Ralph Pearce

Ralph Pearce's picture
Reading Interests: 
Biographies, Mysteries, Science Fiction, Philosophy, History
What I'm Reading Now: 
Specimen Days & Collect by Walt Whitman

Blogs by this Author

Image: Faber's Cyclery on the corner of First and Margaret Streets in San Jose about 1992.
Discover the history of Faber's Cyclery building.
Image: Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary. A fun story about a boy and his dog named Ribsy.
From September 1967 to June 1968, I was in the third grade at Canoas Elementary School in the Meadowbrook tract (now Canoas Garden neighborhood) in Willow Glen. My classroom was A-3, and my teacher was Mrs.Keith. After our lunchtime recess (which was the longest), we would all return to class sweaty and wound-up. Rather than starting right back in with subjects like math or history, Mrs. Keith would read to us while we unwound and settled back in. Thinking back on all of the great books that Mrs. Keith read to us, I’ve tried to remember as many of them...Read more...
Image: This is what my first library card looked like. The blank white area included your name and full address. The "Bookamatic" system was developed by Addressograph-Multigraph Corporation and used by San Jose Public Library from 1958 through 1977.
For the first time in many years, the San Jose Public Library will soon be featuring new library card designs . There will be six new designs, two from each category of Adult, Teen, and Children.The design entries were submitted as part of a contest conducted by the library, and each category had one design selected by the public, and another by a panel of judges. These new card designs got me to thinking about my first library card. I had the card throughout the 1960s, and I remember using it when the pink bookmobile would park across the street...Read more...
Image: "We're going to tell the truth," Kennedy said, "and I don't care what Mr. Nixon says, we're going to meet that responsibility." Senator Kennedy was introduced by Mayor Paul Moore, with platform guests including local Democratic candidates Russell Bryan, Jack Kennon, and Al Alquist; City Councilmen Emery Delmas and Robert C. Doerr, and County Democratic Chairman John Thorne. Photo by Josephine Curto.
Some years ago, my dad mentioned that a cousin had seen John F. Kennedy speak at a presidential campaign rally here in San Jose. When I began working here in the California Room, I decided to check our clipping files for any articles on the event. I found an interesting San Jose Mercury article with several photos that showed Kennedy speaking from a platform somewhere in the west parking lot of the Civic Auditorium on November 2, 1960. Image: "We're going to tell the truth," Kennedy said, "and I don't care what Mr. Nixon says, we're going to meet that...Read more...
Image: A recent visit to Ramona Avenue with the closet window and the blue airplane. Photo by Michael Pearce
In May of 1963, my family moved from our house on Singletary Avenue (off The Alameda) to a house near Coe and Ramona (off Lincoln Avenue). On moving day, my mother took me into my new bedroom and enthusiastically exclaimed, “Now look what’s inside your closet, a window!” As a three-year-old, it wouldn’t have seemed very interesting if my mother hadn’t explained that it was a relatively special feature. As I stood there looking into the closet, the light from the window revealed that there was something in the far back corner. It was a small blue airplane, a toy...Read more...
Image: Cesare with his new 1941 GMC truck. He had a custom horn hooked up to his exhaust pipe which gave a unique announcement of arrival to his residential customers. Photo courtesy of the Bini Family.
Image: Cesare's Graham Brothers truck with its custom built bed. A hand crank was used to start the engine. Photo courtesy of the Bini Family . As a three-year-old living on Singletary Avenue (off The Alameda), I recall a vegetable peddler who would stop near our house. We and our neighbors would go out to the flatbed truck and see what sort of vegetables might be available that day. This was in the early 1960s, and after we moved in May of 1963, I never saw nor heard about vegetable trucks again. The milk man disappeared not long after that,...Read more...
Image:  This is 1916 Stone Avenue as it appeared about 1978. It was demolished a few years later to make way for a commercial building. Photo by Ralph Pearce.
Image: This is 1916 Stone Avenue as it appeared about 1978. It was demolished a few years later to make way for a commercial building. Photo by Ralph Pearce. In the 1960s and 1970s, my dad would take Almaden Expressway to work every day. On the trip downtown, he began noticing an old house from the height of an overpass (for trains, and now the Guadalupe Parkway as well). The house was only visible for an instant on a curve, but it caught your eye because of its architecture and the fact that very little paint remained on the long...Read more...
Image: Advertisement for the Ironwood Swim and Gold Club.  Courtesy of Carol McDill Theuriet.
Image: Advertisement for the Ironwood Swim and Gold Club. Courtesy of Carol McDill Theuriet. In the middle of San Jose, we have an outcropping of hills historically known as the San Juan Bautista Hills. The hills are home to Oak Hill Memorial Park , the First Baptist Church (the “ Church on the Hill ”), Santa Clara County Communications (emergency service dispatch), and an area referred to as Communications Hill (has a large cell phone tower). These hills were also once the home to the American Dairy , a small Catholic cemetery , quicksilver mines, and a golf course. Image:...Read more...
Image: The entrance to Oak Hill Memorial Park on Curtner Avenue in San Jose.
Image: The entrance to Oak Hill Memorial Park on Curtner Avenue in San Jose. Jack Graham was a popular columnist with the San Jose Mercury Herald at the time of his death in 1934. His column filled readers in on the details of local baseball games played, as well as keeping them apprised of upcoming games. This was in an era when baseball was in its heyday. Graham was so highly regarded, that following his death, players wore black armbands and flags at games were flown at half-mast. He even had a new baseball stadium renamed in his honor the...Read more...
Image: Artist Tammy Dong depicts the meeting between Moffet and his mother near the corner of 6th and Jackson in San Jose's Japantown. Collection of Ralph Pearce.
Image: Sgt. Moffet Ishikawa at his camp site in the South Pacific during WWII. Photo courtesy of Moffet Ishikawa. In October of 2007, I interviewed 88-year-old Moffet Ishikawa, the younger brother of San Jose Japantown historian Dr. Tokio “Tok” Ishikawa. Moffet told of his life growing up in Japantown in the 1920s and 1930s, the wartime evacuation of Japanese Americans from Santa Clara Valley, his experience with the Army during WWII, and finally settling down and raising a family after returning from military service. Moffet was a engaging person, who spoke with warmth and sincerity. One of his more poignant...Read more...