Apology to my Children
In 1971 I was recently graduated from the University of San Francisco (1968) as an English major, had completed another year there for a Calif. Secondary Teaching Credential (1969) and was currently taking classes at San Jose State (then College) in Industrial Arts. I was driving a butter & egg delivery truck by day and taking evening classes at SJSC. My delivery rounds took me from South S.F. into San Francisco, across the Bay Bridge, through Walnut Creek, over the East Bay hills to San Ramon and back across to Hayward, back across the Bay on the San Mateo bridge and up to South City again. Then I would drive my rust-primered VW Karmann Ghia coupe down to San Jose. for class. Finally, back to Mt. View where I had started the day. This was long before anyone had heard the terms "Silicon Valley" or "Google."
At this point in my life I was married four years, had two children, girl and boy, ages three and one about 6-8 months old. None in school yet. On one afternoon when I was in San Fran and had completed my local (City) deliveries, I was driving the bob-tailed delivery truck through City streets to highway 101. As I passed near the Civic Center area I observed a two-story building with a dump-chute extending from a second-story window into a curbside dump bin. As I passed the bin I could not but notice that it was nearly full of nothing but vintage school desks, virtually identical to those I had sat in through grades one through four...or maybe it was six. So I circled the block, found a place to park near the dump bin and climbed in. I suddenly had fantasies of my darling little girl and boy sitting in the desks, coloring and soon doing homework in the same antique desks I had sat in in grade school.
I located three desk units that were not yet broken. Not an easy task, given that they had been thrown down the chute and were destined for a landfill. Not all three were of identical design, but beggars can't be choosers. Besides, not all the individual desks in my own classroom were identical either. I loaded them into my bobtailed truck that was largely empty by that point in the afternoon and took them back to the warehouse in South City.. I had to explain to the mom & pop (literally - Mr. & Mrs. Jim Andronico) proprietors of the wholesale outfit I worked for what the desks were doing in their truck, then cram them into my Karmann Ghia. The desks travelled to San Jose State, then Mtn. View and were unloaded into the covered carport on Rock St.
I could drag this story out over the next 48 years, but suffice it to say that my two kids became five, they all graduated high school and several had kids of their own who are all now out of high school. Two weeks ago I took the components of the three desks out of the cardboard box they have been in since the above-described events, spent two days figuring how to reassemble them and sanded and refinished them. My eldest child is now fifty., her brother is retired from a career in the Coast Guard, and their kids are all graduated from high school. So, the City & County of San Francisco vintage school desks are finally ready for use and I have no great-grandkids!
So I apologize to Kristin, Karl, Erik, Amy and David that none of them ever got to sit in these historic desks that are now about a hundred years old. Truly and technically antiques. They sit in my garage in Denton, TX awaiting my next craft show. Perhaps some other young family will have children who will enjoy an experience in vintage 1920s school desks. I cannot express how quickly time flies. I was often told this by older neighbors and relatives, but the reality of it only comes with time.
11/17/2019 05:42:00 pm
So cool, dad! I’m not surprised at the manner in which you acquired them. Hope they get used some day soon. As you know, I tried to avoid all my classroom desks as best I could.
Kristin George (Breedlove)
11/17/2019 06:01:51 pm
Holy Cow! Not that I'm surprised you still have them...just how amazing they look and they are finally ready to be used! I'm sure you are ready to get rid of them by now and if you don't find someone to give you a pretty penny for them Pops, them maybe I can find a way to get them to your grandson so your great-grandchildren can enjoy and learn about their history soon 😉 They can't be far off! Amazing story...thanks so much for sharing it ...WOW
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