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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Experiencing California in the Thirties

My family moved from Tennessee to Oakland California in 1936. I had been asleep in the car, and I woke up to see the AVE for the first time. It was a great place to live. The climate was good, almost no sultry days, and usually a cool breeze in the evenings.

The Ave was a place where we had it all. Within three blocks there were places of employment; including a large textile mill that hired several hundred people, and a Montgomery Ward six story catalog store which gave employment to many. Near by was a hospital where you could receive good care and not to forget there was a funeral home just in case you needed one.

There were more stores than you could count, together with bakeries releasing those great smells as you walked by. Other stores included: a Hardware, Grocery, Movie Theater, drug stores, Five and Dime, Banks, Churches, and Schools from kindergarten through high school. You could go in every direction by using the local transportation system. San Francisco was only a few minutes away by car or transit. You name it and we had it all within three or four blocks, The Ave was a great place to live.

Life was good until things began to change. The mill shut down, the Wards catalog store phased out the catalog sales, and there was a huge fire that wiped out many of the stores. Eventually a Goodwill store replaced buildings that were burnt down by the fire. Sad to say, it was as if the AVE had died. It seemed that life could never be the same again.

This was one kind of tragedy, and it had a profound effect on the lives of many of the people who had lived there. But tragedy has many faces and from disaster, change can evolve either for bad or for good.

There are many degrees in misfortune, some more calamitous than others, but always hurtful to some extent.

In difficult times we need to remind ourselves that the Holy Scripture says, “We are not sufficient in ourselves but our sufficiency is in the LORD.”

Added to our times of disaster, we are comforted by our family and friends who are there to stand by us. There may be times and situations that will require us to go through a calamity; a trial that we would rather not go through. With God’s help we are able to make it, because of Him and because of the strength of those around us.

After the fire, it was like starting a new life, and so it is when someone suffers misfortune. It is not easy to recoup but it is very do-able.

Revelation 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

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