I was born in Vallejo, moved away, and came back in 1929. We lived in the 900 block of Marin Street which at that time had wooden sidewalks and was in walking distance of downtown and of the library.
The Carnegie Library was my home away from home. It was generally known that the librarian monitored the reading habits. The racy books were kept under the counter.
My mother came to Vallejo as a nurse during the flu epidemic of 1919-1920. She and my father married and moved to Sacramento and returned in 1929. In 1929 my father started working at Mare Island as a shipfitter’s helper and he made $29.18 a week. Basic PG & E cost under $4.00. An average rental for a three bedroom house was $40.00 a month. Gasoline cost $.25 a gallon in the 1920s.
For entertainment my family played a lot of cards. We played pinochle, cribbage, and whist. The kids went to the movies and it cost $.10 for a movie. We had three movie theaters, The Hanlon, The Senator and The Valmar. For our family, we went by car to go ocean fishing and clamming. There were several carloads of families that went.
When the Carquinez Bridge opened the cost to cross it was $.65 per car plus the driver. It cost $.10 for each passenger in the car. During those early years all the kids would hide under blankets and coats in the back of the cars and cross the bridge for free.
Landmarks in Vallejo I remember include the Women’s Club at York and Sacramento Streets. It was beautiful and many dances were held there. The Casa de Vallejo was quite a nice place and it had a beautiful dance floor also. The Veterans Hall had big bands, musical productions and high school graduations.
The downtown was vibrant. The first and second block of Georgia was known as lower Georgia. It was home to so many bars that it was written up in Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
There was an innocence to the times. There was also continuity in the people who worked in the town, the librarian, the police sergeant and so. The librarian who was here when I was a small girl was still librarian when I was a young woman.
I went on to teach in elementary school and at Franklin Junior High in Vallejo. I retired in 1972. It is a sheer joy and pleasure when I am recognized by my students after so many years.