A Trip to Memory Lane – Part II: Let’s Go to Glenbrook

Wasn’t that time travel in Grass Valley fun last week? It makes my heart so happy to know that so many people remember the companies I wrote about, sharing their own memories. I hope I was able to start at least a few conversations among those who remember the places I mentioned.

This week we head to Glenbrook Basin, where so many more memories of my childhood (and I’m sure many more) were created.

First off, although it’s still around, Humpty Dumpty is a major event for me and a lot of people I know. My father would take me there on cold winter mornings, where he would sit and talk with his lumberjack buddies while I voraciously consumed hot chocolate with tons of whipped cream on top. I had little interest in their topics of conversation, so I amused myself watching the mysterious numbers light up on the railing above the kitchen window. (Turns out it was a way to signal to servers that the food was ready.)


On the other side of the highway, there were all kinds of delicacies. Who hasn’t shopped at the Jean Store? It was the place to be. Or Mark Sports, where is Knights Paint Store now?

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

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

Long ago, in the same strip where Safeway is now, there was Lucky and Boomer Sound Record Store owned by Frank Synoground. Next door was Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe where their wide variety of colorful 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 well. It looked like your classic variety store, but feel free to correct me. I just remember buying those peanut butter candies they sell around Halloween. It still smelled of plastic.


Opposite was Glenbrook Plaza. I love that the sign of said mall remains the same on the freeway side as I’ve always remembered it, with very few changes.

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

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

And if you didn’t get your scoops at Swensen, you could head to Thrifty’s Pharmacy for a 10-cent cone. They had this scoop that shaped the ice cream in a cylindrical fashion rather than just your bulbous scoop. (You can totally get these scoops on Amazon, if you’re feeling nostalgic.)

Everyone was getting their new kicks at Dave’s shoe store and hitting up Goodie for cheap clothes and bags of Esprit books, which I can only assume was linked to the rise in scoliosis diagnoses.

Further on was Hart’s Fabrics. Many hours were spent there, anxiously waiting for my mother to browse the many designs for our Halloween costumes, bridesmaid dresses and more. To kill time, I shoved my arms into the clawfoot tub full of buttons. My mother often had to stop me from lying in it.

Once upon a time my family was on a health kick. As a young child, my mother took to processing her own peanut butter from the machine inside the Sunshine Valley Health Food store. She stocked up on sugar-free hard candies, and the sesame crunchies were considered our dessert. I still remember the scent of vitamins and protein powder when you walked through the door. Good time.

Join me next week as I travel across the region for a trip back to my childhood days in Nevada County.

Additional: Special mention to the costume store that once stood on Rough and Ready Highway. I have no recollection of its name, but I could tell you the building to this day. Does anyone remember the name?

Thanks for reading! Aloha, Nevada County.

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be contacted at [email protected]

The Glenbrook Plaza sign has changed very little since the center was built, adding only the new occupants.
Jennifer Noble