Monday, August 31, 2009

Location blogging #6.

Westbrook!!!


All righty, after much car problems, tech problems, and more jackassery to waylay me, I'm back on the quest.

Okay, my quest starts, at Pine Tree Shopping Center.
Which is technically in Portland, but, just across a little bridge, so, meh, close enough.

Okay, this place has been radically fucking remodeled, so more flashbacking here....

First, a pan of Lowe's to get that all in...


All right, right about where Lowe's is, used to be Shaw's grocery store.

Lotta groceries bought there, lotta comics read in that parking lot back in the day.

Much like the old Laverdiere's & Shop N' Save trips.

Panning right, here's the rest of Pine Tree from the angle of the Lowe's parking lot.



Now that big chunk there with no visible markings, that's Marden's.
Here, I'll highlight that with me little arrows...

Marden's....imagine an even lower rent K-Mart.
Almost an indoor flea market sort of.

Now, it used to be, ages ago, Child World.
The first and only toy store back in my tender youth.
It used to have a castle facade on the front, like it was out of Disney or something.

Like, over 10 years after Marden's bought the property, they kept that fucking castle up.
Looked foolish.
Especially since they'd ripped the Child World logo down, and replaced it with a crappy plastic banner.
I wasted no opportunity to hurl ridicule.
"Castle's still up...tch...".
For 10 frigging years.
Criminy.

So, clearly, they finally got off their asses, and remodeled.
And made it look fancy.
...to lure you in for the crap within...
...their cheap, cheap, fleabag crap...
Well....the candy is good sometimes...

Moving along....

Okay, red arrow indicates where I took the next shots from.
About in that second row of cars where the white car is, in an empty spot.
Green arrow shows the direction I aimed.

There we go, and here I am.
Now, that Radio Shack has pretty much always been there.

Same gripe about Radio Shack as in the mall, the death of hobby electronics over consumer electronics.
Ah, well, wasn't my hobby, but just saying...

Oh, right, that strip chops off now because of Lowe's, but past Full Belly Deli to the left, it continued all the way almost out to Lowe's, and another Zayre's used to be there, which became an Ame's.
Mentioned that chain in the first Portland one.
My mother worked at the Zayre's when she was a teenager.
From the tales, it sucked.
Worse than Wal-Mart.

The Full Belly Deli is new.
I'm told by relatives it's fucking awesome, I shall have to eat there someday.


Ah, now right next to Full Belly Deli is Jo-Anne Fabrics.
This used to be the old Child World before they moved into the castle that got turned into Marden's.

Hmm, weird, Jo-Anne's lost that territory, crammed into the corner with that red blob that says Fashion Bug, and now they got that store back again.

Haven't kept up with all the ins and outs there, I shall have to ask.

More of Fashion Bug.
Huh, clearance sale....so much for them....

Eh, Marden's up close, did a shitty job of getting it in frame there....



Okay, that CVS Pharmacy was always there.

But that bit in there.....

....used to be Little Ceaser's Pizza.

Now, you American readers will know, Little Ceaser's mission statement/motto used to be "pizza! pizza!".
Meaning two for one pizzas.

And when they first moved in there, their latest deal was "meatsa! meatsa!", which was two all meat pizzas for their usual price.

Which was fucking awesome.

First time I'd had the glorious luxury of all the meats.

But, bit by bit, it got worse, meatsa meatsa went away, but all meats was still a good deal, then prices went up, and it wasn't a good deal, but it was still good for cheap pizza, so we (me n' the folks back then) got single toppings, but then prices went up some more, and then it wasn't even a good deal anymore, and didn't taste good enough to justify paying out the nose for, so we stopped going.
THEN, they even got rid of "pizza pizza!".
You had to fucking buy them one at a time. Full price.
Then, the whole chain crashed, and it took out that one like nothing. Poof.
But...it seems they've crawled back up from the ashes.
Haven't had their pizza in over a decade.
I'll have to some time for nostalgia's sake.

Okay, so after Little Ceaser's goes out, Great Wall Chinese buffet moves in.
Awesome.
They were awesome.
Still are, they opened a Super Great Wall in Portland, and it's a fucking Disneyland of Chinese buffet.
So, with Super Great Wall, they didn't need that place anymore.

Now, it's an empty socket, Big Lots ate it up.

And there's Big Lots.
I scooted up a few rows to get a closer shot.

Where the carts are was Little Ceaser's/Great Wall.

Panning right....


...ta daa! There in the orange is Little Ceaser's! They're back! After a decade hiatus.
We missed you, Little Ceaser's.

And rotating to the extreme right, almost back to Lowe's, is this Applebees.
I dunno, people make fun of Applebees, but their vittles are tasty.
*Shrug*

And, there's my shadow...


Okay, so that's all established, let's get the hell out of here, and into actual Westbrook.

Okay, so I've crossed over the bridge, and am now in what I used to call, and still subliminally call "the Bradlees shopping center".

Why will become apparent.

Okay, this little strip here has been shuffled around as much, if not more, than Pine Tree.

Well, ya got your Blockbusters, you got your Payless Shoes, you got your Panera Bread....

...you got your...*squint*...cora..no...ahh, who cares?

Anyway, this whole chunk here....

...used to be Home Vision Video.

*Sigh* they were awesome.

So many rare cult movies.

Back when rare tapes were hard as hell to find.
Now, everything is on DVD, and nothing is rare, and you can get everything on earth with a click of a button, which is cool I guess.
I just faintly miss that thrill of the hunt that movie collecting used to be I guess.

Then, they were Blockbuster, but then Blockbuster moved up the street, and around the corner, and after an inexplicable closing of that location, now they're back in this complex in that corner spot.

But before that spot was even Home Vision Video, they were a movie theater.
Lotta movies saw there.

Two in particular stick out.

Goonies, and Karate Kid 2.

Goonies, it was '85, so I was 10, and so was my friend, Steve, and we had my little cousin, Matthew over, and so we were going to take him with us.

Just before we're out the door, the phone rings, and I regret answering it to this fucking day.

It's Matthew's mother, says she wants him home.

So, along the way, we take him fucking home.
The reason she "needed", him?
To go crib shopping for his little brother.
WTF???
No kid wants to do that, and no one needs a kid along for that.
She just didn't want him to go with us.
For whatever fucking reason.
Maybe she heard Goonies had too many swears or something, I dunno.
Coulda said so, instead of playing games.
So, we drove off with him bawling with a tomato face.

A pall set over the rest of the day.

Goonies was cool, sure, but godammit.
If I just hadn't picked up that stupid fucking phone....
*Head shake*

Karate Kid 2, I was with Steve again, this time, his mother dropped us off.
Now, he had just bought at Child World, the G.I. Joe B.A.T.T.
(Battle Android Trooper)

This fucking thing.


Now look, you can see right in the pic there, it's got these teensy little interchangeable parts.

And he couldn't leave the thing in his mother's car, no, he had to have it with him.

Oh, and he couldn't hang onto it either, he gave me the little pieces, and just the little pieces, to put in my flannel shirt pocket.

Those fucking little pieces.

*Grumble*

Well, I had a peanut butter Twix, ate it in the middle of the movie, and thoughtlessly shoved the wrapper in that same pocket.

You know where this is going.

Threw the wrapper, Steve asks for his stupid little pieces, I look at him like he's from Mars, because the movie had totally blocked my memory, then my memory came back, then my face dropped, then I screamed "ohhhhh!!!", dug in my pocket to be sure, and yup, I'd thrown away his little pieces to his guy.

Well, he flipped the fuck out and bawled tomato faced like I'd murdered his dad in front of him.
Swore his head off too, if I remember right.

Jaaaayyyzusss.

So, as pissed and betrayed as he was, I was fucking traumatized, and guilt ridden, like, I'd ruined our whole friendship because I'd lost the bits to his fucking toy.

Shit like that seems to matter when you're a kid.

Fuck, do kids suck.

Oh, no! It wasn't Karate Kid 2!!
His mother and his sister went to see Karate Kid 2, and that burnt into my memory, because we sat in the lobby listening to that piece of shit getting over while he glared tear soaked hatred at me.

We went to see "Armed And Dangerous", with John Candy, and Eugene Levy, which was a tremendous turd of a film.
So, it was a bitter waste of an afternoon from start to finish.

Anyway, years fucking later, we met up again in high school, and he still remembered that shit!!
Still telling the B.A.T.T. story!
Augh!!

Get over it.
Fuck, I dunno how many of my toy accessories he broke over the years, I think he settled the score.
Keerist.

Anyway, he started putting gunk in his hair, and acting like he was some kind of pussy-hound, when he wasn't, teenagers suck.
So, with him trying to be Fonzie, and me being a cartoon weenie, we drifted apart.
Lost track of him, he's probably a lawyer or something.

Me, I pulled "misanthropic misfit", out of the career hat, so I went with that....
*Cough*

So, there's those misty watercolored memories.

Where were we?
Ah, yeah, there's Ruby Tuesdays, and Pizza Hut....

...there's the full view of Pizza Hut....

...and there's Shaw's.

Here, I'll help with the arrows....

There, Shaw's.

Used to be Hannaford, which used to be Shop N' Save.
Used to work there, told that story here.

Anyway, it's the Shaw's I mentioned from Pine Tree, they moved there after Hannaford moved out to a new location up the street.

See that parking lot? I corralled carts across that whole damned span.
Quite a workout.
Kinda fun, really.

Now here's Kohl's.

That used to be Bradlee's.
Bradlee's was yet another K-Mart/Zayre's/Ame's type place.

They were kinda like, the star of the mini mall, so I got used to calling it "the Bradlee's shopping center".
Still stuck in the habit.

And there's the rest.

Crafts, pottery, Dunkin Donuts.
Usual mall filler.

And has anyone else noticed how Dunkins has turned explosively malignant territory wise?
Sheesh.

Oh yeah, here's the absolute rest, the sign.
Talk about anal, huh?
:P

Okay, enough of that place, on the way to the next spot, is this Dairy Queen.

Couldn't whip out the camera in traffic, so here it is from Google Maps.

Lotta happy times here.
Dairy Queen used to have the best fish sandwich.
It was a whole damned fillet in a bun.
Now it's a cube like everywhere else.
Still good though, but Burger King's Big Fish is a bit better.
Best of all though, is Weathervane.
Ohhh, Weathervane....*drool*....

Anyway, Dairy Queen, you get your fish sandwich, fries, sodie, and a peanut butter sundae, you're all set.
You're ready to take on life.
Watch out world, here comes Dirk Danger.

All right, all right, on to the next stop...

Riverbank Park.

Here's the street view from Google Maps.

(Click for larger version)

And here's my pics from being there.

Here's the statue.

Here's a better view of some more of the park...

Next shot was taken from out back here....

....and it came out shitty and sun-washed...

Here's the riverbank the park is named after.
Beautiful, even through this grainy little camera.

'Nother shot of the riverbank.

*Sigh*
Take that in for a bit.....:)

Okay, back on Main Street, here's a couple highlights from Google....

Walker Memorial Library.

(Click for larger version)

Lotta good books taken out there back in the day.

Hmph, okay, so they're a bit before Riverbank Park, I'm a bit drained, forgive me for getting things a little out of order.

Okay, right across the street from Riverbank Park is this Chinese place.
They make giant egg foo yung omelettes.
The size of a hand towel.
Yum.

(click for larger version)

Oh, here's Angelone's Pizza.

(Click for larger version)

My mother made the mistake over 15 years ago of trying her luck for the first time on an anchovi pizza there.
They emptied the whole tin, and used all the oil too, cuz the flavor was in the whole pizza, she couldn't just pick the nasty things off.
So, her supper was ruined, and she threw a hissy fit.
Ah, good times.

Ate a lot of Little Ceaser's, Angelone's, and giant egg fu yungs at the picnic tables at Riverbank back in the day.
Gotta strike out, and do that by myself sometime.

Okay, I pass those along the way, here's the next and last spot I went to.
Back to the pics I took.

CVS drugstore.
The big one.
Well, the Westbrook big one, there's that other identical one in Gorham.

I was too close again, and had to take it in panning...


Well, keeping panning left, here's Family Dollar.

Which used to be another Laverdiere's.

Got a loootta Hulks outta there.

This is where I got my comics that I read in the parking lot at Pine Tree Shaw's.
Full circle, see?
;)

Laverdiere's and groceries would always be one family trip.

And past Family Dollar is the liquor store.


It used to be called RSVP.
Returned a lot of recyclable bottles/cans there.
Then, took the money, and you guessed it, bought comics.

Here's a better view of CVS off Google Maps.

(Click for larger version)

Here's a better view of Family Dollar from Google.

(Click for larger version)

And here's a better view of the liquer store from Google.

(Click for larger version)

Why take my pics if Google is just as good?
To prove I went there.
And to make myself go there.
And to personalize the whole thing.

All right, one more thing.....

Here's where the old CVS was...
Off Google again.

(Click for larger version)

They moved out of there when they built the bigger one, and it laid dormant for years, now it's a convenience store run by an Iraqi guy, and I hear he recently got arrested for dealing coke.
Bwaaahahahahhaaaa!!!
...ahem.

Anyway, I love Westbrook.
Wish I lived here.

Here, take in some more Westbrook, here's the Google street view of Main Street starting with CVS.




View Larger Map

Take the road all the way up, and soon you'll come up on all the spots, Warren Library, Riverbank Park, Angelone's, you'll even see Cumberland Falls store, another Dunkin Donuts, all kinds of goodies.

It's a wonderful city, I love it.

Or, you could start back at Pine Tree, and connect back up to Main Street that way.
You'll pass the Dairy Queen along the way.


View Larger Map

So, there, Westbrook.
With a dash of Portland.

Hope you enjoyed it.
:)

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