Janey Way Memories #154 Thursday Mornings at La Bou
I retired from service with the State of California in 2002 after nearly 31 years on the job. I was just 55 years old.
I hadn’t planned on retiring that early, but after having cardiac bypass surgery in September of the previous year, I decided it was time to call it quits.
So here I was, still a pretty young man, with no job, and nothing in particular to do. I had to fill up my calendar. That proved easier than I thought.
First, I joined a retired men’s club, the Sons in Retirement, Branch 117. I played golf every Monday morning with that group.
Then, I started spending more time with friends and family. In that regard, my mom encouraged me to join her and her Ya Ya sisters (my aunts and their friends) on Thursday mornings at Muffin’s Etc. on 57th and H Street.
To tell you the truth, I was a little uncomfortable with that. These ladies were all about 30 years older than me. I asked myself, “Was I ready for this?”
However, finally I made myself go and it has proven to be a long-lasting and worthwhile endeavor.
I can’t tell you how much fun and how enlightening this union has been. These ladies have lived long and rich lives. They have wonderful stories to tell. They grew up in the Great Depression and survived World War II. They witnessed the first American astronauts landing on the moon. And, they are just a whole lot of fun to be around.
Take my aunt Alice Goldie, for example. She graduated from Sacramento High School, like just about everyone in that era, and then enrolled at U.C. Berkeley where she earned her degree in primary education. After college she married, had three children and went on to have a fulfilling career as a teacher.
In addition to her academic excellence, Aunt Alice was a great athlete. Fernando Marsala a well- respected Sacramento contractor once told me that “your aunt Allie was the best athlete at Fruitridge Elementary School.” In fact, she has garnered many athletic awards in her life, including gold medals at the U. S. Senior Olympics. We have spent many hours at our Thursday coffee cloches talking about her academic and athletic accomplishments.
The fact is that all of my aunts have enriched my life by sharing their experiences with me at these Thursday morning get-togethers.
Aunt Katie, for example, had a career working for the state of California, ultimately landing at the State Library. She told me once that she had a supervisor who was notorious for walking up from behind his female staff and touching them inappropriately. “Back then.” she said, “there wasn’t much you could do.” Aunt Kay is hardly a feminist, but she has often told me, she is very appreciative for what those strong women did for her sex.
My other aunts have all achieved success in their own right as teachers, business women and house wives.
These days we meet at La Bou on Howe Avenue.
Sadly a couple of my aunts have passed away in the interim, and my cousins, Peggy, Bob, Norma, Pam and Alan have joined the group. Now, we are becoming the older generation of our family.
But the time I have spent on Thursday’s at La Bou with my aunts is yet another enriching Janey Way memory.