Sathre Jewelers founders came to Carmichael in 1947

 Ray Sathre and his then-future wife, Mary Warmuth, pose with the Warmuth family’s dog, Lindy, on the Warmuth ranch in Saugus, Calif. in this 1946 photograph. Photo courtesy of the Sathre family
Ray Sathre and his then-future wife, Mary Warmuth, pose with the Warmuth family’s dog, Lindy, on the Warmuth ranch in Saugus, Calif. in this 1946 photograph. Photo courtesy of the Sathre family

Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two-part series about the Sathre family and their former Carmichael business, Sathre Jewelers.

For many longtime, local residents, the death of Mary Victoria Sathre at the age of 89 on Feb. 26, conjures up memories of a former, well-known Carmichael business and the family who operated it.
That business, Sathre Jewelers, was founded on April 1, 1947 by Mary and her husband, a jeweler named Raymond Emmet “Ray” Sathre.
Ray died on Feb. 10, 1989, only two days after he turned 71 years old. And the jewelry store ceased operations 49 days later and two days shy of the business’s 42nd anniversary.
Although Ray and Mary Sathre became well known residents of Carmichael, relatively few locals are familiar with their lives prior to the founding of their popular business.
Serving as the main spokesperson for his family for this series, Ron Sathre, who was the first-born of the three children of Ray and Mary, shared details about his parents’ upbringing by immigrants from Norway and Germany, respectively.
“My dad grew up in Tuttle, N.D. on a farm, (about 44 miles from east of Bismarck),” Ron said. “(His parents, Hans and Kari Sathre) came from Saetre, Norway in about 1908. The kids learned to speak Norwegian first and then English.
“In Norway back then, which was over 100 years ago, they had the custom of being named after the farm that you lived on, and so my grandfather lived on one farm and my grandmother lived on another farm. And two other people lived on two other farms that were co-located at Saetre. That’s the Norwegian spelling. But when they came to America, they changed it to Sathre. Although there were four separate farms, they all had the same last name.”
In speaking about his mother and her parents, Ron said, “Mom grew up in Saugus, Calif. on a farm made up of sand, sage brush and oak trees. They had grapes, wheat, cattle, goats, rabbits and other animals. So, she had a good, but rough life as a child. She learned German first and then had to learn English when she went to school. She had to walk, I think she said, two miles to school, sometimes barefooted. She skipped eighth grade and was promoted to the next grade that her older sister, Maggie, was in. They both graduated from San Fernando High School in June 1942.
“Her parents (Joseph ‘Joe’ and Minna ‘Minnie’ Nurenberger Warmuth) came from Germany. They did not know each other. I know my grandfather, Joseph Warmuth, came over in about 1897. He worked in a butcher’s shop in New York, and then he moved to be with his brothers in Los Angeles, where he worked as a butcher. He married (Minnie) in Los Angeles in about 1912.”
Ron added that his grandparents in North Dakota were married in Wisconsin in about 1910, and that his father grew up with three sisters and three brothers, and his mother grew up with two sisters and three brothers.
Ray, who attended teachers’ college after high school, continued to reside in North Dakota until 1942 when he joined the Navy during World War II.
After placing in the top five in his class as an aviation machinist’s mate in Norman, Okla., Ray was sent to Consolidated Aircraft training in San Diego, where he worked on the famous B-24 Liberator bombers.
Ron said that his own existence may have been predicated upon the timeliness of Japan’s unconditional surrender to the Allies following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“My father was in the Navy until the end of the war,” Ron said. “He got out in February of 1946. He was on Iwo Jima at the end of World War II, and they were poised to invade Japan (through the two-part allied plan, ‘Operation Downfall,’ which was intended to begin in October 1945) had Japan not surrendered. It was a good thing they did. Otherwise, I might not be here.”
After returning to civilian life, Ray remained in California and began working for a jeweler.
In speaking about his father’s decision to work for that jeweler, Ron said, “Interestingly enough, after World War II, he went back to his hobby of watch repairing. He loved working on the watches with the small parts. So, the engines that he worked on that were sometimes maybe 6 feet in diameter got traded in for these little watch parts that are about a quarter-inch in diameter. He was working for a jeweler in Beverly Hills to better learn the trade. This was still in 1946.”
Ron explained that it was also in 1946 when Ray met Mary.
“In July 1946, Mom went to the Figueroa Ballroom (at 1925 South Figueroa Street) in Los Angeles, which was a normal thing for everybody to do back then,” Ron said. “They didn’t have all this entertainment, big screen TVs and all that. So, my mom is sort of hanging around looking to dance with somebody and my dad was sort of looking around to dance with somebody. Finally, he asked her to dance and she found out that my dad was in the Navy and then was becoming a watch repairer. And she said, ‘Isn’t that funny, because I’m dating this other guy who was also in the Navy and who is also becoming a watch repairer guy or jeweler.’ But he was a little shorter and fatter. My dad was taller and thinner, so my mom was attracted to my dad along with his spark and personality.
“At the end of the evening, my dad said, ‘Gee, I’d like to see you again.’ My mom being pretty smart knew what the lay of the land was, and the lay of the land was that she didn’t have a phone at the ranch in Saugus. She didn’t want to appear as somebody without any money or means, and so she said, ‘Give me a nickel and I’ll call you basically when my schedule allows.’ My mom was pretty smart, and, of course, you could make a phone call back then for a nickel. So, my mom got the nickel from my dad and she called him and they started dating.
“That went through August of 1946, and by the time September rolled around, my aunt (Madeline “Maggie” Warmuth Davis) had met an Army guy (named Robert ‘Bob’ Davis), who was from Carmichael. They decided to get married, and my mom and dad decided to get married, so they all hopped in their cars and drove from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to have a double ring ceremony. And so that was pretty special, and that’s how it all got started in September of 1946.”
Ron added that it was not long after his parents’ marriage that they accepted an invitation to move to property owned by the Davis family in Carmichael.
“My mom and dad were living down on the ranch in Saugus, and my aunt said, ‘Why don’t you guys come to Carmichael? It’s a pretty nice place up here, and they don’t have a jeweler,’” Ron said. “And so, my mom and dad drove up. Back then Interstate 5 wasn’t there and Highway 99 went through Turlock and Modesto and Bakersfield and everywhere in between. So, they took the long drive up to Carmichael and they liked it, and it didn’t have a jeweler, and so Mom and Dad moved to Carmichael and started the business on April 1, 1947.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

Gunther’s Ice Cream to celebrate 75th anniversary May 16

Gunther’s Ice Cream parlor at 2801 Franklin Blvd. is shown in this 1949 photograph. Photo courtesy of Rick and Marlena Klopp
Gunther’s Ice Cream parlor at 2801 Franklin Blvd. is shown in this 1949 photograph. Photo courtesy of Rick and Marlena Klopp

Gunther’s Ice Cream, one of the city’s iconic, old-time businesses, will host a celebration of its 75th anniversary with a variety of attractions this Saturday, May 16.

Food, giveaways, speeches, other amusements

The event, which will be held from noon to 4 p.m. at Gunther’s at 2801 Franklin Blvd., will include meals of a grilled hot dog, drink, chips and dessert for $5. And a complimentary raffle ticket will be given to each person who purchases a each meal.
Raffle ticketholders will have opportunities to win one of four bicycles (two adult and two kids’ bikes) donated by Mike’s Bikes at 1411 I St., as well as various $25 gift cards throughout the day.
Scheduled to speak at the event are Mayor Kevin Johnson, and former Gunther’s employees, Supervisor Phil Serna and Darin Gale, Yuba City’s city director of development services.
Other special features of the day will include an appearance by Dinger, the Sacramento River Cats’ mascot, music with a disc jockey, face painters, balloon art, temporary tattoos, bubbles, a magician and a photo booth that will include an image of “Jugglin’ Joe,” the ice cream scoop juggling character who is featured on the large, locally famous neon sign above Gunther’s front door.
In commenting about the photo booth and the event, in general, Marlena Klopp, co-owner of Gunther’s, said, “(The booth is) going to show the picture of ‘Jugglin’ Joe’ and the neon sign, and when you stand in front of it, it will look like you’re standing in front of the store. All the activities are complimentary. We are selling the hot dogs. We want to make it inexpensive for the customers, and just (have) a day to come out and have a good time.”
During the event, the street will be closed on the north side of Gunther’s, and a large tent will extend on 3rd Avenue from Franklin Boulevard to 30th Street.
And as for the shop itself, business will be conducted as usual during the hours of this special gathering.
As a tribute to the past, the business’s employees will be dressed in Gunther’s attire that will be reminiscent of the business’s early years. The male employees will be wearing black pants, white shirts and black bow ties, while the female employees will be wearing dresses with black aprons.

Gunther’s history

In addition to celebrating its 75th anniversary this weekend, Gunther’s also has the notoriety of being the city’s oldest continuously operating ice cream parlor.
According to information provided by the business’s owners, Gunther’s was opened in April 1940, and its original proprietors were German immigrant William H. “Pop” Gunther and his Kentucky-born wife, Iva Gunther.
Gunther’s originally operated in a 12-foot by 40-foot business space at 3003 Franklin Blvd., at 5th Avenue, and in December 1949, the business was relocated to its current site.
In a meeting with this publication last week, Marlena and her husband, Rick, discussed a variety of details about Gunther’s history and operations.
Marlena, who graduated from Bishop Manogue High School in 1977 and was married to Rick three years later, commented about the earliest years of Gunther’s, saying, “They had some great glory days there (at the original Gunther’s location). Back in 1940 when the Gunthers opened (their ice cream parlor), it was a booming business for them. It was before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. But there was a time when they were down there (at that location) that the butter fat and the sugar ration was going on. There were days when they couldn’t even open that store (for) more than 10 days out of the month, because they couldn’t get the product. They still had the customers. People would just come in there and bombard them, kind of like they’re doing here (today). And so, when the rationing was lifted, they just started to boom again. And that’s when they decided to open a bigger store. This (present store location) was an empty lot and Mr. Gunther set his sights on this site.”
The business was later run under different proprietorships at various times.
After being asked how he became involved with Gunther’s, Rick said, “I got started in the ice cream business at Shasta Ice Cream. (At that time), they had a little shop over here (on 21st Street, near) Freeport Boulevard by the railroad tracks. I started working there in 1963 when I was 16. I was living in Hollywood Park at 5640 Helen Way. I graduated from McClatchy (High School) in 1965. (William H. Gunther’s son, Dick) Gunther died (at the age of 42 on March 15, 1967), and the guy who owned Shasta Ice Cream was an older gentleman (the aforementioned Wert Irwin). He was probably in his late 80s, so he wanted to close the place down. He told me to (seek employment at Gunther’s), because (Dick) Gunther died and they needed a manager. So, I came here (to Gunther’s) and started working here in 1969.
Rick eventually became a minority owner of Gunther’s, and then during the summer of 1974, he purchased the business outright.
And after purchasing the business, he acquired his first delivery truck. That truck, which has since been restored, will be present at Saturday’s event.
Marlena described Gunther’s as a much different place than it was when her husband acquired it.
“When (the Gunthers) moved down here (to its present location), they did very well until the freeway went in and divided the town,” Marlena said. “So, when Rick bought it, it was not a thriving business at all. But it has been built up since then.”
Although Gunther’s is presently a single location business, during part of its history, it had three other locations – 5001 Freeport Blvd., 1186 35th Ave. and 2870 Fulton Ave.
Gunther’s story would not be complete without references to some of its many edible offerings.
Included on the parlor’s menu are ice cream cones, sundaes, milkshakes, smoothies, fruit freezes (regular or with ice cream), Hawaiian shaved ice, ice cream cakes and pies and a wide variety of dipped chocolate items.
In addition to its sugary treats, Gunther’s also serves a variety of sandwiches, and hot dogs and chili dogs.
Certainly, beyond its popular food, Gunther’s has a longtime positive reputation with many people in and outside of Sacramento, Marlene explained.
“The biggest thing is the loyalty of the people of Sacramento, and the people who have been in Sacramento and have come back,” Marlena said. “There are unbelievable stories. They’ll be going some place up north and going down south to go to Disneyland, and they will have to make this their stop. And we hear those stories all the time. Even if they’re not in Sacramento, they will always make their way back around (to Gunther’s).”
And in speaking about the future of Gunther’s Ice Cream, Marlena said, “We’re hoping we can take it past 100 (years), and I believe that there are people here that can take it there.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

Sausage City

East Sacramento area was once home to Pureta Sausage Co.

 The Pureta Sausage Co. at Alhambra Boulevard and D Street is shown in this early 1930s photograph. Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection
The Pureta Sausage Co. at Alhambra Boulevard and D Street is shown in this early 1930s photograph. Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection

Editor’s Note: This is the first article in a series about sausage factories that operated in Sacramento.

The largest sausage manufacturer in the capital city was the East Sacramento area’s highly successful Pureta Sausage Co.
Prior to reaching that status, Pureta was a much smaller operation.
The business was established in a 40-foot by 80-foot building at 316 31st St. (now Alhambra Blvd.) by Alfred Zehnder, Joseph Reichmuth and Herman Zimmermann in 1926.
All of those men resided in different areas of the city, with Zehnder living at 2004 E St., Reichmuth at 4477 G St., and Zimmermann at 3031 D St.
Pureta Cash Market, which was owned by the same people who owned the Pureta Sausage Co., was also located at 3031 D St.
The market began operating at that address after spending its initial three years at 322 Alhambra Blvd. The store continued to operate at its Alhambra Boulevard address until about 1938.
The Pureta plant initially included 10 employees and two delivery trucks.
Pureta was one of the four Sacramento sausage manufacturers mentioned in an article in the Sept. 26, 1931 edition of The Sacramento Bee.
The city’s other sausage manufacturers at that time were Claus & Kraus at 1700 I St., Made-Rite Sausage Co. at 3352 or 3353 2nd Ave., and the Western Meat Co. at 806 6th St.
Those plants were mentioned in the 1931 article as then making between 1.5 million and 2 million pounds of sausages per year.
Another portion of the 1931 article notes: “With the slaughtering and meat packing business, the capital city’s third ranking industry in the value of output, the sausage division has been enjoying a remarkable growth in the past two or three years.”
Pureta underwent address changes from 316 Alhambra Blvd. to 320 Alhambra Blvd. in about 1933, and to its final address of 324 Alhambra Blvd. in about 1936.
The 1937 city directory describes Pureta as “wholesale dealers in fresh meats, mfrs. of high-grade sausage and meat products.”
By 1940, the plant was jointly owned by Zehnder, the company’s president and general manager, and five other Sacramentans, George E. Wurster, A.C. Jacobs, Joseph F. Enos, Anton Holly and Frank Linggi, Jr. The latter three men resided in East Sacramento.
At that time in its history, notes an article in the Feb. 23, 1940 edition of The Sacramento Union, Pureta’s Sacramento plant was recognized as “one of the most modern (plants) of its kind on the Pacific Coast.”
Pureta had then grown to a company with 110 employees, 27 refrigerated trucks, five cars for salesmen, and branches in Redding, Chico, Modesto, Oakland and Santa Rosa.
With its growth, Pureta had expanded to offer its products throughout the state.
Beyond its obvious product, the Pureta Sausage Co. processed meat products such as frankfurters, bologna, salami, smoked bratwurst, liverwurst and head cheese.
In regard to frankfurters, the 1940 Union article mentions that the total number of that product produced by the company each year could line, end to end, a distance of 1,800 miles.
One of Pureta’s most popular products was its skinless frankfurter, which was introduced by the company in 1937.
In an attempt to further describe Sacramento’s extensive Pureta operations, the 1940 Union article notes: “The plant itself contains much more than might be guessed just by looking at is (sic) red brick exterior. With its massive refrigerator rooms, elaborate sausage kitchen, in which like other departments only stainless steel comes in contact with the meat, rows of smoke houses (sic) and meat grinders, it easily lives up to its name as a leader in the business.”
Although it was no Winchester Mystery House, Pureta was very much in the practice of having structural additions made to it Sacramento plant.
Construction on three additions of the local plant was completed during Pureta’s first five years in business.
The Sacramento building had grown to twice its original size by 1940.
Additionally, a second story was added to that structure for offices, employee residences, and a garage for its steam plant and storage.
On July 28, 1941, operations began in Pureta’s seventh addition to that plant, a $75,000 building with 13,000 square feet of floor space.
New machinery in that manufacturing department, notes an article in the July 20, 1941 edition of The Union, could handle 2,000 pounds of bulk meat in 10 minutes and 96,000 pounds of meat per working day. The meat was ground into sausage or 71 other kinds of meat products.
The business had by then increased its workforce to about 140 employees and also expanded its truck fleet to 33 vehicles operating in the Central and Northern California areas.
By 1957, Pureta was employing as many as 200 people during its peak seasons.
It was also at that time that the company had 50 trucks and during an average month,
handled about 2 million pounds of meat.
An article in the March 18, 1957 edition of The Union recognizes Pureta as the manufacturers of “sausages, frankfurters, sandwich meats, bacon, ham and similar products, and wholesale meats to distributors in this area.”
Another expansion of Pureta’s Sacramento plant is mentioned in the Nov. 15, 1959 edition of The Union.
Under a photograph of pre-formed walls being lifted into place at the site is a caption, which notes that the company’s refrigerated storage and processing facilities would be increased by more than one-third of its size.
The caption also mentions that Pureta then had branches in Chico, Yreka, Fresno, Modesto, Vallejo, San Jose and Santa Rosa, and was distributing its products in Northern California, Nevada and southern Oregon.
Pureta’s continued success was evident in 1963, as the company then expanded into the San Francisco area.
Leo Ricketts, Pureta sales manager at that time, was quoted in the May 24, 1963 edition of The Bee as saying, “This (expansion) represents a milestone for the firm, as it will provide a new outlet for our products, which will help us maintain and possibly increase the employment level in our Sacramento plant (which then employed 225 workers).”
Among the many employees of Pureta were John Henry Glettig (1896-1959) and Fred Otto “Freddie” Grosklos (1934-2015).
Glettig, who became employed as a sausage maker for the Tastee Sausage Co. at 915 17th St. in about 1936, was working for Pureta as a sausage maker by 1942.
In July 1959, Glettig retired from Pureta due to health issues, and died about four months later.
Grosklos, who was born in Holtenau, Germany, immigrated to Sacramento in 1953.
During the same year, Grosklos acquired work at Pureta as a meat cutter, a job which he maintained for about 15 years. He next operated Freddie’s Gourmet in West Sacramento from 1969 to 1991.
Pureta, which was last under the direction of its general manager, William J. Snyder, remained in business at its original location until about 1969.

Lance@valcomnews.com

Local man had role in classic TV variety shows

Ron Gill holds a coat for Tommy Smothers on the set of “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.” / Photo courtesy of Ron Gill
Ron Gill holds a coat for Tommy Smothers on the set of “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.” / Photo courtesy of Ron Gill

For many people who remember watching television in the pre-cable days when people relied on the reception of an antenna to view programming of only a few channels, the names Smothers Brothers, Lawrence Welk and Glen Campbell are quite familiar.
Certainly, the names of those TV variety show hosts and many of their famous celebrity guests are well remembered.
But few people react nostalgically when they hear the name Ron Gill.
But Gill, who presently resides in Carmichael, was very much a part of those shows, albeit behind the scenes.
Having filled a spot for an absentee dresser on “The Hollywood Palace” television variety show in the 1960s, Gill made an immediate impression and was hired as a permanent employee.
That work led to Gill acquiring similar employment for “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” “The Lawrence Welk Show” and “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.”
And through his work for popular TV variety shows, he met many famous entertainers.
In recalling the time when he met actress and singer Alice Faye, Gill said, “I met everybody. Alice Faye, her and I became friends. Her dresser told her I was a big fan of her, at the Palace. And this was rehearsal, so she was in her dressing room. I went up there and we talked for over an hour. She said, ‘I used to have my hair this color in the 1930s. I love that when they shave my eyebrows and buff that big arch up like Marlene Dietrich. See, Marlene Dietrich didn’t have any eyebrows, so she could put her eyebrows anywhere she wanted.”
Gill said that he also met Dietrich when she was unpacking her trunks by herself at the Western Costume warehouse in Hollywood.”
And Gill recalled a certain aspect about many of the actresses who he met.
“They’re all tiny,” Gill said. “Bette Davis was tiny, short and had two little grandkids.”
Gill said that he worked at the Palace most of the time, but also occasionally filled in for “The Lawrence Welk Show.”
Gill described Welk as the same person people saw on their television sets, but he added, “If you crossed him, you were off the show.”
“The Hollywood Palace” was cancelled after seven seasons by the ABC network in February 1970.
Gill recalled leaving that show after his employer, Ed Smith, was suddenly replaced.
“(Smith) took a vacation and while he was gone they replaced him without telling him, and he was very upset,” Gill said. “So, then I went to The Smothers Brothers (Comedy Hour) and that was a complete difference. It was very radical. President (Richard) Nixon couldn’t stand it, because they were always putting him down.”
In recalling the show’s hosts, Gill said, “Tommy was the boss. He ran the show. Dickie, all he cared about was his auto racing. Tommy was a great mimic and he played the dummy next to Dickie, who was the straight man. I could always tell when Tommy was upset. He got real snippy, but he never took it out on me. (The Smothers Brothers) were my friends. They were nice and just what you saw on camera.”
Creating the show was a time consuming process, Gill recalled.
“It was probably like a 10-hour day,” Gill said. “We would go in, get the costumes set up for fittings or whatever. And we had like a book (with) all the scheduling of the scenes and how many dancers and this and that. It was like a script. And then the cameramen would come in, we would rehearse with no audience. And around 2 o’clock in the afternoon, the audience would come in. The lights would come on full blast, everybody’s in costume, the makeup has been done, and we would start taping. If there was a mishap, we would stop and re-tape it again. It was like sometimes 12 hours a day. We did the show Monday through Friday, and sometimes I did work on the weekends.”
During his breaks at CBS Studios in Los Angeles, Gill would sit in on the taping of such TV shows as “The Carol Burnett Show,” “All in the Family,” “The Red Skelton Show” and “The Merv Griffin Show.”
One of the most well received guests on the Smothers Brothers’ show was Glen Campbell, whose appearance on the show led to him landing his own music and comedy television variety show, “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.”
With the cancellation of the Smothers Brothers’ show in 1969, Gill began working as personal assistant costume designer for the Glen Campbell show.
Gill said that his association with Campbell’s show led to him visiting the White House for a Future Farmers of America dinner and show with Campbell in 1972. And during that visit, Gill met President Nixon.
After working for the Glen Campbell show for about five years, Gill was offered work for the film, “Saturday Night Fever.”
And in regard to that offer, Gill said, “I had to bow out, because we were moving to Long Beach.”
Gill added that his TV days ended in about 1978, since shows featuring dancers and singers were being replaced by talk shows and game shows.
After spending about two years working for Buffums’ department store, Gill moved to Sacramento with Norman “Mike” Payne, who spent 48 years as Gill’s partner before his death in 2014.
Payne had been transferred to the capital city through his employment with the Lennox corporation.
Gill also acquired work in Sacramento, as he was hired by Dorothy Miles as a visual merchandiser for the large store windows of the Miles & Miles high-end women’s shop in Town & Country Village.
After about five years of working for Miles & Miles, Gill acquired employment as an X-ray technician assistant at the American River Hospital, which was located at 4747 Engle Road in Carmichael until 2000.
Gill’s last place of employment was at an Arden area senior complex, where he worked as a maintenance worker and decorator for nearly 26 years.
Although Gill is many years removed from his life among Hollywood stars, and he no longer communicates with any such people, he continues to cherish the many years that he spent mingling with those notable celebrities of days gone by.

Lance@valcomnews.com

South Land Park resident speaks about his Swiss heritage, lengthy career

South Land Park resident Ferdinand Morant prepares to cut meat at Morant’s Old Fashioned Sausage Kitchen, which he owned from 1980 to 1989. / Photo courtesy of Ferdinand Morant
South Land Park resident Ferdinand Morant prepares to cut meat at Morant’s Old Fashioned Sausage Kitchen, which he owned from 1980 to 1989. / Photo courtesy of Ferdinand Morant

Swiss immigrant Ferdinand Morant is a man who knows sausages.
This point is certainly difficult and actually useless to argue, considering that Ferdinand, 92, has been making sausages for the majority of his life.
Although retired from his longtime career in that field for nearly a half-century, Ferdinand continues to make sausages in his home for his own, noncommercial enjoyment.
His post-career sausage making is common enough that it was only a slight coincidence that he had made some sausages only a few days prior to meeting with this publication last week.
During his interview with this paper, Ferdinand shared details about his life, including his entry into the United States as a sausage maker.
When asked about how he began that career, Ferdinand said, “Actually, the whole thing started in Switzerland. That’s why I came over here.”
Ferdinand followed that statement by presenting some of his memories about his life growing up in the town of Hasum, which is located a short distance from the larger town of Hauptwil (now Hauptwil-Gottshaus) in the Swiss canton of Thurgau.
“I lived in Hasum,” Ferdinand said. “Hasum is a little town that (then) only had about maybe six houses on it in the neighborhood.
“Then there were about two farmers that had houses and barns around there. All the farmers surrounding in the neighborhood brought the milk to us, and we made cheese. My father (who was also named Ferdinand) had a cheese factory there. That’s where I grew up. That’s why I like cheese.”
In addition to his father, who is no longer mentioned in this article to avoid confusion, Ferdinand had a mother named Maria (aka Marie), and three siblings, Margaret, Paul and Pius.
Ferdinand, who during his youth enjoyed practicing gymnastics as a Turn Verein member, playing with a model train and shooting rifles and revolvers, mentioned that a turning point in his life occurred in 1939.
“The cow has milk seven days, so you worked seven days a week,” Ferdinand said. “That’s what really got to me. I had to help. I got out of school in 1939 and then already World War II started and it was tough. I had to help at home. Our helper had to go to military duty. We had three boys and the other two boys were in France in college. Before they closed the border, they wanted to ship them home. They came back and so the two college kids, they didn’t want to work. They were fighting all the time, so I had to do all the work.
“In 1939, I got sick. I had meningitis, and then after the doctor, I had to go home. Then I said, ‘I don’t want to be a cheese maker and work seven days a week.’ I wanted to become a sausage maker. I would go (to work for) six days, but not seven days. So, I got healthy and about a month later, I was in (a sausage making) apprenticeship.”
In describing that apprenticeship, which began in February 1940, Ferdinand said that he gained extensive knowledge about meat processing.
Ferdinand also recalled that during that time, he would attend a professional school each week in Olten, Switzerland.
“One day a week, every week, I had to go (to school) at 8 o’clock in the morning to 4 or 5 o’clock in the afternoon,” Ferdinand said. “There is where I learned the basics of the business.”
In 1943, at the end of his apprenticeship, Ferdinand took a two-day examination, which included making about 30 pounds of garlic sausage.
After being asked how he fared in that examination, Ferdinand said, “Oh, I got a silver (first place) medal. I was very proud of it, because it was from the Metzgermeister-Verband (butchers’ association).”
Following his apprenticeship and examination, Ferdinand worked at various sausage factories and a store in Switzerland at different times.
During that part of his life, Ferdinand dedicated time to the Swiss army, as well as to learning French in the French speaking portion of Switzerland.
In recalling his decision to immigrant to America, Ferdinand said, “One day, Mrs. Gysin, a woman, a customer said, ‘Oh, I got an uncle in the United States who has a butchers’ business, too.’ And I said to her, ‘I wouldn’t mind to go for a year to the United States.’ So, she said, ‘I’m going to write to (Swiss native Jacob “Jake”) Gysin (1876-1953) in Alturas (Calif.). He was already 74 and his son, Walter, was running the business.”
Ferdinand said that in a response to that letter, Jake wrote, “That would be good, because we need some help.”
Unfortunately, Jake’s wife, Nina, would not sign the affidavit recommending that Ferdinand work at the Alturas factory.
Ferdinand explained that situation, saying, “The reason (Nina would not sign the paper) was because she sent money to a nephew in Switzerland to come over here and he never came. She said, ‘I’m not going to do that no more.’”
Although he was discouraged by that response, Ferdinand decided to take a gamble and show how serious he was to work for the Gysins.
A day after learning about Nina’s response, Ferdinand went to the Canadian consulate in Bern and obtained a visa to go to Canada, with the intention of making his way to Alturas. He arrived in Quebec in October 1951.
After traveling to Montreal, Ferdinand worked for a short time as a butcher before taking a job as a dishwasher.
In the meantime, he corresponded with the Gysins, who later signed the approval papers recommending that Ferdinand work in the United States.
After working for the Gysins from March through October 1952, Ferdinand returned to his native land, where he married Betty Baumann on Oct. 11, 1952. And together they made their way to Alturas.
While working in Alturas, Ferdinand was recruited to work at the well established butcher’s shop, Clauss & Kraus, at 1700 I St. in Sacramento.
In recalling that experience, Ferdinand said, “I got the job there (at Clauss & Kraus) before I even got here (to Sacramento), because (John Clauss, Sr., co-owner of the business) heard about me and he wanted me so badly. I was in Alturas first, and then they found out about me through a salesman who used to pedal their merchandise up into the hills. So, this guy went to Mr. Clauss and said, ‘Boy, there’s a guy over there from Switzerland you should see. There isn’t even a speck of meat on there for a fly on the bone with the job he does.’ (The salesman) came back and he gave me his card and he said that Mr. Clauss said, ‘You have a job anytime you come to Sacramento.’”
Ferdinand accepted John Clauss, Sr.’s offer and came to Sacramento to work at his business, which then had about 110 employees.
In addition to working for Clauss & Kraus, Ferdinand joined the Sacramento Helvetia Verein on Jan. 2, 1953, and today he is that Swiss organization’s longest term member.
Ferdinand, who was known as “Ferdy” to his co-workers and others who knew him well, eventually spent 13 years working for Clauss & Kraus.
And for 16 years, Ferdinand was a partner in the proprietorship of Kohler’s Pork Store at 2309 Fulton Ave.
During that time, Ferdinand became a member of the United Revolver Club of Sacramento, and he is still a member of that club today.
On July 1, 1980, Ferdinand and his son, Ed, opened their own business, Morant’s Old Fashioned Sausage Kitchen, at 5001 Franklin Blvd.
Ferdinand said that it was important to him to offer unique tasting sausages at his business.
“I never bought the (prepared) spices to make (sausages) like every big company now buys,” Ferdinand said. “Like a spice company came to me and I said, ‘I mix my own spices, because this way nobody has it. If I was going to (use those spices), then it would be like Oscar Meyer and all that stuff. If (a salesman) tells me Oscar Meyer makes it, I don’t want to be like that. Then there will be no competition. That’s why Morant’s is still in business.”
Ferdinand sold Morant’s in 1989 to the German-trained fleisher (meat master) Dirk Müller, who still operates the business.
During the early part of his retirement, Ferdinand became a painter of various types of paintings, including Chinese brush paintings.
Toward the end of his interview with this paper, Ferdinand reflected upon his work at Morant’s, where he made sausages that were enjoyed by many Sacramentans, including immigrants from many parts of the world.
“I just feel like I accomplished something for humanity, for Sacramento, because I could see (many immigrant) people, Italians, Portuguese, Polish people. I made Swedish sausages for the Swedes, linguica for the Portuguese. I made South African sausages. German people came to my store and they enjoyed my product. That makes me so happy. I brought a lot of cultures together, and no matter where they came from, they all appreciated it.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

Ed Mauricio recalls life in Riverside-Pocket area in the 1920s, beyond

Photo Caption: Ed Mauricio grew up in the Riverside-Pocket area in the 1920s and 1930s. Photo by Lance Armstrong
Photo Caption: Ed Mauricio grew up in the Riverside-Pocket area in the 1920s and 1930s. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is the first article in a series about Riverside-Pocket area native Ed Mauricio.

At 92 years old, Riverside-Pocket area native Ed Mauricio is a rarity, as he is one of the few people who can tell firsthand stories about life in that area during the 1920s and 1930s.
It was because of that point that he was asked to share some of his memories of his life with readers of the Pocket News.
During his interview with this publication last week, Ed said that there is a possibility that he was born at a roadhouse that was located a short distance north of the old bar, which is known today as The Trap.
“I could have been born at home (at the roadhouse on the old Riverside Road),” Ed said. “I don’t know. I know the doctor used to make home calls.”
Ed was the youngest of the children of Manuel Mauricio and Carrie (Nevis) Mauricio.
His siblings, in order of their births, were Beatrice “Bea”, Isabel, Manuel and Herman.
Ed, who is the last survivor of these featured Mauricio family members, experienced hardship in the early part of his life, as his father died when he was 5 years old and his mother died five years later.
After being asked to speak about his parents, Ed said, “I don’t remember that much about my parents. It was pretty hard on my mother taking care of us. I figure we were on welfare. And I think the (St. Maria) Church – the old church down there on (today’s) Pocket Road – helped us out.
“We lived (in the roadhouse) until my dad passed, then we moved to the home there across the street (at 5890 Riverside Blvd. on the west side of the road near the levee), where Wesley Silva lives. We moved to that house when I was about 5 or 6.”
Ed said that his father operated a 33-acre ranch that was located on the east side of the roadhouse, and that his father’s ranch was one-third of a once larger property.
“It was (formerly one property) and they split it three ways,” Ed said. “I don’t remember who (originally owned the property). There was a man we used to call Black John. He was one of (the ranch owners). Then there was my father. I don’t know who the other person was (who owned the third ranch). And I don’t know who bought the acreage, but they split it three ways. (The ranches) were all about the same size. They were all Portuguese who owned the properties.”
The Mauricio ranch had wheat, grapes, alfalfa, and some orchards, which included peach trees.
Following his father’s death, Ed moved with his aunt and uncle, Tony and Lena Silva, and their children, Wayne, Arlene and Harlan, into the house where Wesley Silva now resides.
During his grammar school years, Ed was a student at the old Sutter School, which is now home to Cabrillo Civic Club #5 at 4605 Karbet Way.
Ed said that he lived in that house until he was about 11 years old, at which time he moved to (the Merced County city of) Gustine, where he worked on a dairy farm milking cows.
“I went to a dairy and that was a bad time in my life,” Ed said. “I felt like maybe (his aunt and uncle) didn’t want me anymore. I went to work for the Souzas in Gustine. I don’t remember their first names. I was milking cows. I would get up in the morning and go to school and then when I was 13, I got sick and I was still milking cows. I got to where I was milking 13 cows a day. I got down to one cow, and my uncle who happened to come by, he brought me to Sacramento and took me to the doctor and they put me on medication.
“What I remember was I thought the doctor said I had Asian flu. I know I was sicker than a dog. I lost a lot of weight. It took me about six months for me to get my weight back. When my uncle brought me back, I went to my grandma’s house in the Pocket and I stayed with my grandma (Mary Nevis) for a while. My oldest sister, Bea, got married (to King Silva) and then I moved in with her in the old house there where Wesley lives. I was still about 13 then. I stayed there until I went and joined the Navy (in August 1942).”
Ed, who also attended California Junior High School and was one of the earlier students at C.K. McClatchy High School, spoke about some of his neighbors, saying, “One of the neighbors was Dolores and Marvin (Silva), and Victor, their father, and Mamie, their mother, and then (Dolores and Marvin’s) grandparents (John Joseph and Clara Perry Machado) were next door. The DaRosas were down the street. That was my uncle (Antone Garcia DaRosa, who was married to Maria Filomena Simas DaRosa). Elmer and Francis were the sons. Alice and Marie were their daughters. And then there were the Rosas. Manuel (Garcia) Rosa was the one who married Mary Dutra, who was one of the daughters (of Antone Perry and Louise Florence Lewis Dutra of the old Dutra House at the present day address of 8144 Pocket Road). (Manuel) had the box factory (Florin Box and Lumber Co.). And they had a couple of kids. And then we had Japanese neighbors (the Masuharas, near) us. There were a lot of Japanese in the area.”
In responding to a request to describe the distances between houses in the area at that time, Ed said, “Where I was born and raised, maybe it was 200 or 300 feet between the Silvas’ house and maybe 200 or 300 feet to where the Japanese (neighbors) lived. Maybe it was further than that. The houses in those days really weren’t that close. The next house after the Machados was maybe a couple of blocks, maybe three blocks from the next house, and I don’t remember who used to live there.”
With a smile on his face, Ed continued to describe his memories of the area during his meeting with the Pocket News.
More of those memories will be presented in the next edition this paper.

Lance@valcomnews.com

New documentary highlights historic Sacramento film footage

History Film Photo
History Film Photo

Matías Bombal, who has been entertaining readers of this paper with his movie reviews under the heading of “Matías Bombal’s Hollywood” since last July, is presently enjoying the success of his major contributions to a local, historical film documentary project.
The documentary is a combination of the blending of news and other film footage from various eras of Sacramento’s history and modern day recordings of locals speaking about different aspects of the city’s history.
During an interview with this publication last week, Bombal, 47, recalled being asked to become involved with the project – an hour and 39-minute documentary, called “The Sacramento Picture!,” which was completed on March 20, after about seven months of work.
“I was approached by the Center for Sacramento History, in the persons of Dylan McDonald and Rebecca Crowther, who were familiar with my movie review work and knew that I had an interest in Sacramento history for many years, being involved in bringing old theaters back to life and knowing about movies,” said Bombal, whose theater experiences include working as an usher at the Tower Theatre and managing the Crest Theatre. “They have, at the Center for Sacramento History, one of the largest regional film collections in the nation. There’s over 9 million feet of movie film. I mean, it’s hard for me to even wrap my brain around 9 million feet of movie film. To put that into prospective, if you watched 24 hours a day, every day of the week without stopping for eating or anything, it would take you at least 11 years before you could really see a good portion of it.
“So, that film for the last several years has just sat there on shelves and (was) only accessible to the (center’s) film archivist, Mahlon Picht.
“The purpose, of course, is the city wants to use this footage to license to people doing productions or documentaries, because there’s a lot of great news footage there.”
The largest portion of that news footage collection, Bombal notes, was filmed by the legendary local television news photographer Harry Sweet (1920-2014), who had maintained a vast collection of news footage that would later be donated to local archives.
“(Sweet’s donated collection includes) all of the daily news films for each day of the week from 1957 to 1979, when (KCRA) Channel 3 stopped shooting movie film for news stories,” Bombal said. “It’s just a remarkable collection of the life of this community and the state to a certain degree.”
Bombal also commented that the center’s film collection includes films dating back to 1910.
And in speaking about the center’s local films, in general, Bombal said, “It’s a fascinating look at the movie images of our past. So, it brings a fabulous prospective of how our city looked and moved. And it somehow brings to life the past a little bit more than a still photograph might, and with rich detail.”
In further explaining the center’s interest in contacting him to work on the project, Bombal mentioned that McDonald and Crowther had attended his presentation of a free, public showing of a color film called, “Life in Sacramento 1950,” at the Central Library on May 26, 2014.
McDonald and Crowther approached Bombal at that event and expressed their interest in having him assist the center in making the public aware of the center’s film resources.
Since that time, the California Audiovisual Preservation Project began to provide grant funding for film collections throughout the state for the purpose of digitizing films to make them available through the Internet.
Bombal said that about 150 of the center’s film reels have been digitized. But that is a very small number of the center’s reels, considering that Bombal estimates that the center has about 1 million film reels in its collection.
It was at the point when the center had 50 of those reels digitized when Bombal was contacted by the center.
In recalling that moment, Bombal said, “They said, ‘Matías, we have 50 reels that are now digitized. Can you come look through all of this film and put together a speaker series lecture for us where you select what you think is the most germane and interesting films of what we have digitized?’ I said I would do that, and I had a meeting with them, and they said, ‘Well, we want to involve local experts. We want to get William Burg and various local historians to comment in addition to you on this footage. We want to have a stage show and there will be some PowerPoint projection, we’ll run the film and then we’ll have a discussion.”
And in reflecting upon one of his thoughts on that approach, Bombal said, “It occurred to me that the trouble that people have at these historical events is you will get some expert that will talk about some bit of minutia and go on and on (with that topic) forever, while half the audience falls asleep.”
Bombal made the suggestion of simply making a documentary using portions of the digitized films and brief comments by spokespersons selected to be recorded for such a documentary. Those comments could thus be used by the project’s producers at appropriate points in the documentary.
“(That approach) economizes the time, and then you can get more footage and more talk in and control it to the point where if something starts to get boring or dull, we can make it tighter and a more valuable experience for the audience,” Bombal said. “And having the theatrical sense, because I’ve shown movies my whole life, I have an idea of what people’s tolerance level is. To talk about the inside of buttons on coats for 45 minutes, you’ll lose some people.”
An agreement was made for a documentary to be made, and Bombal spent three months reviewing the digitized film.
In regard to his approach to creating the documentary, Bombal had to develop a concept as to its direction. And one of the decisions in that concept, Bombal said, was “to avoid politics completely.”
However, Bombal said that he eventually included brief political footage in the documentary.
“I start with Ronald Reagan and end with Cesar Chavez, so that I can please both the liberally minded and the conservatively minded at the same time,” Bombal said.
Bombal further shared details about the approach to the documentary, saying, “I wanted to take the most interesting pieces of film from 1910 to 1970 of what’s been digitized and tell the story of our city and people. So, it was important for me to be centric to the downtown. So, I didn’t do stories about Roseville or West Sacramento or south Sacramento. Primarily, it was the city core over that period of time.”
Bombal expressed much appreciation for Chad E. Williams, who was the editor of “The Sacramento Picture!”
“We worked hand-in-hand for six (to) seven months to make this movie,” said Bombal, who also provides voice-over narration for the documentary.
HYPERLINK “https://www.facebook.com/william.burg” \n _blankIn addition to Burg, other locals appearing as spokespersons in the documentary include Picht, Stan Atkinson, Alan O’Connor, Kevin Wildie, Marcia Eymann, Mark Pollock,  HYPERLINK “https://www.facebook.com/GretchenSteinberg” \n _blankGretchen Steinberg,  HYPERLINK “https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000691465024″ \n _blankAnnette Kassis and Ginger Rutland.
Thus far, the first two showings of the documentary have sold out.
The premier showing was held at the Crocker Art Museum on March 25, and the second showing will be presented tonight, April 9 at the Center for Sacramento History.
Tickets are available for the third and last scheduled showing of the film in the upstairs theater at the Tower Theatre at 2508 Land Park Drive on Wednesday, April 29 at 7 p.m. An additional three-minute introduction featuring historic footage of the Tower Theatre will be added to the evening’s program.
For ticket information for the April 29 showing, visit the website, HYPERLINK “http://www.mabhollywood.com/” \n _blankwww.mabhollywood.com.

Lance@valcomnews.com

Capt. Sutter’s descendants visit Sutter’s Fort

Descendants of Capt. John Sutter – Ron Sutter, right, and Connor Glasgow – were shown during their visit to the fort last week. Photo by Lance Armstrong
Descendants of Capt. John Sutter – Ron Sutter, right, and Connor Glasgow – were shown during their visit to the fort last week. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Among the most common questions that state employees and docents at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park at 2701 L St. regularly receive from visitors of this historic site pertain to whether there are still any Sutter family members in existence and if any Sutter relatives are living in California today. The answers to such questions are an affirmative, “yes.”
But better than the knowledge that there are still living, breathing, walking, talking Sutter family members residing in the Golden State today is the fact that two descendants of the German-born, Swiss immigrant John Augustus Sutter, Sr. (1803-1880) were roaming inside the walls of the fort just last Tuesday, March 24.
The first of those descendants to be discovered by this publication on the grounds of the fort last week was 9-year-old Connor Glasgow, who was dressed in clothing reminiscent to those that were worn by his great-great-great-great-grandfather, the aforementioned John Sutter, Sr. – aka Capt. John Sutter.
John Sutter, Sr. immigrated to California during its Mexican period of 1821 to 1848, and during the summer of 1839, he made his way to the shore of the American River in an area near today’s 28th and C streets, where the river flowed during that time.
Eventually, John Sutter, Sr. obtained a Mexican land grant, which was named Nueva Helvetia (New Switzerland). That grant included the area of today’s Sacramento.
John Sutter, Sr. established an agricultural empire in Nueva Helvetia that would come to an end with the emergence of vast numbers of gold seekers during the great California Gold Rush.
Connor’s recent presence at the fort came by way of the Environmental Living Program, which presents California fourth grade students with opportunities to “live history” at the fort through a 24-hour, educational experience, which simulates life at the fort during the 1840s. The program is additionally beneficial, since it is integrated into the students’ curriculum.
Accompanied by their teachers and trained parent assistants, the schoolchildren participate in such activities as cooking in the period kitchen and in the yard’s fire pits, trading, basket, rope, candle and corn husk doll making, riding in covered wagons, entertainment and other activities related to the era.
A major element of the program is the students’ involvement in taking on the roles of particular characters of the era, including John Sutter, Sr., James Marshall, John Bidwell, Patty Reed and Elizabeth Patton Elliot.
And that part of ELP is the precise reason that Connor was found at the fort portraying Capt. Sutter last week.
After the arrival of the East Sacramento News at the fort, Connor left a group of 4th graders, who were participating in an activity, to dedicate time to sharing a few details about himself, his family and his visit to the fort.
Connor, who was born in Walnut Creek and resides in Pleasant Hill, said that because of his ancestry, he received a special invitation to attend this year’s ELP.
“I go to Valhalla (Elementary School in Pleasant Hill),” said Connor, whose ELP experience also included giving a welcome speech. “I just got to go (with students from Pleasant Hill’s Strandwood Elementary School), because I’m related (to both John Sutters).”
In speaking about his family, Connor said that he has four other members in his family, his father, Jack, his mother, Amber, and his sisters, Addison and Kate.
Connor, who enjoys playing baseball and swimming, added that his mother, who was born Amber Lynn Sutter, changed her middle name from Lynn to Sutter after she was married, so that she could maintain the Sutter name.
After being asked what he enjoys about Sutter’s Fort, Connor said, “I like how everything is like old. Like you don’t see (electric) signs that say like, ‘open,’ that are flashing.”
A few minutes following Connor’s interview with this paper, a meeting of the Friends of Sutter’s Fort ended on the grounds of the fort.
Connor’s grandfather, Ron J. Sutter, who, until recently, had served as chairman of that organization during the past four years, was among those who emerged from that meeting.
Ron, who was born in San Francisco and graduated from San Francisco Polytechnic High School in 1966, had also arranged to be interviewed for this article.
During that interview, Ron spoke for a while about his Sutter family history.
“I come from John Sutter, Jr. (and his second wife, Nicolasa Solis Sutter),” Ron said. “John Sutter (Sr.) had four children, and (John, Jr.) was the one that came to California and developed the city of Sacramento. He (made) plans for the streets and the parks and so on.
“And, of course, everything changed (with the Gold Rush). People were coming in and taking what belonged to (John, Sr.), and so on. So, he went to Congress to fight it and try to get his grant back.
“John Sutter (Sr.) and his wife, Anna, (eventually permanently) moved back to Pennsylvania.
“John Sutter, Jr., (who had various children, including Reginald Sutter, Sr.), became the U.S. consulate from Mexico and went to Acapulco. That’s the Mexican side of our family.
“My father was heavily involved with Sutter’s Fort. His name was Reginald Sutter, (Jr.). When I came to the fort as a little child, I got involved in all the functions and the parties and so on.
“My father and his sister, (Gloria), had to leave (Acapulco), Mexico during the revolution. They had to leave the country. Otherwise they would have been killed. So, they came over here and they had children. And my (grandmother, Guadalupe Sutter) took care of them, and that’s how they got to the Bay Area. And most of our family is from the Bay Area right now. I live in Rio Vista right now.”
Ron, after being asked to describe the pride he has for being a descendant of the two John Sutters, said, “I’m a little proud of being this way, being a Sutter. There are a lot of stories that come with it, and then you hear different sides and you read different types of books. But it is unbelievable how a man could travel from Switzerland and come all the way over here, and make a settlement. I just find that unbelievable. You know, we complain today about a six-hour plane flight, and he took five years to get here.”
In further speaking about the Sutter family, Ron said, “There are people who can’t believe that there is still a Sutter around or Sutters. We have a very large family. I would say (there are) at least 200 Sutter (relatives) in California. There are quite a few cousins and so forth. There are also some back East, some in Germany and some in Mexico.”
And for at least some time last week, there were also two at Sutter’s Fort.

Lance@valcomnews.com

Locals share April Fools’ Day memories

 Edwin Hintz, right, could not recall any April Fools’ Day pranks that he was involved in during his life. However, he mentioned that his son, Sir Edwin Hintz, also pictured, was born on April Fools’ Day, April 1, 2013. /  Photo by Lance Armstrong
Edwin Hintz, right, could not recall any April Fools’ Day pranks that he was involved in during his life. However, he mentioned that his son, Sir Edwin Hintz, also pictured, was born on April Fools’ Day, April 1, 2013. / Photo by Lance Armstrong

With April Fools’ Day approaching, the time is right for sharing a few of the community’s favorite memories from that longtime popular day dedicated to playing practical jokes on others.
The Encyclopedia Britannica mentions that the true origins of the day, which annually occurs on April 1 in the United States, are unknown.
Among the possible origins presented in that encyclopedia entry is that April Fools’ Day dates back to the 16th century.
That portion of the entry reads: “Some have proposed that the modern custom originated in France, officially with the Edict of Roussillon (promulgated in August 1564), in which Charles IX decreed that the new year would no longer begin on Easter, as had been common throughout Christendom, but rather January 1. Because Easter was a lunar and therefore moveable date, those who clung to the old ways were ‘April Fools.’”
Furthermore, the same entry notes: “(April Fools’ Day) received its name from the custom of playing practical jokes on this day – for example, telling friends that their shoelaces are untied or sending them on so-called fools’ errands.
Last week, the Land Park News made its way around its coverage area to speak with people in that area, collect their April Fools’ Day memories and then share them with readers of this publication.
In a twist of coincidental fortune, among those interviewed for this article were a homeless woman who identified herself simply as April, and a man named Edwin Hintz, who mentioned that his son, whose birth name is Sir Edwin Hintz, was born on April 1, 2013.
Some of the comments of those sharing April Fools’ Day memories for this article are presented, as follows:

Rhonda Shield

“When I was a (business) manager, me and a bunch of the staff people I worked with hid when we went to work, and then we called our boss and we all left different messages about not being able to come to work that day,” said Rhonda Shield, who is a resident of Land Park. “One of them said they couldn’t find their car in the parking lot. We just gave ridiculous excuses. So, then we waited like 15 minutes and we listened to him on the phone, with all of us calling in sick (or with other reasons). And then we said, ‘Surprise,’ to him.”

Shoab Siddique

Another Land Park resident, Shoab Siddique, grew up in Virginia and Illinois, and moved to Sacramento in 2000.
After being asked if he had any April Fools’ Day memories to share with Land Park News readers, Siddique said, “Not really anything serious. Just things like (telling his children), ‘You forgot to do this, you’re in big trouble now and you’re going to be grounded.’ I get them worried. They’re easy to worry. They’re 7 and 11 years old. But they turned the age where they kind of recognize it now.
“My parents didn’t (play April Fools’ Day pranks). They were immigrants, so they didn’t really know about April Fools’ (Day).”

Glenn Vanderplaats

“There was a time (one April Fools’ Day that) my son (John) told me my tractor was stolen,” said Davis resident Glenn Vanderplaats, a former Sacramento resident who was visiting the Land Park area. “And I’ll tell you one that my son pulled on me. We had a horseradish plant growing in the backyard. My wife and the kids dug up the plant while I was at work, and I got home that night, and my son said, ‘You know, it’s horseradish all right, but the thing is, it’s not hot at all.’ I believed him on it, so I put a big old spoonful on my prime rib and it was the hottest horseradish that I ever tasted in my life. And he said, ‘April Fools.’”

Lis Maloney

“People usually get me on stupid ones, because I’m very oblivious to things sometimes,” Lis Maloney said. “I wear shoes without laces, so they’ll be like, ‘Your shoelace is untied.’ And I look down, but I’m not wearing shoelaces.”
A different sort of humor
Certainly, not all April Fools’ Day jokes are built alike, as is evident by the following memories of various locals:

Stephanie Walker

“She got me back from a prank I did on her,” said Stephanie Walker, regarding her sister. “She put my name in for all these magazines, and so I had like every magazine and newspaper coming to my house, and then the bills started coming (due). I had already previously done something to her, so that was her getting me back.”
And in describing her own April Fools’ Day prank, which lasted well more than one day, Walker, who graduated from Sacramento High School in 2002, said, “I added a (cell) phone to her account, and I put it in her purse and I kept calling the number and she kept wondering why her phone bill went up. The phone kept ringing and she said, ‘What is ringing? My phone is off. What’s going on?’ And she found it like a month later inside her purse pocket, because she never used that pocket. And she finally heard it buzzing. I would (occasionally) take it out of her purse and charge it.”

Isaac Cota

“Last year, I got fooled on April Fools’ Day,” said Isaac Cota, who is a native of West Sacramento. “My birthday is in late March. A friend of mine happened to be out of town and he came back in town around April Fools’ (Day). He gave me a birthday card with (California Lottery) Scratchers inside of it. I continued to scratch away. On the first ticket, I think I won a ticket or a couple dollars. He probably got me like 10 tickets and I got down to about the eighth one and I scratched it and it said that I won 10 grand. But it was a total joke ticket, and I had a houseful of people that day that happened to be watching basketball and I ran around giving everybody high fives thinking I won 10 grand.
“I need to get him back this year (for April Fools’ Day). I think it’s definitely better to wait a year to see if they maybe forget about it.”

Nadia Joy

“I’m sure I told a few people in elementary school that they were expelled,” said Nadia Joy, a transplant from Los Angeles who was walking her young schipperke dog. “But one that I did use was that I told my brother that he was adopted. I like to really mess with people’s psyches.”

Jonathan Becima

“I glued my friend to the couch once,” Jonathan Becima said. “I took like 36 of those little, tiny, dollar store superglues and I glued him to a couch. It ended up ripping off a lot of his arm skin. We did that kind of stuff all the time. I fell asleep once and he had like 10 people come over and draw stuff all over me. He took pictures of it and showed it around school. It really (irritated him), so I got him back on April Fools’ Day, and I glued him to the couch.”
After being asked if he was also an initial instigator of April Fools’ Day pranks, Becima said, “I wouldn’t say so, but if an opportunity presents itself. If it was going to be a great joke that everybody is going to love, maybe not now, but later, I would probably take action and do it.”

Roman Hull

Roman Hull, a 2013 graduate of Sacramento New Technology High School, recalled a moment in which his friends tampered with an office chair, where he would eventually sit.
“I went to sit down and my friends kept laughing,” said Roman Hull, who is presently studying to become a computer hardware engineer. “And I said, ‘What’s so funny?’ And they’re like, ‘Oh, nothing, nothing.’ What they did was they loosened the wheels (on the chair). As soon as I sat down, I fell out of my chair. I was mad at first, but then I thought about it and I just laughed it off. It was funny. But I’m easy going.”

Safe and sane April Fools’ Day

As shown in this article, there are different types and levels of April Fools’ Day pranks, some of which are not condoned by this publication. But pranks of a good-hearted, non-cruel nature are part of a long, cherished tradition that has made April Fools’ Day a time that can be enjoyed by all involved.

Lance@valcomnews.com

Farmers Market supermarkets experienced much success

The original Farmers Market building at 3810 Marysville Blvd. has housed Rainbow Market since about 1964. / Photo by Lance Armstrong
The original Farmers Market building at 3810 Marysville Blvd. has housed Rainbow Market since about 1964. / Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part series about the history of the Farmers Market independent supermarket chain.

Among the most successful supermarket chains to have had a presence in the north area of the city was the Farmers Market chain, which was founded by the late Chinese immigrant Walter Fong.
As mentioned in the previous article of this two-part series, Fong, who immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s, began operating a grocery store in downtown Sacramento in the late 1930s.
The first Farmers Market opened at 3810 Marysville Road (now Marysville Boulevard), at Grand Avenue in Del Paso Heights in 1949.
That store, as well as the next four Farmers Market locations, was briefly summarized in the first article of this series.
Details about several other Farmers Market stores are presented, as follows:

Farmers Market No. 6

Farmers Market No. 6 opened at 6015 Watt Ave. in North Highlands in about 1961 and remained in operation until about 1982.
The first manager of the store was Albert C. Lew.
Jimmy Yee was another one of the store’s managers.
Presently, the North Highlands Community Health Center operates in the old grocery store building.

Farmers Market No. 7

The seventh store of the Farmers Market chain opened at 4911 47th Ave. in about 1961.
James Lim was an early manager of this store, which remained in business until about 1982. Johnny Fong and Stanley Yee were also among the store’s managers.
Today, the site is home to the Calvary Evangelism Center, which began its history as the Emmanuel Pentecostal Church at 1418 8th Ave. in 1940.

Farmers Market No. 8

A Farmers Market at 4200 Arden Way, at Eastern Avenue, first opened its doors to the public in 1961.
An early manager of the store was George Yee, who resided with his wife, Virginia, at 915 U St.
Farmers Market No. 8 remained in business until about 1965, when it was replaced by a store of the Holiday Market grocery store chain. The first manager of that Holiday Market store site was Kenneth G. Derryberry.
The Holiday Market on Arden Way was replaced by Pantry Market, and its accompanying Slim Trim Bakery, in about 1979.
Presently, the site is home to Walgreens Store #4170.

Farmers Market No. 9

The ninth store of the Farmers Market chain opened at 5920 Madison Ave., one block north of Marconi Avenue, in Carmichael in about 1963.
The first manager of that store was Leon A. Quinn. He was succeeded in that position about a year later by Paul Lee.
Earl Joe later served as the store’s manager.
Farmers Market Store No. 9 closed in about 1977, and the site has been home to Beck’s Furniture since 1978.

Farmers Market No. 11

Rancho Cordova received its own Farmers Market with the opening of Store No. 11 at 10665 Coloma Road in about 1966.
That store remained open until about 1982, and the site was home to the Rancho Cordova Neighborhood Center for many years.

Farmers Market No. 12

It was also in about 1966 when a Farmers Market opened at 1601 West Capitol Ave. in West Sacramento. The store remained in business until 1984.
Among that store’s managers were Ed Jong and James G. Louie.
The Sacramento Bee, in its Nov. 5, 1984 edition, notes: “Raley’s has opened a new superstore at 1601 West Capitol Ave. The 53,000-square-foot store represents a $1 million investment, the company said.”
That Raley’s store remains in business today, and its present store director is Sue Nelson.

Farmers Market No. 14

A Farmers Market was located at 2500 Meadowview Road from about 1970 to about 1981.
Albert C. Lew was that store’s first manager.
The site is presently home to the Sam and Bonnie Pannell Community Center.

Farmers Market No. 15

A Farmers Market opened at 10175 Folsom Blvd. in about 1970, and the store remained in business until about 1982.
On Oct. 7, 1984, The Bee reported: “Mike and Elaine Jackson have opened Canned Foods Grocery Outlet at 10175 Folsom Blvd. in Rancho Cordova. The Jacksons previously operated the Canned Foods Warehouse at 3015 W. Capitol Ave. in West Sacramento.”
In 2000, at the same site, Sang Chang and Yong Choe opened Total Outlet, which was once described in The Bee as a “small Kmart.”
A Hancock Fabrics store has also operated at the same address.

Farmers Market No. 19

It was also in about 1970 when Store No. 19 opened at 2730 Broadway.
Managers of that store included Benjamin Hom and Wing Chinn.
The store closed in about 1979.

Farmers Market No. 23

The 23rd store of the Farmers Market chain opened at 6645 Auburn Blvd. in Citrus Heights in the 1970s. The site was previously home to the grocery business, Food World.
This Farmers Market store remained in business until about 1982.
In its Aug. 14, 1988 edition, The Bee, under the heading of “leasing activity,” notes that Cal-State Investments was attempting to have a bingo parlor constructed inside the 13,000-square-foot retail space at 6645 Auburn Blvd.
An update on those efforts was mentioned in the Nov. 4, 1993 edition of The Bee, as follows: “Plans to put a bingo parlor in a dilapidated former shopping center at 6645 Auburn Blvd. in Citrus Heights have been dropped.”

2000 Howe Ave.

In 1971, a Kmart discount store was under construction at 2000 Howe Ave., at Cottage Way. The store, which during research for this article was not found to have received a store number, was in operation by the following year.
Suburban directories for the years 1974 through 1976 recognize the simultaneous existence of a Kmart store and a Farmers Market at 2000 Howe Ave.
Those directories also mention Frank Pence as the supermarket’s manager.
Farmers Warehouse Liquors made its debut with the opening of its first store in mid-1978.
Eventually, six of those stores were in operation, including a store at the Howe Avenue location.
The Howe Avenue store and three other Farmers Warehouse Liquors were sold to the Sacramento discount liquor chain, Liquor Mart, in April 1984.
In its June 12, 1985 edition, The Bee notes: “The independent super market (sic) chain, (Farmers Markets), grew to 35 stores before Fong sold it in 1977.”
The Farmers Markets chain entered into Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings in 1983, and the last of the stores were sold in the mid-1980s.

lance@valcomnews.com