Nancy, Bernie and Dorothy at the Redwoods.
In 1961, the Mayers, like several of their neighbors, added a rumpus room onto their house. This room, with its "Polynesian theme" was where the family spent much of their leisure time watching TV, reading, and just being
together. Family movies from this time period feature several parties in which teenagers as well as adults twisted and danced the night away.
Although the backyard area was reduced with the addition of the rumpus
room and patio, it was still filled with an endless lawn that was as green as the first leaves of spring and a variety of trees that produced the sweetest fruit you can imagine. Each summer the girls would pick the apricots and plums from the trees bent heavy
with ripened fruit. Dorthy would prepare apricot cobblers and jam for months to come. The plums were cooked and hung to slowly drip from cheese-cloth bags until the bowls below them were full of sweet, sticky jelly. On the patio, Bernie would routinely heat
up the barbeque in preparation of one of his famous chicken dinners. He made his own secret sauce to baste the chicken with as it sizzled on the grill. On still summer evening you could almost taste the chicken just by standing hear the barbeque and inhaling
Bernie's culinary talents weren't limited to the barbeque on the patio. Once, he and Pat tried to surprise everyone by baking a cherry pie for dessert. Unfortunatley, they forgot to pit the cherries,
and accidently substituted salt for sugar. But other than that...
For breakfast on the weekends, Bernie could lure the heaviest of sleepers out of bed with his hashbrown potatoes stir fried with onions and bacon.
These were accompanied by his omlettes withch he called "hidden pockets" The best part about eating a hidden pockets was guessing what the SI's were (secret ingredients).
During the week, Bernie would leave his
mark (literally) on the hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator. He usually made distinctive faces on each one with a marker and wrote messages on them for whoever found them later. Undoubtedly, some of these found their way into what he called his "garbage sandwiches."
The Mayers enjoyed many good times at home on Brayton Street, but they also continued to add to their favorite getaways. The family took vacations to Yosemite and stayed in Camp Curry. By day, they explored the rivers, waterfalls
and hiking trails. In the evening, they would gather with fellow campers to watch Yosemite's "Firefall." Other trips included journeys north to the Redwoods featuring stops at "Confusion Hill" and stays at the "Pinkey House." Enjoyable warm days were
spent at Seacliff Beach relaxing under the giant blue and white umbrella and wading as far into the water as you dared. During Easter vacation in 1962, the Mayers packed the car to capacity and headed to texas to visit Aunt Bernice and her family. It took
3 days to drive each way, but the long trip was broken up by stops to explore a market in Mexico and seeing the Arizona desert.
For the next several years, Bernie continued working at the Port of Oakland. However,
his Real Estate training had not been wasted. He began selling resort properties on the weekends. With Pat and Nancy in college, Jan and Margaret spent many weekends traveling with their parents in the "Gold Country" where Bernie sold property. Other times,
they would head north along the windy, rocky coastline and spend time at Sea Ranch. Many summer and winter vacations were enjoyed at Blue lake Springs with Brayton Street neighbors, the Sprotts and the Duartes. Sometmes, Bernie's sister Aline and her
husband, Richard, would join them along with her daughter Elaine Evans and her family: husband Lee and sons Joey and Steven.