Sunday, June 20, 2010


Happy fathers day to all. My oldest son Jacob called and wants to go to a Niner’s game with me this fall. (This is hard for him as he is a die hard Raider fan.) He is an auto body repair man in El Dorado Hills just east of Sacramento. My younger son called from San Francisco. He has just moved to the Castro district and is working for Ken Cole clothing. He is hoping to climb the corporate ladder in fashion design. It is so good to hear when they are doing well and are healthy.

The picture is my father, Army Major James Marks. He was at Pearl Harbor during the attack and served in Korea. (My older brothers James, Roy and Michael all served in either Korea or Viet Nam) Once my dad passed the bar and became an attorney, he followed his Army buddy James McKittrick to Eureka and went into law practice with Al Paso and Jim. But, alas, my mother and father divorced when I was 6 years old. My dad and I were never close and he passed away in 1981 when Robin was pregnant with my oldest son Jacob. He was a great story teller and I wish we had more contact. He affectionately called me “Tooter,” which to this day is my family name, and was once the only name I was known by.

So, as a family, we went from good living on the Presidio in San Francisco to Healdsburg then Eureka and ended up in Petaluma, where we lived with my mother Mabel and 5of her children and whatever stray’s my family seemed to find in a two bedroom house in the front of a chicken farm. I went to work on a local rabbit farm at the age of 7 and was paid in vegetables! (When our family gets together we discuss how I never had a baby sitter from 7 years old on. My mom worked afternoon and nights for Western Auto. We were broke, broke.) We moved back to Cutten in the mid 60’s and my mom was able to get a union retail clerks job at Disco and then Bazar. Our living conditions changed dramatically and we ended up in Myrtletown. (And I dropped the “Tooter” name from the school rolls, but some from Cutten still didn’t get this memo)

I had the greatest childhood experience of growing up and going through Lafayette, Zane, St. Bernard’s and Eureka High and College of the Redwoods. I was so fortunate to have the Biasca family take me in and take me to their cabin in Willow Creek and teach me to fish for trout. Lee Biasca helped formed my basic working class Democratic values with his observations in the 60’s as did Paul Maisenbach, who helped me learn how to catch a baseball and welcomed me in his household. (The neighborhood used to go to Paul’s fast pitch Louisiana Pacific games, if they won he would buy us root beer floats at A &W, if they lost….we got nothing. And he stood by that!) Our next door neighbor Mark Stark was a staunch Republican who laid the foundation of my love for the 49ers and took his son Matt and I out Salmon fishing in the ocean. Fergy (Clyde) Ferguson let us immature teenagers work on his #21 stock car, and no matter the results, he always praised us. (But he won a lot!) My local Boy Scout troop also was such a blessing, Art Pope, Paul Green, Mr. Kyle and Mr. Allen were so patient and helpful. Some of the greatest memories of my life! I was raised by a village and can never express enough my gratitude.

But, I want to point out my mother Mabel, my sisters Kathy, Michelle and Mary, and my brothers Jimmy, Roy and Michael helped form my core values and living platform. And it is diverse.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Didn't your dad have to support his children after the divorce?

Sad story you told but it probably made you who you are today as a strong person.

Hugs from a friend on this Father's Day.

Martin said...

Richard...thank you for sharing your life story..good knowing you...Marty

samoasoftball said...

12:04am-Since my mother and father have both passed on, I can't explain why we dirt poor right after they split up. My mother had 7 children, 2 from a first marriage and 5 with my dad. My dad had 1 child with his 1st wife, 5 with my mother and 2 after that. So I have 10 either half or full siblings out there.

And yes, he must have paid child support at some point.

As a teenager, I had a paper route and started working at Duck's market at 15 and then at Bazar until they closed in 1978. So I was pretty fortunate to have what I needed.

Anonymous said...

Drizzle drazzle drozzle drome, time for this one to come home. Help Mr. Wizard. I remember Tooter the turtle, but I didn;t know it was you Richard.

Anonymous said...

Happy Father's Day Richard! It was nice you remembered the many *father's that impressed you with their gifts of time, encouragement...they helped shape you.

So many are oblivious-not you. Giving back to your community is a gift I am sure will be remembered well in turn.

HugsXX