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Hit By a Wave of Nostalgia

By Mark D. Roberts | Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I expect you’ve probably had an experience like the one that engulfed me last week. It can come from visual cues, though it’s often stimulated by the sound of an old song or a distinctive smell. As I was driving along, minding my own business, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia, a tsunami of multi-sensory memories.

I happened to be driving in Southern California, where I spent most of my life until a recent move to Texas. As I was cruising along Manchester Blvd., getting ready to return my rental car, all of a sudden I saw it . . . a big, giant donut. Immediately, my mind flooded with memories: riding in our family car on a Saturday morning with my dad, ordering donuts from the window, waiting expectantly for our order, the intoxicating smell of fresh donuts, the scrumptious taste of a perfect, hot donut.

big donut inglewood randy's

In the early 1960s, my family and I lived in Inglewood, California, just a few miles from what is now called Randy’s Donuts. At the time, this establishment was part of the Big Donut chain. There were several Big Donuts near where we lived. In fact, I think we frequented a store that was closer to our home. Today’s it’s called Kindle’s Do-nuts (no relation to the Amazon reading device).

bagel donut signA few years ago while driving in Bellflower, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, I stumbled upon an unexpected sight. There was what looked like a Big Donut store. But on what was once a big donut sign I read: “Bellflower Bagels.” Somebody had even tried to paint some raisins on the giant former donut, now bagel. Nice try! But, in our hearts, we still know that the giant “bagel” is really a big donut.

texas donut kindle'sI did a little online research about the remaining Big Donut stores, which all go by different names today. It turns out that Kindle’s Do-nuts features a treat that honors my new state. Yes, at Kindle’s you can buy a Texas Donut. What makes it a Texas Donut? you ask. The giant size! Why, that’s almost a meal in itself!

In my nostalgic reverie last week, I made a vow. I promise to take my son to one of the former Big Donut shops. I just have to pass on the tradition. I only wish my father could be with us. I wonder if they have Big Donuts in heaven.

Topics: Musings |

4 Responses to “Hit By a Wave of Nostalgia”

  1. Bill Goff Says:
    October 29th, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Having grown up in Westchester, next door neighbor to Inglewood, I share your nostalgia for the big donut place which I saw many times, but for some reason never ate there. I didn’t know it still existed. Thanks for the memories.

  2. J.Falconer Says:
    October 29th, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    REv. Mark, Thanks you so very much for your timely, thoughtful posts. We loved your donut photos. Thanks again-it brings back so many warm happy memories-only 40 years ago!! Ha, I was 8 years old & would stay up late for my father to come home from the university in Long Beach-he was taking education courses-teaching certificates, etc & law courses at a law school in Anaheim & he would stop & bring home donuts at a place called Mrs. Chapman’s donuts with a big brown glazed looking donut on top of the donut bakery shop. Glad you got to recently satisfy your sweet tooth!! Yum Yum Thanks a million for such a warm sweet post. Happy donut hunting & enjoying!!! Ha Thanks again. I’m sure your children will love your donut photos & stories! We sure did!

  3. Donut make my brown eyes blue | The Daily Scroll Says:
    October 29th, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    […] D. Roberts gets wistful over his recent rediscovery of the Big Donut franchise: “As I was cruising along Manchester Blvd., getting ready to return my rental car, all of a […]

  4. Greg Moore Says:
    October 31st, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    The Donut Experience is what happens when a generous-hearted leader selects an “oldie” for the worship service. It reignites flickering candles of first love all over the building.


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