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During his high school years, young John worked for the Purity grocery store, right down the road, delivering groceries and stocking shelves, delivering newspapers—including to the Murphy house—on his bike. The family used to attend services at the Catholic church on the block, and John remembers the nuns as very strict. In those days, the young men were pulled into the voluntary fire department and trained in fire fighting because they knew the chief and other people in the department: Frank and Bert White, and Billy Wetterstrom, (the barber on Murphy Avenue); all of the businessmen back then served as volunteer firemen. Everything happened within, and for, the community, in those days.
In his senior year of high school, when the U.S, joined WWII, John quit school to enlist at The Peninsula Defense Training Center in Mountain View where he learned to work sheet metal, Right out of this course, he was hired in 1942 to work at the Naval Air padded ballet shoes Station Moffett Federal Airfield, In 1943, he was drafted for war service and was originally trained for radio communications, but then worked as a ball turret gunner, He never went overseas, but traveled around the U.S., with stints in Florida and South Dakota. After the war, John worked for the Food Machinery Corporation, but when he was laid off, he returned to Moffett Field and worked in the machine shop for 27 years, much like his dad, He played racquetball with friends, bringing coffee in thermoses and cookies during a break in the game, John, his first wife and their son lived in Mountain View and San José, always close enough to look after his parents in Sunnyvale..
When his father was ailing, John moved back into his childhood home to care for him. Nothing much had been changed in the house. John enclosed the porch with windows and added some storage units to the back, but otherwise it stayed untouched. In 1998, John took a family trip to Yugoslavia and while he connected with an aunt and cousins, he was disheartened to no longer share their language. Back home, he became a regular at the senior lunch at St. Thomas’ Church where he would join the dancing to live music.
“There were a lot of good dancers there.”, he said, winking, Today, arthritis plagues his hip, so he’s had to slow down, but he’s still at the church on the daily basis to count the money coming in through the dances. He has donated several of his photographs to the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum, including a staff photo from Hendy and a class photo from Fremont High School, He attended the opening of the museum’s special exhibit on “Hendy Iron Men” and returned several times to padded ballet shoes view the exhibit, Last summer, he was a guest at the dedication of the new panels in the Orchard Heritage Park Interpretive Exhibit Pavilion, which added the names of many Yugoslav orchardists..
You might see John around town, he still drives an electric car, “ because it makes sense, and they are so quiet” but walking or riding his bike are now much limited. The city’s development attracts John’s attention, and he is sure to attend community meetings about city planning. He is not too happy with how his city has changed. There is too much traffic, he says, and too many new buildings. The speed limit on Sunnyvale Avenue is 30 mph, but vehicles zoom by much faster, making him feel unsafe. He has petitioned the city to install flashing lights to discourage speeding, but so far, nothing has happened. Since Taaffe and Frances Streets have been closed off, all the traffic runs through Sunnyvale Avenue, which has become very busy.
Orchid Auction: The Santa Clara Valley Orchid Society holds its annual auction, Scores of orchid species and hybrids will be offered at very low starting bids, Aug, 1, 7 p.m, American Legion Hall, 1504 padded ballet shoes Minnesota Ave, Santa Clara County Fair: Expect lots of livestock, rides, live music, roller derby, food, children’s entertainment and concerts by Eddie Money and Metalachi, Aug, 2-5, Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, 344 Tully Road, San Jose, $5-$8, $25 for Eddie Money, https://tickets.thefair.org/p/34, 408-494-3100..
San Jose Renaissance Faire & Fantasy Fest: Hobnob with faux nobility and knights during this Shakespeare-themed extravaganza featuring more than 800 costumed performers, pageantry, Shakespearean vignettes, staged battles and storytelling for children. Aug. 4-5, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Discovery Meadow Park, 180 Woz Way, San Jose. https://www.sanjosefaire.com. $8-$18. Rose Garden Farmers Market: Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Lincoln High School parking lot, 577 Dana Ave. Farmers Market: Willow Glen’s market operates year-round. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Willow Glen Community Center, 2175 Lincoln Ave., San Jose.
Senior Tennis: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8-11 a.m. Bramhall Park, 1320 Willow St., San Jose, Contact Barb Jarvis at 408-286-9369, Willows Cafe: Lunch is served Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The menu usually includes entree, vegetables, side dish, salad, fruit and milk for a suggested donation of $3 for adults 60 and older/$6 for guests under 60, padded ballet shoes Willow Glen Community and Senior Center, 2175 Lincoln Ave., San Jose, Reservations required 48 hours in advance to 408-265-0915, Kirk Café at Camden: Seniors are invited to enjoy lunch and make friends at this program offered every weekday, Enjoy special events, birthday parties and guest speakers, Lunch is served Monday through Friday at noon, Suggested donation is $3 for adults 60 years and older, Camden Community Center, 3369 Union Ave, San Jose, Reservations are required (24 hours in advance). 408-371-2888..