Through Any Given Door

1.15 Everything is a Gamble

Feb 4, 1933 • Colusa Sun-Herald, Colusa ~
At an early hour this morning Miss Noreen Chatfield became the bride of Carl Clemens of Rochester, Minn., at a ceremony performed in Our Lady of Lourdes Church immediately following 8 o’clock mass services. The members of the immediate families of the couple and close friends attended the ceremony. The groom is employed by the contracting firm that built the Colusa weir. His headquarters are in Stockton. At the close of the early morning service the bride and groom left for Stockton, where they will make their home. Their honeymoon has not been planned although they expect to visit the east sometime this summer. Clemens has many friends and relatives there.

Miss Chatfield is the daughter of Mrs. Nellie Chatfield of Colusa. They have resided here for the past year, coming from Chico. During that time two of Mrs. Chatfield’s daughters have become brides. Mrs. James Fouch, was also married here recently. At the impressive ceremony Margaret “Micki” Anderson of Chico, a close friend of the bride, was the bridesmaid. Lawrence Clemens of Stockton, brother of the groom, was the best man. The bride is a girl of many charms and has a large coterie of well wishing friends.


These two photos were taken the day of the wedding. Babe wrote on the back of the one at the right: These are my uncle, my brother Roy (he’s just a little shaver, like all the rest) & his girl. They have been going together for fifteen years. Someday maybe… She is Jo Chambers.

Uncle Fred Chamberlin, Babe, Roy, Jo

Micki Anderson, Jo Chambers, Babe

1933Los Angeles, California ~ Shortly after their marriage and with his job in Colusa finished with the completion of the weir and bridge, Carl and Babe moved to Los Angeles for his new job building highways; Frederickson & Watson had the contract to construct a portion of the Grapevine (Highway 99). A hard worker, Dad was always employed—even through the Depression when many were without jobs.

My brother was conceived in Los Angeles, but Babe and Carl went to Chico for the birth so Nellie could help her youngest with her first child. Larry was born January 14, 1934, in the Van Ornum Maternity Home in Chico, a “blue baby,” the umbilical cord wrapped tightly around his neck. A couple of weeks after the birth, the young couple and their newborn son returned to their home in Los Angeles, launching the next generation of family stories.

1934Watsonville, California ~ In 1934, Carl and Babe moved to Watsonville, a small agricultural town on the central coast 95 miles south of San Francisco. They wanted to be near Verda and George, and Carl got a job working for the Union Ice Company through George, who was his closest friend. For years he worked with him at Union Ice, first as a deliveryman, then as a manager. Along with regular home deliveries, Carl also filled commercial ice vending machines, delivered ice to all the restaurants, and to the huge army base filled with hundreds of tents and soldiers near Watsonville. He also delivered to bars and discovered pinball.

Ice Convention

Refrigeration Ice News

My father was a big man who could easily influence a game’s outcome by bumping the machines. It wasn’t long before he was obsessed with the din of the chimes, bells and buzzers, his hands feverishly working the controls as he smacked the balls against the pins. He became an expert, playing a few games at the end of a long hard day. When there came a couple of months he and Babe didn’t have enough money to pay all their bills, it scared him. He realized how many games he’d played at a nickel a play and how much money he’d wasted, not to mention having to face Mom’s wrath. He never touched a pinball machine again. He’d also recalled his past and the loss of his grandfather’s watch playing poker. In 1929, when his brother Louie died in a car accident on his twenty-fifth birthday, Carl bought City Bonds with the inheritance from his brother he loved so much. He lost the bonds in the same poker game he sacrificed his beloved grandfather’s gold watch; he must have won the watch back at some point, as it rests on my brother’s mantel today. His future gambling was generally limited to he and Babe going to Bingo, or he to an occasional Thursday night poker game at the Elk’s club where he was careful, very careful.

to be continued …

© 2017. Catherine Sevenau.
All rights reserved.

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  1. Love reading about “our” families. The pictures were great – both Carl and my dad.

  2. Not only does your writing take us down memory lane but the accompanying photos really put us in the moment.

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