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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's Tomato Season

Song - Traditional Sicilian Polka by Maestro Antonio Calsolaro

I stopped by for a visit with my parents yesterday and they were overloaded with tomatoes in their garden.  So being the "good" daughter that I am, I helped them out by picking a bag full!  Mmmm......a few popped straight into my mouth while I wasn't looking!  And as soon as I got home, I knew what I was going to make with those sweet red tomatoes......Panzanella Salad. 

And boy, oh boy was it delicious!!!

Here is how I adapted several online recipes for what I had on hand at home:

4 c cubed French bread
1 Tbs butter
Garlic Salt

Sauté until lightly browned.

Red onion - diced 
Tomatoes - whole for Cherry tomatoes/lg. dice for big tomatoes
   (they have to be from your Italian mother's tomato plant or your favorite Farmers Market!)
Red Bell Pepper - Diced
Capers (optional)
Cheese - most recipes call for Mozzarella but I just had some white Cheddar
Basil - shredded and lot's of it!

Toss with Champagne dressing, garlic & a little Poupon mustard. Then grab a fork and a yummy glass of wine!

"If your mother cooks Italian food, why should you go to a restaurant?" -- Martin Scorsese

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Important Milestones

Song - Dances with Wolves by John Barry

Seldom in life do things go as planned but I just returned home from a wonderful birthday trip for both me and my son, Andy who also had a milestone birthday this month.  Oh yeah, and just for fun we brought along Mr. B and Andy's girlfriend (so darling and funny) Ashley!

Now, Ashley and I are not happy fliers but we enjoy where those crazy airplanes can take us....

...especially after we have our Breakfast of Champions!  A double Bloody Mary for Ashley and a double Gin & Tonic for me.  It gets us right on that tarmac!

We arrived at Salt Lake City and then took a little puddle jumper to Idaho Falls.  Jumping in our rental car we take off for Victor, Idaho.  On the way there the guys spot a Mama Moose with her Baby as well as a Bald Eagle.  Two points for the guys and zero for the girls.  Don't worry we do catch up!

 After a day of touring and relaxing at Teaton Springs, we have a reservation for a fly fishing float trip down the Snake River.  The guides split us up with Mr. B and Andy in one boat, while Ashley and I head down the river in another boat with a different guide.  Ashley is a first time fisherwoman and I am just taking photo's and painting on the front end of the boat.  As Ashley is being taught how to cast, she actually catches a fish.  Go Ashley!

Ashley must of caught 20 plus fish on her first day of fishing.  She actually could of caught 30-40 fish but she got so excited that she forgot to set her hook.  It was all catch and release so it was all good fun.....well, maybe not so for the fish.

Our three person fishing boat.
Tanner, our guide and Ashley

Ashley's first Cutthroat Trout

The next day we head on to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for two days.  Unfortunately Andy and I got food poisoning and are in bed for two days.  But Mr. B and Ashely enjoy the town.

No one we know but a great shot of the Antler Arch in the town square.

On Tuesday we head off to the Teaton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. 

That would be a Glacier in the middle of the shot.

We headed North to Old Faithful ( see photo above) and the Old Faithful Inn (below).

What an amazing place, you kinda feel like you are on another planet with the ground bubbling and changing colors beneath you.

While heading North towards Livingston, Montana we encountered a tremendous amount of beauty.

We even picnicked near some.....

"Hey, what's in that picnic basket BooBoo?" - Yogi Bear

As we found our way up to our next destination, Chico Hot Springs, Montana and we realized that we had crossed the Continental Divide three times.  That's were the water decides if it will flow East or West.

As we headed into our last days in Chico Hot Springs, Pray, Montana, I meditated on the joy of this trip.  

The four of us in a car for 8 days and not sure if we would still be speaking near the end, but instead we got to know one another just a little bit better and found we can have fun together! 

A lot of beauty, laughter, great meals, lightening storms, heat waves and celebration.  

Being together.

Thank you Mr. B and Ashley for a wonderful birthday celebration!

"There is certainly something in fishing that tends to produce a gentleness of spirit, a pure serenity of mind."
Washington Irvin
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