This could easily be titled the nostalgia of childhood. Crystals Pizza Parlor was a magical place. You DFW kids aged maybe 44 through like 55 know what I’m talking about. I got introduced to Cyrstal’s from an invite to a B-Day party to maybe one of my soccer buds who lived in Irving or HEB and I hit the jackpot with that birthday invite. I mean, video arcade games, magic tricks, some freaky haunted-like library, a fish tank table, good pizza (at least my 10 year old tastebuds thought so), all you can eat sundae bar, dark cartoon theater…jackpot! Can I get a Hellz Yes and a big ole’ Southern Baptist Amen here brothers and sistahs??
This story has a Z tie-in as we moved as a family to Flo Mo from 2006 to 2012. I was excited to share with C & Z the places I found magic in growing up. We kept running into disappointment after disappointment and none was more disappointing than our trip to Crystal’s. We might have visited a year or two before their closing and man…what a run-down place it had become. The neighborhood around there had become rough, rough, rough. Inside, the arcade games didn’t all work. All the insides hadn’t been touched for 20-something years with no new updates. We ate our pizza at the table and a magician came around to do card tricks, balloon animals, the like. And my kids just looked at me…like Dad, what an incredibly sad childhood you must have had. And there was me just saying… trust me this place was the Shitz as a kid. It was the bomb.com!!! They lost faith.
Wait? We are supposed to be focusing in on “Good Things” here, so let’s bring it back to the good. Other places I took the kids to that I found magical growing up were: The Dallas Texas State Fair, Burger’s Lake swimming hole near Carswell AFB, Sandy Lake Amusement Park, Turner’s Fall in OK, and the Fair Park Museums. All of those places were once magical places… when I was a kid. They have all seen their better days. With all that said, this isn’t a DFW-hater’s post. There are so many magical places for kids now in that area. However, they weren’t the places I knew of and loved growing up there. Times have changed. The whole Kimball museum complex has kept up. The Science and Nature and planetarium museum, the modern art museum… all world class! The Dallas down-town aquarium, phenomenally incredible. Texans are proud, I get it. I grew up there. We all were steeped in the culture of Texas and this mythical quality that everything in Texas is bigger and better. Let’s move on shall we? Texans joke about Texas pride but underlying the humor, we truly believe it. After moving to C-Springs and then to Oklahoma, Idaho, Germany, San Angelo, Northern Cali…and lo and behold, there are other magical places in this world!!! Who knew?
Let’s appreciate the places of our Youth that were a kid’s wonderland! Crystal’s was one of those. And who didn’t like Taco Bueno in G-vine! And if you recall, there was a spin-off chain called Casa Bonita that was a kid’s wonderland. Not sure where the DFW location was at but we went to the one in Denver and loved the living shit out of that place. Find new magical places for your kids. They are out there. They may not be the same as the places you had. Times have moved on. Let it go man, let that childhood nostalgia live and breathe in your memories but let it go for your kids. They’ll find their own magic, that’s the beauty of growing up. They are out there. Peace.