This blog is dedicated to my mother Rose.
In 1947 , she came west to work for the Civil Aeronautics Board as a telegrapher. Radio was
considered unreliable. She telegraphed the weather to the pilots flying into the Oakland airport.
The telegraph isn’t used so much now. However, I know that my mother stands for faith and hope.
They are yet more powerful than a radio beacon.
My father Bill was born in 1927 and he deserves some mention. During that year, Standard Oil of
California, once a part of Standard Oil, built a beacon on the summit of Mt. Diablo. Well before the
Golden Gate Bridge was erected and as every captain knew, the entrance to San Francisco Bay was
known as the graveyard of ships. The Standard Oil Beacon on Mt. Diablo was a guide to all ships at sea
approaching the Bay.
In the years before the Beacon, Fritz Tscheekar, was on board a merchant ship that had come into
San Francisco. The ship and her captain soon departed without him. He had begun work as a laborer. He
soon found that he had the ability to dig wells. The Chinese needed water for their laundries.
In l-940, Fritz married Marie. There were my wife Sharon’s, parents.
On December 8, !941,, we declared war on our neighbors across the Pacific. The Standard Oil Beacon
was shut down to orevent an attack from the air.
In 1947 and after the war had ended, Bill met Rose in the controltower of the Oakland airport during
an errand he had to run when he worked on the ground crew for United Air Lines.
Ten years to the day after we had declared war, I was born.
In August of 1969, I was on board a commercial fishing boat, the 48 foot Charmaine. We had cleared
Cape Mendocino and were trying to make safe harbor in foul weather. We found our way home only
because of the Coast Guard radio beacon at Humbolt Bav.
ln 1977, I married Sharon the mother of our son, Matthew.
In 1985, on a crew of 1,000 tradesman, I was a part of the effort that constructed the pumping station
that was barged in modules to the North Slope.
Dennis Zampa and I were on the scene when an ironworker fell 5 stories and lived. When building the
Golden Gate Bridge, Dennis’s grandfather fell into a net and broke his ribs when he fell off the Golden
Gate Bridge and onto the rocks below.
All our stories come together. l’d like to hear yours. Now that you’ve heard mine, you are part of it.
Let’s write a good story together.