I currently have columns running in 3 newspapers;
- Tri-Valley Herald : Do You Remember?
- Valley Times : Looking Back
- the Independant : Do You Remember?
The Articles appear in the Herald and Independant on Thursdays,
and Sundays in the Times.
They will also be found on this page each week as well.
If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.
Newspaper Columnists Abound
By Barry Schrader..................................November
Throughout history in this valley there has been an abundance of good
newspaper columnists; I knew most of them. This column offers an opportunity
to reminisce about them, plus many other topics buried in my memory, but
only as far away as the file folders in my garage.
The idea for a local history column originated last Spring while I was home
three months recuperating from surgery. My loving wife of 41 years (Kay)
decided I should wile away the hours sorting through boxes long stored in
the garage and attic. Since I was too weak to protest, I began my sentimental
journey through them. You see, I am a second-generation pack rat.
It is in the genes of the male side of our family. I still have all four
high school yearbooks and several of my college term papers. And, preserved
lovingly is the Teddy Bear I received when I was two, the big red fire truck
I got at Christmas when I was 8, and my bronzed baby shoes. Thats
just one box, and I have 25 or 30 more!
Also among the artifacts are my notes for that second book I was going to
write on valley history, but since I sold my hobby letterpress printshop,
that will probably never happen. Now I am thinking, why not use them for
a newspaper column, so I can take that stroll down memory lane with the
valleys old timers as well as newer residents who have a passing interest
in local history. After all, I was described in a promotion piece by the
producers of LivermoreThe Movie as one of those
local eccentric old-timers.
Then when I returned to work from my long hiatus I was offered a new position
at Lawrence Lab called oral historian and archives specialist.
Not in my wildest dreams a few years ago would I have thought I could conclude
my career in a delightful job in the archivesinterviewing pioneers
and recently retired folks at the Laboratory. Being such a history buff,
this is like locking a kid in a candy store all night. Just walking down
the long aisles of the archives with 2,000 boxes of history stacked high
around me brings out goose bumps. Those boxes keep calling out: Open
me first and hear my story. But I often cant do that because
you dont let the genie out of the bottle in a classified
Top Secret vault, which the whole Archives building is!
So I have to settle for my garage full of memory boxes, which will take
years to sort through. I save old yearbooks from local garage sales with
great inscriptions in them: like from a yearbook back in the Fifties some
student penned: Roses are red, violets are blue, my feet stink, but
so do you! Ha Ha, signed SH. I also have the dog-eared,
fox-tailed autograph book my Grandma Miss Emma had filled with
names and sayings from 1888. They had beautiful, flowery handwriting in
those days, and now all we have is email
So how about digging out your old yearbook or autograph book and send me
one of the more unique, funniest or dumbest quote so I can fill
a column soon with them. I do want their real names to make it historically
complete. You can email or snail mail them to the address at the bottom
of this column.
But I got off my original subjectthose local columnists who have marched
through the pages of time in the local newspapers. Well, the most prolific
locally was my best friend during the years up to his death in 1988, Walt
Hecox. His columns appeared at various times in all three valley paperscirca
late 1960s and 70s, titled Under the Bleachers, Sunday Morning, and Sound
& Fury. I think his loving wife Skeeter proofread all of them, as they
were grammatically correct in most every way. Then there was Heartbeat by
Bob Several, Oliver Twist by John Oliver, Junius (look that word up) by
Dana McGaugh, Ruffles & Flourishes by Susan Scott, Kitten on the Keys
by Kitty Archibald, Around Town by John Edmands, and of course the granddaddy
of them allReflections by MRH (Maitland R. Henry, longtime publisher
of the old Livermore Herald). Virginia Bennett, historian extraordinaire
from Dublin, also wrote a Reflections column, which she turned into a book.
Speaking of historians, do you recall Janet Newton and Herb Hagemann
from Livermore, Dagmar Fulton from Pleasanton, and Marie Cronin from Dublin?
They were the prominent combatants during the feuding days back in the 1970s
when Livermore, and then Dublin, pulled out of the Amador-Livermore Valley
Historical Society and formed the Livermore Heritage Guild and Dublin Historic
Preservation Association (that must be why some call them hysterical
societies). But that fracas is worth another whole column.
Do you remember? Then youre much older than I
* * *
The columnist can be reached via email at :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 446
Livermore, CA. 94551