I moved to this once sleepy town in 1989.
The streets were free of traffic, stop signs or traffic signals. Cal Oaks Apartments (now called The Arbors) were in the process of being built. The windows were not installed yet and the stucco wasn’t even spray painted on. It was a three-story dark mass of small dark windows and doors. The only store we had, Murrieta Market, a tiny one-stop-shop in Old Town. The owners were a little bit amazing. They made the most amazing deli sandwiches and was so disappointed when they stopped serving them. I remember being a 9-year-old child and looking out the car window at this dark town with no lights, streets under construction and empty houses that just demanded us to play in them with the plaster on the weekends. In 1990 the town was estimated to be 24,000. Here
I moved from Huntington Beach to Murrieta. Since I was so young, I didn’t really grasp the whole different culture/lifestyle of the two towns. I remember Huntington was busy, the helicopter with the light would shine on the wild parties next to our house and the constant noise.
Murrieta on the other hand was silent. Occasionally we would hear coyotes and some living creature crash through the forest behind our house. Experienced wild life I never experienced before. raccoons in our back yard and the beautiful experience with poison oak, which I am happy to say, I am FINALLY immune.
Murrieta grew from 24,000 people to close to 115,000 people in the 2010 census. Our sleepy town who didn’t even have a graduating class until 1994, a grocery store till the early 90’s or even a spot on the map grew to over a hundred thousand people in a brief twenty years.
This brings me to my original title of the post. I understand back in the day, when it was difficult to find anything to do, let alone by beer at midnight in a town that barely was alive. If we were to combine Murrieta and Temecula together we have: a ridiculously large mall, over crowded schools, no jobs, a bazillion restaurants and two bazillion homes and congestion on our beloved freeways with one off-ramp.
Here is my dilemma. It is next to impossible to buy beer on a Friday night because…
I woke up from a nap (summer break – screws with my schedule) at 10pm and shuffled out to the front porch where my brother and a few of his band mates, Cease To Be were drinking beer. Since they are so kind, they offered me a beer (actually two) and then invited me along for a car ride (!) to go fetch another 12 pack. I figure that since it was a Friday night, stores would be open later than the weekdays. Our first stop was Ralph’s. They closed at 10pm and it was now about 11pm. So we swooped in on CVS, they closed at ten too. Next stop was our beloved Murrieta Market. Closed at nine! (I would think they would be open later because they are right across the street from a bar.) Went on to Brand X, the liquor store that may be as old as Murrieta… and CLOSED! Since I am with an upbeat bunch of guys, we continue on with our quest to score some beer before the night is officially over. We head to AMPM, a favorite place to buy beer after the bar is closed and they don’t accept credit cards. Really? We hop across the street and go to Chevron and manage to get a 12 pack of PBR. Finally. Only took us one hour and a quarter tank of gas.
With all our travels, I was proud to say I did not see one cop. Not that I don’t 100% support our police and catching the bad guys and all that they do… we have no crime in Murrieta. It might be slightly, like ever so slightly more dangerous than it was twenty years ago. One of the lovely things about living out here is the low crime rate and it is a great place to raise a family. We are so boring the cops chose to harass people (I have been the object of harassment for years from certain coppers out here), pull them over for no reason in the drive thru of Del Taco (a personal favorite of mine). I worried for nothing since for the first time, we didn’t look obvious or like we were up to mischief. We were on a mission!
Regardless of how large Murrieta seems to get we are still that small town that makes it damn hard to buy beer to drink on our front porch at midnight. Time to move outta the ‘burbs, I guess.