My Uncle Jim

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I must give you a little insight to my Uncle Jim.  I am sure that I do not know him as well as his children but he was my uncle and he was a great person.  My uncle Jim worked very hard and even though he was the owner and manager of three profitable businesses.  He understood that it was his job to do everything possible to save costs and increase profits.  I learned a great deal from my Uncle Jim and I can credit him with providing me a role model to follow.  I credit some of my success to my Uncle Jim for without his examples I may not have been who I am today.

I should share one more item.  My Uncle Jim had four brothers.  They were Sam, Don, Charles and Leonard.  Each of my five uncles played very important roles in my life.  One of the greatest items I understood from this band of brothers was the importance of family.  Each of them were ready willing and able to assist each other.  They shared the knowledge they had learned with each other.  They stood together and each brother was a success in their separate lives. I was a very lucky nephew to be blessed with five wonderful uncles.

Well back to my Uncle Jim.  One of my special memories of my Uncle Jim occurred during the summer in the hot Sacramento sun.  I and my cousins were swimming in the pool just to keep cool from the heat when my Uncle Jim returned from work and without taking off his business suit, jumped into the pool.  Another time I arrived at my Uncle Jim’s home and found him in the back yard painting frames for mirrors.  He had some of the frames hanging on the back fence and he was painting the frames with a base coat of white.  When dry he would then apply a gold flake to sections of the frames.  When this had dried he would hang up more frames and start all over again.  This little project saved him money when he used the mirrors in his business.  My Uncle Jim is a wonderful person and I love him dearly.

Here is a photo of my Uncle Jim.  It was provided to me by his son with the caption below.

My Uncle Jim

“HELLS ANGELS GANG TAKE OVER HOLLISTER, CA. WITH DRINKING AND WILD PARTIES”

The Hollister Record: The Hells Angels from San Jose, California, led by Jimmy “The Stallion” (John’s Uncle Jim) and the Black Hand Gang, came to Hollister on Friday afternoon and seized the entire town. The Hollister Police Department was undermanned and not ready for this invasion of hundred of wild Italians who rode in on their Harley motorcycles. They completely took the town by surprise, partied with all the women, drank all the bars dry, and raced up and down the main street in the three day siege. As quick as they came, they left even faster on Monday morning in a cloud of dust and noise, leaving the town vanquished.

The Mayor of Hollister had these words for these crazy marauders; “Wow, Hollister has never witnessed such a wild time in its existence, and would like to thank those motorcycle enthusiasts and is extending an invitation to return next year”.

That’s how Hollister started its motorcycle weekend gala in 1954, and now, you know the rest of the story.

Here is another photo

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Aunt Grace

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My Aunt Grace

I want to tell you about my Aunt Grace!  She is a lovely woman who imparted a great deal of knowledge to this young boy.  My Aunt Grace is married to my Uncle Jim and is the sister of my father Frank James.  Her mother and father were my Grandparents, John and Mary, who emigrated from Italy.  She had a younger brother my special Uncle Jimmy.  She is the mother of four wonderful cousins, Anna Jean, Leonard, Janet and Gary.  She is to me someone who not only loved me but someone who loved to teach and guide me in my early years.

My first memory of my Aunt Grace was the day my Mom and Dad drove to Monterey, California for a visit.  I remember that the drive from San Jose California was long and I am sure I must have asked many times if we were there yet.  When we did arrive I remember a very long driveway with a beautiful house on my right and giant eucalyptus trees on my left.  Upon entering the house we were greeted by both my Aunt Grace and my Uncle Jim.

Hugs and kisses for everyone and we settled down to talk.  I was very young at this time but I remember that my oldest sister and my cousin Anna Jean went off to play.  I was just a little older than my cousin Leonard but we were happy to play together.  I loved the house in Monterey with its quaint charm and the wonderful smell of eucalyptus in the air.  I remember that Leonard and I were playing outside by the giant eucalyptus trees when I feel down and skinned my knee.  I think it hurt so bad that I went into the house crying.

It was my Aunt Grace who came to my rescue.  She rolled up my pants and looked at my skinned knee.  She then assured me that everything would be alright.  She cleaned my “boo boo” and applied some antiseptic to the damaged skin.  Aunt Grace called me Johnny and gave me another hug and kiss.  I was much better after that first aid treatment and my aunt had touched my heart.  I went outside and continued playing.

My Aunt Grace was a great cook.  I just loved her special meals.  Christmas Eve was outstanding with her crab Chioppino.  I also remembered that she made each house a home for her family.  Her family moved from Monterey and the next house I remember was a giant older home in Lodi California.  This house had a giant porch that covered not only the front of the home but one side of the house as well.  I remember sitting outside on the porch talking with my aunt Grace during a rain storm.  It was wonderful to hear my aunt talk and see the rain fall and yet be protected from the rain by sitting on the porch.

The next time I visited with my aunt Grace her family had moved to Sacramento California.  They had a wonderful home with a giant kitchen.  No matter how early I would rise in the morning as soon as I entered the kitchen I would be greeted with a good morning by my aunt.  It was at these times early in the morning that we had some of the best talks.  We talked about her early days as a sister to my father; we discussed growing up and the importance of family.  We talked about current events, impacts to the family, and what should make people happy.  We had long talks when my Grandfather was placed into a rest home.  We talked about my plans to get married.  There was nothing that I could not talk to my aunt Grace about.

Aunt Grace is a wonderful woman, who is a devoted wife, dedicated mother, and someone who truly knows how to spoil grandchildren.  I have always enjoyed my visits as well as just thinking about this lovely lady.