Sunday, June 11, 2017

Scrapbook #2 – Sig is a busy guy

Page 5 Sig 1_12_1952
January 12, 1952

Yep, that’s my paternal grandfather, Sig Levy.  As I continue to go through his scrapbooks, I’m reminded that he was a busy guy.  It seems like he was involved in just about everything – now I know where my dad got it!

Not just involved in everything, but he saved EVERYTHING!  Sometimes I can figure out why but others, not so much.

Case in point is this article.

Page 5 Food Poisoning

I can understand why he saved it since he was one of those who became ill, but WHY did the newspaper feel compelled to put that news in the newspaper?

Sig was the Publicity Chairman for this patriotic event.

Page 5 Gold Star Mothers Photo
Page 5 Gold Star Mothers

And then the newspaper used a similar sketching for a different article showing he was the co-chairman of the Parade Committee.

Page 5 Arrange Gala Celebration
Page 5 Navy Day Fete

An interesting article in the Los Angeles Herald Express.  Nice to know Sig was helping to get our veterans back to work.

Page 5 Fresnos Job Plan Operative

He seemed to have a real interest in nursing programs, although I’m not sure why, as there were several articles about that.  I thought this photo was interesting.

Page 5 Fresno County Hospital

I started looking for more information about the new wing so that I could compare it to today and had to stop – must. not. go. down. another. rabbit. hole.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Scrapbook #2 - More news from Sig

As I continue on with the scrapbook, it hit me that I don’t think I’ll have enough hours in the day, or days in the week, or weeks in the year, to adequately document these scrapbooks.  While there is a lot of interesting information, it just can’t be done.  So I’ll quit stressing about it and just document things that pertain to Sig and are the most interesting, not to mention the easiest to scan.

I wish this had a date on it but based on other things on this page, I’d guess it to be from somewhere in the 1944-1946 range.

Page 3 Air WAC Show

One thing that I’ve learned about my grandfather is that he was involved in A LOT of things.  This article is from October 13, 1946.

Page 3 Browsing Around

I learned a little about Victor Mature.

Page 4 Mature Aids SPARS

Of course I had to meet with my best friend Google to learn a little more about him.  While I don’t remember him specifically, I did learn that he starred in about 50 movies from 1939 until the early 1970’s.  I wonder if my grandparents, or my parents, ever went to the theater to check him out.

Victor Mature

Sig was a planner for Flag Week.  How patriotic he must have felt to see a flag in front of every home and business in Fresno.

Page 4 Flag Week

Let’s not skip by this article highlighting the advertiser in the news for February, 1947 – Sig Levy!

Page 4 News of Advertisers

It doesn’t look like Sig was “counted” as a veteran.  I’m not sure why since he served during WWI.

I knew I’d seen something about the train wreck when I blogged HERE.  Something tells me I’m going to find out more about this event.

Last year I wrote about Sig and Loraine cruising to Hawaii HERE.  How fun to see the same photo was published in the newspaper and Sig included it in his scrapbook.  Sure enough, it was from their cruise in 1949.

Page 4 Honolulu

Here we see the class of 1920, both 2nd and 3rd, to have a Levy brother included – Sig in the 2nd class, older brother Herb in the 3rd class.  And there’s Leon in the class of 1922. 

I’m sure this was important but I just don’t know what it all means.

Page 4 Sciots Bull

Last, but not least, was this from the America Red Cross Arsenal in 1944.  What makes it special is that the son they refer to was my dad, Gordon Levy. 

Page 4 Trading Post

While it’s completely overwhelming to think about capturing all of this, I do appreciate that my grandparents saved everything and have given me the opportunity to get a glimpse into their lives.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Scrapbook #2 – The Red Cross

I’d always heard that my grandfather, Sigmund Levy, was involved with the Red Cross and this scrapbook just seals the deal.

There are pages and pages of typed letters to Sig thanking him for one thing or another.  Here is just a sample.

They are all glued to the page and since there doesn’t seem to be anything too earth shattering, I decided I’d just scan the one loose letter.

Red Cross Letter 14 Feb 1947

February 14, 1947

Dear Mr. Levy:

Thank you for sending us the clippings and transcriptions of Mr. O’Connor’s talk and of the train wreck.  They are especially interesting to us here in Public Information.  Our Disaster Service has also been having everyone hear these descriptions of Red Cross Disaster activities.

We shall inform you of any further uses we make of these transcriptions which will be returned to your chapter after we have covered all possible use of them

We took your suggestion and wrote to Miss Frances Quinn at KFRE.  A copy of that thank you letter is enclosed.

North Baker
Office of Public Information

From I found a short synopsis of the train disaster.
February 4.  Four persons were killed and 64 injured when Southern Pacific's "San Joaquin Daylight" streamliner smashed into an oil truck that was crossing the tracks ahead of the train at Kingsburg, California. The collision spewed burning fuel over the locomotive (killing the engineer and fireman) and ten passenger cars.
I swear I’ve seen something about this in one of the boxes I have – was it a photo, a different article, or what?  I need to do some digging in those boxes!

And, of course, there were clippings from other activities.

This from the Fresno Bee, Sunday, April 23, 1944.

Page 2 Bond Drive Photo

Hmmm, each man in the picture has a title but Sig has none. 

Page 2 Bond Drive Fresno Bee 23 Apr 1944

Here it looks like he’s an author.

Page 2 Fresno Marching Forward

And a few others.

Page 2 Sig Levy Quits Post Feb 1 1947

Something doesn’t make sense.  Someone (probably Sig?) wrote that this article was published on February 1, 1947.  But, the story mentions the Southern Pacific streamliner wreck on Tuesday.  The information from stated the accident occurred on Feburary 4.  Now that I see February 4, 1947 was, in fact, a Tuesday I think the date above must be wrong.

Page 2 Mardi Gras Show

This letter is interesting – champagne for sick soldiers?

Page 2 Air Corps Letter

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Scrapbook #2 – The Great White Hope – The end of the story

A few years ago, I shared a photo of my grandfather, Sig Levy, when he was in Ben Lomond in 1910 while Jim Jeffries trained for his upcoming fight against Jack Johnson.  You can read about it HERE.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Now that you’re caught up, I’ll catch you up even more.  At that time I wondered if my grandfather had been there when Jim Jeffries was there and if the two men had met.  I didn’t think I’d ever know the answer to that question.

Until today.  When I found this in Sig’s scrapbook.

Great White Hope

By now my readers have it etched in their minds that Sig was a pretty short fellow, which makes it easy to pick him out in a crowd.  And there, front and center, was Sig holding the Raisin Day sign.  And towering over Sig is Jim Jeffries himself, the Great White Hope!

The caption reads: Taken Exclusively for Republican by Pictorial News. Co, New York City.  Reading from left to right:  Al Quadros, Wick Adams, a New York enthusiast; Billy Papke, Sigmund Levy, James J. Jeffries.

My question has been answered – looks like Sig and Jim met after all.  And while Jim Jeffries was in the original photo I posted previously, I had no way of knowing that was him.  But now I do!

Sig 1910 Ben Lomond Close up

The article goes on to say:

James J. Jeffries, he of fight fame, is now a confirmed Raisin Day booster.  Within the confines of his beautiful training camp at Ben Lomond, Jeffries is munching raisins, and as he eats, he thinks of Fresno from whence came this dainty morsel.

When the Raisin Day campaign was first inaugurated, Jeffries and Johnson were both sent a box of raisins.  Jeffries replied by wire thanking the committee for remembering him, but thus far Johnson has failed in any way to acknowledge receipt of the fruit.  So good did the raisins taste to the big champion that before many suns had passed over his head, the box was empty and big Jim went around with a longing look on his big physiognomy.

That longing look was seen down in Fresno, where the raisins grow, and within a very short while another box of raisins was on its way to Ben Lomond, in the custody of Sigmund Levy of the Republican.  Levy journeyed into camp one fine day last week, his little frame staggering under the big load of raisins he was carrying.

Jeff is often cranky, but when he saw Levy straining under the big box of raisins, his heart grew light and his face beamed with joy, for behold! he was to once more enjoy raisins.  Jeffries is sometimes very cranky about posing for pictures, but when Levy told him what he wanted, the big fellow was right in the game.  In the picture shown, Jeffries has in his hand a  bunch of raisins brought to him by Levy last Thursday.

“Jeff says the raisins that have been given him by the Raisin committee are the finest he ever ate,” declared Levy after the presentation.  “He further says he likes them and that he eats them all the time.  His trainers also eat them and enjoy them, for they say they are most nourishing.

In addition to the advertising given the Raisin Day committee by the receipt of a box of raisins by Jeffries, R.E. Taylor, representing the American Press Association, who is furnishing this Association with all the pictures of Jeffries, has sent out pictures of Jeffries receiving the choice fruit to the 4000 papers which this Association serves.

On the front porch of Jeffries’ quarters hangs a Raisin Day poster for the gaze of all who come to his camp to see him train, and Jeffries himself is a walking advertisement of Raisin Day, for there is seldom a minute during the day that he does not have a bunch of raisins in his hand when he is not otherwise occupied.

So now we have the end of the story – my grandfather didn’t just meet Jim Jeffries, he presented him with raisins and had a picture taken with him to prove it!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Scrapbook #2 – Meet Mr. Levy

On to the next scrapbook!  Today I briefly went through the remaining scrapbooks in an effort to determine what I have and what, eventually, can be donated to a historical society.  Remember, this is what I have.

Some of it doesn’t seem all that interesting to me so I thought I would try to get them in some sort of date order.  I got a good start on that but decided I would start with these two gems.

They looked pretty similar so seemed like a good place to start, especially when I opened up the first one and saw this.

That, my friends, is my grandfather, Sigmund Levy.  It looked like this had some interesting and fun stuff in it so no time like the present to get started!

Page 1 - Sig Levy

Yep, that’s the face I remember so vividly from all those years ago.  How can it be possible that he has been gone nearly 50 years?  More importantly, how can it be possible that I remember the day he died like it was yesterday?  I swear I’m not that old!

And then a newspaper article from February, 1939 inviting us to Meet Mr. Levy.

Page 1 Meet Mr Levy
Page 1 Meet Mr Levy Part 2

I love learning that he pioneered the idea of newspaper delivery by air – wouldn’t he be astonished today to know that we have instant access to news and printed newspapers are almost a thing of the past.  And, I need to find out more about his days playing in the Fresno Y.M.C.A. mandolin club! 

And a few other stories from the newspaper.

Page 1 Forty Years Ago

Page 1 Red Cross_Realtor Award

Page 1 Fresno Yesterdays Mar 22 1932

Page 1 Fresnos Yesterdays Jan 26 1946

I wish this article had some sort of date with it – I don’t think I’ve ever heard about him fracturing his knee cap.  How did that happen?

Page 1 S Levy Recovered

It’s always good to see more photos.  I’ve seen this before but it’s nice to see it included in this scrapbook.

Page 1 Sig Levy Young

Seeing what was important to him is really fun.  But I don’t think anything will ever top this story.

Page 1 Poor Sig

Could this really have been true?  Poor Sig!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Homeward Bound

With that, it appears The Levy Family Motoring Trip of 1940 had come to an end.  Maybe abruptly, maybe not – I just don’t know.  There are so many questions I have about this trip and as I reflect on what I’ve learned, I may have created even more questions.  I sure wish I’d come across this photo album when Dad was still here so I could get some answers and talk about all of the details with him.

First, I look back at this itinerary.


From the photos and hotel bills, it seems as if the family turned around in Portland and then spent July 9 at the Coquille Hotel.  Why didn’t they go on to Seattle?  Although from the notation at the bottom of the itinerary it looks like Sig might have known this was a possibility. 

And as I went through the few items that were loose in the scrapbook, I found some clues.

Southern Pacific

Southern Pacific’s routes.  Look at that – the Shasta Route went from San Francisco to Portland.  Seems like that would be a pretty interesting trip for a family.  And on the back was this.

Southern Pacific Tickets

Total $99.  For what?  Did they actually make the journey by train??  All this time I thought they were in a car but now I think they were, in fact, on the train!

American Express

Look at that – $99 again.  That can’t be coincidental.

Tickets Itemized

And there you have it – $99 for 9 days.  So was the $99 for the hotels……or for the rail tickets?  I’m not sure but now I’m about 99% sure that they were on the train rather then in their car.  How cool is that?

I have to wonder how they returned to San Francisco since the scrapbooker didn’t leave me any clues.  I do know they made it back and spent some time with family.  In fact, in my boxes of photos I found another family photo where I can identify people more clearly now.

GordonLevy_Sherwin_MervynGunzendorfer_JacobGunzendorfer_IreneGunzendorfr_AlSherwin_RobLevy_LoraineGunzendorfer_SigLevy 1940

Left around the table, starting with my Dad, Gordon Levy, in front.  Carol Sherwin, Mervyn Gunzendorfer, Jacob Gunzendorfer, Irene Gunzendorfer Sherwin, Al Sherwin, Rob Levy, Loraine Guzendorfer Levy, Sig Levy.  Looks like Lois Sherwin was taking the photo.  Either that or Jacob’s wife, Edith. 

Another photo I found was the Potter Hotel, which is in Santa Barbara.  Seems like a likely stop as they traveled from Monterey to Hollywood.  Or maybe on their way back to Fresno.  Since there is no hotel bill, it was probably just a meal stop.

Potter Hotel Santa Barbara

One question I did answer was if the family visited with Abe and Birdie (Schwartz) Gunzendorfer during their time in Pacific Grove.  I figured they did but it’s nice to have proof with this photo of Abe from July 22, 1940.  And I can be almost certain that this was taken in the garden of their home.

Abraham Gunzendorfer 7_22_1940

And that’s the end of the line.  Thanks for traveling along on The Levy Family Motoring Trip of 1940.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

We ain’t afraid of no ghosts!

The Levy Family Motoring Trip of 1940 next headed to San Francisco.  Once again, the family stayed at The Clift Hotel, their favorite spot.  I have memories as a child of traveling the one hour or so from our house to San Francisco to visit our grandparents who always, ALWAYS, stayed at The Clift.

Clift Hotel

And, of course, they kept the hotel bill.

Clift Hotel bill

Whoa!  Six days in one spot?  Good to see they had their laundry done for a whopping $3.56.  And parking was just 75 cents!  It’s probably closer to $75 these days.  And a long distance call – who was there to call?  Oh wait, maybe they were checking in with their family who they were going to visit while they were there.

This was titled Sherwin’s lunch.  My grandmother’s cousin, Irene Gunzendorfer, married Albert Sherwin so this would have been their family.  Irene’s father, Jacob Gunzendorfer, was the younger brother of Loraine’s father (and my great grandfather), Abraham Gunzendorfer.

Sherwins Lunch

Finding this photo brought me back in touch with my cousins, Irene’s grandchildren, as I turned to them for help identifying the folks seated around the table.

As best we can tell, Inez (Jacob’s wife) is the woman standing and Jacob is the gent in the straw hat.  Next to Jacob is Irene (aka Lolly) and to her left is either her husband, Albert (aka Bump), or son, Mervyn.  Irene and Al had twins, Carol and Lois, one of which is seated on the left with the sunglasses and the other looks to be in the right hand corner.  Okay, we think that’s it. 

But wait!  There are two other people in the photo which my cousin couldn’t identify and as I looked closer, I realized that the back of the head is Sig’s and the young man on the right taking a drink is my dad’s brother, Rob Levy.  Looks like they all had a really nice meal and I’ll bet they had a good time visiting.

And a few more of the family.

Loey & Carol

These are the twins, daughters of Irene (Guzendorfer) and Al Sherwin.  Carol and Lois?  Or Lois and Carol? 

I remember all these names – in fact, we actually visited with them in San Francisco several times and, I’m told, saw each other on vacation in Washington D.C. and/or New York in the early 1960’s.  But with all of that, it wasn’t until recently that I figured out that we were actually related.

This one was titled The Board. 

The Board

There’s an empty chair – was that where my dad was sitting?

After 6 days in San Francisco, that’s all the photos they took.  Or at least the only ones they included in the scrapbook.

And then they were off……


Say what?  Someone was trying to get creative with the word RODEO.  I had to laugh that they started to write it in a straight line and then erased it in order to get more creative.  Another entry on the page tells me that they were at the Salinas Rodeo.

And look at this – Fresno was represented!  That must have been fun to see your home town in the rodeo.  So, of course, they took a photo!  You can barely see that the Fresno Sheriff Posse was in the 2nd row.

Fresno Sheriff Posse

And more photos of the rodeo.

Rodeo Crowd

Hi Yo Silver

Rodeo More Horses

Again, boring photos.  These wouldn’t even make the cut in our photography of today.

And then it was on to other hotels.

Forest Hill Hotel bill

Pacific Grove makes sense – I’m sure they spent time with Loraine’s parents, Abraham and Birdie (Schwartz) Gunzendorfer.  6 days’ charges in the cafe – a grand total of $12.45!

The Forest Hill Hotel was built in 1926 and was the only hotel in Pacific Grove at that time.  It was a five story, 100 room hotel which was an immediate success.  In 1954 the hotel was purchased by the Methodist Church and converted into a retirement home, now called Forest Hill Manor.

Forest Hill Hotel
And then farther south to Hollywood.
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel bill

Another 6 days and not a single photo?  I’m guessing someone got bored with the scrapbook.

Look at that – the Hollywood Roosevelt is still there today and has quite a history.

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Some notable guests of the hotel, which opened in 1927.
  • Marilyn Monroe lived at the hotel for 2 years early in her career.  It is said that she and Arthur Miller, her third husband, met in the nightclub.
  • Shirley Temple learned to do her famed stairstep dance routine on the hotel steps.
  • Montgomery Clift stayed here for 3 months (room 928) while he filmed From Here to Eternity.
  • Errol Flynn is said to have developed his recipe for bootlegged gin in a tub in the hotel’s barber shop.
  • Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable (swoon!), Carole Lombard, Mary Martin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Prince, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie have all been guests in the hotel.
But the most interesting fact, and one that my daughter might need to research further, is that the hotel is rumored to be haunted and has welcomed ghosts as visitors.  Some involve celebrities who have stayed at the hotel while some involve a little girl in a blue dress named Caroline.  There have been reports of cold spots, photographic “orbs”, and mysterious calls to the hotel operator.