Facebook group about Cedar Rapids sparks memories

Membership skyrockets; members share memories from 1970s, 1980s

Photos such as this, of Mombo the clown and Dr. Max from the local television show, have been posted on the Facebook gro
Photos such as this, of Mombo the clown and Dr. Max from the local television show, have been posted on the Facebook group about Cedar Rapids in the 1970s and 80s. (photo/Facebook)

Cruising the avenue; gazing at the lobster tank at Barlow’s Foods or the animated Christmas display downtown at Armstrong’s Department Store.

If these topics make you reminisce, chances are you grew up in Cedar Rapids in the 1970s and ‘80s.

“People really remember the same old places,” said Diana Frerick, who started a Facebook group that is rekindling those memories.

Membership in “You Know You Grew Up In Cedar Rapids, IA in the 70’s and 80’s Because…” has exploded in recent days, surpassing 8,600 members as of  Friday, July 29.

“It just kind of spread,” said Frerick, 47, of Phoenix. “It’s true – the Internet is viral.”

Frerick, a Kennedy High School graduate and native of Cedar Rapids, works as an independent distributor for the health products company,  Isagenix, and has lived in Arizona the last 20 years.

But thoughts of Cedar Rapids, where her parents, Ron and Geri Frerick, still live, were never far from her mind.

She saw a similar Facebook page for Phoenix and decided to start one for her Cedar Rapids friends to share in January 2009.

“It just grew steadily over the years,” she said. “I never dreamed it would get this big.”

In the last few days alone, more than 1,000 requests for membership have come through, said  Jim Watkins, 49, of Marion, one of two “bouncers” for what Frerick calls a “cybernet bar.”

Watkins, who recalls cruising First Avenue in his black 1969 Chevelle, monitors newcomers and comments along with Frerick and Jon Hejda, 45, of Cedar Rapids.

“It’s just nuts,” said Hejda, who graduated from Kennedy High School and works at Quaker in Cedar Rapids.

All three said membership skyrocketed after Frerick upgraded the group at Facebook’s request.

That led to members receiving notification of posts in their in-boxes, which apparently sparked more interest.

Strings of messages about Lindale - before it was a mall - restaurants and debate on which roller rink “ruled” have been among the most popular, Frerick said.

Photos have also been posted, including those of Mombo the clown from the local “Dr. Max” children’s television show.

“It’s taking people back in time,” Frerick said.  “I just love that it’s touched people in that way.”

FYI: Find the page here:  

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