The “dirty seven” in Golden Gate Park in 1931 Note Eleanor’s slip showing and Richard looks like he needs a change. Ma always said I was the pick of the litter. I did not know it yet, but Ma would eventually have one more boy (another little brother) in about ten years. My brothers, sisters, and I would eventually spread out from the San Francisco Bay Area to San Diego and Sacramento. None of us ever permanently left California. I did not know it yet, but I would eventually come to appreciate California as one of the most beautiful places in the world.
The Garfield School yard where I started school at age 6 in January 1933
The steeple of the 23rd Avenue Baptist Church is in the background.
Our place on Foothill Blvd. across from San Antonio Park
We lived upstairs and Ruth Vasco lived downstairs.
The Year of 1931 (I was 4 years old)
What was happening in the world:
- To present his plea for freedom for his people, Gandhi is granted an audience with the King and Queen in London – in his robe and sandals. The Pope in Rome refuses him audience in that attire.
- Civil war rages in Spain as the king flees the country. Mikhail Gorbachev is born in Russia.
What was happening in the USA:
- There are hunger-strike marches in Washington, DC as the depression worsens.
- Al Capone goes to prison for tax evasion.
- The Empire State Building is completed in New York City. At the time, it was the tallest building in the world.
- Thomas Edison dies at age 84.
- A best seller of the year is “The Good Earth” by Pearl Buck. Twelve years later in 1942, I would read it as a student in high-school.
What was happening in sports:
- In the Rose Bowl, it was Alabama 24 – Washington State 0.
- In the World Series, St. Louis beat Philadelphia 4 games to 3.
- Knute Rockne of Notre Dame was killed in an airplane crash.
What was happening at the movies:
- Best movie was Grand Hotel.
- Best actor was Frederic March in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
- Best actress was Helen Hayes in Sin of Madelon Claudet.
- Boris Karloff stars in his first Frankenstein movie.
- James Cagney (in Public Enemy) and Edward G. Robinson (in Little Caesar) begin their careers as movie gangsters.
Memorable songs were:
- Rockaby Your Baby (Al Jolson)
- Red River Valley
- I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen (this was one of Ma’s favorites)
What was happening in my life:
- This was about the time that our family began taking a drive to Hayward each Sunday. Before I was born, Ma and Dad had lived in Hayward on D Street. At this time, Hayward was still a small town out in the country and the drive out Foothill Blvd. was still a drive out into the countryside. However, with 7 kids, Dad had to buy larger cars and put in extra seats so everyone would have a place to sit. The car was crowded, but we always looked forward to the weekly drive.
- Dad had two favorite expressions he used a lot. “Curses on the luck” was appropriate when things weren’t going his way, and “shove off with a long boathook” when a transgressor was near. The latter was no doubt a holdover from his Navy days.
<----What was happening in 1930
What was happening in 1932 ---->
An extraordinary collection of photographs
Fishing Baja 2000
Fishing the Sea of Cortez off Cerralvo Island
Other Memoirs from the 1930s - Hugh Flemming - Weston, UK
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