Marie Pohutsky, living now in Merrill Gardens, remembers Vacaville before the industrialization. “It is a haven, a place in my memory of utmost happiness - my Camelot,” writes Marie in her article for The Reporter, “Times to Remember.”
Marie grew up in Texas during the Great Depression, which caused many hardships. During the 1920s and 30s, her family was greatly affected by the Depression, which causes her to have the fear that what happened then may happen again.
As an adult, she met a dashing Pennsylvanian who was stationed in Dallas, Texas. Later, they got married and in 1947, they moved to Vallejo, when their oldest child was five weeks old. They lived in Vallejo for a year, and during their stay they often took car rides to Vacaville and The Village housing project, which was being built. The Village, at the time, seemed like a faraway dream. But she had hoped that her family would eventually live there. Vacaville seemed like a friendly place and the perfect place to raise a family.
In 1948, the family moved to Bermuda, and in 1951 they moved to Massachusetts. Two years later, 1953, Marie’s family finally moved to Vacaville, ironically to The Village. Her husband had purchased the house for $7,500 through Talbot reality, and when she walked in her “heart dropped.” She described the house as being hideous, with a green and hot pink kitchen, but couldn’t say anything because it was their first home.
She lived there for two years. After those two years were endured, she moved to Neil St. to a house that was more her taste, and was also in the new housing project. They were the first owners of that home, and the neighbors were friendly.
Almost all of her three children grew up in Vacaville. Sandra, her oldest child and only daughter, graduated from Vacaville high school in 1963 and is now a successful business woman. Bill, her oldest son, graduated in 1965 and was an extremely artistic boy, but died in an accident at the age of 21. Robert, her youngest child, finished Willis Jepson Middle School in Vacaville, after that they moved to Sacramento where he took all four years of his high school.
When Marie had to move to Sacramento, she cried the entire ride up to Sacramento. She and her dog Katie were the last ones to leave the house and she was heart broken when she had to leave Vacaville. “The feeling that you have in Vacaville then, there is no way to describe it,” is how Marie described Vacaville before she moved back for the last time a few years ago after her husband passed away.
The Vacaville that Marie remembers and loves during the 1950’s was small with only 5,000 people. The town had only three elementary schools, and one high school. The 1953 graduating class of Vaca High only had 54 students. It was a Vacaville that had nothing west of Eldridge and the Nut Tree was on the way outskirts of town.
Vacaville has changed and evolved over the years in the eyes of Marie Pohutsky. It has gone from a small town to a large one. It had less than 5,000 people, now it has more than 95,000. One thing about Vacaville hasn’t changed, Marie said, and is how nice people are and how they are willing to help each other out. Vacaville always has that friendly neighbor feel.
Marie now lives with her cat Miley in a comfortable apartment located in Merrill Gardens. She has the statuettes that were made for her and her brother by a stranger that visited Paris, Texas as she was growing up. She has a painting by her son that she calls “Enigma in Green” because she doesn’t know the name or who it was made for. She has photos of her fond memories and of her deceased and moved away family, including one of her dashing, late husband in uniform.
Marie does say that the only part of Vacaville that reminds her of her Camelot is the older side of Vacaville. It is mostly still the same with the buildings and size, since Vacaville was originally only that small area. “My beloved town has grown and changed as I too have changed and grown old . . . . Ah, Vacaville – my sweet, safe, beloved little town of long ago – my dear Camelot. As long as my heart beats, it will live forever in my memory,” are her last lines about this beloved town in her article.