Thanks for stopping by. You'll find some reviews of books I've read. I love to read mysteries and thrillers. Favorites include James Lee Burke and Louise Penny. I love discovering new authors. New cookbooks are another favorite. I also review women's fiction, historical fiction and Christian fiction and non-fiction. Follow me on twitter: @PoCoKat. Happy reading my friends!
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Growing Up in Ranch Park in the 1960s: A True Blessing
From 1963 to 1982 I lived in Ranch Park. My parents, Bill and Marlene, my sisters, Karen and Joanne, me and our 3 cats lived on The Lazy A Street. I still drive by our house and through the neighbourhood quite frequently as my church, Coquitlam Alliance Church, is located at the top of Ranch Park. Our home had an amazing view of the Golden Ears, Mount Baker in Washington state (a volcano) and the Coquitlam River valley.
Lazy A is the crescent in the middle of the photo.
One of my friends once proclaimed that growing up in Ranch
Park was like growing up on the television show “The Wonder Years”. And she was
right. Ranch Park, particularly on Lazy A Street, was a magical place to grow
up in the 1960s.
My parents bought our quarter acre lot in 1959. In 1963,
shortly after I was born they built their dream house. It was a mid-century
modern that they designed themselves. Both my parents had grown up in East Van
and were thrilled with the large lot and the gardens and lawns they soon
In 1967, my father had a large hole dug in our back yard and
using forms from one of our neighbours (Mr. Ellison, a shop teacher) and had our pool built. The excavators dumped
all the dirt from the excavation into three big piles onto the lot next door
which conveniently belonged to my parent’s best friends, Sunny and Don. Those three
big piles of dirt became play "homes" for the neighbourhood kids. We all played house
together on those big piles of dirt. Such a wonderful memory.
Lazy A and the surrounding streets were filled with young
families. There were so many children of every age, shape and size. We were
like one big family. We all knew everything about everyone. There were no play
dates in those days, you just went outside and you immediately found someone to
play with. Or you would knock on their door and out they would come, ready to
play. Our mothers knew we were around somewhere. I knew she would call (and by call I mean stand on the sundeck and yell out our name) when lunch was ready.
Ranch Park was very isolated in the 1960s. We were Coquitlam
yet our mailing address was Port Coquitlam. It was very confusing. There were
no corner stores in Ranch Park. There were no services of any kind. Harry’s
Corner, which was an old dilapidated gas station, was at the corner of Westwood
and Dewdney Trunk. In the 1960s, Westwood was the Lougheed Highway. There were
still farms along Dewdney Trunk. Children who lived on those farms went to
school with us. During the summer when we were bored, we would walk to Como
Lake Village to get candy. It was a 3 km walk one way. And we surrounded by
bush. Oh the adventures we had. We would cross streams on logs, manoeuvre
through swamps, knock down spider webs as we traversed through paths surrounded
by giant, moss covered cedars and endless ferns. Ranch Park Elementary School
was surrounded by forest on two sides. Everyone who grew up in Ranch Park
remembers The Rocks! We would jump from
one giant granite boulder to another. I sprained my ankle twice on The Rocks.
My ankle still gives me issues! Summer nights the kids in the neighbourhood
would just all naturally come together. We would play kick the can and hide and
seek until the street lights came on which meant it was time to go home. And we
all did. Those spontaneous games still bring me joy when I think about all the
fun we had.
One winter when I was probably around six years old, we had a
tremendous snowstorm. We often would slide our sleds, toboggans or crazy
carpets down the slopped pathway into Ranch Park between the Brook’s and
Washington’s houses. But this particular year someone decided to slide down
Daybreak. So soon everyone was sliding down Daybreak. I’ll never forget my
father trudging up the hill in his suit carrying his briefcase looking
miserable. He couldn’t get his sports car up the hill so had to leave it
somewhere at the bottom like everyone else. I thought he was pretty cranky that
day until a police car with chains came up Daybreak and told us all to go home
and told the adults that they should be ashamed of themselves for allowing
Daybreak to become a sheet of ice. We all ignored him and basically went back
Lazy A is a crescent that surrounds the actual park called
Ranch Park. Every summer, the Coquitlam Parks Board put up a shed in the park
as in all the other parks in Coquitlam. There was an activity person on staff
every week day. The shed was filled with every piece of sports and play
equipment you can imagine. As soon as the activity director who was usually a
young college student, we would all flood into the park. We spent our days
there playing every game imaginable. I learned my lesson pretty quick and
disappeared as soon as Red Rover started. I had sticks for arms and was always
a good target for breaking through. We had field trips once a week to places
like Alouette Lake, White Rock, Stanley Park and anywhere that there was
something fun to do. A big bus would pick us and our park activity person up along with kids from the
other parks and off we would go. No parents were there helicoptering over us to
make sure we were safe.
Every afternoon my mother would invite neighbours, relatives
and friends over to swim in the pool. Thinking back on the amount of treats
available every afternoon during these swimming parties, I am amazed I stayed
stick thin all those years! My sisters and I were like fish in the water. We
spent hours in that pool playing with other children. What fun we had! We would
tan for hours experimenting with baby oil to get better tans and putting lemon
juice in our hair to make it blonder.
Indeed, growing up in Coquitlam in the 1960s and the 1970s
really was the Wonder Years. I am so blessed to have grown up in such a fun and
beautiful neighbourhood. Our panoramic view of the Golden Ears, the Pitt and
Fraser River Valleys and Mount Baker was spectacular and I wish I had
appreciated it more growing up. I am thankful my parents picked such an amazing
place for my sisters and I to grow up.
**The photos are all courtesy of my mother Marlene and my grandfather Sandy.