Sunday’s column is a tribute to Ramon Sanchez, proprietor of Ramon’s Cactus Patch restaurant in Ontario, who died Thursday at age 98.
Ramon Sanchez, the founder and proprietor of Ramon’s Cactus Patch, the oldest restaurant in Ontario, died Wednesday evening at home at age 98, according to his family.
Sanchez on March 30 closed his Mexican restaurant, which he opened in 1938, due to illness. He was suffering from colon cancer. I wrote about that earlier in April.
Services will be private, at Sanchez’ request, and he also told his family he didn’t want an obituary or any fuss. “No fanfare. That was his way,” daughter Claudia said.
That said, I’ll be writing about him anyway. (That’s my way.) His family is fine with that and I’m sure he would be too. In the meantime, farewell to a local institution.
When Ontario officials told me (upon the opening in December of the first licensed tattoo shop within city limits in recent memory) that they didn’t believe there had been a tattoo parlor since the 1950s, I was skeptical and made sure not to treat that as fact.
Good thing, because two readers soon contacted me to say that a man named Franco had a tattoo shop on East Holt Boulevard, two blocks east of Euclid Avenue, in the late 1970s-early 1980s. Note that this puts his shop within blocks of both City Hall and the Police Department, so if he was hiding, he was doing so in plain sight.
One reader said she got her second tattoo there circa 1979. (She asked me not to use her name because “my mom would cringe if she read that as she still hates my tattoos!”) Another said Corey Miller, now of the Six Feet Under tattoo shop in Upland, apprenticed at Franco’s.
Indeed, Miller’s website gives this history:
“A year later , Corey went to Franco’s, the local tattoo parlor in Ontario, California. Franco was a 360-pound Sicilian with gold teeth, a Mohawk, and a .357 magnum slung in a shoulder harness. Corey and his buddies would go to Franco’s after school to drink beers and do whatever else they wanted to do. By summertime, Corey was drawing designs and taking out the trash at the shop, and Franco and the boys started calling him the shop hand. Franco’s soon closed after what Corey describes as some ‘pretty insane nights of fights, drunkenness, gunfire, arrests, and tattooing,’ but not before Franco sold Corey what he thought was a broken tattoo machine that turned out to work just fine.”
Sunday’s column has items about the daredevil’s 1971 jump in Ontario, cultural events this week and the death of a frequent letter writer to the Bulletin’s Opinion page.
Evel Knievel’s Feb. 28, 1971, jump over 19 Dodge vehicles (18 cars, one van) at Ontario Motor Speedway is seen in the photo above. And here, you can see a short video: the opening of the “Evel” biopic that mixes a few seconds of the actual jump with stuntwork, stand-ins and scenes with George Hamilton as Knievel. The jump was part of the entertainment at the Miller High Life 500 at the speedway. There will be more in Sunday’s column. Do you remember the jump? Were you there?
Monopoly’s decision to retire the iron, one of its eight original tokens dating to the 1930s, reminded me that Ontario had an important role in the electric iron, through GE’s Hotpoint factory, and that a permanent exhibit at the Museum of History and Art (225 S. Euclid Ave.) is devoted to the household appliance. All that is the subject of my Wednesday column.
At the Ontario library, they gave up email for a week, and (gasp) survived. You can read about that in Sunday’s column. Also, elephant rides won’t return to the Upland Lemon Festival, and I present a half-dozen restaurant and cultural items.
George Muecke, above, has opened Ontario’s first tattoo parlor in recent memory. You can get inked in virtually all our local cities, but only now can you do so in Ontario. Friday’s column is about Muecke, his shop and his oddly unique status in Ontario.
Wednesday’s column kicks off with the belated news that the London double-decker bus parked outside a restaurant on Ontario’s Mountain Avenue has left the building for good after the eatery’s sale. Then there’s a clutch of cultural items of note and word that a woman claiming to be Jesus recently visited Upland. Heh.
Sunday’s column recounts highlights of last week’s Ontario council meeting, which offered (mostly) intentional humor from Paul Vincent Avila. Also, a look at the special collection holdings of the Honnold /Mudd Library in Claremont and a few short items from around the valley.