The article in “Then & Now” by Annabel in the Friday, March 2 issue brought back memories of my growing up time (1934-1943) in Cottonwood. I worked for Dino and Pete Valaza at the Progressive Grocery Store sometime during 1937-1939 era. I stocked shelves, sacked groceries, and did other odd jobs. Pete ran the butcher shop while Dino oversaw the rest of the operation.
Working for Dino and Pete also provided my very first “business lesson”. Pete sent me to buy rabbits from, I believe, a Mr. Fuller whose daughter Daphne was in my grade at Clemenceau. I seem to remember they lived at the end of either 8th or 9th Street. Pete said I was to pay eight (?) cents a pound for the rabbits. I bought the rabbits and took them back to Pete. Boy did I get a dressing down from Pete. He admonished me I should have paid for “dead weight not the live rabbits I brought back to the store.
There was also another Valaza who worked as a Flight Engineer for Trans World Airlines on Lockheed Constellation aircraft. In addition to working for Pete and Dino I also washed windows up and down Main Street to earn enough money to purchase my first bicycle which I think cost $13.00. I also set “pins” in the evenings for Willard’s Bowling Alley.
“Our Gang” in Cottonwood consisted of Archie Redondo, Buddy Mounts, Preston James, and of all things Daphne Fuller. We had the “privilege” to spend a few hours in the Cottonwood Jail compliments of Highway Patrolman Vadrini.