Thursday, June 17, 2010


Yesterday I blogged about Grandfathers, today I want to talk about mine and Mac's Fathers.
Mac's Father, Rafael Hidalgo Gutierrez was born in or near Huelva, Spain in 1907.  He emigrated with his family in 1913 to the Hawaiian Islands where he grew up cutting sugar cane, picking pineapples organizing work crews and trying to keep his father Manuel out of trouble.
The family moved to California in 1928 traveling under his mother's maiden name,  no telling why.  He at first worked with the family picking crops and then became the first in his family to get an indoor job at a stove factory.  Along the way he had learned to play flamenco guitar and formed his own band, they played all over California in the 30's, 40's and 50's.  He and my mother-in-law Pazquela married in 1932 and they had 4 sons.
In addition to playing guitar Rafael was an artist painting primarily in oils, one of his paintings hangs in Centennial Hall in Hayward, California. In addition to painting and playing guitar he created numerous animals and statues out of plaster of paris, their basement had a life-sized tiger and alligator in it!  Written up in the local paper numerous times Rafael was  a  man of many talents, he died in 1983.
My Father James Edward Strader was not as artistically talented as Rafael, but he was a man who grabbed life with both hands and enjoyed everything.  He was born in Monnett, Missouri in 1922  he grew up with his older brother Virge and 4 younger brothers and sisters.  He told me that when he was a child he and his cousin wanted to run off and be cowboys, and in fact he retained a life-long interest in the old west.  When we traveled when I was a child we visited most of the old ghost towns, Virginia City, Nevada, Tombstone, Arizona, Dodge City, Kansas and many old Army forts.  He always claimed we were distantly related to General George Custer of Little Bighorn fame.  About the only connection I've found there is that both families came from Virginia.
My parents met in the shipyards in California  during World War II and were married in 1944.  After the war the family moved to Missouri, then Oklahoma and finally  back to California.  He started college when we first went back to California because he wanted to attend the Southern Baptist Seminary and become a minister.  That didn't work out which is too bad, he'd have been a good one.
Along the way my Father was a bread man, truck driver, real estate agent and finally convinience store owner.  In his 40's he took up the trumpet, which was typical of him, he was always wanting to learn something new.   He always had a big smile, he never met a stranger; we always joked that when he'd go into a gas station to pay that we wouldn't see him for a while because he'd find someone to talk to!  He loved fishing and hunting, traveling and gambling.  He died in 2003 and I miss him still.

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