The Year of 1936 (I was 9 years old)
What was happening in the world:
- Germany, Italy, and Japan sign their first Axis treaty as the world watches.
- Britain's empire begins to crumble - in India, Nehru is elected the first independent president and in Egypt, independence is allowed but Britain retains control of the Suez Canal.
- Mussolini conquers Ethiopia and Haile Selassie flees to Britain.
- Francisco Franco leads civil war in Spain.
- In England, King George V dies, King Edward abdicates, and King George VI becomes King.
What was happening in the USA:
- FDR wins 2nd term over Alf Landon.
- US Mafia Boss Lucky Luciano is given 25 years in prison.
- Kodak presents its first colored film for use by the public.
- Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is a bestseller.
What was happening in California:
- The Bay Bridge opens.
- Construction begins on Treasure Island, a manmade island in the middle of SF Bay.
What was happening in sports:
- In the Rose Bowl, it was Stanford 7 - SMU 0.
- In the World Series it was Yankees over the NY Mets 4 games to 2 games.
- In the NFL Title game it was Green Bay 21 - Boston 6.
- The Heisman Trophy went to Larry Kelly of Yale.
- The first National Champion of College Football was Minnesota.
- At the Olympic Games in Berlin, America's Jesse Owens dominates in track.
What was happening at the movies:
- Best movie was Life of Emile Zola.
- Best actor was Spencer Tracy in Captains Courageous.
- Best actress was Luise Rainer (again) - this time in The Good Earth.
- Other great movies were: Charge of the Light Brigade; Last of the Mohigans (Randolph Scott); and Charlie Chan (Warner Oland).
Memorable songs were:
- Swanee River (Al Jolson)
- Make the World Go Away (Eddie Arnold)
- I Love You Because You Understand Me
What was happening in my life:
- I was 9 years old and temporarily in Mrs. Huck's 4th Grade class - the "dumb" class. This was largely due to the vindictiveness of Mrs. Mayland - she didn't like me because of trouble she had with Betty (my older sister). She made me sit inside at recess once with tape on my mouth for talking in class. Another time, Lois Clifton and I had a speed test to see who could add a column of figures faster. It was in front of the class on the blackboard and I lost. I actually came in first but I made a mistake. The contest was Mrs. Mayland's idea and I think she wanted me to lose.
- I had another problem that was now becoming more obvious – my short stature. Up until now, I had been about the same size as the other boys in my class, but now most of them began to rapidly increase in weight and height but I was remaining "short". Moreover, I was now in the "big" yard and I soon lost my title - king of the little yard.
- This was the year we moved from the place on Foothill Blvd to 1614 15th Avenue. Our landlord, Mr. Jardin, lived right next door with his wife and 7 year old daughter (who I immediately fell In love with). Ma and Mr. Jardin didn't get along at all.
- Ma was now into breeding and raising Scotties. One of her first dogs was Bonnie who gave birth to 3 pups.
- Rich, Betty, and I were the only 3 kids still going to Garfield now. Four times a day we would make the 10-block hike to and from school. At our 1-hour lunchtime, we would hike home to eat lunch, then just have time to hike back to school. Ma used to give us a nickel to buy candy with at Levine's Grocery Store on our way back to Garfield.
- Other 15th Avenue memories: Mr. Duffy, our other next-door neighbor who played the Chinese Lottery. Our football games in the central "plaza". Rich and I sneaking into the "deserted" house in the back. The 4th of July when I set the roof on fire by throwing a sparkler into the air. The time the little boy in the wagon was hit by a car. Ma's clash with Mr. Jardin when she ordered him out of the house.
- A memorable event during this year was seeing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Ma, Rich, Ruth, Gert, and I walked to the Parkway Theater for a matinee showing. More details about the Parkway and other theaters we went to often can be found on the previous page.
What was happening in 1937 ---->
Two generations of Ma’s interests
Her three kids and Bonnie’s three pups.
Memories of Dad
Two of Dad’s primary interests were Popeye in the comics and everything about health and fasting. Dad fasted and watched his diet his entire life. I remember his diets of Dates, Milk, and Fong Wan Herbs (he lived to be 101), and he kept boxes of apples and oranges in his bedroom closet. His idols were Bernard McFadden and Charles Atlas.
He also kept busy and active. On Sunday's, we would have family softball games at Lake Merritt until it got dark. After "retiring" from the Post Office, he became a janitor and when the United States entered World War II, he tired to re-enlist in the Navy but was sent home because he was 53.
I remember going with him and my older brother Bill to the curio stores along McAllister Street in San Francisco and the Salvation Army store in Oakland at 6th and Webster. Dad was looking for books on fasting and Bill was looking for WWI war relics.
Dad at age 52 and Ma at age 35
Fong Wan Herbs in Oakland
An extraordinary collection of photographs
Fishing Baja 2000
Fishing the Sea of Cortez off Cerralvo Island
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