Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bullock’s Pasadena

Last evening I was wondering what kind of cheese bread I could bake for the new bread baking day. The subject is bread with cheeses. I didn’t realize how many recipes there are for cheese type breads. As I was contemplating on it, I remembered the cheese bread we used for making a special avocado cheese sandwich at Bullock’s.  A lot of memories of Bullock’s came back to me and so I thought I would reminisce a bit on my blog.

1967 is the year that I started my very first job and it was at Bullock’s Pasadena. It was the ‘Macys’ of California back then. I had just turned 16 and they hired me, at $1.25 an hour and by the time I left in 1969, I was up to $1.35 an hour. Big money…..

Bullock’s to me was magical and I loved working there. It was a four story building, the first three stories were the department store part and the fourth, the big offices. The third floor is where the restaurant was and that is where I did work. I started out as a bus girl and then worked in the bakery, sandwich and dessert and salad departments, mostly the bakery. Back then we made most foods from scratch, stirring the blueberry muffin mixture in the huge mixers and folding in the blueberries by our arms, no gloves back then. We baked all the cakes, pies and muffins. But we didn’t bake the breads.

The one sandwich we sold a lot of was the California Avocado Cheese. It was 3 slices of cheese toast with avocado slices  between 2 of the slices and bacon,lettuce and tomato between the 3rd slice. I didn’t care for it as I don’t care for avocados, but sure made a lot of them. The other thing that I did like was the little sandwich appetizers made with nut breads and usually spread with some sort of cream cheese filling. My favorite was date bread with cream cheese and pineapple spread. I haven’t found good date bread since. It was dark because it was made with coffee. I don’t do coffee and so have not found something close; I tried cocoa but not the same. I do make these little appetizers, without the coffee, when I entertain as they surprise people.

Back to the magic! Also on the fourth floor is where we had a huge locker area for the workers, to change into our heavy starch uniforms. Men and women each had their own sides. There was also a big room for just relaxing with cots for napping and a patio balcony you could go out and see Pasadena. I felt like I was in the movie, “Miracle on 34th Street” (old version with Maureen O’Hara). The part where Santa is in the locker room. Bullocks was beautiful during the holidays, it was decorated to the fullest. This is where Lucille Ball would come shopping during Christmas time and eat in the restaurant, it was fun to see her, usually with friends. From Oct until Jan 1, the Rose Parade queen and court would come and parade around. We had a special room,  inside the Coral Room Restuarant  where the queen became the Rose Queen. A lot of fancy dresses. We would have fashion shows and other special occasions in that part of the restaurant.

On some Saturdays, I and my friend (Chris) would have splits. This is where we would work four hours and two off and then come back and work another four. He had a motor cycle, so we would take off and tour Pasadena and near by sites, what fun we had! We did have a few dates together and always had fun.  Every Christmas time, Bullock's would put on a big party for the employees and one year, Chris and I went.  It was at the Bullock's Wilshire building in Los Angeles. I thought I was special as most dressed as if we were movie stars.  Chris and I  went to my senior high Christmas dance, here is a picture of the two us, don’t we look young?

Here I am now in the mid-west and have met a church friend who also worked during the same time I did at Bullock’s. She worked in the candy department, right next to the restaurant and we didn’t even know each other, small world…

Oh we did pranks and got into trouble every now and then as teenagers do, but for the most part we worked hard and everyone there was like family, we loved it! The hardest thing for me was to get off for my high school graduation, as you were suppose to be 18 to work there and of course, I was not. We didn’t have to show proof of age then. But anyway they let me off and so I graduated, yeah!!!! And I did leave there with many good friends.

Thanks for remembering with me.

The picture of Bullock's above is couresty of google search. You can google, Bullock's Pasadena and see many pictures and read of stories that have been written, pretty cool.


Kim said...

This was a really fun post to read.

Sorry I missed you when we were in Wichita. I attended church with my daughter, Diane, in the Andover Ward so didn't even come over to the Westlink building.

ejm said...

I, on the other hand, love avocados and really like the sound of avocado sandwiches on cheese bread! What sort of cheese?

My mum's date bread is quite dark - no coffee and no chocolate. It's a quickbread and while I haven't had it with cream cheese (good idea!) and pineapple spread, it is really delicious with cheddar cheese.


P.S. When you make your 6 strand braided loaf, do let me know how it turned out!