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Barry Schrader
Columnist

 

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.

Archive Page

Newspaper Columnists Abound

By Barry Schrader..................................November 11, 2004

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. That’s 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 valley’s 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 “Livermore—The 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 archives—interviewing 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 can’t do that because you don’t “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 subject—those 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 papers—circa 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 all—Reflections 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 you’re much older than I….

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The columnist can be reached via email at :

Historian2sbcglobal.net

or by snailmail at:

Barry Schrader
PO Box 446
Livermore, CA. 94551

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