Family Paradox………………..#41 (the 50’s)

Aunt Loretta, Gary and Smokey

The decision was made,  with Gary’s newly developed aspiration for financial autonomy,   it was time to open a new chapter,  this summer would be his last with the Oakland Tribune.   He would be starting at Castlemont in January and deemed it unacceptable to maintain his paper delivery route and participate in school activities.   This was the reason he propagated,  but in reality,  high school marked a new level of stature and the stigma of paperboy was intolerable.   He still had a fall semester in junior high to complete and time and opportunity to seek another source of financial gain that could complement his ascendancy.

Gary’s parents were unique,  at least the teenager thought so, the history of  their two families presenting a paradox.   His Mothers family, the Potters, read like a book,  her father a successful  construction  contractor raising three daughter and two sons before and during the struggling days of the depression,  provided them a good home and education.  Gary’s father was one eight  children, with an older brother passing in infancy,  the family being dispersed with the passing of his mother at the age of three, his Grandfather Willson  unable to assemble a household  for his family,  the  girls subject to a Catholic Convent,   the  eldest son institutionalized with a disability,  Gary’s Dad and his remaining older brother  made wards of the state, the twenty dollars per month state endowment finding receptive families.   Thru the years Gary’s Dad maintained contact with his two youngest  sisters, but the older brother remained elusive and like the elder  sisters  disappeared,  lost in the limbo of the past.

Gary was acquainted with all his mother family with a very young childhood memory of his Aunts and Uncles.   His visits to Etna allowing time with his aunt Della and Uncle Sam and notwithstanding the many visits to his Aunt Alice and cousins in San Francisco.  Gary’s  Dad’s sisters, his Aunt Loretta and Grace were different from his mother’s side of the family,  being raised in a Catholic Convent,  they never fomented any family kinship activities, making it difficult for the young lad to discern their personalities.   His Aunt Grace having been married a prominent union official who had passed and remarried to a stanch disciplinary , was what the young man consider proper and correct, she would espouse a correction if someone mispronounced the word Aunt.  It had to be Ont,  not Ant which juveniles sometimes enumerate.   The teenager often wondered how Grace’s daughter, his cousin Lorraine survived.   Gary viewed his Aunt Loretta as contrary to her sister,  she spoke in the vernacular and regarded anything serious as fatuous.    She imbibed as an occupational hazard,  but in her line of work  it was understandable having to confront  the patrons of  intemperance.

The No. 5 McAllister - Ferry electric bus

The No. 5 McAllister – Ferry electric bus

Aunt Loretta and Uncle Dino at Garys home in Oakland

Aunt Loretta and Uncle Dino at Gary’s home in Oakland

Gary and his friend Dale Spady boarding a San Francisco destined bus for a trip golden Gate Park and the Morrison Planetarium.   Gary having attended many planetarium programs,  contemplated that Dale might enjoy a journey to the far reaches of  the universe courtesy of the California Academy of Science.   Disembarking from a  #5  McAllister bus not at Golden Gate Park but at Van Ness Ave.,  the two walking three blocks to a not so reputable drinking and small luncheon establishment  belonging  to Gary’s Uncle Dino and Aunt Loretta.   Dino Tognozzi prided himself as an Italian and rightly honored as he was from Italy,  the Italian cuisine he tabled was exquisite.   Being located on Van Ness Automobile Row and with  booths for serving nourishment,  elevated Dino’s Lucky 13 Club from skid-row bar to a nonpareil establishment.   Gary, on these San Francisco excursion would pause to visit  and the positive repose with the Aunt was always mutual.   The two enjoyed each other’s company and of course he never turned down the monetary surplus that was added by her with each visit bolstering their  relationship.

Inside San Francisco's Morrison Planetariium

Inside San Francisco’s Morrison Planetarium

The Morrison Planetarium was five years in the making and the 2 1/2 ton optical device was the first star projector building endeavour in the United States.   Gary having been introduced  years before and  was never disappointed in the presentations.   The 65 foot diameter domed room with its silhouetted panoramic skyline donning the walls,  providing cushioned lean-back chairs and giant universe projecting camera presents a breathtaking display.  Always amazed with the sun setting and a first glimmer of stars,  a meteor streaks across the sky,   beckoning a pristine world that enables a bounding imagination to appear as the  inspirational program begins.   Upon conclusion, the sound of Edvard Grieg’s Morning Moods from the Peer Gynt Suite caresses the darken  star filled night sky giving way to a gradual emerging pink hue,  submitting a scent of purple laden clouds, the picturques San Francisco skyline announcing the dawn of another days awakening.   Exiting the performance Gary could see the reaction from those first time viewers,  it was always the same,  even Dale espoused it,  a peaceful  glow of contentment.  The visits to the planetarium providing a meaningful communication with the realms of another world,  his visit with his Aunt Loretta a similar encounter.

 

 

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3 Responses to “Family Paradox………………..#41 (the 50’s)”

  1. papillonsj2013 Says:

    I enjoy all of your postings Gary! 🙂 Sue

  2. Patrick Dyer Says:

    I only had one visit to the Morrison Planetarium, in May/Jun 1957, when my maternal grandmother from Australia stayed with us for a month in Novato. The show was about Halley’s Comet (due to the then-current apparition of Comet Arend-Roland) which my grandmother had seen in 1910 (age 23) – the year she migrated from the UK to Australia via the Suez Canal. I was impressed (but didn’t yet understand) the Focault Pendulum just outside the Planetarium.

    Pat

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