Thursday, July 14, 2011

Don't pass "Pass"

I got a note the other day from an old friend and acquaintance, Mary Ann Machi. She sent me a picture of Bill Pass, and asked if I knew anything about his history. I know quite a bit of history on Bill, but my cousin Oregon knows more, if he will give us some, it would be great. Bill lived across the street from him on Oak Street in Garberville and his dad and bill pass were in the fire department together.

Mary Ann has a great history herself, being a child raised in Shelter Cove from the days when it was a simple sheep ranch, and not a town, to now, where it is a community of city expatriates. It sadens me that she thought that I might not remember her, but it is the way of things nowadays. We went from a community where everyone knew everyone else, to a community full of people with made up names, and identities. We don't know each other anymore, and when we do recognize someone, you still don't know who they are for sure. It seems that most people live lives of secrecy now.

I remember Mary Ann as a very pretty, sweet and shy person. Much like most of the local girls a few years ago. I also remember her as a very good cook... Much like most of the local girls a few years ago.

Anyway, this is what she had to say:
Hi Ernie, I'm thinking you remember me, or at least the family name (of course!) Hope this finds you well. I learned about your blog some time ago and enjoy your articles about the old days. I am scanning my Shelter Cove info collection and came across a couple pages about Bill and Ethel Pass that are attached. I know they lived in the Cove at one time. Looks like they ran a cafe in Garberville next to the theater. Would you know the name of that cafe? Would have been in the late 40's or early 50s, I think. I've looked at the theater's website and see the Black & White Cafe but that was in the 1930's. Could be theirs, or not. Also thought he ran the Shelter Cove Grotto at one time. Is that correct? Thanks so much for any info
Mary Ann
PS I've made the chowder recipe many times and it is delicious. I make it a little differently in that I only add enough water to cover the clams and vegetables and I don't do the additional 2 hours. Seems like everything is tender and tasty after the 30 minutes.


Anonymous said...

I wish I could relate all that I used to know but my mind is feeble. One thing I do remember is when Richard Reese and I fished at Shelter Cove I would go watch Mary Ann fillet salmon. She was fast and the work she did was a work of art. She was pretty to boot.
I'm sure that Bill's place was called Pass's, Pass' or Pass restaurant. I also think he had a restaurant across the street next to Williams garage before that.
Bill was the first mailman in Garberville.
Oh yeah, the phone number is interesting. The dairy phone number was 190 and we had the wooden crank phones on the wall. Just lift the receiver and turn the crank a couple of times and the operator would come on and say "number please".


Anonymous said...

* "South" end of Williams Chevrolet.


Robin Shelley said...

I didn't know the Pass family or Mary Ann but I am curious to know her relationship to them. Friend? Family? You don't say!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Robin, the quintessential reporter… who, what, when, where, why?

Ethel, Bills wife, was the secretary for the Garberville office of the CHP. Bill sold the restaurant and became Garberville’s mail carrier. He was also the Fire Chief of the Garberville Volunteer Fire Dept. When they both retired, they sold their house on Oak Street in Garberville and moved to their summer cabin in Shelter Cove. That was in the very early days of the Shelter Cove Resort district. The Machis were Shelter Cove residents for so far back that I’m not sure when they settled there. I think that Mary Ann got to be keeper of the records somehow…

And of course this was back when everybody had REAL names. and they knew each other.

Anonymous said...

I've done some deep thinking today and after I woke up I believe Bill Pass worked at that restaurant next to Williams Chevrolet. He then opened his own place next to the theater.


Charlie Two Crows said...

Ernie, Didn't Mario and his brothers come to the cove in the 30's? And was the town of shelter cove already established by then. I've read Mario's book about the war. Did Mario ever write a history book about Shelter Cove?

Mary Ann Machi said...

Ernie - I knew you would remember me. Sometimes humor doesn't come across in the written word or I'm not very good at it. It's just been a long time! Thank you and Oregon for your kind comments. I love the old Cove, the sheep ranch one.

A little Machi history: I'm not sure when my grandfather, Pop, first came to the Cove, but it could have been as early as 1900. He brought his 3 sons (my dad Tony, and my two uncles, Mario & Babe) there when they were teenagers (late 1920's and early 1930's) to work in the fishing industry. Pop was part owner in the International Fish Company and ran boats from San Francisco to the Cove and back with fish, mostly salmon.

Shelter Cove had a 960 foot wharf built in the late 1800s and was an important shipping point for all kinds of goods but especially wool and tannic acid from tan oak bark. The wharf went down in 1937 and, of course, all shipping came to a halt. The buildings were abandoned and the area became known as The Lost Coast.

After WWII the brothers purchased the south end of the Cove (1946)and developed their resort. They used the abandoned buildings for both homes and business. I can truly say I was raised in the dog house! The first home I knew had been used as a kennel for dogs kept by the Coast Guard to patrol the beaches for Japanese who might have landed via submarine (during the war).

Uncle Mario wrote 2 books about the war, and one about the Cove titled Gem of the Lost Coast. I believe it is available at the General Store out there.

And Ernie's exactly right about the Pass's. Their summer cabin was one built by the Machi Brothers on Machi Road during the 1950s. Theirs was the first "subdivision" of Shelter Cove. The cabins were designed by a famous Hollywood set designer for musicals in the 40s, Robert Usher. I got to live in their cabin for a couple years in the 1990s. It was pretty cool.

Enough history lesson for today. Wish I had a salmon to fillet right now. My favorite fish!

Mary Ann Machi said...

P.S. My grandfather, Pop, taught me how to fillet salmon. And believe you me, there was a lot of watching before I was allowed to put a knife to one of 'em!!!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Mary Ann
Thank-you so much for your comments, and your Machi history. I hadn’t thought about “Pop” Machi for years now. I became very familiar with the Machis in the mid sixties when Mario Machi built up the fish buying station and processing plant for the Mosquito Fleet.

I worked for Pedersen Refrigeration. We built and provided the refrigeration for his processing plant. I remember Mario explaining that the walk-in freezer had to be cold enough to quick freeze the salmon. Then he would dip them in fresh water several times until they were completely encased in ice. Then they would be trucked to San Francisco. Mario told me that the large salmon would be processed onto lox for the Jews and that the Chinese would only buy fresh salmon, and the fish’s eyes had clean and clear.

I remember Pop as the very revered patriarch of the family. Tony would take him out fishing in a boat. He would only fish from the left side, and Mario could not go with them, under any circumstance. For some reason Pop thought that he was “Bad Luck”. It must have been kinda’ insulting to Mario, but that’s the way it was.

spyrock said...

thanks for your story mary. shelter cove has always fascinated me since my surfing days looking for surf spots. northern california back in the 60's was basically unsurfed. as a regular at kelly's cove beneath the cliff house, groovy and i would take road trips looking for waves back in the gidget days when everyone surfed in town in safe water and the smaller warmer waves. the pre wet suit days. so northern california was basically unsurfed up the coast north of bolinas. we used to surf drakes beach before the park came in, jenner by goat heads rock, mendocino by that river near the town and we kept seeing that name shelter cove higher up on the map.
never did make it up there. still hope to.

Anonymous said...

Some really interesting informaion from Mary Ann. I would like to hear more.

Shelter Cove is a beautiful place, especially on a sunny day. So sad that the majority of people living there are pot growers, somewhat successful pot growers.

Why do some in Shelter Cove give there address as Whitethorn?

Does the store still make good fish and chips? At one time there fish and chips were the best!

Mary Ann Machi said...

Ernie, I remember Pedersen Refrigeration. I think their son worked at the Grotto in Redway just before I did, about 1970.

It's great to hear other people's memories. I am getting new perspectives on the old times.

My family says Pop would not use a fishing pole when he first came to the cove - he used an hand line as he did on the Mediterranean. I don't remember Mario fishing much, and after he caught his big one (48 pounds) I don't believe he ever fished again.

Spyrock you should come to the Cove. It has been the setting for surfing competitions since the 1960's. A group meets there every summer equinox.

And Anonymous - the real address of people who live in the Cove is Whitethorn. Shelter Cove doesn't have its own post office now (it used to years ago). But just like me when I lived there, I wanted my town address to be Shelter Cove not Whitethorn. I think the Post Office initially didn't like it but it is accepted now. You can use either town and your mail will get to you.

I haven't eaten at the Deli in years but I remember they had great fish & chips. Will have to try them next time I'm there.

olmanriver said...

Hey Mary Ann--- nice to see you commenting here.
There is a book titled Discover the Lost Coast with Two Little Girls with Sausage Curls by V. Catania-Robertson that captures the little girls adventures staying at the Cove, mostly in the late thirties and early forties. It has more about Keith Etter, but of course, does mention and picture your father as well.
I have always been a little jealous of your running around out there before the hordes arrived. My sympathy for your "doghouse" upbringing disappeared when I saw their pictures of the doghouse --you could keep a lot of dogs in a doghouse that size.

I am sure you are familiar with this book, fun anecdotes of the little girls. When are the Machis going to write up their lives at the cove?

Mary Ann Machi said...

Hi olmanriver, I do know that book. Just got a copy last month. I happened to be at Arts Alive! a while back and saw a painting of Shelter Cove complete with ranch house, commercial boats in the Cove, windsock, etc. I was quite surprised to see it was painted by a girl who grew up in the Cove. I thought only the Machis and the Etters grew up there!! At least back to the 1940s.

I met the artist Vicki Catania (and author of the book) and learned about her experiences. She said the man in the fishing boat in the painting was my dad! He first came to the Cove as a teenager, the late 1920's, the same time Vicki was there. Just got copies of photos not in the book from that time that none of us Machis had ever seen. What a treat!

The photo of the two girls dangling from a rope tied to a tree with the doghouse in the background must be the one you refer to. I do believe that is only half of it. I understand my dad (with help from his brothers) cut the building in half, set the halves side by side, and remodeled it into a home, rustic as it was.

I've always appreciated that we grew up with free run of the Cove before the development. So different today - so many people.

The only plan that I know of for a book would be from me. I've tons of material about the old days plus my own experiences. Started it - just gotta keep going. :)

Ernie Branscomb said...

We have copies of the book by V. Catania-Robertson about growing up in Shelter Cove in our store in Garberville. I would be very happy to sell Mary Ann's book when she finishes it. I would also be happy to sponsor a book signing for Mary Ann at the store.

Mary Ann Machi said...

Ernie, Thanks for the encouragement. First I need lessons on how to write a book!!! :)

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Anonymous said...

Looking at old photos on Ernie's blog......... Knapp's Restaurant is where Bill Pass worked before moving next to the theater.
I used to like going into Knapp's with my dad.


Anonymous said...

I have an ashtray that reads "Don't Pass Pass
Phone 52
Unfortunately, it doesn't have an address on it. It was always at my parents' house in the SF Bay Area and I always wondered about it. I like your blog!