Santa Rosa Plaza and Town Mall

Santa Rosa Plaza California

Santa Rosa Plaza was the new structure in town. The new big project, the new construction, when I was growing up in Junior High School. We didn’t know if the work was going to be a parking lot, church, apartment buildings, but breaking dancing was new. MTV was new. Duran Duran, Madonna, Howard Jones, Def Leppard, Michael Jackson videos shocked kids as much as Madonna’s video Like a Virgin. HBO was new. We stayed up late to watch the crime movie The Lady in Red. Parents had to have a box installed on their TV to have HBO cable movies. There was once a time when cars cruised down Mendocino Avenue. Drivers from Cloverdale to Petaluma. Junior high kids didn’t have skateboard parks. Skateboards were getting advance. The skateboards needed smooth surfaces for the wheels. The Santa Rosa Plaza poured tons of concrete for ramps. The concrete was smooth. The ramps steep, inclined, perfect for rolling down. My school friends taught me how to skateboard down the new parking lot ramps that are now the plaza mall. Jason, Brett, Darren, we had the entire structure to ourselves. No problems, no vandalism, no trash, no cops, no parents, no one but the smooth surface, roll of the skateboard wheels, dark night sky filled with fog and stars. We only skated at night and on the weekdays. I see the Santa Rosa Plaza now. I remember learning how to break on a skateboard. Turn, lean, balance, break, my friends taught me how to fall so that I wouldn’t break my wrist or elbow. They were cool, because I can honestly say that I would have never learned to skateboard if my friends hadn’t taught me how at the Mall, which is now Santa Rosa Plaza. The Mall introduced us to the giant TV sets. One day they would be home entertainment systems. The Santa Rosa Mall had shirts with inflated shoulders at a place called Chess King. The shirts reminded me of Ace Frehley’s Spaceman shirts from his band, KISS. The plaza was the place that replaced parks. Boys held hands for the first time with girls at the Mall. Children played their first video games at the Mall; Asteroids, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong. Kids bought their first vinyl records at the Santa Rosa Plaza. Everyone wanted a job at Macy’s Department Store. I knew high school kids that gave up going to college for a job at Macy’s Department Store after graduating Montgomery HS. The mall was the epicenter meeting place in Sonoma County. Girls from Bodega and Windsor wanted to go there to meet boys from Piner, Montgomery, and Santa Rosa High School.
Thomas Chee

#santarosa #santarosacalifornia #sonomacounty #history #rebellover #chaseleo #thomaschee #sonoma #california #books #sonomacalifornia #winecountry

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