My earlier mention of the passing of young Marine A.J. Hamilton drew this response from Gene Bonas, who was A.J.'s principal when he was a student at Hort School. He remembered A.J. as an excellent student who was always surrounded by friends. "Last Friday I was invited to participate in a 9/11 remembrance presentation by Sherri Best's third grade class," he wrote. "The kids sang patriotic songs and read descriptions of the attack on the World Trade Center. A.J.'s military picture was prominently displayed on a bulletin board for all to see, and I was privileged to meet his wife prior to the program." Bonas was Hort principal ten years ago, and recalls how the students and staff raised over $1,000 for the American Red Cross after the World Trade Center attacks. A.J. Hamilton was 22 when he died in a car crash while driving back to Twentynine Palms Marine base.
* ... SPCA: The SPCA is holding its annual "Unleash Your Love" fund raiser Wednesday (September 14) outside the KGET officers at the corner of 22nd and M streets. Please try to support these folks over at the SPCA who do so much to help save discarded dogs and cats. SPCA spokesman Chuck Nordstrom said there will be onsite adoptions all day as well as a low cost microchip clinic and rabies vaccinations.
* ... SPOTTED: A boisterous, boozy crowd of middle aged men wearing oversized Tommy Bahama sport shirts and matching goatees drown out two Nashville-based singers at a local wine bar. Another example of how decorum goes out the window when men start behaving badly.
* ... OVERHEARD: A woman on Facebook gives these tips to her single friends who may be looking for a date: "All of the out of town firemen and volunteers are staying at the hotels near Costco and shopping and eating there."
* ... JOE ALEXANDER: One of the "must see" fund raisers of the year is coming up later this month at the 21st Street home of Dr. Mark and Sue Ashley. It's East Bakersfield Rotary's "Elegant Evening of Wine" to raise money for the Joe Alexander Scholarship Foundation. This is a classy event featuring wine and food selected by Meir Brown of Cafe Med and will be held on the sprawling lawn of the Ashley estate on 21st Street. It's a bit pricey (individual tickets are $150 each) but well worth the cost. It will be held Saturday, September 24, so get your tickets now by calling Vern Varner at (661) 979-5788.
* ... BROCK'S: Bill Deaver remembers when Brock's moved to Westchester. It was after the downtown Brock's was damaged in the 1952 earthquake and the company erected a large tent and called it Brock's Big Top.
* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Gene Tolomei wrote that you might be a Bakersfield old timer if "you remembered my dad's sporting goods and liquor store, Gene and Joe's. It was located at the corner of Baker and Bernard. It was very popular place to get you hunting and fishing licenses. It was also very busy doing dove season when everyone came in to buy their shotgun shells. My dad Gene Tolomei and his partner Joe Lencioni were partners as well as good friends.