200 Years of Castro Valley History {Field Trip 2016}

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Captions by: Melody
Introduction and Photos by: Joyce
More info here –> adobegallery.org

One of our favorite things about the library are the cool display cases with new collections in them every month. One of them has a bunch of art work in it this month, and we saw someone was going to have their work displayed at the Adobe Art Gallery, we were reminded that there was a CV History exhibit on display. So we took our books and headed to Adobe Art Gallery. It was a rainy, rainy day, but we figure we would take advantage of that since there will (hopefully) be fewer people there and we will be able to see more of the stuff.

Getting There
Adobe Art Gallery is kind of hidden, but from Castro Valley Boulevard, starting from Safeway, you go straight down Castro Valley Boulevard all the way to San Miguel Avenue, turn right, and then you come to a stop right before you see the yellow signs about the pedestrian crossing for the schools. Then you’ll see the sign that says Adobe Art Gallery. We got mixed up on the buildings and on parking, but you just follow the sign and go into the parking lot, then you’ll see a wall that has paintings on it. From there you turn left and then you’ll see a building that says, “Redwood Studio.” You park in front of it in the parking lot and walk to the right and turn left and open a door. You’ve arrived!

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Exhibit
When we entered, I knew we had come to the right place. There were panels everywhere that had photos on them. A lady at a desk told us to go around so we walked around the gallery, starting from a panel that says Panel #1. Castro Valley used to be a chicken farm! The glass display below shows an egg case.
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Castro Valley Library has changed in the past. In 2009, they started construction on the new library. They also have a lot of old newspaper clippings on the panels, which I thought was cool.
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Above is my sister pointing to the hospital where she was born. They demolished the hospital after, and then built a new one. We got a tour of the new one a couple years back. Below is a picture of an egg scale.
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Trader Joe’s opened on Redwood Road next to our church. They got in the panel! I don’t know when this newspaper is from, but now we can go and get food for lunch after church!
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Speaking of churches, here is a photo of 3Crosses a long time ago. Still looks the same as it does today! And next to it is the people who the schools in Castro Valley are named after, including Strobridge Elementary and Stanton Elementary School.20161215_141307

As we were walking to see some films, which you’ll hear about shortly, we saw a huge photo…of Castro Valley, aerial view! We tried to find our house, and succeeded! So below is a picture of us pointing to our house! Find us if you can! 😉
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Film
After we took a picture with Castro Valley, we headed into the room where a film was being played. I don’t mean a video or episode, a film! They collected old film footage dated way back from the 1920’s or the 1950’s and then made a video out of it! Did you know that Castro Valley Boulevard used to be a 2-lane road? That was way back in the olden days! And that Adobe Art Center was once the first schoolhouse? And you’ll never guess what was there before Starbucks moved in!20161215_142053

 

On our way out, we signed the guest registry and took some crossword puzzles for home. I’m still doing mine! We think that we were supposed to do it during the tour, but that’s okay. I’ll finish it eventually!

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What are some of the interesting local-to-you spots you have visited as a tourist in your own town? If you are in the SF Bay, where are some of your favorite places to visit or where would you like to go visit?

Check out more photos in our 200 Years of CV Exhibit PHOTO ALBUM.

USS Hornet Museum {Field Trip 2016}

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Captions by: Melody
Introduction and Photos by: Joyce
Free passes courtesy of Alameda County Libraries’ Discover & Go Program
More info here –> USS Hornet Museum

While I’m not a fan of the high cost of living, I love being here in the San Francisco Bay Area! It is our never-ending playground! Most, if not all, of you know that we love the library. (We’ll need to do some kind of blog post about this sometime!) This school year, we decided to make use of the Alameda County Libraries’ Discover & Go Program. There are so many participants in the program, it can be hard to choose which one to get passes for. (They are all a little different…some will take mobile passes, some you have to print out, some are for 1 adult and 2 kids, some are for a total of 5 people, etc.) I had been to the USS Hornet Museum as a kid, but this was the girls’ first time there. I thought they would be bored (which was quasi-true toward the end of the loooong tour…still interesting, but it involved a lot of walking and they wanted to explore on their own). We got there later in the afternoon because we went to the Japanese Garden and lunch with my mom earlier, so we will definitely have to go back again some day. Also great to see my high school friend Carrie! She will be in the museum store if you ever stop by. It’s a bit lengthy, but Melody did a fantastic job sharing how our day was like at the USS Hornet Museum, so read on, friends!

Before We Got There
At first, when we were trying to find a place to park, we didn’t know where to go, because the USS Hornet is kind of in a place that reminds you of a shipyard. Actually, it is! Some of the ships can instantly take off anytime the US declares war, but others, like the USS Hornet, are retired, and cannot go anywhere else. And then, after we finally got to where the ships were (that was scary!), we had to find parking. We couldn’t tell where the USS Hornet was, because it was so hidden. After we found the correct place to park (after 10+ minutes!), we saw a sign that said: “Welcome to the USS Hornet Museum.” And that’s how we found it!
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Also, when you turn to the left of the sign, you walk to this walkway and it leads you to these stairs. Actually, a lot of stairs. I (Melody) am scared of heights, so I was terrified at the thought of ACTUALLY entering the USS Hornet – the real one, not a duplicate. We had to cross of the water to enter! <gulp> The thought of me falling! But luckily, we made it, and I’ll tell you the rest, just scroll down and I’ll tell you facts…
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Guided Tour
Yes! You made it! Okay, so we went on the guided tour, but not the audio tour. I don’t know what the audio tour is like, because I only went on the guided one, but I looked at the handbook on the ship, and you get to see more on this guided tour. We had a guide named Dennis, who used to be a high school principal. This was the last tour of the day, so we made it just in time. There was another guy named John, and he was actually a veteran of the war, and it was cool that he was there and we met him.
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Here is a view of the runway from a place up above (I forgot where exactly) and when I heard the news, I couldn’t believe my ears. Being a captain, or on the crew, is a very hard job! You only have one chance to land your plane on the runway, and five seconds before those yellow-black thingies release a net that stops the plane. But this can actually still not stop the plane from crashing! This is why you have to be very skilled and trained in order to fly these types of planes.
20160915_144750And this is a view from a lookout on the ship. Here’s another fact for you: During the war, the places where the ship’s lookout and the ship’s captain were were on opposite sides of the boat. In order to tell the captain there was an enemy ship advancing on them, or there was a bomb coming, a crew member, only about 16-18 years old, sometimes WITHOUT training, had to race up or down those very hard steps to climb, and then back down again to keep his post. Whew! Being a crew member is very hard work!
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This was one of our last stops on our tour. This is one of the most important rooms in the entire ship, where the controls of the ship are. After the lookout tells the captain, the captain runs to the control room and tells the person standing there to stop the ship – well, not without help, of course. You can also steer from this room, which is why this is such an important room that the captain spends so much time in. He even has an extra bedroom right next to it, so he can be up and ready to go in case of danger!
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Looking Around
After the tour ended, Dennis told us we could just look around if we wanted. So we did! See these planes? They are mostly army planes, and they didn’t tell us, but I think the reason why it is a shark is to scare enemies away, and if it didn’t, to remind them that we Americans are fierce. And it was so windy there, so make sure to bring a coat if you ever go there!
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We actually stood on the runway, where we began our tour, of course, after we climbed some steps! I think my legs needed some serious exercise before then, so people, here is your workout for the week! And there is the view of the Bay again – just beautiful, I just love seeing the Bay.
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20160915_154446This, I believe, is a Army helicopter. But the USS Hornet didn’t only carry army supplies. It picked up Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, the first men to walk on the moon! if you don’t know this, when astronauts return from their trips, a ship usually picks them up. And Richard Nixon also stepped foot on the USS Hornet! Amazing!
20160915_154509After we returned from all of that wind, as you can see from the previous photos, we climbed all of those stairs again and then saw this plane. It’s an original Navy plane!
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We didn’t have any coins with us, so we just traded in dollars for cents, and then after that we got pressed pennies from the museum store. There were many different options, and we got them all! I don’t know about you, but still, after all this time, I still enjoy watching those pennies transform.
20160915_155830Then, as we got ready to leave, I saw something that caught my eye. A ship registry! It was for everyone to sign their names. I just love registries! So I wrote our names down in the book, and then we walked out the door.
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All in all, I think our trip to the USS Hornet was great. I learned a lot. Before, my cousin went to the museum, and I thought, “Oh, it’s just some old museum that you learn a few facts and then you leave.” But I really learned a lot, and I highly encourage you to go for a day. It’s still the same ship that it was so long ago (it’s held up by ropes) and there is a whole ton of history behind it. I shouldn’t reveal any more to you, because then you won’t learn anything when you go! The USS Hornet is really and truly amazing. Go and learn more about it!

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Tips: Wear comfy shoes if you take the guided tour! Bring a jacket to wear, it is windy out there.

What are some of the interesting local-to-you spots you have visited as a tourist in your own town? Does your library have a Discover and Go-type program? If you are in the SF Bay, where are some of your favorite places to visit or where would you like to go visit?

Check out more photos in our USS Hornet Museum PHOTO ALBUM.

My 30th Birthday

My 30th birthday consisted of a day of eating and surprises.

For lunch, we went to Chevy’s Fresh Mex at Bayfair Mall.  It used to be outside next to Chili’s, but now Chevy’s is inside the mall.  It’s a lot more spacious now.  We picked Chevy’s because of the free sombrero and dessert on your birthday.  I printed out a coupon for a free entree in the morning.  I thought Melody would like the sombrero, but she’s a bit scared of it.  Don’t know why, but the service was super slow.  It took us two hours to finish our meal.  I had to get utensils and the free tortillas that go with the fajitas I ordered from El Machino myself.  Melody loved eating chips, quesadillas, and my Raspberry/Strawberry Lemonade there.  She also picked the dessert.  It was caramel/chocolate syrup drizzled on top of vanilla ice cream on a huge brownie.  Yummy!

Melody spotted some construction vehicles inside the mall next to Chevy’s.  She was ecstatic.  These were the ones you put money in and they would move.  Bob the Builder was in the middle construction truck.  There were bulldozers, backhoes, and dump trucks…all construction trucks Melody learned about in books we borrowed from the library.

For dinner, my side of the family met up with Joyce, Melody, and myself at Kamakura Japanese Restaurant in Alameda.  I yelped the restaurant before in search of another Japanese restaurant to frequent.  We ordered a bunch of rolls, my usual Amaebi, and Edamame/Inari for Melody.  The food was pretty good and the service (I think) is better than Sushi House due to the place being smaller.  I was surprised when they turned out the lights and the staff and owner sang Happy Birthday to me.  They gave me a card and a birthday platter decorated with a golden tree, paper crane, cup of Green Tea Ice Cream, an orange cut-up in an orange bowl, and a Fuji apple sliced in the shape of a bird.  I was truly surprised.  At the end of every meal, guests get plum wine apertif (a really sweet dessert wine with hardly any alcohol) and kids 10 and under get Botan Rice Candy.

Joyce surprised me BIG TIME when she handed me a book of birthday wishes from over 50+ people I’ve befriended over my 30 years of life.  I was so surprised and shocked so many people wrote.  What is even more surprising is that Joyce assembled the book right next to me while I was checking e-mail.

Afterwards, we came back to our place and ate cake.  The restaurant wouldn’t let my family bring something from outside into the restaurant.  It was a pretty good Mango/Raspberry Mousse Cake from Sheng Kee Bakery.

All in all a very surprising and scrumptious 30th birthday.  Thank you everyone for such a memorable birthday.

– Norm