When I was 19 years of age, I had a basic certificate in engineering from a college in Devon, England, but was not interested in pursuing further studies in engineering.
I had written a letter of inquiry to my uncle, a surgeon in Los Angeles, and asked about the American colleges. In a matter of weeks he had sent me a ticket to Los Angeles and an application from a college in a town I had never heard of, Napa. My uncle had been one of the first foreign students to attend Napa Junior College in about 1950 and had married a Napa girl when he left for L.A. to study medicine.
What I knew of America was what I saw in the movies or on TV. In my mind I had imagined Napa to be either orange groves, cowboys or tall buildings.
I arrived in Napa late on an August evening in 1967 on a Greyhound bus. My uncle’s mother-in-law picked me up from the bus station, which in those days was on Third Street almost kitty-corner from the old Conner Hotel (now Veterans Memorial Park).
My uncle’s mother-in-law lived 5 miles north of the city. The next morning she asked what my plans were for the day and I stated that I wanted to explore the city. To my amazement, she replied that that would take me about 15 minutes.
I told her she was being modest and she gave me a ride to downtown. It took me about 15 minutes to walk along First and Main streets. I spent the rest of the afternoon playing pool at a pool hall across from the sheriff’s office and waited out the summer heat inside the Uptown Theatre.
With the exception of one year in San Francisco, I remained in Napa for approximately 37 years, and studied at Napa College as well as Sonoma and San Francisco state universities. My profession was that of special educator in the departments of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Corrections.
My wife and I raised our two boys in Napa and they are both Napa High School graduates. Since I had always had to move as a child, I wanted to make sure my family had a community to call their own.
I began my antique postcard collection because of my interest in photography and in order to learn more about the history of Napa and share this with my boys. I do not collect for investment, but rather for the variety and the history. My favorite cards are those that show buildings, people and transportation.
I left Napa for Fair Oaks in late 2003 and now pursue my interests in photography in the Gold Country. I am vice president of the Gold Country Artists Gallery in Placerville and associate with other artists and galleries in the Sacramento area.