that whale now is at the new Reno airport in Spanish Springs.
It was such fun when, if I were a good boy, my Mom would take me to a place off McCarran called “McDonald’s.” I will never forget the thing for kids called Happy Meals. The toy meant so much to me. I think the last McDonald’s in Reno was torn down years ago.
Bring back the good old days in Reno!!.
Karl….The real reason I wrote all this essay was NOT to look into the future, NOT to be cute or silly….I actually wrote this piece to show that…..MEMORIES ARE ALL RELATIVE…………… !
And, in response to Don, Karl writes….Don.. as you know I welcome and encourage guest columns. This one of yours was wonderful, ran almost with no editing, and I hope will be the first of many you send up from Sacramento! Keep the time machine and crank out another column ASAP. See you on the deck of the Pub ‘n Sub when it warms up!!