Sunday’s column on California and the valley in February provoked this response from Sharon Forney:

“Hi Herb — I just wanted to let you know that it’s pronounced “puh-no-chee” road, not the way you depicted it in your article. I lived way out on Panoche Road (almost to where I-5 is now) when I was a kid, so that’s how I know. Otherwise, nice article.”

I had the “puh” as a “pa.” Puh, pa, paw, pee — they all sound pretty good.

About that wad

Matt Koelzer was reminded of his neighbor Elmer after reading the column about a friend’s wad.

“Elmer had the best of both worlds, a wad within a wallet, held together by 2 or 3 large rubber bands. I think he felt naked if he didn’t have at least $400-$500 at any given time. He was the best neighbor a guy could ask for, and not just because of the 'wad,' or that he had every tool known to man and a chest freezer full of Smith’s Bakery products. Just a great heart.”

All revved up

Pat Gracey wrote in response to the column about selling the old Lexus:

“I was told all things have souls; just not all have immortal souls. We had a 1947 Buick Roadmaster. Beautiful car in looks and personality. Then there was the 1954 Buick Century with the new DylaFlow Drive. Then the 1959 Olds 98. A 1994 Dodge Intrepid. Those cars were my friends.

“My husband bought a 1951 Nash for a work car. It hated me. When I had to drive it I would get where I was going and then it would refuse to start. I'd call my husband (no cell phones then) and it would start right up. I think it was jealous.”

Retired ASE Certified Technician Michael Hollomon also wrote in about selling the Lexus.

“I feel you. I bought my wife a new 1990 Nissan Sentra 4-door. She loved it. I brought it home and surprised her. She just stood there in the driveway, flabbergasted. She said, 'You did not buy me this.' I said, 'Do you see a salesman in the car for a test drive?'

“That car served us for over 23 years. It was hard to part with. Sold it to a mechanic at work. I made the guy promise to take good care of it! I heard it is still running around town."

Whiffed on this one

Elizabeth A. Johnstone found herself puzzled about column on the Dodgers and their opponents illegally stealing signs.

“As a Dodger fan, I agree about the sham (my word) World Series wins by both Houston and Boston. I question your reference to Clayton Kershaw's 'off-season reputation,' which I believe is excellent. I think you may have meant 'postseason,' meaning playoffs, where he has been less than stellar. In the off-season, he and his wife are both active in charitable activities. Was this a typo or did you throw that in just to generate a response?”

Kershaw is fine, I am the only one who was off base.

Remembering Don Pruitt

Don Pruett died recently. Susan Chaidez writes:

“Don was a son, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, educator, volunteer, patriot and all-round good guy. And a Driller. As we lose the old guard in Kern County a history is lost. Your daughter and sons may have benefitted from his volunteering in leadership programs at BHS from the Jim Burke Ford Foundation.

“I remember what a gracious man he was to the kids during leadership meetings. He and Wayne Carter (Don Carter's dad — from Kern High School District) always sat at the tables with the students as they had lunch and mentored them.”

I knew Don. He was firm, fair and ethical. He was pure Bakersfield.

On the rails

The column started with a correction so why not end with one from careful Californian reader John Sweetser.

“Herb Benham wrote in his January 14 column about Emerson School where he said it was originally 'called the Railroad School.'

“Not exactly. All the history books I've seen, along with early newspapers, refer to it as 'Railroad Avenue School' due to its location on Railroad Avenue (which was renamed Truxtun Avenue around late 1903).

"It's not true the school was 'close to the local railroad station.' The street name 'Railroad Avenue' was in use at least a decade before the Santa Fe Railway constructed its line a block to the south. Apparently, town leaders chose the name because they hoped that a future second railroad to Bakersfield would be built close to the street's alignment.”

Herb Benham is a columnist for The Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at or 661-395-7279.

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