Something seemed different when we spent three weeks vacationing
in California this summer, in addition to the fact we had not
been back to our adopted home of Livermore for two
Kay and I had planned our trip to be sure we met as many people
as possible, attended three reunions and saw a few hundred friends
over the duration of our stay. I had organized a reunion of old-timers
from the newspapers I had edited while living out there, and
some 45 people showed up, including six other editors from the
1960s through the 1990s.
Then there were the few precious days at Yosemite National
Park my favorite retreat where we have vacationed
more than 30 times in the past 40 years. I never can get enough
of the splendor that comes with viewing Half Dome, Bridalveil
Falls, the Upper and Lower Yosemite falls, and I enjoy the rushing
water around Happy Isles and even the
This 1890 Gordon platen press uses metal type to print
the souvenir bookmarks handed out each summer at the county fair
in Pleasanton, Calif. It runs by pumping a treadle with one's
foot, much like the old treadle sewing machines. (Barry Schrader
historic Ahwahnee Hotel. At my age, I decided not to try hiking
up to Mirror Lake or the Nevada and Vernal falls this time, but
the fond memories linger.
We also took a two-day trip down Interstate 5 from the
San Francisco Bay area to Los Angeles so we could again visit
a beloved relative in a Northridge nursing home who will turn
100 years old this September. She is the only cousin left from
the generation of my paternal grandmother Ethel Schrader on the
Cooper side of the family. That was a sentimental journey.
Another quick drive up to Jackson, near the Nevada border,
enabled Kay to see her Sycamore High classmate and close friend
Joyce (Van Ostrand) Wensman, who met us halfway from her home
Much of the remainder of our time was spent taking part in the
100th anniversary of the Alameda County Fair in nearby Pleasanton
something I have done as a volunteer for 23 years. I operate
a 120-year-old printing press that the fair has housed in its
Early Americana building, a giant machine shed about the length
of a football field.
The exhibition is crammed with agricultural implements,
buggies and early motor vehicles, a fully equipped kitchen from
the beginning of the 20th century, ancient office machines, a
woodworking shop, and a small print shop where I print special
annual souvenir bookmarks, giving out a few thousand each year.
Not far away is a working blacksmith shop. This was a record
year for the fair, attracting 534,577 people durings its 17-day
run. You got that right more than a half a million fairgoers,
but not all of them came through our exhibit area, thank goodness.
However, dozens of longtime friends stopped to chat and pick
up a bookmark.
Getting back to my opening comment about something different:
Everywhere we went, the digital age was upon us. Everything from
mini-videocams, digital cameras, cellphones with cameras, iPads
and other techy devices were evident. They were in use on the
hiking trails of Yosemite, the streets and restaurants, and at
I never had seen so many people taking snapshots or videotaping
our print shop activities, and then likely downloading to emails,
YouTube, Flickr, SmugMug and Facebook.
Of course we are a part of that digital age now and took a few
hundred photos plus some video. We chose about a dozen photos
to summarize our trip, and Kay carries that little packet of
4-by-6-inch prints in her purse, just in case anyone inquires
about our travels. But dont feel obligated to ask ...