Through Any Given Door

1.52 Larry’s Diary, July 1949

1949 • Larry’s diary (age 15)
Jul 1  Raked the leaves up on the ground for garbage man, took walk around town and up to Grammar School with Peckham

Sonora Grammar School “The Dome” at top of Barretta Street

Jul 2  Sold all sparklers but had about 2 gross of them. Took some out for kids. Got $10 for cleaning off roof. Got 8 pack of BB
Jul 3  Mopped up floors at the store till 11:30. Took in $139. Got big boil on left leg. Had nosebleed. Had greased pig contest in front of store, took pictures.
Jul 4  Was in the big Modesto parade with the T.C. Band. Saw Madox brothers and Rose. Thousands of people there, got sparklers for store.
Jul 5  Went to the pagent rehearsal and got 2 more scenes as a member of Judge Lynches court and the naming of Fiddletown
Jul 6  Went to Columbia for first pagent rehearsal there. Got into street scene and parade. Bought a pair of flashy socks.
Jul 7  Went to S.F. Glass on wing window got completely shattered by gravel. Ate at DiMaggio’s 2nd time. Had German band for first time centennial practice

Shirley, Ina, Jim, JoAnne Fouch

Jul 8  JoAnne and Shirley and mother and father (mom’s sister Ina and husband Jim) paid us a surprise visit on their way to Yosemite. They only stayed overnight.
Jul 9  Photographers from the San Francisco papers took pictures of the pagent. Stein is the makeup man.
Jul 10  Had pagent practice at 5:30, I am in 2 turntable court scenes, street scene, cavalcade and coming of the waters into a camp
Jul 11  Missed some of the band practice to go to Columbia where I had already missed some of the scenes I am in
Jul 12  JoAnne and Shirley stopped here again. Their car broke down at Yosemite. Washed Knoxes windows for $1.50
Jul 13  Nellie and I had argument. Got back from pagent rehearsal at midnight, now 1. Got four more appointments at dentist
Jul 14  Had dress rehearsal of pagent. Had supper there. Got Centennial Edition of Democrat. I am in scene 3-4-7-8-11-12
Jul 15  First day of pagent presentation and Columbia celebration, I had a 3″ beard on. Got Columbia chocolates. Sonora celebrating too.
Jul 16  2nd night of pagent. Gov Warren was there. Uncle Charlie and Aunt Velma came up. Got to bed after 2. Almost late for scene 3. At least 15,000 people there. I was an actor in the Big Columbia 49er centennial pageant. I was in 6 scenes as a 49er. The play was on two huge turntable stages plus a large center stage. At least 15,000 people attended each performance in the outdoor staging.

Jul 17  Last presentation of pagent. Marched in 49’r Columbia parade. Saw last part of Under the Gaslight. Big Columbia Centennial Celebration all over now.
Jul 18  Went to band practice. Worked all day at Sprouse Reitz for Mr. Fieldings. Get $5 per day. Ate lunch with him.
Jul 19  Worked at Sprouse Reitz again today and got $10 for two days. Redecorated whole edging around top of store with new stock
Jul 20  Started to clean up back yard, wet it down. Betty got hoard of comics from somewhere. Mom canned apricots this morning.
Jul 21  Bought a new pair of shoes (Ox-blood) and a pair of socks. Bum-rushed kid out of store, went to baseball game for first time season
Jun 22  Bought a bottle of Cordovan shoe polish and polished 3 pairs of shoes. Saw pictures of pagent in at Pitts.
Jul 23  Went to Columbia fandango. Won a $2.10 fishing reel (Pflueger) at free bingo. Forgot to help Fieldings oil the floors of 5-10
Jul 24  New Father at mass this morning. Sermon on local history. Stayed open till 6 by myself. Bought nutroll.
Jul 25  Went to band practice, talked about buying bass for band. No. Bought ticket to Am I Intruding by Sierra Playhouse.
Jul 26  Cleaned out box threw away some 5th grade papers and scenic views. Practiced some on horn. Got whole hit parade out on the racks.
Jul 27  Almost got job at the Sonora Inn. Stayed open till 9 for salesman. Got Decca records in for first time in 1 1/2 months.
Jul 28  Saw show at Uptown The Red Menace. Lower theater got new neon lite they are still closed for redecorating.
Jul 29  Went to the first Sierra Playhouse presentation Am I Intruding for $1.00. Dad got back from S.F. Carleen and Claudia still visiting Aunt Velma and Uncle Charlie.
Jul 30  Got ground cleared away for new post-office. Sonora assigned television channel. Had a short thunderstorm.
Jul 31  Played at Twain Harte concert. Had professionals from S.F. to fill in band. Had rehearsal this afternoon.

Governor Earl Warren

Recap from Larry: Governor Earl Warren and many other state officials attended the Columbia 49er Pageant, as well as people from all over California. Uncle Charlie and Aunt Velma Chatfield stayed with us. They took home movies of the celebration and parade and even took home movies of mom and my sisters. It was by far the biggest festival ever in the Sonora/Columbia area. We had many rehearsals for the pageant and the cast of hundreds of people. Most of the thousands of visitors camped out because there were not enough hotel rooms and most people who lived in the area had many guests staying with them just as our family did.

to be continued …

Note: Larry and I donated that canister of home movie film to the Tuolumne County Historical Society in November 2016
Note: Photo of Grammar School courtesy of the Tuolumne County Historical Society

© 2017. Catherine Sevenau.
All rights reserved.

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  1. Jim Prunetti says:

    What inspired him to keep a diary…and what caused him to stop? Just curious.

  2. Jim Chatfield says:

    He was a busy young man. Never seen anyone so young keep a diary like this.

  3. Another intriguing slice of life!

  4. Look at all a person could do then when not on social media.

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