April, 2006, page 2

Franklin, CA
A Present Day View and Reflection
On My Errant Youth

The hot place to be back when I was a kid (in the mid fifties,) was the "Kings" roller skating rink in Franklin.

This skating rink was built in 1948 while I was still in Grammar School.  At the time it was just known as "King's."   The person who built the Skate Rink was the father of a rather popular kid in my school named Danny, who was one grade behind me and one year younger.  It is now called King's Skate Country and it actually has it's own web page

Some Friday night I am going to go skating there just to feel the wood floor as I roll along at less then warp speed, a speed tempered by my aging body and significantly slower then my youthful speed.

Danny King's family was also the first home to have their own built in swimming pool.  The only other pool was in Elk Grove and not within biking distance as Danny's pool was.  This pool was also in Franklin at the very edges of the south most border of town.  (Actually, this is not saying much distance wise as it only took five minutes to walk from one end of town to the other in any direction.)  This swimming pool quickly became a GREAT alternative to the swimming hole located on the Snodgrass Slough.  I suspect that it was more popular because Danny's pool had fewer fish and turtles and a much less of a chance of drowning.

The main difference between the Franklin of the mid fifties and now, is King's used to be located in "Franklin" but now it is known to be located in Elk Grove.  Go figure.  I would have never guessed that Elk Grove would have gobbled up Franklin in a hundred years much less fifty.


From what I recall, there were three principal business's in Franklin besides King's Skate Country.  One of these business's is a service station now turned into a beer bar and pool hall called Gils.  I don't remember the original brand of gas

dispensed here.  I believe this station was vacant for several years (late 50s early 60s) until being taken over by a retired couple to become the pool hall de jour for the locals.

My school buddy friend Darrell actually developed a tiny bit of hustling skills here, trying to sucker me into a couple of pool games.


Shown above, a watering hole (bar) called Otto's, has now been turned into a high end trailer park eatery, complete with a picnic table furnished patio.  Although the building is unchanged from it's fifties look, there is one notable improvement.  The entrance way is paved now.  In the fifties, it only had a base of peanut and pistachio nut shells and gravel. 


Back in the early fifties when I was a kid, our family used to go to Otto's on Sundays for a newspaper and an ice cream cone.


Wesley my stepfather, would bring me and my two step brothers Curtis and Donnie, a single scoop ice cream cone out to the car.  He would also purchase a Sunday paper and we would head back home.

On the way home, a five to seven minute ride, it became a contest to relish and eat our ice cream.  The last one to finish would make special finesse of the last licks and enjoyment of having the last bite while the rest of us looked on with great envy and yearning.

Being the older one I especially enjoyed torturing my two younger step brothers. This particular time, while they weren't looking, I hid and held my unfinished ice cream cone out of sight behind my back.  Donnie finished his, and then Curtis began the long slow licks while eying us and enjoying the moment of "having won."  After he finished his and before the smirk could disappear, I pulled out my unfinished cone and proceed to make one of the longest, smackinest licks, a kid could make.

What I didn't expect was the fuss Curtis would make when he discovered he had been duped.  The noise and protest he made was loud enough to draw the unwanted attention of my step father who quickly came to a halt and was left trying to figure out what the fuss was all about. 

Finally Curtis had to admit he had been duped and Wesley just shrugged it off and proceeded on down the road.  For a heart stopping moment, I believed I would be the unlucky recipient of  the proverbial "
Portuguese" back hand.  I quickly made haste of that Ice Cream cone learning another one of life's lessons, think ahead to the consequences.  Cont.

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