Hopkirk History, as dictated by Harriet Hopkirk Kalliam to her eldest daughter, while Harriet was living in her mobile home in San Jose, California in the mid 1990’s.

The following is a transcription of the tape recording.

Our Dad, (Frank Hopkirk) was born in Lockridge, Iowa and Mom (Iva Jones) was born in Mt Ayr, Iowa. Mom came to Ruskin with her folks in a covered wagon and they settled in Nuckolls County and Alice(Jones) and Edna(Jones) were born there, after they moved to Nebraska. But my Dad came out to Ruskin to work for his uncle, (J.R. Parsons) setting up binders and helping in the hardware store. My mother was working in the post office at the time and that was where they met, in the post office. I don’t know how long they knew each other before they were married, but they were married at my grandmother’s(Laura Jane Higgins Jones) house in Ruskin and I imagine it was about 1901 or something like that because Margaret was born in 1903, then Maurice a year and a half later and I think Kent 2 years later, I am not sure.  I was born in 1910 and Eldon was born in 1913. We all went to school in Ruskin and finished high school.

Margaret taught school for about a year but hated it so she went to work in the post office where our Dad was post master. Fred came to Ruskin to be a mechanic and she met him in the post office. I am not exactly sure when they got married, but she worked in the post office for a while after they got married. They weren’t making much money, so they moved to Idaho. Fred had an uncle who lived in Idaho, so they moved there and the uncle had a garage. They stayed there until Margaret came to Oakdale to be with me after Carol was born – March 1941. She went home and talked Fred into moving to California, because she thought they could make a better living in California.

Millie came to Ruskin to teach school, not exactly sure what year. Maurice met Millie while she was teaching and they were married in Superior at the Utters home and they lived in Ruskin. Maurice had a little grocery store but that didn’t prove too satisfactory so he took the examination and was appointed post master and I think he stayed the postmaster there until they moved to Beatrice to manage the lumber yard there and then later from Beatrice they moved to Frankfort, Kansas, and he ran a lumber yard there until he died.  (Carol’s comment: I asked if he was still working up until his death and Mom said) Millie was in poor health and was in a rest home for years. After Maurice retired in Frankfort he had a group of men who were called the “Green Thumber’s” who did carpenter work, painting and repair on public buildings. He loved that job and worked on that job until he died. (Carol comment: Seems like a discrepancy here. Did Maurice manage the lumber yard AND have the Green Thumber’s?)

 Kent met Betty, I imagine at a dance because she lived in Deschler, which was only 9 miles from  Ruskin and her folks had a store in Deschler. I imagine he met her at a dance, because that was about all there was to do around there – go to dances. So when the Rohweder’s decided to come to California, that was when Kent decided to go because there really wasn’t much work in the little town of Ruskin.  When he came to California he worked for Arthur Brothers as a carpenter and he worked there until he retired. As I said, there wasn’t any work in Ruskin and “the boys” worked at the lumber yard for our Dad and he couldn’t afford to pay them enough to really live on, so Kent, I guess, wrote and told Eldon that if he came to California, Mr. Rohweder could get him on as a painter.

And I am not exactly sure what year Eldon came out here either. But then Carol was born, Eldon came over to see the new baby, of course, and Lee and her partner at the beauty shop came to the hospital and Eldon and Lee met at the hospital when Carol was born.

When I got out of high school, I taught school for four years. Then I went to college in Kearny( at Kearney State Teachers College Harriet was a Sophomore in 1933) and that is where I met Raymond Trueman and I married him and we had one child that was born dead and about a year and a half later I got a divorce. I was working in a coffee shop in Kearney at the time and was barely making a living. The boys(Kent & Eldon) told me to come to California, so I came to California. Betty, Kent, Eldon and I lived in a little house on San Mateo Drive and at that time they were each putting $10 in a little box and I was putting in $7.50 because I was getting meals at the restaurant where I worked. Believe it or not, we paid everything out of that little box; groceries, rent, utilities, everything out of that $37.50 a week. Unbelievable. Then I was put on the morning shift which meant I had to get up early and make up my bed in the couch and all that, so I got a sleeping room in Burlingame to save confusion. I was working at the Pier 33 Restaurant. They went bankrupt so my boss told me to bring in my uniforms and get paid and on my way back to San Mateo on the streetcar I saw a sign in the window of the California Grill in Burlingame and I stopped in and said “I see you want help”. (Andy Valais and our Dad, Michael Kalliam, and Gus Pappas owned the restaurant. They asked when I could start and I said “Anytime” so I started the next day. I can’t remember how long I worked there, but finally Andy and Gus and Daddy had to dissolve their partnership. There wasn’t enough money there for everyone to make a living. Daddy had heard about this job in Oakdale from a coffee salesman where they needed a cook so Mike went there to work for Chris Manglas at the restaurant. He came and talked me into moving to Oakdale and working at the Oakdale Café.  So I did that. Then we got married. I worked at one restaurant and Mike worked at the other. When Carol was born, that was when Margaret and Fred came. About that time Margaret came from Idaho to stay with me for a couple of weeks and they moved down here shortly after. Fred worked as a mechanic for somebody in Oakdale and later he went (in)to partnership with a man from Valley Home so they moved to Valley Home, close to the garage. On December 7th(1941), when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Kent and Betty and Eldon were all in Oakdale at our place when we heard the news on the radio. The reason they were all there was because we were planning a trip to Nebraska to see grampa(Frank) and grandma(Iva) and first we thought that maybe if there was going to be a war, maybe we should not go because we had planned to leave on December 19th. Eldon said we should go because he was sure he would be drafted, so anyway, we all went ahead and went to Nebraska for Christmas that year. We drove two cars. Kent, Betty, Donny and Eldon were in one car and Margaret, Fred, Mike, Carol and I were in the other. We stayed together so in case of trouble we could help each other out. We drove straight through, which was a killer. We got snowed in back there and so we had to drive night and day to get back on time and we had to take the south route, through Oklahoma, Texas and that way because the east and west roads through Wyoming were adrift with snow and we couldn’t go that way. Shortly after we got back from Nebraska, I guess Eldon knew he would be drafted, so he went and signed up for the Navy. He figured that he would at least have a place to sleep. So the day he got home after signing up for the Navy, his notice to appear for the draft was there, so he just got in under the wire. He was stationed in Long Beach and Lee still had her beauty shop in Oakdale. I went with Lee to visit Eldon one time. We took the train down to Long Beach. Lee’s mother wouldn’t let her go by herself. She insisted that Lee have someone else along, so I went. Margaret and Fred took care of Carol. Eldon wanted Lee to get married so Eldon hitchhiked up to Oakdale and Daddy and I took them to Reno. I think he just had three days and then Lee sold her beauty shop and moved to Long Beach. Anyway, after the war, when Eldon came home, they stayed with us in San Mateo for a while. (Obviously Mike and Harriet had moved from Oakdale to San Mateo by now.) Lee and Eldon had bought a house so they stayed with us until the house was done and they lived on McLellan Avenue in San Mateo. 

(This is where the tape runs out)

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This page was last updated on October 25, 2013