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Six Degrees of Manteca
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The list for Manteca’s newest Hall of Fame inductees is out and I was excited to see that not only did I recognize every name but I have broken bread with more than a few of them. I’m no spring chicken and have had that short internal dialogue we have from time to time – am I getting old? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” But as I perused the list of 2015 inductees, I felt something besides old. I felt lucky; lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to have had several of these inductees in my life at one time or another.

Mrs. Ruth Anne Boggs (Education): To many a Mantecan Mrs. Boggs was our first teacher. I had her as my preschool teacher at Humpty Dumpty in the Lindbergh School building. She set the standard for hundreds of young Mantecans. How to behave and play with others were at the forefront of Humpty Dumpty. In my memory, Mrs. Boggs looked exactly the way a teacher should, and I remember her being kind – never scolding – even when kids like me misbehaved. 

My mother enjoys telling a story of preschool classmate Karl Nelson’s desire to perform a magic show for the entire class. Mrs. Boggs encouraged Karl to use me as his assistant, a mistake he would soon regret. I’m told that I instantly went into “ham” mode, bucking Karl’s instructions and attempting to make the crowd laugh at each and every opportunity. I’m told I was a good minute into my own personal night at that The Improv when a flustered and teary eyed Karl exited the stage as I rambled away oblivious to the drama I had caused. But Mrs. Boggs intervened, kneeling down to eye level to politely ask, “Chris, how do you think that made Karl feel?” All the while making sure I knew how funny I had been. My mother witnessed the entire debacle and gave Mrs. Boggs a polite and acknowledging head nod. The type of head nod that announced, “I will beat him when we get in the car,” and away my behind went to be spanked. Thank you, Mrs. Boggs, for starting many Manteca kids off on the right foot.

Aaron Goodwin (Arts): It must’ve been sometime around 1983 that I recall meeting Aaron. It was outside the MRPS Hall, but this was not your regular Portagee-meet-Portagee encounter. Aaron (probably 16 at the time) and his crew of breakdancing buddies were outside putting on a show. They had a 10-by-10-foot piece of linoleum they’d purchased from TG&Y laid out and were back-spinning away. Aaron had control of the boom box, along with a cool pair of white “poppin’ pants” that had “AG – DJ” on the side. Yep, even then Aaron was the DJ. 

Aaron may have been part of a breakdancing crew, but he also grew up at the MRPS Hall. He made sure that any little Portuguese kid that wanted to hit the linoleum got the chance – me included – and the old timers took notice and invited him and his crew inside to display their moves. There, Aaron was, blasting the song “Planet Rock” in the ballroom, as old and young danced around. Thirty years later, he is still doing what he loves. Whether you know him as his on-air personality, Randy “Bubba” Black, or just good old Aaron, one thing is certain – he is a one-of-a-kind Mantecan that is not only at the top of his profession but he loves what he does.

Daryll Quaresma (Agriculture): The Quaresma Dairy was our neighboring dairy as a kid and Daryll was the older, taller, bigger, and much cooler brother of my friend Richard. He was a Manteca High football stud, which for a Manteca kid in the country made him instantly cooler than pretty much anybody I knew. I remember being about 12 when I rode my 3-wheeler over to see Richard. Daryll (in his early 20s) was feeding calves, a chore I shared at our own dairy. I stopped to talk shop. In reality, I just wanted him to know that I also fed calves and hopefully earn some cool points. At some point my mouth overrode my talent and Daryll asked me, “How many calves did you lose last month?” I don’t remember my exact number (possibly out of embarrassment), but he returned volley with “I only lost two all last year.” I was sure he was lying. He wasn’t, and as a farm boy, I will tell you that is an incredible achievement. He gave me a few tips and sent me on my way, and even stopped by our place soon after just to see how I was doing with my calves. I was 12 and had Daryll Quaresma checking out my work – talk about feeling cool.

Mr. Earl Pimental (Special Recognition): “Ah-eh-ee-oh-oo” This Spanish vowel memorization song is forever burned into my mind because of one Mr. Earl Pimental. Mr. P was a Manteca High teaching legend by the time I arrived. He had long since hung up his coaching whistle, but you could see him on the football field running the chain gang. My sophomore year he was my Spanish II instructor. Mr. Pimental was always amused at the “Spanish” I’d attempt to speak, explaining “That’s dairy Spanish. I’m teaching real Spanish.” By the way, does anybody have a better smile than Mr. P?!

He had charm and a calm demeanor, but had a fire that would come out now and then. On one such occasion, I was taking my sweet time returning to his class after a fire drill and was noticeably mulling around outside his window talking to a few girls. He opened a window and said “Get in this class now!” It wasn’t much of a yell, more of warning shot across my bow. However, he made sure to slam the window shut to let me know he meant business. CRASH! Yep, the window shattered. That may have been the longest walk from the 60 wing to 70 wing in my life, but upon entering the classroom he didn’t say a word at least until the bell rang. “Teicheira, hold on a few minutes.” I was ready for the hammer to drop. He handed me a dust pan and a broom. “You better start sweeping, because I’m not excusing you from being late to next period.” And never again was it brought up.

Coach Jack Thomson (Athletics): To be honest, I could probably write a cool Coach Thomson story in every column I write until the day I die. He is hands down my all-time favorite coach – and as many will agree – is the best this town has ever seen. I remember in the not-so-distant past, a group of Mantecans standing around after a softball game. The question of “all-time greatest Manteca coach” popped up. I patiently waited my turn to interject coach Thomson’s name but at least three in the group beat me to the punch. “Coach Thomson could take a first-year girl’s ping-pong team and win a title,” JD Willis said. 

“There is a calmness about coach, and even in the most heated of moments he is always able to convey a message and send you onto the field of play with confidence. 

“His primary passion is baseball, but I was lucky enough to play football under him as a sophomore. We had only lost one game as freshmen, but had lost our two best players going into sophomore year. During one of the first practices, Coach T explained “I talked to one of the other VOL sophomore coaches. They say without Asbell and Rodriguez, this team will be lucky to go 5-5.” He didn’t say it angrily; much more matter-of-fact like, which definitely pissed us off even more. And he continued to say it all year as we ran laps, practiced, walked through the hallway. “Five-5, gentlemen.”

“It worked. We were 9-0 heading into the last game against that other school(East Union High) in town. And like the year before, somehow we were down six with just a few minutes left, facing a fourth-and-2. Coach called timeout to discuss a play with his quarterback, (yours truly). “How do you feel about running a naked boot leg here?” I reminded him of just how slow I was. His pep talk of “Exactly, they’ll never expect it” didn’t exactly instill the confidence I hoped for. He threw in a calming laugh and said I’d be fine, adding one last caveat: “Don’t tell anyone in the huddle you are keeping it. I want everyone completing their motions and all your ball fakes looking real, so call 128 Sweep in the huddle”

Are you serious?!

“You’ll be fine. It’s just two yards.”

In hindsight, I often wonder if this was some type of contingency plan in case I failed. “I called 128 Sweep. I don’t know what Teicheira was doing?!” Anyway, I made exactly 2.1 yards and we scored the winning TD a few plays later. We finished the season10-0. That’s right, other Thomson disciples. My class went undefeated for the man. His only undefeated team, may I add. I often ask what the shame of talking to Coach T after a loss feels like for all his other former players, and then those players remind me “We played baseball under him, dummy!” Excuses, excuses.

Other inductees include: Dr. Craig Bobson (health care); Donna Shannon (at large); Albert Eugene Pagnucci (government); Lindsay Munoz (education); Robert “Budge” and Arlene Brown (business); and Bianca Jacklich (community service). We’d love to hear a story or memory you have of these Mantecans for future Manteca to a T’s. Email them to

Congratulations to all the inductees and their families.

Quote of the Week...

“My 7-year-old niece called me crying today because a ‘cool’ kid called her a dork and I’m still mad about it! … I can’t believe we have a dork in the family.” – Lloyd Barbasol

The Spring 2105 Troop Pack Event...

The Charles O. Palmer II Memorial Troop Support Program is holding their spring pack event Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the American Legion Hall on Yosemite Avenue. People are encouraged to drop off essentials for our troops still overseas: toiletries, snacks, magazines, soap, deodorants. All the creature comforts of home that they are often without for weeks at a time while deployed. These “packs” will be shipped over to American troops in need. A little goes a long way!

“It’s not Where ya do, It’s What ya do”