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Memorable Years of My Life 

Written by Storyteller: Kristen S Kuhns [ksk]   Comments: 1

This story is of the memorable years of Gene Pashote's life, as told in his own words and transcribed here. Hear it in his voice in the video below!

I, Eugene Joseph Pashote, was born on May 24, 1921, at the home of my grandmother, in the town of Centerville, California. Today it is known as the district of Centerville in the City of Fremont. After five days there I went to the home of my parents residing on Rose Lane, which is today known as Bettencourt Street, in Newark. I was an only child of Joseph and Caroline Pashote.

In 1922, my parents and I moved to the town limits of Newark and resided at 1274 Thornton Avenue, where I lived until my marriage in July of 1948.

During the years of 1923 through 1926, as I recall, my early childhood life was simple and somewhat lonely; as I had no one to play with. Both of my parents were busy working at full time jobs. My father operated the first service station and v automotive repair shop in Newark. My mother worked at the Morton Salt Company, also located in Newark. There were not any other children, my age, in our immediate neighborhood. During these early years, before I started attending school, I was under the supervision of a neighbor and close friend of the family. I must admit that both of my parents had to work, as they were in debt on account of my father's business and that they had bought a home and other expenses. These were "hard times" leading into the Great Depression years.

My schooling commenced in late August, 1927, at the Newark Grammar School on Cherry Street. It was a nice walk (about three miles round trip) to school. My young boyhood life was lonely at times, but I managed to have a few friends and we would go to the nearest "sandlot" and play baseball.

In the second grade (1928) I met a classmate, William "Bill" Gould, that started a friendship that has lasted over seventy years to date. Bill and I enjoyed many good times together, and still do today. Bill was my "best man" in 1948 when I married Marguerite and I was his "best man" in 1962 when he married Mildred Duarte.

I remember making my first long automobile trip, with my parents, in 1929. We traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. That was quite a ride in those days!

I remember the Depression year of 1930, when my mother would send me to the corner grocery store with a list to buy bread for ten cents a loaf and a quart of milk cost ten cents. I remember ice cream cones and ice cream bars (called "milk nickels") cost five cents each, and an all-day sucker was a penny!

I recall Model T Fords with their old-fashioned style shifting levers, clutch, and brake pedals. I remember riding in cars having "rumble seats", high running boards, canvas tops with very small rear windows, and fancy radiator caps. Some of the old time cars (which are no longer produced) that I rode in were the Durant, Hupmobile, Graham-Paige, Nash, Oak¬land, Star, and Whippet.

I was mascot, and later the official scorekeeper, for the Newark Merchants semi-pro baseball team. We played every Sunday at the school grounds during 1933.

In 1935, I was elected as class president by my eighth grade classmates. I remember making a speech, at the graduation ceremonies, on the history of the American flag. This same year, in late August, I entered Washington Union High School in Centerville; since Newark didn't have a high school back then. They provided a school bus for daily transportation.

In 1936 I started two part time jobs. One was washing cars for fifty cents, in my backyard, and the other was as the local news correspondent for the weekly Township Register,  of Niles (now a district of Fremont) and the Washington News of Centerville. The local people in Newark gave me the official nickname of "Scoop" Pashote for my news gathering abilities.

1939 was the year of the World's Fair Exposition at Treasure Island. A few of my high school classmates and I enjoyed the ferry boat ride on San Francisco Bay the day and evening we spent experiencing the fair. Of course, I graduated from Washington Union High School (today it's called Washington High) in 1939, and entered the junior college portion of San Jose State College in September. Serafine Lemos (my high school friend) stayed at a boarding house with me during our first college year at San Jose and we commuted by Peerless Stages bus from Centerville to San Jose during our second year. Graduation was in 1941. During the summer of 1941, I purchased my first car, a used 1938 Plymouth coupe. It was later sold in 1943, by my parents, while I was serving in the United States Army. Also in 1941, after retiring from my 1936 part time jobs, I became a part time employee at Westvaco Chlorine Pro¬ducts in Newark (working weekends), as I was no longer in school. I held the position of payroll clerk with a salary of sixty-five cents an hour. In addition, I spent some of my time running to the fire station, as did my father, who worked there as a volunteer. I became a fire department volunteer in 1941.

In May, 1942, I had a public twenty-first birthday party at the Newark Pavilion for my relatives and friends. I guess with others who were invited, there were several hundred people that attended, and enjoyed the afternoon of food and dancing. This was the same year that I reported for induction into the United States Army at the Presidio of Monterey, California, on September 18th. My basic train¬ing of eight weeks was at Camp Robinson near Little Rock, Arkansas. After completing my basic training I was trans¬ferred (on Thanksgiving Eve) to Camp Carson near Colorado Springs, Colorado, for my permanent assignment with Battery B, 341st Field Artillery Battalion, 89th Infantry Division. During Christmas, my parents made the trip by train to spend a snowy Christmas with me.

I was promoted to Corporal as Battery Clerk, for handling administrative records for ninety-six enlisted men and five officers, in February of 1943. After residing nearly a year in Colorado, we had to pack up and leave, by train, for three months winter maneuvers to good ole "swampy land" of Louisiana, near Alexandria. Our conditions here were mostly "K" rations and our "houses" were pup tents, or simply laying sleeping bags on the ground.

We left Louisiana in February of 1944, for more rough maneuvers, to Hunter Ligget Military Reservation near King City, California. Weather conditions in sunny California were not much better than what I experienced in Louisiana. Just think of four weeks of steady rain and trying to sleep in a muddy area inside of a pup tent! Finally it was early Spring and our division had orders to move out, by train, to the Garrison area of Camp Butner, North Carolina, near Durham. Our next move, nine months later, was to leave the Boston Point of Embarkation, from Boston Harbor, for overseas duty to Europe.

In early January of 1945, I was on the way, by military ship, over a ten day voyage on the rough Atlantic Ocean; to Camp Lucky Strike near LeHavre, France. The troops then had orders to move into combat areas through France and Germany, where eight enlisted men and one officer (including PFC Borack, of Chicago, who was my assistant clerk) were killed in their ammunition truck crossing the Rhine River in Germany. It was a few days later, when we were in Zwickaw, that the European war (VE Day) was announced over the radio (May 2, 1945). I was shipped back again to Camp Lucky Strike to a POW staging area awaiting my discharge orders to the United States. In the meantime, I was able to visit many interesting places, such as Paris, France; London, England; and Basel, Bern, and Lausane, Switzerland. I had the chance of chatting with the famous entertainer, Maurice Chevliar, backstage after one of his performances in Paris.

After waiting ten months following VE Day, my shipping orders came through to leave France in early March of 1946. I arrived back to US soil at New York City and on March 17th left New York City by Army plane for my separation center at Camp Beale, near Marysville, California. The next day, March 18th of 1946,1 was a civilian again; after serving three and a half years of military life. After a short rest at home, I returned back to my old job as a payroll clerk at Westvaco in Newark. My adjustment back to civilian life was different as I didn't have my own car anymore to enjoy myself and to do business. However, I was fortunate that my best friend, Bill Gould, and I teamed up together again. We socialized and Bill would give me a ride if I needed one.

Well, in July of 1947, the "love bug" bit me; and I had a date with a charming young lady who worked in the sales depart¬ment at Westvaco. She worked only a short distance from where I worked in the payroll department. My date with Marguerite Detwiler was spent at the Westvaco company picnic at Linda Vista Park in Mission San Jose (now a district of Fremont). Marguerite and I became engaged and decided to be married the summer of 1948.

In 1948, Marguerite and I purchased our first and only home (to date) in the first post-war tract of homes in Newark, known as "Lindsay Gardens". We married in Newark on July 18th at 11 A.M. at the St. Edwards Church. My long time friend, Bill Gould, was best man and Marguerite's maid of honor was her friend, Herta Tack. Following our honeymoon trip to Crater Lake, Oregon, we had a combination wedding reception and open house at our new home at 2290 George Street (now known as 6811 George Avenue) on Sunday, July 25th.

During the year of 1949, we settled down in our new house, started landscaping the yards, erected a backyard toolshed (which is still in use), and enclosed our backyard with a wooden fence.

The year 1951 was exciting. Although we had been driving an older car, this year we purchased our first new automobile from Central Chevrolet in the Centerville District. It was a 1951 Chevrolet Club Coupe!

In 1953, we were the proud parents of a six and a half pound, twenty and a half inches long, baby boy; born at the San Jose Hospital at 1:19 A.M. April 22nd. We gave him the name of Stanley Eugene Pashote. This same year we had a chain link fence erected around the front yard for protection and privacy.

My mother-in-law, Seline Detwiler, passed away in 1957, after a short illness. My father-in-law, Jacob Detwiler, sold his Newark property and moved back to his home country, Switzerland, a few months later.

In 1958, I retired as a volunteer fireman from the Newark Fire Department, at my own request, after serving sixteen years. My dad was the Chief of the fire department.

My father-in-law came out to visit us from Switzerland for a month in 1960, which was his last trip to California, as he passed away in 1968.

In 1962, I had the honor of being the best man for Bill Gould's wedding ceremony at the Holy Spirit Church in Fremont. It was followed by a reception at the Newark Pavilion.

In 1964, we attended my dad's retirement dinner at the Inter¬national Kitchen in the Niles area of Fremont. He had served as assistant fire chief for ten years and Newark fire chief for twenty-two years.

In July of 1966, our life long dream came true when we purchased a new 3/4 ton Custom Camper Chevrolet truck! A week later, we had a fully self-contained, ten and a half foot, Open Road Camper bolted to our truck. This started our "camping fever" that led us to many remote and secluded destinations in and out of California. Our first overnight camping trip was spent at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the same night we purchased the camper. During Thanksgiving week we made an eight day trip to Death Valley National Monument, Boulder Dam, and Las Vegas. Our base camp at Death Valley was Furnace Creek Ranch Campground. While at Death Valley we visited Scotty's Castle, Ubehebe Crater, Zabriskie Point, Badwater, and Dantes View.

In 1967, we were truck-camping again for a seven day trip to Joshua Tree National Monument, Imperial Valley, and the border towns of Calexico-Mexicali and Tijuana, Mexico. A few months later we made a sixteen day trip through northern California, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and back through Washington and Oregon. Some of our stops included: Shoshone Falls, Sun Valley, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Lake Couer D' Alene, Grand Tetons National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, and others. Remember the "spud cellars" in Idaho that attracted our attention, and the crossing of the 45th Parallel between the equator and the North Pole.

In 1968, my twenty-seven years of service with Westvaco Chlorine Products (FMC Corp) came to an end when the magnesia portion of the plant closed down. I had to leave as I was short only months of seniority to remain with the phosphate section, which finally closed down at a later date. In 1968 we also received word that my father-in-law had passed away in Switzerland, where he had resided.

Our long camping trips were limited now for about the next five years, due to less vacation time. However, we still managed to see many sections of California, as in 1969; when we camped at the Lava Beds National Monu¬ment in northern California, Monterey and Big Sur areas and north to the Redwoods, Trinity Alps, Mt. Shasta and the Feather River region.

The years 1971 and 1972 were quite an experience for me (as a "country boy") to be employed at a job in San Fran¬cisco! I worked for Bay Cities Crane and Rigging Service and the Santa Fe / Pomeroy Construction Company. My position was timekeeper and construction clerk for the men setting up the basic framing for the new Hyatt Regency Hotel, near the Embarcadero Center in the "city". Also in 1972, we decided to change our car image from a large American car to a smaller Japanese car, a Toyota. This was due to gasoline rationing and it made for more room in our small garage.

In 1973, we were pleased have our son, Stanley, graduate from Chabot Community College at Hayward, with an AA Degree.

In 1974, our most interesting camping trip was visiting the Sedona/Oak Creek Canyon in Arizona, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Parks in Utah, and a quick stop at Las Vegas, Nevada.

In February of 1976, we had an interesting time over a weekend camping trip to Yosemite National Park to enjoy the snow. Our long trip of the year, in June, was visiting Mt. Rainier in Washington, where there was still snow in the high peaks. We came home along the scenic coast of Oregon. In August, I started my last ten years of employment at the Officer's Club, Naval Air Station at Moffet Field in Mt. View. I was hired as a bookkeeper at the Enlisted Club for two years and promoted and transferred to the Officer's Club until my retirement and sixty-fifth birthday in May of 1986.

In addition to our second trip to Death Valley National Monument in 1977, we also checked out many old mining towns, such as Rhyolite. Upon leaving the south gate of Death Valley, we were stopped in traffic due to four, slow moving burros and their baby, crossing the park highway!

It was in June of 1978 that we traveled nearly 1,500 miles covering the states of California, Nevada, Utah, and Color¬ado. The outstanding stop of this trip was Camp Carson, Colorado, where I served nine months with the 89th Infantry Division in 1943. This camp is now Fort Carson and they still have active troops stationed there today.

In August of 1980, we traveled 3,700 miles (our longest trip in days and miles) to northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana; and to two provinces in Canada, British Columbia and Alberta. All these states have their own beauty and Canada is special for the fact that the distances and numbers are in metric! I have logged all of our camping experiences, in detail, to reminisce in the future.

In 1982, our son, Stanley, was married to Deanna L. Christensen, at the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Fremont.

In 1984, we were the proud grandparents of Stan and Deanna's first baby, named Jennifer Lynn Pashote, born at Washington Hospital on May 21st. Also in 1984, my father passed away at the Fremont Convalescent Home at the age of 85, in October.

In 1986, I decided to retire at age 65. I left the Naval Air Station at Moffet Field with nearly ten years of service. I figured it was about time to give up the alarm clock and freeway traffic, and spend some time with my wife and other interests. About a month later, Marguerite and I purchased a new Toyota, which should last the rest of our "driving" days.

Once again, in 1987, we were grandparents of Stan and Deanna's second (and last) baby, this time a boy named Kevin Stanley Pashote, also born at Washington Hospital. His birthday is October 9th.

In 1989, on our way home (in our truck camper) from the Hearst Castle and Morro Bay area, we encountered an unusual situation, that I still remember quite well. We had stopped at Bill Gould's condo in Capitola for a rest and upon leaving the parking lot we were taken by sur prise. Marguerite was inside the camper getting the camper ready to go, and I was right outside the door waiting for her. All of a sudden, the "Quake of C89" hit! This was October 17th at 5:04 P.M. Marguerite remembers being tossed around with the earthquake. This quake measured 7.1 on the Richter scale and did considerable damage throughout northern California.

In 1993, we had our home updated both electrically and if I remember correctly, 1999 brought changes to Marguerite's health. Issues with high blood pressure, vascular & heart, and memory function were a problem. By the end of the year, she was demented and I needed to help her a lot.

By early 2000, Marguerite had Alzheimers Disease and required I hire a CNA nurse to help me with her care. My health, at this point, was still pretty good, but I couldn't manage alone. I decided that it was time to look into assisted living centers. In late November I sold the house in Newark, and moved into Aegis Assisted Living Center together, in Fremont, on December 1st. It's a funny thing, the location of Aegis is the location where I was born, approximately. My grandmother's house was located on John Santos Rd., which today is Walnut Avenue.

Marguerite was at Aegis for only about a week, and was taken to Washington Hospital with a Grand Mai Seizure and hospitalized. She was later transferred to Fremont Health Care and passed away on December 17,2000, due to Alzheimer’s and heart issues. Life was totally different now ~ new residence and without my wife of 52 years.

However, the move to Aegis proved to be helpful, with their supportive staff and good eats!

In December of 1995, my mother passed away at the age of 98, at the Fremont Health Center in Fremont.

My wife and I were honored with an elegant dinner, at the Market Broiler Restaurant in Fremont, for my 75th birth¬day, by my son and daughter-in-law. This event took place on May 24th, 1996.

In May of 1997, we finally decided that our times of camp¬ing out were over, so we sold our beloved Chevy truck and Open Road camper. We owned this recreational vehicle for thirty years, ten months, and enjoyed every minute of it.

In July of 1998, my son, daughter-in-law, and childhood friend (Bill) honored Marguerite and I with an elegant dinner at the Hungry Hunter Restaurant of Fremont, for our 50th wedding anniversary. It was an enjoyable night.

In closing the "Memorable Years of My Life", I would say that I have led a fairly healthy, well-rounded full life. Life has been very enjoyable, together with my loving and caring wife. Marguerite and I are proud of our son and his family, who reside in Fremont. My aim and hope in life now is to reach the year 2000 and be here long enough to see the start of the twenty-first century in 2001.

Thank you Joseph, for sharing your Story with us.

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Member Since
Aug 2007
Agnes Williams said:
posted on Mar 08, 2009

What a great story you've left your children. I will watch the video too when it's ready...