October 31, 2012
I went to see a cardiologist, but, while in Sacramento, I had lunch with two friends at the Tower Cafe. It is part of the old Tower Theatre complex, now restored and showing current and old movies. For the week of Halloween Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is playing. If you visit Sacramento, it isn’t far from the airport and mid-week lunch, you can avoid the lines to get into the cafe. They have a huge parking lot out back.
The Tower is located at 16th and Broadway and when you approach you think omigosh, there is an oasis in the middle of the city! You can kind of get lost in among the plants and pots, and benches, on meandering garden paths where many diners choose to sit outside.
The inside is no different. You kind of wade through the stuff to find the bar, or the restrooms. It is funky and fun.
The walls, the ceilings, floors, posts, everything is covered with something to tease the eye and make you smile.
It is the type of place that if you visited it every week, you’d see something you missed the week before. You can hardly take it all in.
Food here is to brag about. You must come and try it for yourself. Marilyn, Galen and I got the waitress to take our picture.
Then we drove out to see a house that Galen has put a bid on, in the Natomas area of Sacramento.
I don’t see Sacramento friends very often, so we spent an hour at the Crawdad Cafe and enjoyed a beer while watching the restful Sacramento River flow by.
Crawdad’s is a floating restaurant, that rises with the river. Kind of interesting that the lowest parking area is underwater during wet years, but it doesn’t matter. I needed a fun, relaxing day.
The cardiologist, Dr. Denh, was a terrific doctor, but his artwork left a lot to be desired.
Surgery of any kind would be so much more pleasant at the Tower Cafe, don’t you think?
And, when I got home, I had a new heart in the mail from my friend Jan, in Sand Point, Idaho.
Unfortunately, it was made of candy.
May 5, 2012
Our motorhome is still parked at VFW Post #401 here in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Yesterday Mary and I took the Bronco and wandered along Route 66 that passes right through the middle of Albuquerque…and is also known as Central Avenue. This portion of Route 66 was developed in 1937 after realignment of the old Route 66 reduced the mileage through New Mexico by more than 100 miles.
To read about the history of Route 66 in Albuquerque, click this link…
Today the current Route 66 is still lined with a number of old motels and shops built in the 1930,s and 1940′s. Sometimes the buildings are gone…but the signs remain. Here are some of the photos that I took…
As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view...
To see the other 30 photos that I took, click this link…
Despite the blazing sun and searing 85 degrees it was still fun taking the nostalgic trip on Route 66.
Visiting old historic roadways is another joy of the full-time RVing lifestyle.
All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:
March 27, 2012
I get “fun” emails about the differences in today and yesteryear. Yesteryear is always portrayed as the idyllic life compared to today. To be sure, the past has much good stuff to remember, but check out these punishments for school kids. The graphics are marvelous, the punishments suggest kids were to be seen not heard. Obviously no one taught them much about socializing properly. It doesn’t say what they used as a lash. Not that it matters, they probably got treated more harshly at home.
Teachers were also expected to toe the line by rigid societal standards. Marriage for female teachers was unseemly conduct but not for men, of course. If you married, you had to quit your job. Not so long ago, either. I interviewed an “old maid” school teacher from Angels Camp, Bessie McGuiness, in the 1980′s. She affirmed that it was so, you could not marry, nor even be caught courting if you were a school teacher. The phrase “old maid school teacher” was the rule of the day.
And, a man’s honesty could be questioned if he got shaved in a barber shop. Must be where all the politicians hung out. You wouldn’t want your teacher to be tainted. And people are against unions? A 25 cent raise after five years of employment? Could any of us have made economic progress under such authoritarian rules?
And a hundred years ago animal control in Oakland, California, was pretty simple. Boys (not girls) got 25 cents for each cat skin, and 50 cents for each dog skin, they brought in to the back door of the city hall. Gross!
One hundred and thirty-five years ago, came this report from a local newspaper: “We have just learned that one of our mountaineers last winter, while fishing through a hole in the ice, caught a trout so large it could not be brought through the orifice. The fisherman gently played with his fish and with one hand, took out his Bowie knife and chopped ice with the other and enlarged the hole. Then, with a skillful jerk, he brought out a dead cat with a brick tied to its neck.”
It was meant to be humorous and it was. Just another common form of animal control.
“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole, (1717-1797) A truer reflection of the past than the nostalgic emails I get. History is fascinating, and often a brutal read.
December 23, 2011
My gang arrives today. Nostalgia for Christmases past and simpler times come to mind as I sort through old cards, but I know, Christmases past are best remembered and not relived. I wonder how different my kids remembrances of Christmas will be as they get older and look back. The beautiful lettering on this card, along with the clothing says “old-fashioned”.
Children cry when meeting a scary department store Santa. What would it be like to see this Father Christmas at the door? Smithsonian Magazine’s website asked people to vote for the scariest Santa from about twenty pictures. There were some doozies.
Quaint language tickles my fancy since I love poetry and doggerel, both :
When Christmas comes to your abode,
May care be laid aside,
That naught but cheer, good will and mirth,
And joy and peace abide.
We wish you a glad, merry Christmas
Surrounded by dear ones and friends;
We wish you a sweet, pleasant pathway,
For New Year, wher’er it wends.
And from 1931 :
We hope you’ll have a drumstick that is eatable,
Potatoes mashed , and gravy of the best,
A slab of mince or pumpkin pie unbeatable,
And-it doesn’t matter much about the rest.
December 10, 2011
Obviously, some post offices must be closed. The US Postal Service is bleeding money while most of us communicate through our computers, fax machines or private delivery services. Consolidating is a hard decision when it affects postal employees during already hard times. I’ve heard neighbors grumble why not cut down the number of days the mail is delivered? For rural folks like us, the Post Office is regarded as a necessity. House to house delivery was just a wish when I first moved to Calaveras County. In some remote areas it is yet the case and continues to serve as a friendly neighborhood meeting place. You can’t just shout “Howdy” to your neighbor as you drive by when neighbor’s driveway might be a half mile long on two dirt ruts. It is the place for a community bulletin board when you inform your neighbors there has been a death in the family, or you impart other less important information. Giving up such a chunk of history will be hard.
From a purely selfish point of view, I’m hating the idea of closing post offices because I’m a stamp collector. It was a lesson in history growing up, inexpensive, and engaging at one time. The above two post marks reflect local history from two different communities that most people could care less about. But, what’s in a stamp? The small towns of Centerville, Irvington, Niles, Mission San Jose, and Warm Springs became Fremont in 1956. The post mark reflects the change from each community. I wish I’d gotten a transfer mark from each town. The Calcopex post mark honors the former community of White Pines which consolidated with Arnold many years earlier. Local folks identify themselves as being from White Pines and wanted their heritage honored and remembered. They applied to the U.S. Postal Service and permission was granted.
I started my collection in 1946. And it was a thrill if a neighbor gave me a post mark from far away places, like Norwich, Connecticut, or Tuscumbia, Alabama. It was enough to make me dream of faraway places. Along with the stamps I collected history on post marks. (Click on the picture to enlarge it.) You notice abbreviations were CONN. and CALIF. No zip codes. Stamps are pretty boring to young people who have the world at their fingers in their computers. I still like to send away for Christmas Post Marks in exoticaly named places like Bethlehem, IN, Antler, ND,Chestnut,Ill, Snow,OK, and Angels Camp, CA. Yipes! Just 9 miles down the road. I don’t oppose the closings, but I will miss the post marks. I’m saddened to watch this small part of history disappear.
August 28, 2010
Our motor home is a Fleetwood Terra, and I’m pleased with its performance, its ability to pull hills, gas mileage and other aspects of this vehicle/home. We spend a lot of time in it and we must give up some comforts in exchange for the life on the road. Its an envious life-style, we’ve learned, as you meet and greet people in all types of situations. Ours seems a romantic life of constant entertainment. And, it is. Yet our reality is filled with the everyday chores and particulars of living well in a tight space. It doesn’t work for everybody.
Jim was bent on visiting the Fleetwood Factory and taking their factory tour. I’m glad I went, even though it sometimes felt like a sales presentation in that, you are satisfied with our product, here is what you have to look forward to when you upgrade. The behemoths above, 42 and 44 feet in length, with slide-outs have very fancy interiors.
The other two couples on the tour mentioned their likes and dislikes about their motor homes which are similar to these in style. Obviously, a perfect one will never be made.
They pre-sell to dealers before building their motorhomes. From the parking lot, they seem to be doing very well. (No pictures allowed in the factory.)
Our friends, Pat and Richard have a very nice, well built trailer parked nearby. Richard commented that he would buy a motor home when he wins the Magazine Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. We all laughed.
Fleetwood does not make the biggest motor home, but one of the best to be sure. It was nice to see how they are put together, the quality that goes into them; the efficiency of the company, and the way they treat their employees. For me, it validated our choice of this particular motor home and its attributes.
After the tour, Richard and Pat took us to a real fifties diner; one with autographs of local high school coaches and real student class sweaters and memorabilia hanging from the walls and ceilings. It was such fun to be inside this place with every piece of memorabilia bringing back memories.
We met Elvis and Marilyn at the door of Arnolds Diner which is located in Decatur.
Jim used to wear his hair like James Dean, and identified with his wild, independent image just a bit, as we all did at that age.
Arnold’s still uses car hops at night, on roller skates, dressed in their poodle skirts; saddle shoes on the inside at lunch. The walls and ceilings are just stacked with memorabilia.
This old dial pay phone…
A pair of speakers from a drive in movie.
Coke bottle fan blades.
A Schwinn bicycle hangs from the ceiling and an old Mobile gas pump greets you at the door.
Richard and Pat had no way of knowing that we had watched a nostalgic video the night before about Doo Wop music. Arnold’s Diner was the perfect choice. The food was standard fifties fare “improved” meaning very good tasting and hearty servings. We ended the meal with tin lizzie sundaes, (spanish peanuts over hot fudge on vanilla ice cream.) My soda shop from high school days called it a tin roof sundae. It was great fun, with wonderful memories. Then, we had to say goodbye.
It will be several years before we meet again.
June 17, 2010
Arriving on Marthas Vineyard by ferry a week ago, locked in the dark behind a huge truck, we were unable to open the door, get out, and walk around. I wasn’t looking forward to the ride back. We got there early and Jim asked if we could take an earlier ferry and his request was granted. Leaving for Cape Cod by ferry proved to be a very different event. As we entered, first in line, its difficult to imagine that this ferry can take five lanes of traffic. Placed up front, no cars blocked our exit from the motor home and we gladly went up on deck to enjoy the ride.
The tall ships anchor on one side of the harbor…
the small boats on the other side.
A boat, just out of the picture, looked like it was going to run into the ferry. By the time I turned on my camera and aimed, he disappeared behind it.
It was cool and beautiful on deck as we watched boaters play, and the Island disappear.
A bell buoy is no big deal to people who live here, but hearing them toll in the wind, and being a New England Newbie, I finally got a good look at one.
We pulled into the landing with a front seat view. The new crew was waiting on deck for the old crew to get off. We found out the ferry we were supposed to take was held up for mechanical problems and we luckily missed that frustrating experience.
It didn’t take long for “reality” to sink in. A short drive from the ferry landing and we met our first stop light. (It turned green just as I snapped the picture.)
And, I have an amendment to make. Though we were refused alcohol with our meals twice, and told we were in a dry county, we saw ads and signs that indicate that some places on the island allow you to have beer or wine in an eating establishment. And, we saw a discount liquor store where you could buy spirits. Its a mystery to me. Years ago, in Kansas, we ran into a dry county. You could not buy anything alcoholic. If you brought it in your car from another county, and were caught, you could be ticketed. Dry county means different things in different states.
May 10, 2010
Before leaving Greenville, we decided to go out for breakfast. It was Mother’s Day and I had been hankering for pecan waffles with pecan syrup, a fave years back when Shoneys Restaurants could be found on every highway throughout the South.
I’ve seen two Shoneys on the road. Since the Waffle House chain is dominant-my thought was it must have replaced the Shoneys.
A Shoneys it ain’t. Pecan waffles? Yes, but no pecan syrup, that wonderful warm concoction with real butter that sent your taste buds to heaven.
It was a cramped place, efficiently run. Jim noted he hadn’t been in a “holler” restaurant in years. Holler as in shouting the order in waitress lingo across the floor fifty feet away to the cook. Saves steps. You could see every bit of the operation from the coffee crew, egg man, the dish washing cycle, and carry outs. The plastic menu is limited. Their bragging coffee has a ground bean toughness to it, but the waffle wasn’t short on pecans. Its what you call a “cover the basics” kind of place. Get ‘em in and get ‘em out. What it lacked in atmosphere, we concluded, it made up in cut-to-the-bone economy. You don’t leave hungry or broke, but you can’t say you really enjoyed the experience.
From Greenville, we drove to Boone, N.C. Good historical records prove Daniel Boone actually hunted in this area named for him. Its a hilly town and it took us several try’s before we found a suitably level parking spot for the night. One of the “famous” Mast General Stores, made notable by Charles Kuralt in his Backroads television program, proclaimed a Mast Store to be a “destination.”
They specialize in folksy goods, along with the usual general store fare. The wide plank wooden floors are to envy. I could have taken every one of these chickens back home to replace those the hawk ate way back in 1989.
I couldn’t believe the old fashioned coke machine where you open up the lid and reach in for a bottle. The inside machinery that scooted the bottles along was missing, but it gave me a sweep of nostalgia. Don’t we all just love things that are quaint?
It had two floors with everything from toys to shoes but my favorite item, (oh that it could have fit in the motor home), was this comfortable, beautiful rocking chair.
Log cabins also fill me with nostalgia because I lived in one until I was nine years old. This is supposed to be a picture of my brother but the cabin shows pretty well in the background.
Boone Ridge had a slew of log cabins from different eras. All are authentic domiciles from the area moved to this one spot to be saved from the inevitable forces of nature.
I never had to chop wood, but I remember all too clearly the old outdoor toilets, my dad butchering chickens and pigs, hauling water from the well . My job was picking up chips around the chopping block to be used for kindling. Reliving the past is fun occasionally as long as I don’t ever have to actually live it.
February 4, 2010
Ghosts of Tombstone and numerous tear filled scenes.
October 6, 2009
When I first moved to California, someone invited me to go camping. I wasn’t interested. I LIVED that way. A wood fire holds no romance for one such as me because I disliked stacking wood, the dirt, the chips from my father’s axe that I had to pick up by the wagon load for kindling. Typical kid complaints while we took for granted the whole outdoors and bountiful nature at our feet.
With my recent visit from my old neighbors, I’m reminded of the wonderful things about living poor. I’m grounded, hard working, practical, a conservationist. (That is the word we used before environmentalist became common.) It surprised me that the years could wash away and we could reconnect and feel that we had a lot in common even though Bernice and Marie, each became the wife of farmers, had no higher education, and remained in the same, small community of Hardwood, Mi.
Pat, on the other hand, moved to Indiana and worked in the “big city.” None of us attended college and all of us consider ourselves “successful”, whatever that means. Let us say, we are no longer poor.
I believe we reconnected so easily because we share the same values. Hard work, the importance of family, self sufficiency, and consistency, come to mind. We share attitudes of stick-to-it, never give up, help yourself and above all, be a good neighbor. There was an-I can do anything anyone else can d0-attitude at our house. I feel so fortunate that my folks drilled those values home. As a consequence, we were rich in friends and self satisfaction. I believe I’ve retained those values today and they have held me in good stead.
The biggest difference, as it turns out, is I have good health insurance and have retired. Pat, the city worker, the same. Farmers typically do not have health insurance, and that difference is enormous for Bernice, whose husband died of a long catastrophic illness. She now works, at age 71, in an Indian Casino to pay for her deceased husband’s medical bills that were enormous. Marie, too, a widow, has a low social security income and no medical insurance. She is 78 and typical of the type of salt-of-the-earth, hard working person who needs affordable health insurance. Well, enough said.
I actually meant to blog today about the National Parks, another “camping” venue, but I got carried away with nostalgia. Maybe tomorrow.