Jackie Robinson

Turns out that the movie on the life of Jackie Robinson has a local connection. Joy Cook Tolladay told me that her brother, Dick Cook, is executive producer of the film, and she recently attended a special screening. "It's a story about courage, it's a love story, and it's the best history lesson we can teach our children. Even though I didn't grow up in that era, I always knew Jackie Robinson was a hero. I just didn't respect how big of a hero he was until I saw the movie."


Is there a better way to spend a lazy Saturday brunch than at Luigi's Restaurant and Delicatessen over on East 19th Street? The long-time favorite lunch haunt features a can't-miss menu, outside seating and new courtyard bar and a chance to reconnect with folks you haven't seen for months.

Moving up

Debbie Allen is an understandably proud mother who brought us up to date on her surgeon son, Clint Tanner Allen, a 1997 graduate of Shafter High School. He went on to graduate from Bakersfield College and later Texas A&M University. From there, it was medical school, internships and residency and now he is on the faculty at Johns Hopkins as an assistant professor of otolaryngology.

Good deed

Hats off to the anonymous person who picked up the tab for a group of seniors from an assisted living facility who had lunch at Woolgrower's last week. Irving Falk was one of those who was treated to lunch and called me to "thank this person for a wonderful, wonderful thing."

MemoriesReader Pat Donnallan remembers the old Brundage Variety store. "If you were one of the kids living west of Roosevelt School, Brundage Variety was a usual stop on your way home from Emerson Junior High. In the 1950s, we walked from Myrtle and Bank atreets to Emerson. Parents did not drive you to school; you walked that two miles. On our walks home in the hot afternoon sun, we would hit Brundage Variety for the candy bar then walk up Chester Avenue to Warrens Drive-in for a Coke for that energy to help get us home. Brundage Variety was located on the southwest corner of Chester Avenue and 1st Street. I believe the store was owned by the Toggnini's, and I vaguely remember Mr. Toggnini was the pharmacist there. Their daughter, Sandra, went on to be on TV with an afternoon show here in town, and she was always fondly remembered as the 'lady with the glass eye.' She used to have pound puppies on her show, and mom took my sis and I to get one of the dogs we saw on her show. Yep, brings back a lot of memories."

Valley Fever

The East Rotary Club is holding a wine lovers dinner this Saturday over at Monsignor Leddy Hall at Garces Memorial High School. It's called Vino Amore and will feature a five-course gourmet meal catered by T.L. Maxwell's Restaurant and Bar, followed by live and silent auctions. Proceeds will benefit Valley Fever Americas, the Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House and the East Bakersfield Rotary Foundation. Tickets are $75. Call Sandi Schwartz at (661) 706-6663.


Gil Pedersen says you are definitely a Bakersfield old time pilot if you remember "when you could take or land from Meadows Field without radio contact. You got clearance from the tower by light signals."

Richard Beene is president and CEO of The Californian. He blogs at www.BakersfieldObserved.com. These are his opinions, not necessarily those of The Californian. Send him tips at rsbeene@yahoo.com