On the Home Front

Life goes on...

After the death of Bernie's father, the family sold their home and moved to another neighborhood in west Oakland while the children continued growing up in the 1920's. They continued their studies and working odd jobs, and spent hours listening to the phonograph play 78's with their favorite popular tunes.

By the early 1920's, a new era of frivolity emerged giving the decade the nickname of the "Roaring 20's." The radio was gaining a widespread audience, and popular songs like The Charleston, Babyface, and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue came across the airwaves. F. Scott Fitzgerald captured the spirit of the time by penning "This Side of Paradise."  Following the modern fashions, Aline and Ce hemmed their skirts up above their knees and bobbed their hair (This is true- My Auntie Ce told me this!)

Bernie was still in school at Saint Joseph's Institute plugging away at his studies. In his free time, he played baseball on his school team. They wound up the season winning the championship title of the Catholic School League.

Baseball was already becoming an important part of Bernie's life. He played on the Saint Mary's Midget team managed by Father Powleson. He had several good "baseball friends" that he kept throughout his life including Timmy Keagan and Jack Connolly.

The Saint Mary's Midgets palyed hard and had a winning reputation. Bernie was frequently mentioned in the sports write-ups in the local paper. ...St. Mary's Midgets defeated the Call Me Joe Club in a thrilling ninth inning finish in which Mayer homed with the bases loaded...

Bernie wasn't alone in his love for sports. Attendance at athletic events broke all previous records. American sports heroes such as Babe Ruth, Red Grange, and Jack Dempsey became the idols of the day. Baseball was heralded as America's favorite pastime. Bernie continued playing ball with different clubs such as the Adelphians and the Macy Movers.

Bernie was only 16 years when the Roaring 20's came to an adrupt halt on October 25, 1929. On that day, the Stock Market plunged the United States into the Great Depression which has been touted as the "Worst economic debacle in the Western world." President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) observed, "I see 1/3 of the nation ill housed, ill-clad, and ill-nourished."  The Depression lasted for a decade; the poverty rate was high and 15 million were unemployed. Sharecroppers drifted north, farmers became migrant workers, and many homeless "hobos" wandered the streets. While many looked to New Deal agencies for work in the CCC, PWA, and WPA, Bernie turned to baseball for his livelihood.

St. Joseph's Institute champs of the Catholic School League.
A much loved photo album page features a picture of the St. Mary's Midgets.