Life Lessons

"Figuring out our gifts in life is part of our journey to becoming enlightened human beings.” – Allison DuBois

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tim's Oakland Tour Begins

Video - Lucy's Famous Chocolate Scene

Please join us for a family tour of the Temescal area in Oakland!

My brother, Tim has a bucket list.  And on that list was taking our parents and me on a family trip through North Oakland.

Our parents and grandparents lived near Genova Deli (which you can view on the left side of the above photo) and my granddad John worked for the Key System (which is on the right side).

Our parents, Betty Malacarne and Cal Crawford grew up near 51st & Telegraph on Clarke Street.  In fact they lived across the street from one another.

Cal & Betty in front of Betty's house

I have always been the one in our family to keep records, record our grandparents stories and do the family genealogy but this trip surprised me.  I was thinking that it would be difficult for mom and dad to see so many places where they lived, played and worked that had been torn down or remodeled but I have to say that many of the places are still there - they maybe used for something else - like mom's high school, "Uni" (University High School) is now used for part of Children's Hospital. 

Uni High

Dad pole vaulting at Oakland Tech High School

Oakland Tech today

Dad's 1st house was still standing and looking pretty good.

Not only were buildings still there but the memories where everywhere!

Some of the memories that poured out were where dad kissed a girl behind the dry cleaners, where he proposed to mom, places they worked, where their parents worked, movie theaters, special shops, restaurants and their favorite swimming holes.......

Forest Pool

Lake Temescal

Uncle Harold (Violet's brother) at Temescal

 Mom's family house and two of dad's family homes are still standing but some have bars on the windows and fences surrounding them. They are a little overgrown because no one took care of that little garden like Grandpa Art.

Art & Sophie Malacarne in the garden

We parked and walked for awhile. Tim & I talked about our wonderful memories of this area as well.

There was an old fashioned butcher shop with sawdust on the floor on the corner of 51st & Telegraph where Grandma Sophie would take us to buy the day's meat and it is now the famous Bakesale Betty's.  They had a line around the block by 11:30.

And the old G & G Hardware store that Grandpa Art took us to is now a popular Italian pizzeria, Pizzaiolo but the sign is still there.  You can even drive up the old back alley and come into the restaurant's back door, through the garden, just like Grandpa would do with each of his grandchildren at G & G.  He would bring us into the hardware store through his "secret" entrance and introduce us to all of his neighborhood buddies.  We we so proud! Now it is called Temescal Alley and is filled with little shops, outdoor dining and a Bocce ball court.

Even Temescal Alley which used to be horse stables has become "hip".
Click HERE for more info

We remembered my Grandad John taking us to see "The Human Fly" climb up the outside of the Tribune Building and my mom taking us to see John F. Kennedy during his motorcade through Oakland.

Now you may be wondering why I began this post with a snip from "I Love Lucy" during her chocolate episode well, my grandmother Violet worked at Hooper's Chocolates as a chocolate "dipper" for awhile!!

Some places are there in name only like Hooper's Chocolate, Washington Elementary School and the Temescal Branch of the Oakland Public Library.

Oh yeah and then there is the "talking dog" house that Tim and I remembered that actually appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.  He could say "I Love You" and "Hamburger".  Wow you just don't get many experiences like that anymore......right Tim?

The talking dog house!

Emerson Elementary School

Tim and I also remembered the old wooden Caspers (NOT Kaspers) Hot Dog stand on Telegraph where you had to stand outside and order your hot dog.  They were 4 for $1.  

Oh, oh, now I feel like our kids are going to take us for a ride to see what we remember from our childhood!!!  Better start taking notes......

Can you see that little telephone bell tile above this doorway?  This was the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph office were both of our parents worked.  Mom was an operator in the Olympic building and dad ran wires in the Humboldt-Piedmont building.  I remember my grandparents having a "party line" and us 12 naughty cousins would head down into their basement-workshop to listen in. what a memory I have!!!

To finish off Tim's Terrific Tour, we ate lunch at Fenton's Ice Creamery. still spills over the glass!

My brother had one more surprise for the rest of us on the way out of town.  He pulled over at the Claremont Country Club and we got to peek inside.  I didn't realize but my dad was a caddy there when he was a teen and would carry 2 bags for $1.  It has amazing architecture from 1904 and a beautiful park.

Thanks for taking this little drive with us and I hope you will revisit your hometown soon!

"It's not necessary to go far and wide.  I mean, you can really find exciting and inspiring things within your hometown."  -- Daryl Hannah


  1. I love this post. I pass this neighborhood often, on my way back to Berkeley from the Oakland Kaiser, etc. Pizzaiolo, one of my favorite restaurants, is there. Now I can visualize it in the '40s with all the trams running in the middle of Telegraph Ave. Thanks for indluding the great old photos!

  2. I just found this post and loved reading your memories. Now called the Temescal district, the neighborhood's gotten quite trendy after falling into disrepair for so long. I'm happy for you that so many places in your memories are still standing.


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