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: 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...
Author: 
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...
Author: 
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...
Author: 
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...
Author: 
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...
Author: 
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...
Author: 
Photo:  Las Palmas Restaurant was open for business for 60 years.
Photo: Las Palmas Restaurant was open for business for 60 years. My earliest memories begin when I was two and three year’s old living on Singletary Avenue between The Alameda and Park Avenue. I was two years and four months old in January 1962, when my mother woke me up one morning to watch the snowfall in our backyard. My mom usually made sandwiches for lunch, but every so often we’d head down to a nearby taqueria. It was called Las Palmas Taco Bar , and it stood on the corner of The Alameda and Magnolia Street. We placed our...Read more...
Author: 
Valley View School was built in the mid-1880s for grades k-8. Photo from "Santa Clara County and Its Resources" page 251.
Valley View School was built in the mid-1890s for grades k-8. Photo from "Santa Clara County and Its Resources" page 251. In the 1950s and 1960s, the City of San Jose experienced rapid growth as it began incorporating newly constructed housing tracts that were being built on Santa Clara Valley farm land. The tract where I grew up was built on an old prune orchard in 1956. Next door to the tract was the Valley View Packing Company . Valley View Packing consisted of a large prune orchard with a dehydrating plant near the corner of old Hillsdale and Almaden...Read more...
Author: 
The old Colombet barn on the Lester property about 1957
Photo: The old Colombet barn on the Lester property about 1957. Photo by Lee Lester. In 1965, my family moved from downtown Willow Glen , to a southeast pocket of the district now known as Canoas Garden . The tract had been developed on the site of the old Lester/Von Dorsten prune orchard located between the Canoas Creek and the Guadalupe River. Between our neighborhood school ( Canoas Elementary ) and the Guadalupe River, stood a remaining section of the orchard that would be developed a few years later as “Almaden Estates.” In the meantime, this abandoned area became a...Read more...
Author: 
Photo: Collage of Bay Area kids shows in the 1960s and 1970s. Marshall J photo by John Shurtleff Stevens, courtesy of Anne Stevens.
Photo: Collage of Bay Area kids shows in the 1960s and 1970s. Marshal J photo by John Shurtleff Stevens, courtesy of Anne Stevens. By the 1960s, television technology and programing had come quite a ways. Though I wasn’t allowed to sit in front of the television all day as a child, watching programs in the morning and evening was pretty routine. My memory reaches as far back as two years old (I recall my third birthday very clearly), and the first program I remember watching was Captain Kangaroo . The earliest commercial I can recall ended with the image of...Read more...
Author: