Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dennis Ralston checks in with Bakersfield and an alarming report on poverty in the bubble cities

 * ... RALSTON: I received a nice email from Dennis Ralston, one of the greatest American tennis players of all time who hails from Bakersfield. He recently had his left foot amputated but has been fitted with a prosthetic leg and is back at his game. "A friend forwarded your blog to me," he wrote. "We enjoyed it very much - a real trip down memory lane for us. Thanks for the mention. I am doing very well - have gotten back on the court to teach etc. Just wanted you to know we enjoyed it. We still count Bakersfield as our home - many years of wonderful memories there." Ralston graduated from Bakersfield High School and went on to play collegiate tennis at USC before joining the pro tour. He was  the No. 1 American player for three consecutive years in the 1960s and both played on and coached the U.S. Davis Cup team. He was once ranked No. 5 in the world.

 * ... SUNSHINE: Two straight days of sunshine and warming temperatures is almost enough to make one feel guilty given the snow and ice that is covering most of the country. Well, almost. These are the days that remind us why we all live here.

 * ... POVERTY: It's not surprising that there's been a spike in poverty after three bruising years of this recession. And it's also not surprising that the Central Valley shows up on most lists for suffering from some of the nation's worst economies. In a report in the January 29 edition of The Economist, the Sarasota, Florida, area saw a 4.5 percent jump in people living below the poverty line. Said the report: "All the other metropolitan areas that saw jumps of four points or more are also formerly fast growing southern and western states: Bakersfield, Boise, Greenville, S.C., Lakeland, Fla., Tucson, Az. Arizona now has the highest poverty rate in the nation, after Mississippi. The especially severe housing bust that ended the breakneck growth of these sunbelt cities has brought with it deprivation on a scale they have never previously encountered and are struggling to address."  (photo courtesy of The Economist)

 * ...  McGILL: The 1917-era McGill brownstone on 19th Street downtown has sparked a lot of interest. And now this from local art gallery owner Don Martin: "I was in Fishlips chatting with some friends about where I live and an older gentlemen sitting at the next table overheard the conversation. He asked if I lived at the McGill Building and what apartment number. He recalled babysitting in my exact apartment when he was in high school at BHS in the 1920s!"

 * ... FIRST FRIDAY: If you are heading downtown tonight for the First Friday festivities, remember that the Guild House is now open for First Friday as well. For just $5 you get a glass of wine and a variety of home-made hors d'oeuvres, and the proceeds go to a good cause: the Henrietta Weill Child Guidance center.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're an east Bakersfield old timer
if you remember driving over the Mount Vernon overpass and being able to see the Thriftmart 'Big T' signs at College Center and Hillcrest, both at the same time!" Thanks to Joe Stormont for that one.

 * ... OLD-TIMER: And speaking of memories, one of my regular correspondents, Gene Bonas, dropped me a note the other day. "I thoroughly enjoy your blog. However, I can relate to so many of your 'old timer' comments that I remember something my dad used to say: 'You know you're getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.' I'm not there yet but I may be getting close!"

1 comment:


Remember all those pigeons on those "T" signs?