On the Colt Corral blog for July 4, 2013 I talked about the demise of the Twinkie. I also wondered what time the drive-in movies got over since it doesn't get get dark until 8 PM during the summer. Finally I wondered if anyone remembered the Sears store in Hillcrest and what years it was in existence. I recently came across some photos of Sears, attributed to Paul M. Bowers. Paul said I could use them on this web page.



My sister Margaret '59 and I got our parakeet, Squeekie from Sears I think when when I was in
7th grade at Horace Mann and I think Sears had been there for awhile already. I'd guess it opened in 1952 or 1953. I clearly remember seeing Mr. Olive demonstrating a radial arm saw, near the escalators. Made me proud to be a Cougar. I’ve attached a color photo of Squeekie from 1960. We eventually gave him to Janie Schunert '63 who had him until he died of a heart attack, by which time I was away at college. He was a really good addition to our family --
Bob Richardson ’61

OK John…no to worry…here’s how it all pans out for you:
1)      Sell your Twinkies at a small discounted price in bulk form( you know there are other addicts out there), buy new batches as they come in and continue the process, as they never seem to get old or uneatable. They seem like a fine wine…they only get better with age.
2)      I’m going to guess 1961-2, because I think I remember the news of a new Sears store opening back then and I had just started Horace Mann, from Denver Colorado.
3)      There is only one way your feat of movie watching magic could have taken place…and that is if the Ace Drive-In had 2 screens, back to back at that time. That would have allowed you to watch the best parts of up to 4 movies in one evening and what an evening it could have been.
Just think 2 cars, one at each screen, both filled with friends and a girl in each one for you!...that’s it, John, you devil, you! Your friend and cohort in stories --
Dave Gray ’63

I am guess I was about 8 years old when the Sears store opened, so that would be around 1951.  I was living in my grandma's house on Maryland Street and my mother, grandma and I walked across the foot bridge (over Washington St.) to the brand new Sears Store.  We were all very excited to have a big store so near to where we lived.  Later, my first nice job was at the same Sears.  I taught sewing there (from beginning all the way through tailoring).  I was 22 and very much enjoying the work I was doing --
Elaine Robinson Davis ’61

Growing up in San Carlos we did family night at the Aero in El Cajon and the Ace in Lemon Grove all the time because they were cheeeeeep.  My best memories of hideous sci-fi movies were those at the Ace.  Then of course my own family lived in Lemon Grove for 34 years and my daughter took some pictures of the Ace just before they mowed it down for housing.  I will see if she can get that picture to me. As for Sears, as a little kid going in to the huge, separate Toy Room was terrific.  My parents would enter through the lower door, and my mom always got her hot cashews, then we headed for the Tools section, and if we were lucky my parents let us go alone into the Toy Room.  As I got older, the huge wall murals upstairs became my real fascination.  Were they designed by Diego Rivera?  I have two dear friends who both worked at Sears on Cleveland and later Sears in UTC, each of them for 35 years --
Sharon Cramer Sceper '68

What time would you get home after a triple-bill at the Ace drive-in. 1 AM. I so fondly remember sitting in our beach chairs with, let's say the proper accouterments to go along with a Cheech & Chong flick!
Eileen Baumgarten Gaudette ’74

I don't have a photo, nor a "photographic memory," but I remember as a child looking at the big white round seal on the side of the Sears building and noticing the year 1952 --
Owen Western '63

I’m guessing Sears opened in 1960. I had Mr. Olive for Wood Shop at Horace Mann.  That was where I made the 18” wood sailboat that won the regatta at the small yacht basin in Mission Bay, top boat at Horace Mann Jr --
High Ron Dixon ‘64
Just thought that you would like to know that the return of the Twinkie has a Crawford connection. My brother Rick ('72) was hired by the company that bought Hostess Brands specifically to oversee the retooling of their bakeries to bring back Twinkies. Rumor has it that other Hostess products will return but they wanted the Twinkie back on store shelves by July 15th. They are on target to make that happen --
Ed Schoenberg, '70

It had to be opened before 1958 because I worked there.  I used to take the bus (E route if I recall) and my job was to walk around the parking lot putting flyers for Allstate Insurance on the windshields of cars.  My "office" was a stockroom behind the garden shop and God knows how I remember this, but my boss was Mr. Matheney.  Yes, Mr. Olive worked in the tool department using saws and power tools and we would often drop by to watch him work --
Ernie Cowan ’62

I know I went to the Sears in 1956, so it had to have opened before that.  I looked it up on “hillquest” and found 1953 as the year.  I have been in the DA’s Office for almost 30 years now; early on, in the 80s, I had a supervisor who wouldn’t let us make popcorn for a snack in the office, because it made the place “smell like Sears.”  Remember the popcorn?  Had to have it every time, and then so thirsty had to go to the drinking fountain which was way in the back of the store.  Anyway, I said something recently about that, and the youngsters in the DA’s Office (all young enough to be my children) looked at me with blank stares.  They really missed out.  No more popcorn at any Sears!!!!  Oh, the good old days!!!!!  
Cindi Mitton Means ’68

 I worked at the Sears from about 1965 to 1968 and it didn’t seem like a very new store then.  I would guess it opened in the very early 50’s – the store number was 1078 . . . if I remember correctly, the “1” indicated it was a full sized store, the “07” indicated it was the seventh full sized store built in the “8” (or western) area of the US.  Thinking about the architecture and my various memories I might even say it was built in 1951.  (I just googled Sears 1078 and see that the number has been reassigned to a store in Mesa AZ.)    Barbara Bright Wilder ’62

I’d say that the Hillcrest Sears opened in 1952 --
Gary Epstein ’64

1953 Saw Olive too! --
Mike McKittrick ’60

As I recall it was about 1952 when my mother went to work for Sears and I believe it was when the Hillcrest store opened.  She didn't drive and she had to get a transfer to another bus every morning --
Jim Smith ’63

I lived on the north side of the wood trestle bridge that crossed over Washington Street.  Sears was located on the south side.  I remember crossing the bridge as early as 1954 and Sears was there then.  I believe it opened in 1953 --
Ron Fox ’62

My first paying gig was at the Hillcrest Sears demonstrating organs. I was in Junior High -- Doug Kvandal ’66

This aerial looks north across the Sears parking lot.  Washington St. crosses behind the store, and 163 can be seen heading north into Mission Valley.

(The Hillcrest Sears opened in 1953 and closed in 1988)

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