Some Things I Forgot

Part Two: A Biography of the Bailey, Bliss and Snell families of Ukiah, Berkeley and Marin

lovingly written for her children and grandchildren by Nancy Bailey Sugars email_ghost_w.gif (907 bytes)email her here

In Three Parts

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Baby Henry
My father worked for the San Francisco Chronicle at first — and the only thing I remembering hearing about that time is the wonderful Collie dog Dad bought for Mom; he was named Hal Dog and I guess he was pretty spectacular. They spoke of him with such great affection. I do not know what happened to him.

My brother, Henry, was born in Berkeley at Alta Bates Hospital, where each of you was born much later. They were married in February of 1915, he was born- wow, I can’t remember if it was January 6 or 8 — Mom’s dad was born on one of those dates— of 1916. The United States entered the war in 1917, and Dad immediately enlisted in the army. Because he had had a bit of ROTC while he was at Cal, he was made a lieutenant immediately. He and Mom went up to Tacoma, Washington, to what is now Fort Lewis, probably Camp Lewis at that time. Several couples, some with children, lived together, whether in one house or not, I don’t know. I do know that Mom talked of the women going to the commissary once a week and getting large beef roasts that they would cook together and eat all week.

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the youth, Hal
Dad was in the San Francisco division, the First Division, and he was as proud of that and being in the infantry as your Dad was of the Red Bull division and being in the infantry!! The First went to France and fought in several of the famous battles of that ‘war to end all wars.’ He was wounded when a bullet ripped into his left arm while he was busy silencing a German machine gun which was holding up the Allied troops. For this he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest award possible. He also had left his wound untended and had lost quite a bit of blood. He was in the hospital for six weeks and every day they would rip off the scab and pour iodine into the wound, so it would heal from the bottom. Which of course burned the flesh and left a wonderful scar! While there in the hospital, the patients had canned salmon every day for the six weeks he was there. Guess what never was served in our home after that! Just like Spam and instant coffee were never served in your Dad’s and my home. Dick would never even try the improved instant coffees — just remembered that Sanka too much!

When the war ended, my father remained in France for a time. One of General Pershing’s aides came up to Dad and asked if he knew horses.

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Lieutenant Bailey
Naturally my father said he did, so he was put in charge of a horse show that the general had ordered, to keep the troops entertained. And of course he did a good job!

The troops pretty much came home at the same time, and so there were lots of parades. This may have been the first real goof my father made — because his mother lived closer to where he came into California, he saw her before he saw his wife!! Not a good thing!! I don’t think Mom ever forgot it and maybe never forgave it! I wouldn’t have, if your Dad had done that, he would have heard about it every time I got mad at him!! It was particularly not great because my sister had been born in September of 1918 and he had never seen her! Not to mention his son who had been waiting for him. I might as well put this in now — my father adored my mother, but, perhaps because of those times, he was not very thoughtful at times — like he would go on buying trips to New York and never take her, even though my Nana would have taken care of us- brought back wonderful gifts to her and to us, but never take her. I guess when he said, "After me, you come first", he really meant it! He was a great husband in most ways — allowed Mom to take us on trips, he was proud of all she did, he bought beautiful clothes for her, truly good furniture, etc. — but to a woman, it didn’t make up for the thoughtlessness. When Mom and Dad were going on their train trip when we lived in Bothin, Sally and Dick Wilmington went out to lunch with us, and Mom started talking about it and I wasn’t sure she would get on the train with him!!

Incidentally— though it really wasn’t incidental at the time — one trip to New York almost ended in tragedy. My father had gone to Coney Island to enjoy some free time before getting into business stuff — hadn’t even checked into a hotel yet. He feel asleep and when he woke up, he was terribly burned and could scarcely walk. He got a taxi and went to a hotel but when he went in, the hotel people thought he was drunk and wouldn’t give him a room or call a doctor. So he went to another hotel and had the taxi driver go in and get a room for him — which worked, and the hotel got a doctor for him. Perhaps he went to the hospital; I don’t know and there is no one alive who does! But he had severe sunburn, at least second degree. This makes me think of the time Bill fell asleep under the sun lamp and got a bad burn. Do you remember how it itched when it was healing, Bill? We were in Concord at the time.

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Our Father,  Peggy, Nancy and Henry
He was a good father, too, although we didn’t see as much of him as if it were now — he worked six long days a week. He loved us and we had great fun — lots of picnics where he would pass up lots of good spots to look for the next one — sound familiar? — and yet sometimes his fun was thoughtless, too. When I was in Berkeley High School and he would drive me to school, he would sit and honk all the time I was walking across the quad — humiliating for a teen — and when I would have a date come to the door, he would open the door and ask the date what his intentions were!!

When we had guests for dinner — not like their adult friends, but fraternity brothers and the such— if anyone asked for seconds or for more milk, for instance , he would look horrified and say there would be an extra charge for that. He loved playing hearts, as well as pinochle which he had mostly played with relatives (although he and Dick played it a lot), but he played hearts with the fraternity guys, and how they loved ‘getting’ Hal, especially when he thought he was being tricky about either taking all the points, or not getting any!

My brother, Bill, loved trains; he had received a wonderful Lionel set for Christmas one year, I think when we lived on Shattuck Ave. In Berkeley. He loved trains so much that on Sunday nights, everyone, including all the guys, especially Dick and John Colley, would go to the Berkeley station and watch the trains. Although he and the others wouldn’t just watch the trains, they would greet the trains and the passengers, waving to them, doing dances on the platform, like the Rockettes, looking under the trains and yelling to George to get out of there! Mom and I never participated in this — we enjoyed it and laughed but I guess we were too embarrassed to join in. Henry did and maybe Peg, I don’t remember.

Mom was a very involved woman — a true volunteer and a very capable one. Besides her work at our church, in the bazaars and dinners and such, she volunteered for the schools — PTA work was her specialty and she eventually became Alameda County president — I think it was county, but maybe it was just city. She was terrific about helping people, as was Dad when he could be involved. It made a marvelous family persona, but made it hard for me to always have to live up to that persona!! I mean, it was hard for me to get into trouble, because no one could believe that a Bailey could get into trouble. I don’t mean terrible trouble— we didn’t have drugs or booze at that time (prohibition was no doubt the reason for no booze; drugs I doubt that anyone had even heard of them.)

She was a lot of fun and she and I were very close — same typology for one thing — and we used to go to movies together a lot; And she would take all of us on the ferry to San Francisco to either have lunch at the Fly Trap, a great fish place near the White House where Dad worked, or we would go to the Peg ‘N Whistle for ice cream treats.

We went on lots of picnics and Sunday rides — traffic was not like it is today, but even so, on Sundays everyone went for rides, and with the two land roads over Altamont Pass, it would be very slow. I don’t know about my siblings, but I thought it was boring. We did it, I think, because at that time, Sundays were kept for church and not being busy — Dad’s family was quite strict this way. We could read the Sunday comics while our parents were at church, after we had gone to Sunday School, but no movies or other entertainment— and a big dinner right after church. This sort of ended when I came out of Sunday School very upset because the teacher had told us that anyone who smoked or drank would go to Hell— I knew my father smoked, so I thought he was going to go to Hell! So after that we didn’t have to go to Sunday School. And Mom and Dad stopped the church after it was discovered that the treasurer was taking money for his own use! He had no use for hypocrisy! Actually, there had been a minister there, named Mr. Fry and he was wonderful. He and his wife, Malta, were close family friends, but he was too modern and liberal for Epworth Church, and had to leave. We stayed close friends, and he came to Castro Valley years later to baptize you three.

Many of my parents’ friends were from the church — they had Circles for the women, to do good things for others — I remember many of them — Macie and Charles Hodgens, the Dawsons (do you remember them visiting us in Japan, when we had Tony?; the Wilfongs — many others. The rest of their friends mostly came through the schools and/or neighbors. What a great time we had — we were not isolated from their parties — although I may have not enjoyed being around the duplicate bridge parties because some of the couples really nagged at each other — not Mom and Dad, but others did and it wasn’t fun to be around them.

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Dad, Sacramento Pioneer Day

Oh well!! Now I can go on to my part of the family story!! I will, of course, mention my siblings but it will be my story, my feelings, as I can’t speak for them!

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