A story in USA Today on the most socially networked cities lists Bakersfield near the bottom of a list of 100 cities that are engaged on the internet. The top networked cities? Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis and Seattle. Down near the bottom with Bakersfield were Lubbock, Texas, Stockton, Laredo, Texas, and El Paso. Dr. Kenneth Secor, a fellow Rotarian, told me he thought it was just fine that we rank so low. "Personally, I think it's great," he said, "as it indicates that we have a community where folks still talk with one another face to face!"
* ... CHAINLAW: The law firm of Chain, Cohn and Stiles has a way of luring young guns back to Bakersfield. The latest to join the firm is Mathew N. Malerich, a graduate of Garces Memorial High School, UCLA and the University of San Diego School of Law. Matt's father is Dr. Mathew M. Malerich, who has been practicing in Bakersfield for more than 30 years. Chainlaw marketing director Marlene Morales told me that five out of the six lawyers at the firm are all local products who returned to town.
* ... BEALE PARK POOL: Contributor Jerry Kirkland fondly recalls the old Beale Park pool that served as a "baby sitter" for generations of young Bakersfield kids. Back in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Kirkland said the Beale pool was the original home of the Bakersfield Swim Club, formed in 1947. "At the beginning and end of each school year, the high school used the Beale pool for P.E. classes and, of course, the swim team practiced there... Life guards during that era, many of them teachers, included Stan Segal, Rena Russell, Margo Robesky, Bob Bone, Gib Shimmel, Carl Berra, Margaret Sworder, June Uhalt, Shorty Martin, Ray Roberts, Ray Scott, Andy Hinderliter, Wally Bertrand and of course, the ubiquitous Russell brothers."
* ... DID YOU KNOW? Did you know that the Lightspeed Building at 19th and G streets was originally built for Standard Oil in 1902. Fire nearly destroyed the building in the 1990s but owner Rob McCarthy restored it to its former grandeur.
* ... DRIVE-INS: Reader John Pryor picked up on the conversation regarding the drive-in restaurants that were once so popular around town. In addition to Bloomfield's Drive-In, he said "there was Michener's Drive-in at about 18th and M streets or so - where KC (BHS) Drillers tended to go. In between these two was Baxter's Drive-in on Union Avenue at about 19th Street, if I remember correctly. Baxter's was started by WWII veteran Harold Baxter and his wife, Vita. He was still young when he returned from the war with purely - and very prematurely - white hair said to have been a result of his combat experiences. His wife designed colorful and imaginative outfits for their car hops purported to have out shined both Bloomfield's and Michener's! I can't remember if Baxter's car hops were on skates but perhaps other readers of your blog from that era can add to this previously untold story."
* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Reader Neil Cameron says you are really a Bakersfield old timer if you can remember Whitmore's Drive-In at the Garces Circle. The drive-in was owned by his parents, George (who was blind) and Della Whitmore. During World War II, it was a favorite for the folks stationed at Minter Field for the for people traveling on Highway 99. The frontage was taken by eminent domain to make room for the overpass. Tex's Barrell House later stood on the property and Deja Vu is now located there.