Last month I wrote about my brother and I at ages 8 and 10 years old working in the morning time at the A&W. When our duties were finished we would take the few dollars our dad paid us for working, hop on our bikes and spend the day mulling around St. Helena for the rest of the day.
Back then in the early 1970’s there were no cell phones or video games to keep us busy so we had to create our own fun and our small town had plenty to offer. The public swimming pool at St. Helena high was good for hours of fun and was right across the street from the restaurant. The pool had two high dives back then and a great snack bar. We’d climb up the ladder and jump off that high board, over and over and over.
The next stop would be an antique car museum in the middle of town where Constellation’s office is now located. It was a big warehouse full of cool cars and it was free. They knew us by first name. When jelly bellies first hit the market they were sold here in all the different flavors. We would walk around eating our jelly bellies making sure not to touch the cars.
The grand finale was the soda fountain between Wards and Goodmans on Main Street. There was a small area in the back where the ice cream was served. This place was a treat. My brother and I would sit up at the counter on our favorite stools and order a chocolate malt. They would mix it by hand, pour it from a steel container into the tall glass and then hand us both the glass and the steel container with the extra. Heaven for two kids killing time on a summer day!!
Today my two boys, Kyle and Justin, enjoy this same independence and freedom living in St. Helena but the hang outs have changed. They typically ride their bikes downtown and hit the Napa Roasting Company for a hot chocolate and a game of chess, Model Bakery for a cookie or Gott’s Roadside for a milkshake. Not too long ago my youngest son Justin was dropped off at our house by a shuttle that I’d never seen before. Apparently for 50 cents kids can call this shuttle that will take them anywhere within the city limits. Sounds like their own personal Uber. Crazy!