I was taking improv classes at the Acme Comedy Theater in Hollywood during the mid-1990s. I thought I was pretty good at it and one day for no particular reason at all, I just quit. One of my instructors was a beautiful redhead female about my age or a little older, named Audrey R. She was from the Midwest somewhere, if memory serves me right , Wisconsin, possibly Racine.
During one of the breaks, we started chatting about the early 1970's television show, The Partridge Family and watching it as we both grew up in different parts of the country. The Partridge family, with matriarch Shirley Jones, lived in the fictional town of San Pueblo California. Keith (David Cassidy) and Laurie (Susan Dey) would often hang out or meet up with dates at “The Taco Stand”. This is where all the cool kids hung out in the show. It was basically a mission style Taco Bell place with laminated tables serving up ground beef, cheese, beans in a hard shell or a tortilla to beautiful surfer type kids.
Living in Southern California during the time of the show, I knew what a taco was. I ate them at places like Pup n' Taco, Taco Bell and at places like the Grand Central Market….way back then.
Audrey confessed to me that as a teenager living in Wisconsin, she did not know what a Taco was. This delicacy had not reached that part of the country in 1971. During episodes, where Laurie or Keith or even Danny (Bonaduce) would go to the “Taco Stand”, Audrey imagined it was an Opium Den where these cool hippie singing kids would go. They would be served strange food and the ground beef and beans would be the “host” for the drug. I will never forget how she made these hip gyrations and snapped her fingers in an ode to “70’s cool” as she was describing this. I thought it was so funny and I will never forget her for this moment of extreme laughter. Today she is still an active actor in the city, I looked her up, but she would not remember me from a plate of “Re-fried Beans”.
Dedicated to Audrey. I ordered up a bean and cheese burrito today for lunch at the El Cielito Taco Stand at Olvera Street Los Angeles and thought of you.