Saturday, August 13, 2011

A proud family of five generations of UC graduates and Roscoe rescues a mannequin foot

 * ... CAL BEARS: Robert Hargreaves wrote to weigh in on the old Cal Drinking Song, saying the lyrics referred to the town of Lakeport, not Newport. Hargreaves should know, given his family's history with Berkeley and the UC system. "My grandfather got his BS and MS from Berkeley in the early 1900s," he said. "Both my parents graduated from Berkeley back in the 1930s, back when Berkeley was still an ag school. I graduated from UC Davis with a BS in agricultural education and a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. My brother Bruce graduated from UC Santa Barbara and then went to New York for his PhD. My son Leo graduated from UC Irvine. My granddaughter, Cassie Horn, is enrolled at UC Irvine. Five generations of UC attendees."

 * ... RENEGADE: From a reader: "Did you know that Renegade public address announcer Carl Bryan, spotter Chuck Cunningham and spotter Norm Ranalo have been together for over 25 years doing home games at Memorial Stadium? They will be back again in September."

 * ... ROSCO:  Roscoe Rolnik of Guarantee Shoe Center knows something about feet, so it stands to reason he was there to help a mannequin foot make it through TSA security at Meadows Field. Seems that Suzanne Bryan had checked into her flight to Minneapolis for a national knitting convention when she discovered she had forgotten her demonstration mannequin foot. Her husband, Carl Bryan, rushed to the airport with the foot, worried about what he would say to the TSA agents, when he spotted his good friend Roscoe going through security. "He agreed to take our foot through security as part of his carry on luggage," Carl said. "A true miracle. He has probably handled more mannequin feet than anyone else in town."

 * ... TRIATHLON: North High graduate Suzanne Filkins finished the Nyiad New York City Triathlon recently, all in honor of her dear friend Vikki Kastner Harrison who lost her battle with lymphoma five years ago. Suzanne graduated from Long Beach State University and now lives and works in New York City. Her parents are Dr. Mylon and Patricia Filkins. The triathlon benefitted the Lymphoma and Leukemia Cancer Society. Suzanne raised over $2,000 for this worthy cause.

 * ... BUCK OWENS: Lee Ann Enns, who works at Buck Owens Production Co., wrote to set the record straight about the old Buck Owens Celebrity Golf Tournament that drew so many big names to town. "Buck Owens only had the golf tournament for four years, 1971-1974. There was a two year hiatus (1975-1976). Then Buck put on the Buck Owens Rodeo Days for eight years. James Brolin did participate in the golf tournament one or two years, however."

 * ... DID YOU KNOW? Did you know that the city of Bakersfield has an iPhone app for reporting graffiti? Just choose the type of surface the graffiti was on, let your built-in GPS report the location, and attach a photo.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Readers take a leisurely trip down memory lane, remembering a simpler time in Bakersfield

 * ... GO BEARS: Jon Crawford, a proud alum of Cal Berkeley, said he lives south of Valley Plaza where his neighborhood is frequented by three or four ice cream trucks. One of them, he said, plays the hold "Cal Drinking Song" that he sang at football games while at Berkeley in the 1950s. The lyrics start like this: "Oh we had a little party down at Newport - there was Harry, there was Mary, there was Grace. We had a little party down at Newport, and they had to carry Harry from the place." Crawford said he believes the song dates to 1939 and may have been picked up by other schools. It is now part of the song list of the Berkeley Marching Band and is regularly played at games. "Every so often, an ice cream truck comes down my street and plays a wonderful tune that reminds me of some good times at Berkeley."

 * ... GOLF: Don Adams wrote to recall the old Buck Owens Celebrity Golf Tournament that featured so many Hollywood celebs. Adams said Buck discontinued the event when he learned that part of the money raised for the American Cancer Society left the county. "Buck loved Bakersfield and wanted all the money to be distributed locally and withheld the funds from his last tournament in an effort to make that happen," he said. After that, and a dispute with the Cancer Society, Adams said Buck no longer put on the tournament. "Our own George Culver also held an annual golf tournament for several years, featuring many baseball and football celebritries: Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Jack Youngblood ... All the money raised went to local youth baseball."

 * ... EAST SIDE: More memories from growing up on Bakersfield's east side back when it was the place to be. Wrote Steve Richardson: "My family has a rich east side history. "My grand parents Lyle and Erma Richardson owned a radio shop on Baker in the 1930s where the Tejon theater sits now. When I was a kid we went to the golf course by the airpark on Union. We went to Shakey's after Bakersfield College football in the 1960s and 1970s. The town of Arvin was named after my uncle Arvin Richardson in 1914. He started the Niles Street water district back in the 1950s. Arvin has one living daughter and one niece who will be 94 this month. My dad was born in 1933."

 * ... BROCKS:  The old Brock's department store downtown received some more reader love when Doris Wofle wrote to recall an encounter with John Brock Sr. She had moved to Alaska in 1972 and returned for a visit when she bought a pair of shoes. "Upon returning home to Anchorage, I found that the shoes did not fit. So, I put them away until my next trip to Bakersfield.  One of the first things I did was go to Brock's and I took my shoes and receipt with me. The man who waited on me refused to let me return the shoes as it had been several months since I bought them. All of a sudden, Mr. Brock was standing there beside me. He asked how long I had lived in Alaska and I think he told me he was born in Alaska.  He immediately told the young man to do the paper work to return the shoes and wished me a happy day.  Boy,  do I miss Brock's!"

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From Marlene Morales, head of marketing at Chain, Cohn, Stiles law firm: "You know you're a Bakersfield old timer if you remember Larson's Dairy. They actually delivered the best chocolate and whole milk to your door on a weekly basis. Or you could visit the store on Wible Road, drive through and place your order. Better yet, actually see the cows on the premises."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A local Marine pays the ultimate sacrifice and a new spotlight on public pensions

 * ... ULTIMATE SACRIFICE: I was saddened to read of the death of Marine Sgt. Adan Gonzales, the latest Kern County resident to die in the line of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. Adan was a regular at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and leaves behind a wife and young children. He was killed Aug. 7 in combat in Helmand province. He was just 28 years old. Adan's death and the quiet dignity in which he served stands in stark contrast to the behavior of our elected representatives back home, many of whom spend far too much time engaged in petty bickering while so many young men and women put their lives at risk overseas. Keep the family of Sgt. Gonzales in your thoughts.

 * ... PENSIONS: Did you read that the retired administrator of the city of Vernon receives a lifetime pension of $500,000 a year? That's right, and it is all perfectly legal. No one begrudges our public employees of a pension, but sweetheart deals like this one - done to buy peace with our public labor unions - has led to abuse of the system. According to The Los Angeles Times, CalPERS is now reviewing and reducing some top pensions, a long overdue exercise triggered by the scandal in the city of Bell.

 * ... GOLF TOURNEY: Steve Urner remembers the Buck Owens Celebrity Golf Tournament when so many Hollywood names came to town. Said Steve: "Jane Sears was asking if anyone remembered the Buck Owens Celebrity Golf Tournament. I sure do. I was working at KAFY Radio at the time in 1976 when several of us volunteered to help out with the tournament at the Bakersfield Country Club. I was running ice to various holes in a golf cart. I remembered seeing John Wayne standing next to Mayor Don Hart, both the same height! Max Baer hit a golf ball farther than I’ve ever seen one hit! And while I was making my rounds, a 7-year-old kid with a head full of hair jumped in my golf cart and with his parents permission, rode around with me on my errands. He begged me to let him drive the cart. I did, and I’m sure that was the high point of his trip. He didn’t want to go home when it was all over, but his dad carried him off thanking me for watching him. His dad was James Brolin, and that kid was Josh Brolin.... I’m sure Josh owns a few golf carts by now... Fun times."

 * .... TAFT COLLEGE: Big news out at Taft College where the school is getting ready to break ground on the 24,000 square foot "transition to independent living."  Sheri Horn Bunk, head of the Taft College Foundation, told me this will the the only "living and teaching facility" in a two-year college program for people with autism and intellectual disabilities. Since 1997, she said 95 percent of the graduates are all employed and 86 percent are living independently." These are impressive statistics for an innovative program.

 * ... FRAUD: Yet more stories of credit card fraud, this one coming from Eileen Sanchez who discovered a $10,000 charge made in Florida. "The charge was a truck accessory and it was not mine," she said. At the same time, my mother-in-law's credit card was compromised as well. Just though you would find it interesting that this type of fraud is rampant and Florida seems to be the hot spot."

.* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're a Bakersfield old timer if "you remember the Carnation Ice Cream processing plant and soda fountain on South Union Avenue. As a school kid we were taken on field trips on hot Bakersfield summer days and treated to a tour of the coolest place in town and a cone thrown in for good measure. It was my mother's favorite place to have a hot fudge sundae as well." Thanks to Rhonda MacGillivray-Brady of Tehachapi for that nugget.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bako Bits: Gridlock in Washington, Sacramento frustrates voters and the demise of the old, folded paper map

 * ... GRIDLOCK: Frustrating to watch the Sunday news shows and hear the finger pointing and name calling from our nation's leaders. It's not much better in our own California legislature where dysfunction seems to rule. Meanwhile voters like Dale Hopwood express disillusionment over proposed laws that would regulate things like what kind of sheets can be used on hotel beds. Said Hopwood: "Your comments about the useless laws mentioned by (Assemblywoman) Shannon Grove just goes to strengthen my belief that we need to return to a part time Legislature. Too often our legslators want to be judged on the quantity of laws introduced, not the quality or need."

 * .... SIDEWALKS: Bill Dean spotted my earlier post on dating our sidewalks by the contractor stamps and said he was the grand son of Fred Dean of Dean and Stroble, one of the familiar names stamped on the sidewalks in the older parts of our community. "The business was lost in the depression and my uncle and grand father never recovered from the loss," he said. Dean and Stroble was just one of the many contractors who built sidewalks around town in the early 1900s.

 * ... OLD SCHOOL: It was over lunch with my 21-year-old college senior daughter and her friend when they began talking about the old folded, paper maps of their childhoods. With GPS now available in cars and smart phones, will these college students may be the last generation to even be familiar with paper maps?

 * ... MARATHON: Jeff Johnson wrote to mention that his daughter, local attorney Amy Barks, ran her first full marathon in the recent San Francisco Marathon. She turned in an impressive time of four hours and 25 minutes. Amy's friend, Jennifer Neil, also ran, as did her triplet 6 year olds in the Munchin Marathon, an equally impressive 100 yards.

 * ... VET CENTER: Bakersfield College is opening a Veteran Information Center for student veterans in an effort to help those coming back from combat and entering the education system. J.R. Browning startied the BC Vets Club last year and the college has been supportive of his efforts. Said his wife Nicole Browning: "My husband has been placed in the role of fund raising for future events at the Veteran Information Center and we hope to help this grow and inspire more veterans to go to school."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Jane Sears wrote to ask if anyone remembers the celebrity golf tournament at Bakersfield Country Club back in the 1960s which featured the likes of Tennessee Ernie Ford, Charlie Pride, Joseph Campenella, Max Bauer Jr. (Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies), Telly Savalas and our own Buck Owens. Apparently John Wayne was there early to help raise the flag.