Spelunking and other Vignettes from Drew’s Boyhood Days

The following article first appeared in the FALL 2021 (VOLUME 39 NUMBER 4) issue of “Ojai MAGAZINE”. The magazine was published by the “Ojai Valley News”. With their permission, the article is re-printed here.

with Drew Mashburn
Contributed on behalf of the
Ojai Valley Museum

Spelunking and other Vignettes from Drew’s Boyhood Days

Spelunking: There once was a tunnel that ran under the street in downtown Ojai by a creek bed. When I was a young teenager in the mid-1960’s, the tunnel ended behind a pharmacy in the Arcade. What made the tunnel a bit scary was the fact that it doglegs. Why was it scary you ask? Because my buddies and I would gingerly walk through it so as not to stumble over the rocks in the dark until the mid-way point where it bends. Back in those days, the dentist whose practice was next to it didn’t dig us kids using her stairs to get down to the creek. So, we had to be sorta stealth-like. Once we got to the tunnel’s midway point (the dogleg as we called it), light began appearing from the other end. But many times, just before we began to see the light, older teenage boys would be hiding in the darkness. As we approached they’d start screaming and scare the pee-waddin’ outta us! We’d take off runnin’ for the opening behind the Arcade, then scamper up the steep, weed-covered creek bank. Back then, there wasn’t an “Arcade Plaza.” In fact, the back of the Arcade was pretty sucky-looking. We didn’t care though, because we had just survived a cheap thrills adventure.

Read the rest of the article directly from the Ojai Magazine.

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