Ye Olden Oakland Days

Along in the '60s and later, V. L. Eastland, Superintendent of the gas works, lived on the southwest corner of Sixth and Grove streets. One afternoon some of us boys were playing around that corner when Mrs. Eastland came out, and, mentioning that her garden must be watered before going to the church social, addressed Milton Eisner, afterwards a prominent attorney in San Francisco, and said: "Come here, Milton, and water these plants, because Ben is careless like the rest of the boys."

"All right," said Milton, "I will water them for you, but here comes Toby Schussler, who is going to spend his vacation with me." "Where is Herman Cohn ?" said Milton, "I thought he was coming over with you." "Oh, he is coming over on the Express and will be here shortly." The Express being the slowest steamer on the bay, we knew we would have a good long wait before Milton's friend arrived, so we started for the pond to swim for a little while.

As we turned the corner of Third and Market streets a number of people were standing around two boys who were having a battle royal and whom we soon learned to be Fred Willy and a boy called Ronaldo. We appeared to have arrived at a part of the battle when both boys were fighting fiercely. The two boys soon clinched and in some way or other they lost their balance and fell to the ground, Ronaldo fell on top of Fred Willy, and, as he had his arms tight around Fred when they fell the weight of the fall was naturally borne by Ronaldo's arms. Ronaldo immediately jumped up and started groaning. "My arm's broken," said he, and at the same time holding his arm with his uninjured hand. Among the boys standing around were John Willy and also Henry Maloon, who at once spoke up. "Your arm is not broken, Ronaldo; you could not have broken it in that soft sand if you tried." "But I have," insisted Ronaldo, I know when my arm is broken." Both boys became serious upon examining it closely, and we all walked away together almost in silence. Afterwards we found that Ronaldo's arm had really been broken.

On our way to the swimming pool we passed by the orchard of Mr. Warner, he being one of the early day school teachers, when one of the boys remarked, "What do you say to some apples?" Warner, who lived at the southeast corner of Third and Market streets, had some Schmitz cider apples growing rear the gate and it was very easy to slip into the orchard through the gate from the sidewalk. Warner knew me, but he did not know the other two boys, so I proposed to climb on top of the fence and watch for Warner while they took the apples. In case I saw Warner I was to beat on the fence with my flipper.

The boys were just stepping out of the gate and congratulating themselves on having put one over when Warner stepped out from behind some bushes and grabbed both boys and motioned for me to come to him. I of course could do nothing else but obey.

Warner told me we were going up to Judge Jayne's and that he wanted me for a witness against the other two boys. On the way uptown, Toby begged most piteously to go free, explaining that he was from San Francisco and did not understand matters on this side of the bay. "But you knew they were not your apples," said Warner.

As we crossed a field owned by Marshall Curtis, the house-mover, it was necessary for Warner to give the hired man some instructions and he in turn had a message to deliver from Curtis. This message appeared to be so important that Warner turned to us boys and, after exacting a promise that we would never more steal fruit from his orchard, he let us go. I was not so badly frightened as were the other boys, for I remembered that Warner had caught many boys in his orchard before and had badly frightened a number of them, but he still had his first offender to bring to Judge Jayne's office.

(To be continued).

A boy's memories of Oakland - Ye Olden Oakland Days - TO BLOG

A boy's memories of Oakland - Ye Olden Oakland Days - TO BLOG Sun, Jul 17, 1921 – Page 22 · Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) ·