The Late 1950's to Early 60's

Baker's Dozen

Checks were pretty simple back then...

Also in 1958, Bernie left the Golden State Dairy and embarked on a new venture. He purchased a bakery located in Hayward's popular Big Top Market at 26321 Mission Boulevard. The business was a family affair from the start. Bernie would sometimes wake up at 4:00 a.m. to drive the blue bakery truck to Watsonville to pick up fresh balloon bread (the kind that was full or air!), and be at the bakery in time to open. Sometimes Ce's son, Mike, would be able to run this errand. Dorothy was the "business office;" she kept the books, issued the paychecks, and paid the bills. "The Sisters" (as Jan called them) were able to earn a little spending money by working at the bakery on their time off.

Mary Green was a full-time employee at the bakery. She was off on Sundays, so Pat and Bernie would work alone on those days. They would have to leave early to pick up fresh doughnuts. One day when Bernie wasn't looking, Pat ran her finger along the bottom of a doughnut tray to sneak a sweet taste of sugar. Much to her dismay, all she wound up with was a mouth full of shortening... that was hard to swallow!

Birthdays featured cakes from the Bakery. Pictured above: l-r Margaret, Jan on Mancy's lap, Bernie and Pat.
Margaret's birthday cake. Mike Cleveland on left.
Jan's birthday cake. Nancy on right.
Nancy's birthday cake.
Pat's birthday cake.
Jan's birthday cake.

Through Good Times and Bad

Fran Gibson shows us Park Street in Alameda.

Near Christmas time in 1959, Bernie wasn't feeling well; everyone thought he had indigestion. Later, he collapsed while walking down the hallway. The next day the ache in his stomach worsened. The doctor's prognosis was appendicitis. Dorothy waited at the hospital while the appendectomy was performed, but what should have been a routine procedure was taking much too long. After several hours, Dorothy was informed that the surgeon had found colon cancer and removed muct of Bernie's lower intestine.

Bernie's recovery was slow. Dorothy did her best to manage the family and keep the business going, but they had to eventually sell the bakery. While he was recuperating, he had time to study Real Estate. The topic interested him and he had the personality to be a successful in sales, but it was not yet a good time for selling new homes. Most families were adding rooms on to their current houses rather than moving or buying larger homes.

Finally, Bernie received a clean bill of health in the early 1960's. He bought and managed the Park Street Doughnut Shop in Alameda. However, with his health issues only recently behind him and a tough economy making it risky to run a small business, they reluctantly decided to sell the doughnut shop and Bernie went to work for the Government.


The Early 1960's

Nancy, Bernie and Dorothy at the Redwoods.

In 1961, the Mayers, like several of their neighbors, added a rumpus room onto their house. This room, with its "Polynesian theme" was where the family spent much of their leisure time watching TV, reading, and just being together. Family movies from this time period feature several parties in which teenagers as well as adults twisted and danced the night away.

Although the backyard area was reduced with the addition of the rumpus room and patio, it was still filled with an endless lawn that was as green as the first leaves of spring and a variety of trees that produced the sweetest fruit you can imagine. Each summer the girls would pick the apricots and plums from the trees bent heavy with ripened fruit. Dorthy would prepare apricot cobblers and jam for months to come. The plums were cooked and hung to slowly drip from cheese-cloth bags until the bowls below them were full of sweet, sticky jelly. On the patio, Bernie would routinely heat up the barbeque in preparation of one of his famous chicken dinners. He made his own secret sauce to baste the chicken with as it sizzled on the grill. On still summer evening you could almost taste the chicken just by standing hear the barbeque and inhaling the smoke.

Bernie's culinary talents weren't limited to the barbeque on the patio. Once, he and Pat tried to surprise everyone by baking a cherry pie for dessert. Unfortunatley, they forgot to pit the cherries, and accidently substituted salt for sugar. But other than that...

For breakfast on the weekends, Bernie could lure the heaviest of sleepers out of bed with his hashbrown potatoes stir fried with onions and bacon. These were accompanied by his omlettes withch he called "hidden pockets" The best part about eating a hidden pockets was guessing what the SI's were (secret ingredients).

During the week, Bernie would leave his mark (literally) on the hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator. He usually made distinctive faces on each one with a marker and wrote messages on them for whoever found them later. Undoubtedly, some of these found their way into what he called his "garbage sandwiches."

The Mayers enjoyed many good times at home on Brayton Street, but they also continued to add to their favorite getaways. The family took vacations to Yosemite and stayed in Camp Curry. By day, they explored the rivers, waterfalls and hiking trails. In the evening, they would gather with fellow campers to watch Yosemite's "Firefall."  Other trips included journeys north to the Redwoods featuring stops at "Confusion Hill" and stays at the "Pinkey House." Enjoyable warm days were spent at Seacliff Beach relaxing under the giant blue and white umbrella and wading as far into the water as you dared. During Easter vacation in 1962, the Mayers packed the car to capacity and headed to texas to visit Aunt Bernice and her family. It took 3 days to drive each way, but the long trip was broken up by stops to explore a market in Mexico and seeing the Arizona desert.

For the next several years, Bernie continued working at the Port of Oakland. However, his Real Estate training had not been wasted. He began selling resort properties on the weekends. With Pat and Nancy in college, Jan and Margaret spent many weekends traveling with their parents in the "Gold Country" where Bernie sold property. Other times, they would head north along the windy, rocky coastline and spend time at Sea Ranch. Many summer and winter vacations were enjoyed at Blue lake Springs with Brayton Street neighbors, the Sprotts and the Duartes. Sometmes, Bernie's sister Aline and her husband, Richard, would join them along with her daughter Elaine Evans and her family: husband Lee and sons Joey and Steven. 

Dorothy and Bernie in Yosemite.
Brayton Street Neighbors and life-long friends, Barbara and Vern Sprott.
Bernie working on the crossword puzzles with the help of Koko.
Another Birthday Cake Pic!
Jan's birthday (take 2!) I Think he must have really loved that shirt- it's been in a couple of pictures taken that same year!
This is very similar to a picture of Bernie mowing the lawn with the help of granddaughter Kirsten, Nancy's daughter!
Bernie would alter the "funnies" (as well as hard boiled egg messages) to fit the events of the day. Whether you were having a birthday or taking an algebra test, there would be a hidden message in the newpaper waiting for you.