Remains of L.A.

Traces of L.A.'s past can still be found, in the kitsch of '50s diners and the decayed glamour of '40s hotspots… and sometimes the food is good, and there are nice people.

(1915) Watson Drugs & Soda Fountain, Orange

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watsonsignDavid (my husband) and I were going to a play in Anaheim, so I looked to see what places on the list were nearby, and settled on Watson Drugs & Soda Fountain.

I love drugstore lunch counters. They were on their way out when I was a kid, but I have dim memories of them, of regular plain old drugstores where you could get grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and milkshakes. In old books they’re always such a staple, and take on a sort of romance for me in how very prosaic they are. I once told David (my husband) that my dream writing space would be a small apartment upstairs from a drugstore with a lunch counter, and he asked if the apartment would have a place for clients to sit when they came to ask me to solve crimes, because I was clearly getting being a writer confused with being a private detective in the forties.

–long counter with stools, and also lots of booths and tables with red-and-white checked tablecloths, walls decorated with old tin signs for sodas and Morton’s salt and cigarettes and cars. Also lots of license plates.

–David (my husband) got an egg cream, which I encouraged him to do so I could have a sip (I can’t really take sugar; a sip was the most I could handle) and some kind of burger and onion rings; I got a steak sandwich–really just a steak on a piece of bread–and a fruit cup. Everything was great. My steak was exactly everything I wanted it to be.

–on the wall near the bathrooms are a bunch of old pictures from the old days, showing what the place looked like over the years. So many years.

–a family with two kids came in, the kids very excited to sit at the counter directly in front of the ice cream, which I totally get. I also liked to watch ice cream while I ate, when I was a kid.watsonscounter

–one of the signs above us says, “Drink a Bite to Eat! Dr Pepper!” and another says, “‘RC Tastes Best,’ Says Lucille Ball” and there’s a picture of Lucille Ball next to it. Rendered in tin.

–One guy sitting at the counter alone paid his bill, then made a point of coming back to thank the cooks. I liked that.

–There was a jukebox, but we only had one quarter. After a great deal of waffling I settled on “Da Doo Ron Ron.”

–It was an adorable, quaint place; David (my husband) said he was getting more and more nervous that we were in a Stephen King novel.

–The store seemed to sell more tchotchkes and souvenirs than regular drugstore stuff, which is the opposite of the point, but I could be wrong–we didn’t have much of a chance to browse because we had to run off to the play.

What I Ate: Steak sandwich (medium rare), fruit cup, a sip of David (my husband)’s egg cream, two of David (my husband)’s onion rings

Who I Ate With/Things We Talked About: David (my husband); people who say that L.A. is not a ‘food town’ and why they’re wrong; egg creams; women’s suffrage

What Sort of Ghost I’d Expect to Find if I Believed in Ghosts Which I do Not: A thirteen-year-old girl in ringlets, here on her first date, trying not to twist on the stool as she sips her chocolate coke. Note: Unless otherwise stated, all ghosts mentioned in this blog died peacefully of old age and then reverted to the age/place of their choosing.

116 E Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92866

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One thought on “(1915) Watson Drugs & Soda Fountain, Orange

  1. Oh man, I freaking love an egg cream. We never lived anywhere with lunch counters, but I’ve always loved reading about them in books, too!

    Liked by 1 person

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