This weekend we went thrift shopping in our own backyard, or nearly, heading north a few miles to the Richmond / El Sobrante / Pinole “triangle”. Sometimes, one’s own backyard can seem a thousand miles away. Had we not known any better, we may have guessed we were in Oklahoma, Arkansas, or some such place. The women attending us at the various musty junk shops we passed through spoke with Southern twangs, but we’ll bet they were born and raised here, cared for by fathers and mothers who came from someplace rural to work in industrial Richmond, perhaps in the booming shipyards of World War Two.
Here are some traces we found of the area’s past:
In contrast to the polite tone found in the above early 1950s handbook, here is someone’s scrawled upon 1976 yearbook from Crespi Junior High in El Sobrante. The book is full of its one-time owner’s racist, homophobic, and mysogynist adolescent invectives (not to mention some questionable content from the book’s creators).
And here’s this one last item, found in the same piles as those above, a tune from the delightfully bleak cruise ship entertainer JO’EL, “Hitch Hiking to Nowhere”. We like to imagine one of the folks in this post taking a cruise in their later years and buying JO’EL records as keepsakes.