The Year of 1955 (I was 28 years old)
What was happening in the world:
- Churchill, at 80, finally retires from politics.
- France, under DeGualle, give up their colonization in Vietnam but fight to hold on to Algiers.
- Albert Einstein dies at age 76.
What was happening in the USA:
- USAF launches its 1st unmanned missile.
- Johnny Carson does his 1st Late-night show.
- Ike increases the minimum wage to $1.00/hr.
- Martin Luther King leads his first protest marches in the South.
What was happening in California:
- Disneyland opens in Anaheim.
- Severe flooding in Northern California has many people worrying about the possibility that Folsom Dam might fail.
What was happening in sports:
- In the Rose Bowl, it was Ohio St. 20 – USC 7
- In the World Series, it was Brooklyn over the Yankees 4 games to 3.
- In the NFL championship game, it was Cleveland 24 - LA Rams 3.
- NFL Player of the Year was Otto Graham of Cleveland.
- The Heisman Trophy went to Howard Cassidy of Ohio State.
- The national champions of College Football was Oklahoma.
- The national champions of College Basketball was San Francisco University.
- The NBA champion was Syracuse.
- Rocky Marciano KOs Archie Moore to retain his title.
What was happening at the movies:
- Best movie was Marty.
- Best actor was Ernest Borgnine in Marty.
- Best actress was Anna Maqnani in Rose Tattoo.
- Other great movies were:
- Mr. Roberts (Henry Fonda)
- Oklahoma (Gordon MacRae)
- Ulysses (Kirk Douglas)
- Left Hand of God (Humphry Bogart)
Memorable songs were:
- To dream the impossible dream
- Strangers in the night (Frank Sinatra)
- Yellow rose of Texas
What was happening in my life:
- The first major thing I did in 1955 was to enroll as a part-time student at the Sacramento City College on Freeport Blvd. across from Land Park. I was hoping to get a degree in Biology to improve my chances of becoming a Biological Illustrator. I was allowed to change my hours of work at Cardinal-Inks so I could work mostly at night and attend school during the day.
- Some of the students I remember at City College:
- Bill Offenbach and his friend John Wells. Bill became my closest friend at the school and he introduced me to fishing at the Cosumnes River.
- Celeste Jiminez (I had a crush on her).
- Rosalee Troutmann (a nice Catholic gal).
- Some of the instructors I remember at Sacramento City College:
- Mr. Mathews (head of the Art dept.) – a very nice old guy.
- Miss Fishbacher (an art teacher called “Teach”) – I did not like her that well.
- Wayne Theibaud the "darling" of the Art Dept. He was OK, but I never have admired his "abstract" work.
- Greg Kondos, another art instructor.
- Pat Dullanty, a protégé of Theibaud. I took his Figure Drawing class at night and we had a "queer" guy for a model who rode a motorcycle and wore lipstick.
- I was really shocked one night in this class to meet my old Garfield School-mate Clarence Ramsey. He was making some money by posing as an art model. We both remembered each other 13 years later.
- Today, almost 40 years later, both Theibaud and Dullanty are still teaching.
- Some of the classes I remember at Sacramento City College:
- Mr. Safholm's Biology Class. Competition from nursing students was stiff, but I got an "A".
- Mr. Carlson's English 1A Class("Bonehead English"). He was arrogant and not much liked. I still have the Harbrace Textbook. I got a "B".
- Mrs. Ammirati's English Literature class. She was a very nice gal. I read Shakespeare for the 1st time ("To die, to sleep, no more——but what if dreams come to mar that peace—ah there's the rub"). I got an "A".
- Mr. Onstott's classes Sociology and Anthropology. I got "A"s In both of them. He was interested in the Hopi Indian Kachina Dolls (representing spirits of the past). Early-man Australopithecus was also big news then.
- Mr. Johnson's Public Speaking class. Despite my lack of a good speaking voice, I did pretty good in this class by using my "cartoon" graphics (The clock-watcher was one of them) but I only got a "B".
- Mr. Mathew's Pen and Ink class. I did some very nice work in this class and got an “A”.
- In the early part of the year, I made a weekend visit to Oakland. It was the big flood year of 1955, and the Yolo Causeway was filled almost to the roadway of Highway 80. It was the year of bad flooding in Yuba City and Ma always believed most of the remaining Clanton's from Oregon were lost in the flood. We visited them when I was 5 years old and camped overnight at Crater Lake.
- During the weekend in Oakland, Ma-Bet-Tom-and I took Denage (4) and Yvette (3) to the Kid's Zoo at Knowland Park.
- On Saturday night, Ma-Dad-Bet-Tom-and I had dinner at the Bow-and-Bell Restaurant at the new Jack London Square. We had a table right next to the bandstand, and it turned out to be a very "loud" dinner.
- After dinner, we drove up Lincoln Ave. to visit the new Mormon Temple. It was all lighted up at night, and we had a spectacular overlook view of Oakland and the bay area.
- Just 2 blocks up the street from my apartment on 11th Street was the Catholic Cathedral. I had passed it many times, and each time I had wondered about God and the possible role religion might play in my life. After much pondering about different philosophies of life, I decided that I was going to be happier in life with religion than without it. So, I began going to the Monday night Catechism class in the basement of the Cathedral to find out if the Catholic Religion was the one for me. The class was taught by a young priest named Father Patrick Walsh. After several weeks, I decided that I wanted to become a Catholic.
- On a rainy Friday night in April. I was baptized at the Cathedral.
- On a sunny afternoon in June, I was confirmed by Bishop McGucken and I was a Catholic. My sponsor at the confirmation was a guy named Fred Quackenbush. He and I had a chicken dinner at the Country Maid restaurant after the ceremony. The event was a major step forward in finding meaning in life.
- Since this event, I have traveled all over the world and seen many of the finest cathedrals in the world. However, very few are nicer (considering smaller size structures only) than this Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament - my cathedral.
- It was built in 1889 at a cost of $250,000. It was financed by contributions from local parishioners, some of whom made fortunes during the gold-rush days. The central steeple stands 216' high and its style is gothic. The dome is renaissance.
- In the summer of 1955, Tom (then 13) after much arguing with Ma, was allowed to make his first solo-trip on the Greyhound to Sacramento to spend the weekend with me. Ma and Dad put him on the bus at the station in Oakland, and I met him at the station in Sacramento. On this 1st visit, we did the following:
- Saturday afternoon we drove my old 1948 Dodge out Highway 16 to the Goffinet Ranch. The owner had a pond filled with small Black Bass and Tom and I had a great time catching fish.
- Saturday night we met Bill Offenbach and his friend John Wells at the California State Fair (then located on Stockton Blvd), and we stayed until after dark to watch the fireworks.
- Sunday we went to a baseball game at Edmonds Field (then at the corner of Broadway and Riverside Blvd) the Target discount store is located there now. Sacramento’s team, the Solons, were playing the S.F. Giants. After the game, I just had time to get Tom to the station to catch his bus back to Oakland.
- In the fall of 1955, Rich (who had just finished at Cal) married Barbara. I went home all dressed out in a suit and tie (a very very, very rare occasion for me) only to discover that the ceremony was a private affair. However, we did have a reception and cake at Ma's place afterward. On that same weekend home, Tom and I made one of our frequent visits to the pier in Berkeley. It was a crystal-clear day, and we could look right out the Golden Gate.
- Just before school started in September, Hank-Tom-and I took a memorable trip to fish and camp overnight at the Yuba River near North San Juan where one of Hank’s brothers lived. We drove up in Hank's red Chevy Convertible, and caught trout which we ate over a campfire at the river, it was a nice experience.
- In late September, Bill Offenbach talked me into going fishing with him at the Cosumnes River about 25 miles east of Sacramento. It was the beginning of a passionate love affair that is still going strong. I have fished the river every year since then except for a few years when I was "stuck" in Southern California. On our way back to Sacramento, Bill and I stopped at the Dairy Queen on Folsom Blvd. (then called Harvey's Drive In) for a late lunch. Bill was an "avid" hamburger lover. Tom and I ate here later on his other trips to Sacramento.
- I remember listening to Ira Blue on KGO while I did my Art Classes homework at 609 11th Street. To that point in time, Ira had survived two heart attacks and a bout with cancer. His philosophy of life was "my religion makes me happier with my life".
< ---- What was happening in 1954
What was happening in 1956 ---- >
Sacramento City College
The street plaza where I parked my old grey Dodge.
The library in the central quad
Sacramento City College in California.
Mr. Mathew's pen and ink class
This was one of my best drawings from the class.
Another variation of my drawing
Country Maid Restaurant
My sponsor, Fred Quackenbush and I went here for a chicken dinner to celebrate after my confirmation.
Front of the Blessed Sacrament Church
Given its size, it is one of the nicer Cathederals in the World.
Basement at the church
I began going to catechism class there.
Becoming a Catholic
I was confirmed by Bishop McGucken on a warm Sunday afternoon.
An extraordinary collection of photographs
Fishing Baja 2000
Fishing the Sea of Cortez off Cerralvo Island
Knowland Park Zoo
I was home on a visit from Sacramento.
Cathederal of the Blessed Sacrament
This was my Cathederal and it was just 2 blocks up the street from my apartment.
Interior of the Blessed Sacrament
I took classes from Father Patrick Walsh.
My older brother Richard's wedding
I dressed up for it but it turned out to be a private ceremony. We had cake (below) after the ceremony.
A landmark in the Berkeley hills, it can be seen from all around the Bay Area.
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