Henry Low was born in Suisun Valley, on January 27, 1922. Gomer School on Abernathy Road is where Henry first went to school and the building is still standing. Henry remembers that there were only about three students in every class and that one of his teachers was Miss Morrison. He recalled that all of his teachers were good.
Like all students of that time, Henry would bring his lunch to school. He did not wear anything very fancy, just ordinary clothes, because it was during the Great Depression and there wasn’t a lot of money to be spent on clothes. During recess, he and his classmates often played a game called Stick in the Mud. Stick in the Mud involved a medium-sized circle on the ground where a kid would throw a stick in the middle and another kid would try to knock it out of the circle by throwing his stick at the first stick. Henry would often play this game with his best friend George Iwao. He and George were friends up until George passed away about 10 years ago.
In the classroom, Henry enjoyed studying math, but when he was away from school he and his friends would go down to the creek to look for branches to make sling shots from. He also played baseball and enjoyed playing on his harmonica. His favorite type of music as a child was cowboy music.
Henry remembered when Travis Air Force Base was built in 1940. It was right around the time that mail delivery became common. That made life easier because, before that, his family had to go into town to pick up the mail. They’d go into town to pick up meat at the butcher shop or other goods at JC Penney’s. At this time, Texas Street was a highway and the major street in town. There was no need to go into town to visit the doctor, as the doctor, Dr. Finan, made house calls.
Henry didn’t actually live in Fairfield when he was growing up. Instead, he grew up at RFD Box 7A, a house out of the city. The house isn’t there anymore and neither is the Model T that his family drove almost everywhere. The only place they didn’t drive the car was to San Francisco, where they went twice a year to visit relatives.
Some of the major landmarks in Fairfield were the Goosen House, which was this big white house with tall pillars in the front of it, JC Penny’s, and the bank. Henry said that the parks and the library have all been upgraded in the last several years.
Fairfield was small enough town that people were likely to be familiar with each other. Henry remembers two mayors from when he was growing up: Mr. Chris Santella and Mr. Digerud. Henry was friends with Mr. Santella’s brother-in-law. Henry remembered the first traffic lights going up on Texas Street in the 1950’s. There were four of them altogether going down the street, but there weren’t any on the side streets.
Henry had a job when he was 13, picking pears for 10¢ an hour. He said that he remembers his boss being very good. Actually, he remembers life as being very good. There were far fewer crimes and going to the movies only cost 35¢. Henry saved his money and was able to go twice a year.
Although he misses the country living and knowing everyone in town, Henry feels that there are some things about the community that have changed for the better, like the availability of modern conveniences.
Some advice Henry would like to give to young people: “Don’t be afraid of hard work!”