Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: He was the best dog on the planet.

Bonding

Bonding
The author of Mark's Work with Ellie Mae

Guess who's coming for dinner

Guess who's coming for dinner
Blue heron, sitting on the dock of our pond

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

BFF's forever

BFF's forever
Margie and Ellie Mae

Tomatoes and peppers are us.

Tomatoes and peppers are us.
Spicy salsa with roasted peppers, here at HappyDay Farms

Much love, John-Bryan

Much love, John-Bryan
Eric at 26 on the left, and John-Bryan in January of 1973.

Halloween fun

Halloween fun
SmallBoy and Dancing Girl

Our house

Our house
The snow season approaches...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Monday, March 27, 2017

I'll Buy If You'll Fly


I'll Buy If You'll Fly

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I am going to take Bro Brian up on his suggestion, and immerse myself in the culture of Sunrize Market for a morning’s post, partly because of the unique arrangement between a commercial business and my family, and partly because I spent better than four years of my life in the employment of said establishment.

Why I would remember the actual construction of Sunrize, is unfathomable, except that we had to pass by the intersection of DoubleGrove and Valinda every time we attended mass at the newly constructed St. Martha’s Church. I just remember the gray cinder blocks, and the walls going up for the business, that was to have such a positive effect on my family in the years to come. 

After attending St. Joseph’s for first grade, I shifted to Baldwin Elementary for second, while also attending catechism classes on the grounds of the new parish. The year must have been 1959, give or take a minute or two, when we first started driving to St. Martha’s.

There were two available routes to the market, one involving going straight up Fellowship to Valinda Ave. and then hanging a right and going about fifty feet before turning right, into the parking lot. The other option was to go up Fellowship to Hartview, hang a right for a mini-block, and turn left on fill-in-the-blank for another mini-block, before dead-ending into the back of Sunrize itself, or the alley, rather. 
The interior of Pompeii Pizza

There was an opening in the wall, through which foot traffic could pass, with the result being that you ended up emerging right at the back of the market, opposite the sliding metal delivery door. The latter route was much quicker if you were walking, but not as desirable if riding a bike, because you had to get off and walk it through the opening.

By bike it was no more than two minutes each way; I know because I used to score 26-ounce Pepsi Colas for Eric on the “I’ll buy-if you’ll fly” program, of which I was a frequent flyer. The summer I kept the water sprinkling on the Beauchamps’ expansive front corner lawn, for three weeks running (pun intended) while they vacationed, I passed by the market going to and fro, around twenty times a day. 

It’s remotely possible that I found a reason to stop at Sunrize, the majority of those trips.

First, Sunrize was Augie, a man I always thought bore a resemblance to Vic Morrow, the actor, with his craggy features and voice which carried such an impact, though he rarely raised it. When he did, he was either praising his boy, Mando Ramos, a pro fighter, or yelling at me for my sideburns and/or long hair.

Second, Sunrize was the source of our bounty, literally, both because Mama shopped there, and because so much of the money that was earned here went back into the household. Granted, Mama still sat down at the kitchen table, red crayon in hand with the ads from Alpha Beta, Vons, Safeway, Market Basket and, of course, Sunrize, and marked all of the specials, doing what Brian dubbed her cherry-picking thing.

But Sunrize was there every day of the week, not just on shopping day.
At the end of this sidewalk was the Owl Rexall,
right JT?

There were the coupons that Mama cut out of the Sunday papers, and any magazines she had on hand, accumulating a wad of the money-saving coupons that would choke a horse. She had an arrangement with Augie, the details of which are somewhat vague, that involved her giving him vast, unlimited numbers of coupons, in exchange for what amounted to credit at the store.

There was the Mexico connection, because Augusto Ramirez was most certainly of Mexican extraction and spoke the lingo fluently. Beginning in 1963, with a jaunt down to Ensenada with Bob Kinney and his wife, Mama and Papa had established  vibrant relationships with Baja California, camping, and numerous of its native inhabitants.

Papa used to go on missions, taking food in the form of dented cans and otherwise unsellable items from Sunrize (with Augie’s blessing), medicine from Dr. Meisels’s (SP?) office, blankets and pillows from home, and whatever else he could, down to the hospital at Bradley’s Place, on the ocean side of the peninsula.

Working alongside Mexicans every day at State Steel, Papa had developed a warm relationship with them, adapting many culinary dishes to our household, and eventually developing an interest in going down to Baja, itself.
So Augie liked Papa because he knew how hard he worked, and he genuinely admired the work ethic and hustle, that Robert’s sons demonstrated every day they worked. And Augie also liked what Papa was trying to do for the less fortunate below the border. Needless to say, as kids we thought it was pretty cool.

I also thought Augie was cool. At five in the afternoon when he got off work, he’d head around the corner to Pompeii Pizza, saying over his shoulder, “I’ll be next door in my office.” There was a standing invitation to join him, if schedule and Mama allowed, where he would invite me to order anything I wanted, knowing he would pick up the tab. 

Angie was generous to me to a fault, because in my youth, after a hard day's work, or any other time for that matter, I was capable of putting away an entire large pizza, by myself, with a side order of a meatball sandwich.

He spent long hours conducting business in his office, while acknowledging that he was in hot water at home, where he rarely seemed to make an appearance. He had a beautiful Latina wife and equally beautiful kids.
I discovered meatball sandwiches at Pompeii's.

I remember going over to his spot to shoot pool, with my brothers, upstairs in a just-barely-big-enough room, with nothing in it but the table. It was a heady experience for me, as a 16 or 17-year-old, to go shoot pool with Augie. It made Noel and me want to up our games, by going to the pool parlor in downtown La Puente, to sharpen our skills.

Noel and I used to maintain Augie’s “fleet” of automobiles, which included a ’56 red and white Chevy in mint condition, and a black bird, a T-Bird, that is, and I want to say it was a ’64. If I am wrong, both Noel and Brian will let me know. We would wash, vacuum out, and wax Augie's cars, for which we were handsomely paid. 

Noel will know for sure what year the T-Bird was; he used to see just how fast we could get that baby going, while still on Fellowship Street…

When Kevin came along in 1966, the ninth and final member of our family baseball team, it was assumed that when he turned sixteen, he would also be a box-boy at Sunrize. There is an epic photo of him as a three or four-year-old, wearing a custom-made green apron, with Augie beaming alongside.
This is one of the many good memories, as is hauling (operative word) the massive turkey Papa and Brian had raised, back in the early days at Thanksgiving time, up to Sunrize. The purpose was to weigh it in the produce department, in one of their hanging scales, with much accompanying fanfare. 

Forty-one pounds.

Augie was family, so it was natural that we had arguments, but he meant a lot to me. He had his good side and he had his dark side, but we mostly only saw the good side, 99 % of the time. When I moved up to San Jose to go to school after I got out of the machine, I missed Augie, and always stopped in to see him when I got back down to SoCal. 


He was good people, as was Sunrize Market.

2 comments:

  1. Augie didn't pay much attention to me but I at least daily went to Sunrize to see you or Brian OR any one of a number of box boys! I had crushes on a bunch of them and it was always fun to see what was up at Sunrize that day. I remember helping you with the bottles a few times, probably b/c we had some plan to enact ad we needed to get those bottles done first.

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  2. Thanks for another great walk down memory lane! I was too young to work up there except for occasionally "subbing" for Matt or Tom by cleaning the parking lot or "doing" the bottles when one or the other of them was not available.

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