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A trip down Memory Lane – Part II: Let’s go to Glenbrook

Wasn’t that trip back in time to Grass Valley fun last week? It makes my heart so happy to know that so many people remember the businesses of which I wrote, sharing their own memories. I hope I was able to get at least a few conversations started between those who recall the places I mentioned.

This week we are heading over the hill to the Glenbrook Basin, where so many other memories from my childhood (and I am sure many others’) were created.

First, although it is still there, Humpty Dumpty is a major one for me and for many people I know. My dad would take me there on cold winter mornings, where he’d sit and talk with his logging buddies while I voraciously consumed hot chocolate with tons of whipped cream on top. Their conversation topics were of little interest to me, so I entertained myself by watching the mysterious numbers light up on the railing above the kitchen window. (It turns out it was a way of signaling to the servers when food was ready.)

Across the freeway, there were all sorts of delights. Who didn’t shop at The Jean Store? It was the place to be. Or Mark Sports, which was where Knights Paint Store resides now?

What is now Hospitality House was once Sierra Fitness Center. My aunt Dorinda was an aerobics teacher there.

Next to Longs Drugs (oh, I loved Longs!) was, of course, Flour Garden, but also Honey Treat Yogurt. And at one point Four Seasons Hallmark store flanked Longs on the other side.

Going way back, in the same strip where Safeway is now, there was Lucky and Boomer Sound Record Store owned by Frank Synoground. Next to that was Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe where their wide variety of colored and flavored popcorns amazed me. (Cheese was and still is my favorite.)

And then there was Cornet, where The Sleep Shop is now. I can’t even describe what Cornet was, but I remember it very vividly. It seemed like your classic variety store, but feel free to correct me. I just remember buying those peanut butter taffy things they sell around Halloween. It always smelled like plastic.


Across the way was Glenbrook Plaza. I love that the sign for said shopping center remains the same on the highway side as I have always remembered it, with very few changes.

In grade school, it was the ultimate status symbol to go into Swensen’s Ice Cream Parlor with your friends on a Friday night and share an Earthquake sundae. It was quite an accomplishment to team up and work through 12 scoops of ice cream (and toppings).

My friend Mellissa Jarrette worked there in high school and told me the sundae making station was called the fountain, and the ladies that had mastered all the sundae recipes and could work at a very quick pace were called the Fountain Queens.

And if you weren’t getting your scoops from Swensen’s, you could pop into Thrifty drug store for a 10-cent cone. They had that scooper which shaped the ice cream in a cylindrical fashion rather that just your bulbous scoop. (You can totally get those scoops on Amazon, if you are feeling nostalgic.)

Everyone would get their new kicks at Dave’s Shoe Store, and hit up Goodie’s for inexpensive clothing and Esprit book bags, which I can only guess were related to the uptick in scoliosis diagnoses.

Further down the way was Hart’s Fabrics. Many hours were spent there, impatiently waiting for my mom to rifle through the many patterns in search of our and hers Halloween costumes, flower girl dresses, and more. To kill the time, I would thrust my arms into the claw-foot bathtub full of buttons. My mother frequently had to refrain me from just lying down in it.

Once upon a time my family was on a health kick. As a young child, my mom took to processing her own peanut butter from the machine inside Sunshine Valley Health Food store. She’d stock up on sugarless hard candies, and sesame snaps were considered our dessert. I still remember the fragrance of vitamins and protein powder as you walked in the door. Good times.

Join me again next week as I travel throughout the region on a journey to the days of my childhood in Nevada County.

As a side bar: Special mention to the costume store that used to be on Rough and Ready Highway. I have no remembrance of what it was called, but I could point out the building to you to this day. Does anyone remember the name?

Thanks for reading! Aloha, Nevada County.

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at jnobles@theunion.com

The Glenbrook Plaza sign has changed very little from when the center was built, only adding in the newer occupants.
Jennifer Nobles

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