April, 2006 page 3

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

Would you believe that these are all the original structures here in Franklin after fifty years?  Structurally, they haven't  changed significantly, from the way they looked fifty years ago, this goes for the skating rink as well. 


Finally, this is the number three business and used to be called Luttig's Market.  Five years ago, it was still a market and it was run by people of mid eastern heritage.  Today, it is an auto repair, dismantling shop and yard.  Not a very pretty one at that.  Still, like the other businesses shown, the original building.

When the school was adjacent to Franklin Blvd., we were allowed to go over to the "Luttig's" market and buy treats at lunch time.  It was a treat for me because it was my first volunteer duty as a road crossing sentry.  Two of us would be positioned on either side of the road with stop signs attached to 6 foot long poles and "crossing guard" banners hung across our chest.

Our duty was to wait for a car to come and then hang out the stop signs and then laugh as they had to come to a screeching halt.  We would then walk across the street changing places and lift our signs.  It also worked well if a fellow student (especially a cute girl) actually needed to cross the road.

I have to remind you, this was before Franklin even had one stop sign so traffic would barely slow down as it came through.  Franklin presently has the appearance of being Elk Grove's skid row except for the absence of the homeless people.  It seems to me to be even more sparse and just a place in the road, even more so then it was 50 years ago.  It still has the atmosphere (smell) of being a farming community.  It is nice that some things stay the same.

This is the sign posting for my old grammar school. 

I graduated from Franklin Grammar School in 1956 amongst a fledgeling class of 19 total students, into Elk Grove High School with a huge Freshman class of 200.  Talk about social shock.  This was also the transition from my nick name of "Dick" to "Jim."


What happened to my original nick name is that the teachers in my freshman class would dream up their own nick names for us kids, rather then ask.  Since I was registered as "James," at roll call time the teacher would call out "Jim?"  After about the 79th correction, I gave up and became "Jim."  So, 18 people from Franklin in my freshman class, called me Dick and the rest (181) called me Jim.

This was sad to me as I actually preferred my original nick name.  That's the one I am bonded to.  Why Dick?  Because my middle name is Ritchard and my Mom preferred a nick name relative to my middle name, rather then be reminded that I was named after my father (John James.)  So for my first 13 years, I went by Dick, only.  Yes, I know how to spell Richard, and my mother did too.  Ritchard was the last name of my father's buddy.  I am yet another kid to get stuck with an unconventional name at the whim of mis-guided parents.  At least they didn't name me Xilia or Sue.

There was a Chinese influence in our area, mostly concentrated in the City of Locke, on the Sacramento River.  If we wanted fire crackers, we could always get the illegal ones in Locke.  (The older neighborhood boys would pass this tradition down to us younger kids.)

Now Locke is known more for it antiques as it gets discovered by various "back roads" flavored shows.  Their economy always enjoys an upsurge after one of these shows spot light the City of Locke.  If you want to visit Locke, go north from Walnut Grove or south from Courtland, on the levee road between the two towns.  Locke is about midway between the two.

The actual Chinese shops are located on the face of the levee so you have to drop down off of the levee to actually view and visit the shops of "Locke."

I can't resist going through grave yards.  It is always interesting to find people you know.  It's like reading the obits after the fact.  This one in particular bought back very warm memories. 

Dr. Primasing was our family doctor and he actually made house calls.  When you consider how rural our area was, it was really fortunate that any doctor would make house calls.  I saw him at our house twice, once when I had pneumonia and again when I had blood poisoning in my right hand.  I also remember waiting in his office for hours with my Mom.  He probably was the preferred doctor for a 100 square miles, at least it seemed like it.

At this grave yard, I was actually looking for my third grade teacher, Mrs. Maish.  She was a significant positive influence in my young life.  One memorable incident with her teaching,  was a chalk board math lecture which I was bored with.  While she was lecturing, I went to reading a book about "Black Beauty" instead.  She threw three chalk board erasers at me before hitting me with the fourth and getting my attention.


She was trying to get my attention away from the book I was reading to pay attention to the lesson at hand.  Lucky for me, I knew the answer to her question and from then on, much to the delight of my giggling classmates, paid a lot more attention to the current lesson.  Black Beauty would just have to be hitched up and read about later, for the time being.


It is additionally strange when you run across a stone marker of a classmate and or even younger kids, . 

This was one of the kids I grew up with that actually lived in Franklin, with an apparent acquired zest for golfing and a father of a loving family.  The Kloss family (his parents) used to have a ranch/dairy right in Franklin but the ranch seems to have melted into the background of the New Franklin.  His being two years younger, meant our paths did not cross that much as kids. Cont.

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