For many reading this, few may know the significance behind the notorious Santa Rosa Green Van, but the van was legendary for knowing where the fun was in Santa Rosa. Cars would follow the green van after football games to find out where parties were going to be after the football games ended like the football game at the Junior College stadium between Montgomery’s Vikings and the Santa Rosa High Panthers. I remember crazy stories of Billy killing a black cat with the Montgomery football players or the spreading of fish fertilizer in the hallways of Santa Rosa High by the Montgomery students before the game. There were some sick stories over the division of the two schools, but I studied at both. Drivers would see the green van stopped in the parking lot at Salmon Creek Beach in Sonoma County and know that there was a fire burning by the beach with at least a dozen people partying with drinks and food: Nachos from Bodega Bay, we picked up roasted chickens from the deli in Novato, smoked salmon by Duncan’s Beach, french bread rolls from Sebastopol, Hershey chocolate kisses were a game that couple played a kissing game with the little chocolates, bags and boxes of red vines licorice whips. My friends and I always had food to eat, soda to drink, and a fire by the white surf of the beach. If two high schools came to Salmon Creek Beach, Santa Rosa and Montgomery, there were two fires about a hundred feet from each other. I got lucky, because I went to both schools. If a girl like Michele broke up with someone at Santa Rosa High School, and she didn’t feel comfortable dating someone at Santa Rosa High, or the unwanted gossip and attention, but wanted to meet someone at Montgomery High, many times I was asked to go to the other high school fire at Salmon Creek Beach and ask her or find out if she was available, single, or get a phone number. The bridge, it was an interesting ambassadors job, as if a boy at Montgomery High School was to say, “Go to the enemy camp fire, spy to find out if the girl I like is single, tell her that I want to ask her out, and negotiate a truce to see if the girl at Santa Rosa High School will meet me.” The place couples from Montgomery and Santa Rosa would meet on the weekends was the Plaza. The Santa Rosa Mall, Take One Video Games, Food Court, in one week, you may even see them holding hands together as they walked through the mall. Couples literally met for the first time at the video arcade Take One. Remember the arcades? First we played Asteroids at 7-Eleven. Then Pac Man, before the video game arcade opened on Mendocino Avenue across from the Press Democrat Newspaper.
Bookstore : Amazon.com
Santa Rosa Green Van: SantaRosaSonoma.com by Penny Chee
Ghost Writer, Thomas Chee
The green van was bought, because my parents loved camping. With little money leaving the comfort of the house was difficult, especially when my father had cancer. He could drive a few minutes and get hit suddenly with an painful headache. The headache would lead to fatigue. He would have to stop the car he was driving, pull over, and lay his head back on the car seat until he was well enough to drive home. My parents found a giant San Francisco tour van for sale. The inside had seats for a dozen people touring San Francisco each day. They bought the maxi van. Over the weekend, my mother helped my father take out the seats to create a bed in the back of the maxi van. By the time I got to high school, the green van was famous around town for touring students out of Santa Rosa.