7 June 2021: Earthquake country, the Great Central Valley and Berserkely.

The neologism in the heading was created by Herb Caen, the late and still revered chronicler of the social scene of San Francisco, including its underbelly. Tales from other parts of the Bay Area, especially Berkeley, a city that amused him, were offered as well.

Before I visited the people located at the places listed in the heading, I traveled to the gravesite of my pal of 63 years, Fred Pape, in the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery.

Frederic Buchanan Pape, 1937 – 2015: A Memoir and a Eulogy

Here is the eulogy I gave at his funeral:

Fred was a civilized man. He was an honorable man. He was a curious man who collected information, processed it carefully, used it, and shared it with others, but never officiously. He was a teacher. He observed the proper forms of society without subordinating the self-directed ways which were peculiarly his. He was his own man. He listened to others and chose to learn from them when he found them interesting. He did not judge others. He loved music. The rear window of his work truck showed a sign declaring: “I Hafta Hear Haydn.” To those who would share his interests he offered friendship. He was my friend. Goodbye Fred, “and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

As I stood for a short while contemplating Fred’s plaque among the many that were tightly placed in the well-tended lawn, I noted the infinity symbol at the top of it. I recalled in a letter he sent me, perhaps five years before he died, that he intended this symbol be displayed, rather than a religious or family symbol typically shown.

Then on to Earthquake Country, around 70 miles away in Hollister.

Hollister is well known among geologists because it portrays one of the best examples of aseismic creep anywhere in the world. The Calaveras Fault (a branch of the San Andreas Fault system) bisects the city north and south, roughly along Locust Ave. and Powell St. The streets running east/west across the fault have significant visible offsets. The fault runs directly under several houses. [Source].

Living in Hollister is my daughter Andrea’s best friend from Los Gatos High School, Nancy, with her husband John. I befriended Nancy in 1995 when I moved to San Jose, not far from Los Gatos. She and John recently move to Hollister where Nancy has exercised her green thumb:

Nancy is standing by one of the several planting boxes she tends, in addition to many rose and other flowering bushes.

Nancy took me on a tour of the only other major settlement in San Benito County, San Juan Bautista, named after the Roman Catholic mission founded there in 1797 by the Franciscan order.

Hollister is in a relatively small valley adjacent and to the east of the great and fertile Salinas Valley, of John Steinbeck fame.

The bounty of Hollister can be seen from the Mission’s grounds:

Hollister achieved some notoriety, then fame by having been the setting for the movie “The Wild One”, starring Marlon Branco and Lee Marvin, the fictional leaders (in their roles) of two motorcycle gangs. The basis, or inspiration, for this fiction can be seen here:

Throughout the 1930s, Hollister, California hosted an annual Fourth of July gypsy tour event. Gypsy tours were American Motorcyclist Association-sanctioned racing events that took place all over America and were considered to be the best place for motorcyclists to converge… (T)he rally became a major event in its yearly life as well as an important part of the town’s economy… Source].

With some exceptions, the town has continued to host these rallies, annually.

After an overnight stay with Nancy and John, I went on to Modesto to visit my cousin Anna Pagonis-Pitts and her husband Bard Pitts (not ‘Pitt’). We hadn’t been together since Eva’s and my wedding in Los Gatos, 2002. Here is Anna at the wedding party with her mother Sophie Pagonis, my Uncle Harry’s widow, and Brad behind the camera.

Aunt Sophie has recently passed away at age 92.

Anna and Brad have a beautiful house with fine appointments, including this area of the ‘back yard’:

After a fine dinner at the Del Rio Country Club, we returned to their home for much soulful conversation about our individual lives and our family.

The next morning at breakfast, we were visited by Anna’s older sister, Helen, and her husband Larry Alexander. It had been 45 years since I had seen this couple, and we had some catching up to do.

Then on to a lunch date with my former wife, Mary Pavellas, in Berkeley. It had been around two years since we last met, so there was a good deal of family information to interchange. I don’t like to drive at dusk or at night, so I stayed until 5PM, promising another visit before I leave for my next leg of this journey.

I returned to my temporary lodging with Ken Slosarik, my son-in-law, feeling well-fulfilled by the events of these three days.

The next journal entry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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