Ye Olden Oakland Days


(Contributed by Oakland Pioneers - No. 41)

By Robt. T. Donovan

I had the honor of being one of the few surviving pupils of the original Carpentier school house, on the northeast corner of Fourth and Clay streets. At the time I attended, Franklin Warner was in charge, teaching pupils of all grades from kindergarten to high school. In the middle '60's, however, the new school on the northeast corner of Eleventh and Grove streets was completed with Henry Hillebrand in charge and Miss Pratt as his assistant. Politics soon claimed Hillebrand as Oakland's city clerk, and matrimony winning Miss Pratt, Oakland soon had a new set of teachers and the strictest of all strict disciplinares, Miss Mary Lichtenthaler, was now in charge, assisted by her sister, Mrs. Lyons, and also the Misses Day, Willis and Ludrick.

One May Day, "Miss Mary" - so she was called - decided that the school would have a picnic in Hardy's Woods (west of Market street and between Eighth and Twelfth), and Addie Lowell was unanimously chosen May Queen. Child as she then was, Addie Lowell possessed the unusual trait of using her sweet soprano voice and her very pleasing personality in imparting pleasure to others. The picnic passed, as do others, where children of both sexes have the privilege of playing together amid the wild surroundings of the woods.

The livery stable men of Oakland some times pastured their tired and worn out horses in Hardy's Woods, and the May Day picnic is always brought vividly before my mind when I think of the great fun we had that day in racing up and down the green pastures with the horses. Wherever boys find a good place to play, there will they congregate; and a young, strong tree with a convenient post nearby in front of Mrs. Eastland's home furnished an attraction for all the boys in the neighborhood.

Mrs. Eastland, mother of Mrs. John A. Britton and neighbor of ours, was blessed with that remarkable quality of tact, and no matter how much the boys played around her house she was always delightfully pleasant. And being but a human being she must love been sorely annoyed at times; but never by word, look or action did she ever lose her pleasant temper. Before proceeding further, I want to state, as we all know, that nothing hurts so much as the truth; so, I have no intention of stating anything that might be disparaging to any one, nor will I state things as they should be, but just as they were.

In showing off on one occasion, and taunting a more timid boy, to leaping from the post to a limb of the oak tree, it was impressed on my mind that "Pride goeth before a fall," as I suddenly lost my hold and landed upon the back of my head. Mrs. Eastland, who was nearby, came to my assistance at once and hurried me to it nearly faucet and let cold water run on my head. "Will you tell my mother about this?" I asked. "Not unless she asks me," answered Mrs. Eastland, "and I would advise you to do the same thing, as I will surely forget all about it. This swelling will go down soon, but if your mother asks me, of course, I shall tell her, and you being a young gentleman, you, of course, will do likewise." My mother never knew of it.

(To be continued.)

Sun, May 29, 1921 – Page 5 · Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) ·