Honey's Treasures

Honey's Treasures

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Some Childhood Memories 1960's

When I was a child in the 1960's, my family lived in Oakland, CA..  For several years, we lived on 63rd Avenue.  Across the street from us lived one of the early members of the Oakland Chapter of the Hells Angels, Tom Thomas.  We knew him as Tommy.
 Tommy seated far right.
Ralph "Sonny" Barger, president of the Oakland chapter of the Hell's Angels, reads a statement during a news conference in Oakland, Ca., Nov. 19, 1965. Barger announced they will not show up for the Vietnam Day Committee's march on the Oakland Army Terminal, Saturday. The members of the Oakland Hell's Angels chapter from left are, Cliff Workman, treasurer; Barger; Tiny Walter, sergeant at arms; Ron Jacobson, secretary; and Tom Thomas, vice president, seated far right. (AP Photo)
I was going through some old pictures of mine and for some reason I began thinking and wondering what ever happened to Tommy.  When I began researching the Oakland Hell's Angels, I knew he was a popular member of the gang back then, but what I didn't know is that he was the vice president of the Oakland Chapter.  I only found this out when I saw him in the above photo that I discovered online and to the link above.  Looking at that picture they each seem vaguely familiar to me now, ghostlike faces from the past.

Every week, on Friday night, Tommy, would throw a huge party and Hells Angels from all over would show up on our street.  You could hear the rumble of the approaching bikes and we knew what was about to happen. Motorcycles would be parked facing into the curb up and down both sides of the street for blocks.  There was lots of drinking and fighting amongst them.  I can remember kneeling on our sofa and peeking out between the curtains at Tommy's house on those nights because of all the ruckus and being a curious girl.
I spoke to my dad recently to see what he remembered and we began reminiscing about those days and our neighbors.  My dad said he remembers one day having a talk with Sonny about the bikes being in his way when coming or going from our driveway because they were parked too close to it and he told Sonny that he wouldn't want to accidentally hit one or knock one over.  Sonny was nice and he told my father that there wouldn't be a problem and from then on, the bikes were parked clear of our driveway.

In later years, whenever I spoke to my mom about Tommy, she would tell me that he was protective of us girls, meaning my two sisters and I.  We lived in a very rough neighborhood in Oakland and I can imagine that is what she's referring to.  We were the only white people living on the block besides Tommy, our landlords, and an elderly man living next door, and this was during a time when the black power movement was uprising and there was a lot of racial conflict going on.  The Black Panthers roamed the streets.  Tommy watched out for us.  I think that I had a little girl's crush on him.  He was a nice guy from what I remember and a cute one at that.  I only wish that I knew what happened to Tommy.

Of the five men that were seen frequently in our neighborhood in those days, from what I've learned online, Michael 'Tiny' Walters simply disappeared, Ron Jacobson died in Sweet, Idaho in 1972, and Skip Workman died in 2012.  Sonny lives in Cave Creek, Arizona.  And Tommy?  
A video of Skip Workman confronting the author Hunter S. Thompson.
Clifford Clark 'Skip' Workman.  The link to the left will take you to a site that tells a little interesting bit about his life and how Skip came to join the Oakland Chapter.
 Tommy was featured in the May, 1968, Issue of Chopper Magazine.
It seems so long ago.
Our Aunt Verna and Uncle Alva (we pronounced his name Alvie) came to visit us from Willits in 1966.  I only know the year because it's printed on the back side of the photograph.  This is me and my Uncle Alva on one of those rare visits.  Actually, it might be one of their only visits to the city.  Why the photo is clipped, I honestly cannot remember.  Who else is in the picture or why or how it got clipped, I don't know.  Although I do remember Uncle Alvie wanting to sit on my bicycle for the picture and me laughing and telling him that he was too big.  One day I'll share more on my summers spent in Willits with my family.  Many fond memories.
This was our dog Candy.  This might sound strange but I used to believe that I understood her, in a telepathic sort of way.  It's silly, I used to believe that I could hear her thoughts and I secretly knew what she was saying to me.  I've kept this picture of her all these years which was taken in our backyard at 2506 63rd Ave. 

Our landlord and his wife lived across the street from us in a boxy little peach colored house which is still there and is next to Carol and Shot's old house described below.  On Christmas Eve the landlords would walk over to our house and give each of us girls a coloring book and some crayons.  We looked forward to that each year and they were the nicest people.

Across the street at 2481 lived a couple named Carol and Shot.  Carol used to babysit me, she was a big loving woman.  I can remember playing outside by myself, listening to the birds singing, picking the yellow spikes in the center of the calla lilies and pretending to be or do I don't know what.  I don't think Carol ever got mad at me for doing this, perhaps she was unaware I was picking them.  Carol and Shot used to have the most fun parties with Motown music and dancing.  That's where I learned to love to dance at a very young age.
We had an apple tree, a plum tree and an orange tree in the backyard.  One day I picked a bowl of little green apples and was sitting on the step outside sulking.  I wanted to make an apple pie but my mom was busy with something and told me no.  Our next door neighbor, an elderly gentleman, saw me and asked if I wanted to make an apple pie with my apples.  He took me into his kitchen and together we made an apple pie.  I thought it was the best apple pie that I'd ever eaten.

After school each day, we girls would run home and then run down the street to our friend's house and watch Dark Shadows.  Here's the introduction to Dark Shadows, I'm sure many of you have seen.
I can remember when Martin Luther King was killed.  Riots broke out everywhere in Oakland and at our school, people were going crazy.  My sister, Debbie, and I, ran all the way home from school that day in fear for our lives.  It was frightening.

My sisters and I used to walk to the tiny market on the corner for a bag of candy and we had a cat that would follow us and wait outside the store and then follow us back home.  It's now called Pete's Market and I'm not certain if that was the name of it then or not (the name sounds familiar) but the front of the store pretty much looks the same to me.  It was a very small store situated within a residential neighborhood.  I could be wrong but I think the row of candy was located on the right as you walked into the store and they had bins of brightly colored flip flops outside in the summer for a dime per pair and we would buy several pairs for the warmer weather.  Boy, we could get a lot of candy for a quarter or less.  Even for a penny, sometimes two things for a penny!  This is only a small sampling of the candy I grew up eating and can vouch that they gave me plenty of cavities.  They still make mostly all of these candies today.
Once the lemon candies were gone, the box itself made a whistle sound if you blew into one end.

Some hot candy.
Loved these flavorful wafer candies.
Cigar shaped bubble gum.
Wear the necklace and bite off candy as needed.
Like a sweetened Kool-Aid powder.

Everyone in our family smoked cigarettes.  I used to pretend to smoke these candies but I never liked real cigarettes, even as a kid I hated them.  I never smoked even though my friends took up the nasty habit.  And guess who has asthma problems?
Chewy is right!  Chewy goodness by Annabelle's.  A local bay area company.
Juicy wax lips for Halloween.
And the juicy wax syrup bottles.  Bite off the top, suck out the juice and then chew the wax.  Nothing better.
These were one of my favorites.
You could crack a tooth on one of these.
Good old fashioned lollipops.  They used to give these to each child in the car at the gas stations when you pulled in for a fill up.  Gas stations back then used to give away all kinds of cool things.  Glasses, mugs, cereal bowls, etc..  They'd come out, fill up the car, wash the windshield, check the fluids, check the tire pressure and give us a freebie.  Those were the days!


  1. I built a small house across the street from Tommy on Zapatac Street in South Lake Tahoe in the late 70's. He was not happy to have that close of a neighbor...I was a single woman in my late 20's, had graduated from BYU and now was dealing Blackjack at the Sahara. He was not an equal rights thinking guy back then.

    I lived in the house from early 1978-1980. I sold (darn...there goes my retirement). I was friends with his 'old lady', a very attractive woman about 24 years old with long blonde hair. They had a very young son..She and I would go 'clubbing' once in awhile. I think she did it to piss him off. He did not like me...and had a tight leash on her. They lived a quiet life.

    I'll never forget the call I made to Tommy one night late...I thought I heard something weird. My dog was barking. Tommy was out on his front porch with a shot gun before I hung up.... Even though he was not fond of a single woman who was so independent...he was quickly there to protect me...Not unlike your experience with him when you were his neighbor.

    I do not remember 'old lady's name...I did not stay in touch after I sold my house.

  2. Hi Marsha,

    That is a very interesting story. I'm sorry that it's taken me so long to respond to this comment, I didn't realize someone commented. You want to know something funny? One of his niece's got in touch with me and as soon as I can get some time, I can go visit Tommy. Imagine that? After all these years! Thank you for sharing! ~ Lisa xo

    1. I would love to get a hold of Tommy. My dad was Ron Jacobson, who passed on January 10th 1972 in Sweet, Idaho. My mother, Jeanie, is still alive and she would love to see/talk to Tommy again. I have multiple pictures, my mom took, of the club from the early 60's to mid 60's (my dad left the club in April 66). Is there anyway I could get in touch with his niece? Please respond! Thank you!

    2. Hi Bret, That's so cool that your father was Ron. I'm sorry to report the news but Tommy very recently passed away. Tommy's brother was murdered and after that, he got out of the Angels as well. I wonder if it's the same time that Ron got out? Do you know anything about that? Yes, I can give your information to his niece. Please email me your information and I'll pass it on. honeyscolors@gmail.com ~ Lisa

  3. Hi Michael and Lisa,
    I grew up on 41st ave and Foothill blvd right across from the hells Angels clubhouse and my older sister went to those parties at Tommys house! Where is he now? Is he still a Hells Angel? Is he in good health? Great to see this blog!,

    Thanks Bill

  4. Hi Bill, I'm sorry to report this news but Tommy very recently passed away. I thought he was in good health and had planned to meet him but it never happened. His niece told me that he got out of the Hells Angels many years ago.

  5. I *might* have met Tommy around 1972 in Santa Cruz (patch free town then) when I dropped by George Pierce's digs for a visit. George was retired from the club then. He had Shovelhead and Honda CB750K. George introduced us while "Tommy" was eating off a plate while standing. We just exchanged nods. BTW, I lived in Hayward for several months in 1970 and would hang at Vern's Custom Cycles (Vern Heinrich). There was a redhead woman with missing fingers at parts counter that was great to talk with whenever I was there. Sweet, ID is a tiny place west of Horseshoe Bend. Have passed through there to/from Ola. Quite a few former club members relocated to remote places where they'd be left alone. Am still riding and keep a low profile in Southwest Idaho.

    1. Hi Grumbler, That's cool. I found out last year from Tommy's niece, that he passed away in May of last year, 2016. I bet it's pretty in Idaho. Best ~ Lisa

  6. Brett, I would love to see the pics your Mom took. And with your Dad being in the Club you probably have some cool memories depending on how old you were back then. I'm sure there are some great shots of the early days of the Club. sspikey1971@yahoo.com