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Yellowed 63 Bulletin triggers memories
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Staff reporter for the
Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin
Darrell “Rocky” Wilson and his wife Lou shared a yellowed, 1963 edition of The Manteca Bulletin they had come across in their home.

The front page Christmas feature picture showed their 3-year-old-blonde daughter Tami looking at a Nativity scene with her poodle “Georgie” at her side.  They thought I would like to have that paper because the photo was one I had manipulated way before the days of Photoshop.  It was a compilation of three separate photographs.

It was back in a day when “Batting the Breeze” by publisher George Murphy still anchored the front page with the width of the page much larger than it is today – with a reader needing long arms to open the paper in front of them.   His greetings that year only listed the names of staff members with the tri-weekly publication that sold for 10 cents a copy or $4 a year – Vol. 57, edition 60.

It was a moment in time before school unification that saw longtime Manteca Elementary School Superintendent Neil Hafley – in that position since 1944 – leaving the district and joining the county schools office being in charge of business affairs.

The ads in the paper brought back countless memories of the past business community.  The many two-column-wide holiday greeting ads didn’t have store addresses for the most part because shoppers already knew where they were located. Manteca was still a small town of probably 7,000 folks.

Those ads represented people like Floyd Lee of The Toggery on Yosemite at Maple,  Bruno Checchi of the C.C. Simminger  Insurance Agency on Maple Avenue, Paul and Helene Stuart of the 33 Club Café, Ted and Butch from French Cleaners;   Chuck, Mary, Carolyn and Ruth from Porterfield Jewelers also on Maple Avenue; George Lucken of State Farm Insurance; Marv and Dorothy Comstock of The Bootery; Oscar and Don Breitenbucher of Joaquin Tire Service, Walter Brodie and Ralph Lyons with Central Plumbing Co., Mabel Taylor of Taylor Floral & Gift Shop,   John and Eileen Mendosa of Mendosa’s Men’s Wear and an ad from Sadie’s Beauty Salon listing “the girls” as Sadie Cabral, Gussie Cabral, Eva Borges, Gerry Wright, Hilda Winder, Marge Abbott, Ruth Coldren, Yvonne Gonzales, Dorthy Teicheira, Beverly Leatherwood, Sandra Langum and Marlene Teicheira; and The Manteca Drug Store listed their druggists as Les Wilson, Ted Poulos and Stan Lee.  At the counter was Erma Wilson.

Other ads were from the Brown-Mahin Department Store, Delta Food Market, Central Valley National Bank, Modern Electric, Oscar’s Café, Lancaster’s Van and Storage, San Joaquin First Federal Savings and Loan, A&B Electric Motor Shop, Rowe Hardware, Duane’s Auto Repair, and Domestic Laundry along with Ed’s TV. There was a full page ad from Jim and Art’s House of Spirits on Yosemite Avenue saying they would be open all day both Christmas and New Year’s Day.  So many of those businesses are non-existant today and forgotten by most of us.

The cost of living was much lower in 1963 with a one room apartment going for $60 a month.  A clean, large two bedroom apartment was offered at $65 and a house in the country could be had for $70.  A three bedroom with a one car garage, close to Yosemite School, was going for $95 a month.

Seasoned oak fire wood was going for $30 a cord and German shepherd puppies were being sold for $5 each.  Turkey was 45 cents a pound, surprisingly only about half of what it is going for today.

A sports column, “Time Out with Darell Phillips,” told of high school foot ball teams being rated by the San Francisco Examiner,  listing the Manteca Buffaloes as the eighteenth best team in the North State.  The Buffaloes were one of only three teams from the valley to be listed in the ratings along with the Lodi Flames and the Stagg Delta Kings.

The now historic El Rey Theatre was showing “The Thrill of It All!” with Doris Day and James Garner.  It was the El Rey that  just two years later was gutted by a late night fire after the final showing of “The Towering Inferno.”  I’ll never forget that night; I was there – the only news photographer to respond waiting some two hours for the fire to erupt through the roof.  Tracy Fire Department had just taken delivery of their new snorkel fire truck and responded with mutual aid to Yosemite and Main streets.

While it all seems so much like just yesterday, it’s definitely not.  

A front page story told of school trustees being pleased with the second set of bids they received to build the eight classroom Golden West School.  Walter Hachman of Stockton offered the base bid of $159,500.  Such a cost figure is beyond belief in today’s world.