To the editor:
My formative years were spent in Newman at 1311 S St., and how lucky I was. My father encouraged our family to enjoy the act of reading, and the excitement that comes with reading. Dad had long-time subscriptions to Look and Life magazines, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Modesto Bee and our local newspaper, The West Side Index. Although I did spend more time reading the green section of the Chronicle and the sports sections of the Bee and Index than I did with the other sections of the paper, nevertheless I was reading.
Although my Newman years have passed a long time ago my West Side Index subscription has kept me well in touch with the Emerald City, with community-club events, city development, the inhabitants, school events and activities. I do not make the trip to Newman very often now, and lucky for me the Index was my way to feel as though I was still a part of the communities of the West Side.
I received the Index either on Saturdays or Mondays and before I read the Fresno Bee or paid bills on the computer or begin any honey-dos for the day, I would sit down and enjoy breakfast with the Index. Reading the Index always brought a smile to my face. Remembering when me and my buddies with 10 cents each would ride our bikes to the five-and-dime and select 10 cents worth of chocolate candy. And when P Street School was closing, we third graders had to carry our chairs to the new school across town and into the country ‘till we reached Von Renner. Or the time a bunch of trick-or-treat pranksters on Halloween night dumped a wooden outhouse of the corner of O and Merced streets, what a story that was!
Something about seeing your name in print for the first time, what it is, I do not know? But in 1957 my mother hosted a birthday party for me as I turned 7 on February 22. With a George Washington party decoration, the event made the Society section of the Index. And later when my mother became a Cub Scout den leader our den visited the Index and we made the paper with a picture. Back then the Society section of the Index was full of wedding pictures, community events, club offerings, births at the West Side Hospital, P Street School, Yolo School, and Orestimba High events. Not going to forget, in seventh grade I won $10 in the Index football contest for the first time. And the following week I went back-to-back, came in first and won another $10. Was I ever happy. After the second win, everyone at Yolo was coming to me for my football picks (I gave everyone, including my close friends, fake picks). When I moved away from town, I would call Mom on Thursdays to say hello, and to give her my picks for the football contest. Mom won the football contest numerous times with my picks, and Dad could never figure out how Mom won so many times when she did not know the difference between Ohio State and Tulane.
Nothing better all these years than finding the Index in your mailbox and reading about the West Side, the news of the city, and did Orestimba beat Gustine again on Friday night? Great job all these years the Index staff has provided for all the readers who turned pages with smiles on their faces. The McGinnis family, Susan Mattos, Bill Mattos and Dean Harris, are to be applauded for everything that they have accomplished, established, and did for our towns.
So many of us will miss the Index next Thursday and every Thursday that follows.