During an interview at the lodge’s building in the Pocket last week, the couple shared details about their lives and their wedding day of June 19, 1949.
The story about Tony and Anne is undoubtedly a very local story, as they were both born in Sacramento.
Tony grew up at 1314 Q St. with his parents, Croatian immigrants Richard “Dick” and Cora (Perich) Muljat, and his sister, Henrietta.
Dick, Tony noted, was a railroad worker in the Southern Pacific yard, north of I Street, for a while before becoming a commercial fisherman.
“When he first started the fishing, he worked on the Sacramento River,” Tony said. “They threw lines across with hooks during the salmon season.”
In about 1951, Dick joined his brother, Nick M. Muljat, in the proprietorship of the Lafayette Grill at 322 K St.
And in remembering his mother, Tony said that she worked at the California Packing Corp. Plant No. 12 at 1600 2nd St.
“She was a floor lady,” Tony said. “It was kind of a bossy job a little bit.”
Like many young Sacramento boys in his generation, Tony enjoyed playing baseball. He recalled playing in league games at William Land Park on Sunday mornings.
But his involvement in organized ball was short lived, as he began working part-time jobs while he was going to school. At separate times, he was employed at the old ballpark at Riverside Boulevard and Broadway, August Affleck’s pharmacy at 1008 10th St. and Julius Style Shop at 1023 K St.
Tony attended William Land Elementary School at 1116 U St., Holy Angels parochial school at 730 S St. and Christian Brothers High School, when it was located at the southeast corner of 21st Street and Broadway.
After graduating from Christian Brothers in 1942, Tony began studying commercial courses such as typing and bookkeeping at Sacramento Junior College (today’s Sacramento City College).
However, those studies were cut short when he was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II.
During his 33 months of service, Tony was stationed in Sacramento, Monterey, Idaho, England, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Japan.
In speaking about that time in his life, Tony said, “I ended up as a senior clerk. I worked in the classified with secret documents. I was a staff officer in the Army (Air Forces). We were sailing from France and we were three days from Panama when the war was over in Japan. I was a clerk and I was doing reports on the ship, going to Japan, and then we got sidetracked into some place in Virginia and then rode the train back to California. I got a 30-day leave and then they sent me a 15-day extension and I went back to Camp Beale (later Beale Air Force Base) at that time and got discharged (then returned to college).”
Tony eventually worked in the Southern Pacific yard for 35 years.
After being asked to describe his employment for the Southern Pacific, Tony said, “I did a variety of things. We rebuilt boxcars and then we built new boxcars.”
Later in his life, Tony worked as a caterer, and he still enjoys preparing food for various gatherings.
In telling her own story, Anne said that she was one of the two children of Croatian immigrants Nick and Lucy (de Polo) Buljan, who were married in 1923.
Nick was working in Sacramento as a barber as early as 1919, when he was co-owner of a shop at 1018 ½ 4th St. He later operated a shop at 411 ½ K St.
Anne said that like Tony, she also attended William Land Elementary School.
She was later a student at California Junior High School (now California Middle School) at Land Park Drive and Vallejo Way, and C.K. McClatchy High School, where she graduated in 1943.
Although she explained that she remembers seeing Tony at William Land Elementary in the 1930s, Anne chuckled before sharing an even earlier story related to herself and Tony.
“My mother knew his mother,” said Anne, who grew up at 1911 18th St. “They came from the old country. She was pregnant with Tony, so she went to see him. She (later) said, ‘Little did I realize, I was seeing my (future) son-in-law for the first time.’ I wasn’t even thought of (at that time).”
Anne recalled that while she was growing up, she was not yet attracted to Tony, but did think of him as a “nice guy.”
She would see Tony at early 1940s gatherings at the Dante Club, which was then located at 1511 P St.
In recalling those times, Anne said, “The families, all the Croatian people, they would go to the Dante Club. They would have a program. My sister (Lucille, who graduated from McClatchy High in 1941) would play the piano and I would sing, ‘God Bless America,’ in Croatian. And everybody would start dancing, and all the parents were sitting around. The kids would go into one corner – the boys and the girls – and (Tony) would ask me to dance. We were just close that way, this whole group.”
While Tony was in the service, he sent Anne several letters, as well as a package.
Anne recalled a humorous story about that package.
“(Tony) sent me a lovely gift, and I was so excited,” Anne said. “I opened it up and it was a bottle of Chanel No. 5 from France. It was all wrapped with toilet paper, and (the bottle) was empty. (Its contents) evaporated. The funny part of it is our friend, Jean Grassi, he wrote to her also, and she said, ‘Tony sent me the most gorgeous gift. It was all wrapped in toilet paper and when I opened it, it was empty. Chanel No. 5. I laughed so hard.”
During the early post war years, young people would also congregate in the basement of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament for dances of the John Carroll Guild social club.
The dance’s attendees, including Tony and Anne, would often end their evenings at Hart’s restaurant at 919 K St.
Tony eventually began courting Anne and together they went on dates to several places, including dinner at a nice Italian restaurant in San Francisco.
On March 29, 1948, Tony and Anne attended the Easter Monday Ball, which was presented by the Young Men’s Institute at the Memorial Auditorium. That was also the night that they announced their engagement.
Like many young couples, Tony and Anne agreed to be married in the month of June, and they selected the aforementioned date of June 19, 1949.
On that day, Tony and Anne were married at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. The wedding was attended by about 1,000 people, including Frank M. Jordan, secretary of state, and Charles J. Hagerty, deputy secretary of state.
Following the ceremony, Tony and Anne were driven up and down K Street in a Buick convertible.
Anne said that when she arrived with Tony at their reception at the Sacramento Turn Verein building at 3349 J St., the Buster Peart Orchestra was playing the song, “I Must See Annie Tonight.”
Soon after the reception, which included sliced rump roast and a cake that was made by Channel Bakery at 3110 O St., the newlyweds spent their honeymoon in Los Angeles visiting with family and friends and spending time on Catalina Island.
An oddity of sort occurred while Tony and Anne were visiting a Catalina Island cocktail lounge. On that night, the venue featured music by a trio, which Tony and Anne had then-recently seen play at the Clayton Club at 1126 7th St.
Tony and Anne eventually raised five children – Pamela Anne, Michael Anthony, Nicholas Richard, Daniel Vincent and Jeffrey Mark – in their Tallac Village neighborhood home, where they continue to reside today.
As previously mentioned, Tony is one of the more notable members of Elks Lodge No. 6.
During his interview with this publication, Tony briefly explained his longevity with that organization.
“When I joined (the Elks lodge), it was 1942,” said Tony, who is also a longtime member of the Southside Improvement Club. “I became an active member and became an officer. I liked everybody and everybody liked me. I was an officer probably more than anybody else. I became (the exalted ruler) in 1983. I retired on my birthday in 1984 and I’ve been a continued officer for many, many years. I’m the longest (term) member of the lodge and I’m still the lodge treasurer, which I have a very good bookkeeper that does a lot of work for me. And here we are today after 71 years as a member. My sponsor was a local mortician (Nick Culjis) and we were neighbors at one time and I just continued on and became very active.”
Five years ago, Tony and Anne, who attend Sacred Heart Church in East Sacramento, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with about 200 friends at the local Elks lodge.
But after Tony was asked how he and his wife planned on celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary, he responded, “Very quietly.”
Tony and Anne remain active in a variety of local activities, as they continue to enjoy their lives together.
Toward the conclusion of Tony and Anne’s meeting with this publication, Anne demonstrated her good-natured sense of humor.
After being asked to summarize her 65-year marriage to Tony, Anne, who belongs to various organizations, including the Croatian Fraternal Union, referred to Tony as a “good man and a good father.” And then, in referring to their decision to be married, she paused and added, “He thought I could cook and I thought he had money, and we both got fooled.”