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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Something New

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Well I have told you something about my brother and sisters so I thought it would be nice to tell you something about my early years. Based on input from my mother, Godmother, aunt Grace, grandma’s Jessie and Mary, and the young girl who liked me a lot in kindergarten, I was a handsome young boy with a wonderful outlook on life. Excluding my brother and sisters, everyone wanted to play with me. I was polite and very well-mannered. I was the young boy with the future of a prince ahead of him. Once during this early growing time my oldest sister, who was many years older than I, and my younger brother, who was just two years younger than I, were taken by my father to my grandma and grandpa, Jessica and Sam’s home. Something was happening and it seemed to this little four-year-old boy that it was something of major importance. Of course, before my dad left us, he asked me to be brave and to make sure my sister and brother were good and behaved well after he left. Yes, I was asked to take care of my baby brother and my older sister. It was easy for this four-year-old boy to entertain his baby brother. We could play games, climb the tree, explored the basement and the garage, and of course we could tease the chickens. Spending time at Grandma Jessie and Grandpa Sam’s house was always wonderful. Sometimes my uncle Leonard would be at the house and he was lots of fun to play with. Anyway, with Sam and me enjoying our day at grandma’s house, my oldest sister Marianne was sitting on the back steps. Marianne was always worrying about something. Sam and I wanted her to play with us but she was way too busy worrying. She did not stop worrying even after grandma Jessie sat down next to her and tried to let her know there was nothing to worry about. As the mature young man who was the oldest boy child of the family. It was my duty to take charge. I told my brother, Sam, to just ignore our oldest worrying sister Marianne. We can have fun with our games, and other things to do’s. So we played and every so often just laughed at our oldest sister. I do not know how long my father was gone, but I am sure it was at least for a few days. When he returned mom was with him and in her arms was a funny little tiny baby. At first all I could see was a funny face, hiding in the blankets. Her eyes were closed but just like her sister, her mouth was open. Our family of five was now a family of six! Jessica (daddy’s little peanut) had arrived and the life’s of the first five of us would never be the same.

More Saturday Chores

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I do not want to leave my readers hanging so after I had cleaned most of the room I had to share with my brother I went outside and started my front yard tasks.  I would rake all of the leaves that fell from the tree.  This was most difficult in the fall when the leaves would cover the lawn and garden area at between two and three feet. (Honest, there were that many dead leaves)  I had to trim the lawn everywhere the lawn ended.  I had to trim around each sprinkler and there were lots and lots of sprinkler heads.  Then I would have to cut the lawn.  When I first started cutting the lawn a push mower was all we had to complete the task.  This lawn mower was only powered by one young Italian boy.  I do remember that my father did purchase a power mower but as I remember I must have been in my late teens.

At the completion of the lawn tasks I would move on to weeding the flower gardens.  On my hands and knees I would look for and pluck out any weeds that started to grow.  Completing both the lawns and the garden I would check out one side yard to see if the hedge needed to be trimmed.  I remember needing to trim the hedges at least four times each year.  The other side yard was either filled with Calla Lilies or weeds depending on the time of the year.  With this yard filled with Calla Lilies there was nothing for me to do.  However, when the Calla Lilies died and the weeds took over, then into the side yard I went with my shovel in hand.  I had to turn over all the soil in that side yard.  That task would kill the weeds and somehow strengthen the Lilies for next year.  All I remember was that it was very hard work.

By this time my brother had crawled out of his bed and started to eat some breakfast.  I knew this because it was at this time I would enter the house for a glass of water.  There he would be enjoying his late breakfast and facing all of his chores still needing to be completed.  After drinking my glass of water I would head back outside to sweep up and return the tools to their proper place.  I was always hopeful that my brother would ask me to just leave then in the back yard so he could use them.  I do not remember him ever asking.

As you can see by this little story my mother and father expected more from me than they expected from my little messy brother.  In fact, mom and dad expected more from me than they did from both of my sisters.  I never disappointed either my mom or dad because I was the good young man they could depend on to complete his chores.  Not to sound like I was just picking on my brother Sam, two years before I could apply for my driver’s license my dad required me to wash and clean his car once a week for one hundred and four weeks.  My sister Mari Anne, my brother Sam, and my baby sister Jessica did not have to wash and clean my dad’s car.  See how much my parents could depend on me!

Sharing my Room

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Throughout my young life I had to share a room with my brother Sam.  I was the good young boy, and my brother Sam was the messy younger brother.  One of the rules of the house had to do with our shared room.  We were required to pick up our room each day and fix our bed before leaving for school.  In addition to this daily chore, on Saturdays we had to change the bed linen, fix the bed, and then clean the room.  Cleaning the room included: bed fixed with the sheets tucked in at 45 degree angles, everything picked up off of the floor and placed in its proper place, all furniture needed to be dusted and polished, all toys and games needed to be placed into their proper place, and finally our desk area needed to be neat and orderly.  All this needed to be done before Sam and I could exit the house and start our yard work.

Yard work for Sam and I was split with me responsible for the front yard area and San responsible for the back yard area.  The front yard area consisting of three lawns, two garden areas, and both the left and right side yards up to the back yard.  In addition to the front yard I was responsible for my Mother and Fathers beautiful rose garden.  The back yard area was mostly cement with just two small lawn areas with my dad taking care of all of the garden areas, including the vegetable garden.  Sam had it pretty easy not only when it came to yard work but he also did less work when cleaning our room.

I was the child who awoke early in the morning.  So as soon as I got out of bed on Saturday I would strip my bed and remade it with clean linen.  I took extra special care to tuck the bottom sheet in with 45 degree corners so it would stay neat and crisp for the upcoming week.  We did not have fitted sheets for my bed until I grow up.  Next was the top sheet but this sheet only needed to be tucked in at the bottom of the bed with just two 45 degree corners.  Then the blanket was placed on the bed and it too was tucked in at the bottom of the bed with just two 45 degree corners.  Finally the bed spread was placed neatly on the bed with the pillow tucked under the bed spread.  After this outstanding effort to make the bed I would move on to the next Saturday task.

Because I was such a neat young man, picking up the clutter on the floor was never that difficult.  I found that I was mostly picking up items that my sloppy brother had left and failed to return to their proper place in our room.  With both my clothes and my brothers in the hamper, toys returned to their rightful place and miscellanies items put away I would start to dust.  It was easy to dust my nightstand because it was always neat and orderly.  The dresser that I shared with my brother was another story.  One of us was a little piggy!  It seemed to me that every Saturday I had to clean up for my messy brother because he was still asleep in bed.  I needed to get outside and finish my work so I could then do things on my own.  Sam slept and it was me who dusted the dresser.

I never told my mom or my dad but I knew that they both helped my lazy brother Sam with his Saturday chores.  I was sure it was not fair but I am sure you remember that he was the one who faked his breathing problems when he was an infant.