Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rumors of Billy Cowan's death are premature and remembering the Blackboard and other local icons

 * ... ALIVE AND HEALTHY: Billy Cowan, one of Bakersfield's premier athletes who went from Bakersfield College to the Chicago Cubs, is alive and well, thank you. Apparently there is a well traveled rumor that Cowan had died, but Californian sports reporter Jeff Evans says it couldn't be further from the truth. Apparently the rumor is so strong that Cowan's family has been inundated with calls offering their sympathies. Now 73, Cowan graduated from East High and played baseball and basketball at Bakersfield College before going to Utah on a basketball scholarship. He went on to become the starting center fielder for the Cubs in 1964 when he hit 19 home runs and was ranked ninth in the National League with 12 stolen bases. He played in the majors from 1963-72 and was once traded by the Braves back to the Cubs in 1966 for a utility infielder named Bobby Cox (the same Bobby Cox of the Atlanta Braves who will be a Hall of Fame manager one day). He will be inducted into the East High Hall of Fame in February.

.... THE BLOG: Risa Bletcher to wrote to say she enjoys this blog but thinks it has become too "clubby," mentioning places like Luigi's where some folks have not visited. She'd like to hear more about these places: the old Blackboard, Maison Jaussauds, the Coachlight Inn, Andre's, Stan's, the Tam O'Shanter, East Bakersfield High, Jefferson and Beale parks and "my all time favorite and neglected, Hart Park. Let's hear about all those wonderful places!"

* ... WHO KNEW? Did you know that in the 1980s Valley Plaza had a Hickory Farms store approximately where ladies' undergarments are now sold at Victoria's Secret?

 * ... MEMORY: Linda Welch wrote to remember "those wonderful rooftop antennas. You had to go outside and rotate them and you might have to put a clothes pen on them" to clear the signal. "Thank God these are not the good old days!"

 * ... SPOTTED: Woman driving a new, white Lexus 570 SUV blows through a red light at Oak and 24th streets, one of our city's most dangerous intersections. Memo to the driver: let's hope it's not your son or daughter driving the car you plow into.

 * ... CHEZ NOEL: Don't forget the 21st annual Chez Noel Home Tour sponsored by the Assistance League of Bakersfield. It will run Friday and Saturday between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. with tickets going for just $35. This is a great chance to see some of our community's lovely homes, so make sure you check this out. Call the Assistance League at (661) 861-9223 for more information on tickets.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Donna James says you may really be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember when "the location of St. Francis School was the pasture for Dr. Christopher Stockton's milk cow!"



I recollect that Hickory Farms was in the wing of the Valley Plaza that still houses Sears. THAT was in the 1970s. On the opposite side from HF was Payless Drugs where my brother adored doughnut holes.

I couldn't tell you what is in that (HF) location now as I do not travel to the Valley Plaza.

Anonymous said...

I remember at one point Hickory Farms and John T's Smoke Shop were almost directly across from each other, and my eyes would water every time I walked by that spot!

Anonymous said...

Maybellene is correct. Hickory Farms was about where Hot Topic is now located. And the Jolly Roger restaurant was where the Gap currently is.