Saturday, September 7, 2013
|S. Mariani & Sons at 23rd and Columbia (now Florida). See the children playing out front? One could be Vera! Photo used with permission of Carl Pisaturo- http://carlpisaturo.com/Carlovision_MAIN.html|
When Vera Mariani was a young girl, she lived on the corner of 23rd and Columbia (now Florida) in San Francisco. Below her house at street level was her father’s hardware store, S. Mariani & Sons. The “S” stood for Stefano. The sons were Helvetio, Walter, Arnold, Stephen and Eugene, although Arnold did not make it to adulthood. Vera used to play around the house and hardware store, exploring and making up games. The siblings closest to her age were her brothers Steve and Gene. Once when my brother was
terrorizing playing with me,
I remember Vera telling me that her brothers played too rough for her, too, and
that she often played alone.
It was during one of these alone playing day that Vera opened the deep cupboard in the kitchen that housed the ironing board. I remember this cupboard. If you opened the door, you could fold down the ironing board and reveal shelves. As she opened this one day, she saw something on the top shelf. What was it? She retrieved the step stool and climbed up. Grasping the edge, she pulled it and then saw the well-recognized logo of Maskey’s Candies—a mask and a key.
San Francisco was and still is known worldwide for its candy. From the 2000 National Register of Historic Places Registration Form requesting that the Haas Candy Factory at 54 Mint Street in San Francisco:
San Francisco possessed many favorable characteristics for the success of the candy industry: the cool summer climate is favorable for dipping chocolates. The deep water port facilitated importation of cocoa beans and sugar cane. Sugar was refined locally as early as 1857. The large population provided a good market for the product, which included not only chocolates, but candy sticks, licorice, sugar plums, lollipops, Turkish delight, ribbon candy, and taffy.
In the 1887 Langley’s San Francisco City Directory, Maskey’s was first listed as a “manufacturer of fine candies.” (From http://archive.org/details/crockerlangleysa1897sanf). They are no longer in business, but the location of the factory and store still stands at 48-52 Kearny Street.
When seeing that mask and key logo, young Vera must have had a jolt of excitement, a Pavlovian response. Candy! Right there! She opened the carton and found that it was, in fact, a box full of chocolates. Of course no one would miss one tiny small piece. She plopped it in her mouth, savoring the delicious chocolate while she put the step stool and ironing board away. A week or so later, she wondered if the box was still there. She repeated her adventure and found it was the same box with the one missing chocolate. Surely it had been forgotten. But if she were to point it out, she’d have to share with her siblings. Best to keep this to herself, she likely thought, as she popped another chocolate. This continued a few times, each visit emptying the box by one chocolate.
On another note, outings with Father were very treasured. He was a busy hardware man and had sons to teach the business to and customers to care for. So one day, when Stefano asked Vera to come along with him for a visit with his very best customer, she was excited. They rode the buggy over and upon reaching the door, Stefano pulled out a box of Maskey’s chocolates for presentation to the customer. “How lovely of you to bring such fine chocolates,” said the customer. Stefano bowed slightly in deference and with a touch of pride. Meanwhile, little Vera stood next to him, shivering in horror and fear. It was THE box. The half emptied box of Maskey’s chocolates! She feared a whipping when she confessed to Father, but instead just got lectured all the way home.
The part of this story that Louise told me that makes me the saddest is that I will never get to taste a Maskey’s chocolate. If I did, I know I’d taste it with the taste buds and excitement of the eyes of young Vera. I might even sneak them from my own cabinet, just to experience that moment of hers. I tried to find a picture of the Maskey’s logo online, but couldn’t locate it. If anyone has it to share, I’d love to see!
Note: The Mariani family is not my blood family, but there are not many left of the Marianis. I have deep roots with the Marianis with my great grandfather and father both being caretakers on their ranch in Portola Valley, as well as a house in Portola Valley much later as I attended junior high and high school. Because of my love for my “Auntie Vera,” the genealogist in me didn’t want to leave them untraced. So I have been researching them blindly (i.e. only records, no ancestral stories) for about 3 years. Last week I had the opportunity to meet with Louise, the 99-year-old granddaughter of the immigrant Mariani, cousin to my Vera, who I remember well from my childhood. She supplied me with wonderful stories (including this one) and genealogy that I will be sharing both here and in the book I’m writing.
Posted by Debbie at 8:57 AM
Monday, September 2, 2013
As most of you know, I have been working diligently on a book about the Mariani family. A few weeks ago, in researching Daniel Mariani, the youngest son of the Swiss immigrant, it dawned on me that the Marianis tended to live very long lives. And that just because Daniel's daughter would be 99 years old, didn't, in the Mariani world, mean she wasn't still living.
I turned to the tools and websites learned in Finding the Living genealogy classes and found a street name associated with her. I recognized that street from the 1940 census research I did. Which had the street number. What are the odds that she'd be in the same house as over 70 years ago? But I wrote a letter.
And got a phone call less than a week later from an extremely coherent and wonderful Louise! We had lunch Saturday at her lovely home.
I shared with her what I know of her immigrant grandfather and she let me COPY HIS PICTURE! And the genealogy work her sister did in the 1950s on the thin typewriter paper neatly bound in a binder. She told me stories told to her and filled in a number of gaps. Her information changed more than one dot-to-dot picture that records had given me about a person.
She complained a bit about the things she can't do any longer, like walking her 40 blocks each day, but for 99---heck, for someone even 79-- she is amazing. I can't wait to go see her again.
Posted by Debbie at 9:10 AM
Sunday, August 18, 2013
We’ve planned our first semester for the school year for this year with a little more classes and a little less planning. Here are some of the things we’ll be doing:
Language Arts will consist of reading, writing, and grammar. I’m not sure where public speaking fits in, so I put it with Language Arts. We found some great books at their levels and they will read one or two of those each month. August’s books were Series of Unfortunate Events (Book 1) for Signa and Frannie K. Stein for Will. September for Signa is Diary of a Young Girl (did you know that that is the real name of Diary of Anne Frank? I didn’t…). William will read Captain Underpants. For writing, each day they will add to a story and each month they will write a paper of some theme. They will also be part of a writing club where all writing is tracked and they learn new writing techniques and ideas. For grammar, they will continue learning (and re-learning the Latin and Greek roots, as well as work through Warner’s grammar with me. Signa needs to finish her grammar book from last year and Will can work on Study Island’s language arts for practice and filler. For public speaking, they will do their book club report (first one was today) and take the presentation project for 4-H (Will is technically too young for it, but I’m going to have him secretly accidentally learn from it). They will both give 4-H presentations at Presentation Day.
Math will be online programs this year for the children. They are self-correcting and let you move on when you are done or slow down when you need more help. That was an issue with the books we used last year--- too much repetition when they already “got it.” So Aleks math for Signa for this year and William will do 2nd grade math in August and September (he got halfway through most of 2nd grade math last year) and start Aleks math for 3rd grade in October (or earlier if I find he’s ready).
Science is chemistry this year with Jenny, our homeschooling hero. Jenny has a lot on the agenda: Matter, Properties of Matter, Physical and Chemical Properties, Pure Substances & Mixtures, States of Matter and Changes of State, Intro to Energy, Temperature, Thermal Energy and Heat, Atom, Periodic Table, Electron and Chemical Bonding, Bonding, Chemical Reactions, Organic Chemistry, Nuclear Reactions, Solutions, Acids, Bases and Salts, and pH. For science they will also be in small animals class and Signa will be teaching a class about insects.
History will continue Story of the World, but Marc is going to take the topic and go with items about that, rather than reading the text. So if the topic is Cleopatra, for instance, they will watch Brainpop, movies, and explore that topic, rather than reading the (boring at times) text. They will also do family history which will introduce timelines of history and other events in history to learn about.
Art is different this year as, for the first time in over 5 years, they will not go to Angela’s art class. We decided that William really needs to be in karate. He’s watched it all these years and loves it. The expense, though, was just too much. So this year we decided to stop art and give karate to William. To make up for this, we will do a lot of crafts and also introduce the production of art cards, especially for the reading they do. They made them for book club today and I think we can have fun with these. They will also continue with guitar lessons (Signa) and piano lessons (Will). Signa will be taking a movie making class on Saturday mornings and both kids are taking an introduction to theater class. So hopefully they won’t miss art class too much.
Physical Education is easy this year. Karate for both and swimming for both. William also wants to do Little League this year, so we’ll try to squeeze that in!
So there you have it. Mascot Manor Academy for the first semester of the 2013-2014 school year. I’m going to try to keep better tabs for you all here on Mascot Manor of what we do each week. We have to document it all for the charter school we work through so may as well document for all of us!