Through Any Given Door

1.36 Larry’s Diary, Jun-Jul 1947

1947 • Larry’s diary (age 13)
Jun 4  Graduated from 8th grade elementary school. I got a wristwatch and binder as gifts. Went to graduation party and danced with Barbara Miles
Jun 5  At 2 PM left for 3 week vacation to stay at George and Verda Day‘s home in Redwood City as Mom and Dad going to Minnesota
Jun 7  Jim Day (cousin) took me to a drive-in restaurant in Redwood city
Jun 9  Mowed lawn for uncle Geo. Day
Jun 10  Mowed lawns for vacation money, earned $1
Jun 15  Went to movies Odd Man Out and The Hat Box Mystery with Jim Day
Jun 18  Received letter from Mom and Dad in Rochester, Minnesota. They had an accident in their car but no one hurt.
Jun 21  Postcard from Mom and Dad in Minnesota
Jun 22  Marceline Day got married to Roy today. Reception here at George and Verda Day home after wedding.
Jun 27  Earned $4.50 today mowing lawns
Jun 29  Mom came to pick me up. She brought my cousins Shirley and JoAnne Fouch and Carleen with her. They stayed overnight.
Jun 30  Went to So. San Francisco to pick up Betty and Claudia at Aunt Velma’s and Uncle Charlie‘s. I was in Redwood City for 26 days
Jul 1  Going to work in dads store from now on regularly
Jul 2  I was delivering papers on my morning route and a girl fell on courthouse spike fence and got a very deep cut on her, cutting a vein in half. I got her off and carried her 3 blocks to get help
Jul 3  My friend Larry rode his bike into a ditch to avoid a car, fracturing his skull. I carried his bike up out of the ditch
Jul 4  I set off sparklers and Betty and Claudia had sparklers and burning snakes.
Jul 5  Sonora Hospital had big fire. I helped carry out equipment from burning building- everybody was running in and out to get equipment. No one hurt
Jul 6  Cousins JoAnne and Shirley Fouch left for Yuba City. Mom took them to Stockton so they could take the bus. They stayed with us one week.
Jul 7  I quit my afternoon paper routes so I could work at my job in Dad‘s store
Jul 9  Went fishing this evening but only caught mosquito bites
Jul 13  Went fishing and caught 4 perch. Mom and Dad were in boat and they caught 2 fish including a 14” long catfish
Jul 17  Played kick the can after scout meeting
Jul 21  Bad case of poison oak from trip. Dr. Wallace gave me a shot and I will need another one tomorrow. Cost $7.05
Jul 23  Have lived in Sonora 4 years today. Picked blackberries from Sonora Creek
Jul 26  Only worked ten hours at store this week and got $5. Couldn’t work Monday to Thursday due to poison oak—bad case
Jul 28  Went to museum, mapped out 14 mile hike for 1st class scout requirements
Jul 31  Went on 14 mile hike with Joe to Bald Mtn. Great views

Larry 1947

As soon as they were old enough, the kids worked at Dad’s store after school and during the summers. Betty and Claudia made a nickel an hour, Larry and Carleen earned fifty cents. As holidays and seasons changed, they helped Dad dress the storefront windows. They swept, supplied, serviced, stocked, stickered and sold. They saved part of their earnings and spent the rest; they bought ice cream cones at The Dipper near the Uptown Theatre (a long narrow building with an aisle down the middle and a balcony where you could smoke during the movie) and root beer floats at Brandi’s Ice Cream Parlor. Movies were a dime, comic books were a nickel, and gumballs were a penny. In 1947 you could buy lots of things for a penny.

Moss’s at Lime Kiln Road

On late summer evenings when it was too hot to sleep my brother and sisters played hide-and-seek and kick-the-can, or threw pebbles in the air to the bats whipping like lunatics through the sky devouring mosquitoes; the bats were fooled for a split second when they mistook the stones for supper. On hot summer days, and they were all hot, my siblings trekked two miles out the narrow two-lane road banked with shimmering scarves of ginger poppies and purple lupine to Moss’ swimming hole, their shoes crunching on the gravel roadside. After I was born they took turns toting me. Lime Kiln Road led eventually into the woods; over the smooth boulders and under the canopy of trees, through the tall grass and around the bend of the wild creek, the kids were finally rewarded with the cool wetness of a shaded swimming hole. There were hollows to fish, pools to dive, and a safe sandy shallow spot where they parked me for the day in the company of roly-polys, wooly bears, and katydids. At the end of a lazy afternoon, the hot, dusty walk home almost made the trip seem not worth it. Almost.

to be continued …

© 2017. Catherine Sevenau.
All rights reserved.

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  1. Believe it or not, I found an online inflation calculator that said the $4.50 Larry earned mowing lawns that day is worth $49.34 in 2017 dollars. Are kids earning $50 a day mowing lawns in 2017?

    Larry’s diary alone would make for riveting reading and I would buy the book in a nanosecond. Add to it priceless gems like your siblings “parking” you in a cove at the swimming hole when one’s current-day mind immediately launches into apprehensiveness about kidnappings and pedophiles. These are priceless gem time capsule moments from a past forever lost.

  2. I love Larry’s diary…….just the facts, but worlds of story unsaid! And love your description of life in Sonora back then…….seems light years more natural and real – and healthy – than conditions for kids growing up now. Might I inquire what Larry’s birthday happens to be?

  3. Larry! What a great young man. So helpful, caring & hard worker. We thought that swimming hole was a secret. Ha ha ha. Kids aren’t like Larry anymore. I know I was working mowing lawns, babysitting, washing windows & blinds, etc… until I was old enough to work at the Stagecoach Inn. Good times.

    • I took that picture of Moss’s a number of years ago when Larry, Carleen and I went to Sonora to do some exploring for the book. The little cove in it is where they used to park me.

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