Author Archives: David

Finding History in Unexpected Places: The House at 167 Corona

My grandparents Raymond and Frances Mackin married in September 7, 1929, at the Star of the Sea Catholic Church in San Francisco, California. By the end of the very next month the Stock Market collapsed, signaling the beginning of the Great Depression.

Frances, in her memoir, recalled:

“On returning from our honeymoon in Los Angeles, we rented a pleasant apartment on Washington Street, near Fillmore.  In less than a year we moved to a larger apartment on Balboa near 21st Avenue.  We were living there when my daughter, Catherine was born.  The landlady wasn’t very happy with us for having a child so we soon moved to a third floor flat on 43rd Avenue between Cabrillo and Fulton.  The stair climbing there was too much for me so we rented a small house on 40th Avenue near Fulton.  Roger and David were born while we lived there.  Our landlord was a very nice man, whom we seldom saw, and we were greatly surprised when for some reason or other he gave us his equity in the house.  This amounted to about $3,500 – a nice sum for 1935.  We soon sold the house on 40th Avenue and bought a larger one at 167 Corona Street in Ingleside Terrace.  Frannie was born there in 1939.” 

The rest of the story

You may be wondering how this information came to my attention.  My grandmother had the heart of a personal historian.  She loved to reminisce and share her life experiences.  It was this love that fueled her curiosity.  In 1984 she found out that the house on Corona was for sale (again).  My grandmother had to know the details of this house that had been her home over forty years before.  A quick trip to Franciscan Properties yielded the listing (below) and told her everything she wanted to know.

Years later, I learned more about that house on Corona Street.  My grandmother told me that they didn’t have enough money to pay the down payment, though they knew they could easily afford the monthly payments.

The owner of the house made an offer to my grandfather –if he would take over the monthly payments, my grandparents could have the house.  This would never happen in 2012, but life was a bit different back in 1935.

It turned out that the owner of the house was going through serious financial problems and a nasty divorce, and really wanted to get rid of this house.

My grandmother further told me that by virtue of owning this house, they were now well established financially.  Remember this was in 1935 – the Great Depression was being felt worldwide.  Many people were struggling financially and losing their homes altogether. My grandparents felt very fortunate.

This is just one of the stories I have learned about the early lives of my grandparents.  And finding this listing among our trove of family documents makes this story come alive for me.

Moral of this story — You never know where your family’s history will come from.

And as a side note: I Googled this house last night and found that it sold for $817,000 two years ago. Too bad it didn’t stay in our family— that would have been some return.

What tidbits of information have you found out about your family in unexpected places? Write us and let us know!

Nine Ways to Celebrate Grandparents Day (9/9/12)

Did you know that National Grandparents Day is this Sunday? According to grandparents-day.com, one of the goals of founder Marian McQuade was “to persuade grandchildren to tap the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide.”

If you are lucky enough to have a living grandmother or grandfather, find a way to honor them this Sunday. Give them a call. Share a meal with them. Even better, ask them about their lives and their memories. Since this year’s Grandparents Day is on 9/9, here are nine questions to help you “tap the wisdom”:

1. What did you love most about being a child?

2. How did you meet Grandma (or Grandpa)?

3. What have you loved most about your life together?

4. What are your fondest memories of raising a family?

5. What is one of your favorite memories of my mom (or dad) when they were growing up?

6. What do you want your grandchildren to know about you?

7. What important lessons have you learned in life that you want to pass along to me?

8. What do you think is the key to happiness?

9. What do you treasure most in life?

If you are a grandparent, why not share some of these memories with your grandchildren? It’ll certainly spark a great conversation, and you’ll get to tell your favorite stories to your grandkids.

Don’t forget to record the answers—with pen and paper, on a tape or digital recorder, or with a video camera—so that other family members can gain from the grandparents’ wisdom.

We’d love to hear how you celebrated this Grandparents Day. Write and let us know!

Happy Father’s Day!

Your friends at Reel Tributes wish you and your loved ones a Happy Father’s Day.

Over the past two years, we’ve had the pleasure of producing films for fathers around the country. We have seen first-hand just how powerful of an impact a father can have on his children. Our clients have laughed and cried on camera telling stories of the family road trips, the dirty jokes, and the sage advice that dad can’t help but give.

This year, remember to show your father and grandfather just how much you love them. Give them a hug, a kiss, a smile. Thank them for everything they’ve done to make you who you are today. And ask them questions about their childhood, so you can get a fuller picture of who they are and what makes them tick.

How are you celebrating Father’s Day? How are you recording the stories of your father and grandfather, so future generations get to know the men who have meant so much to you? Write us a comment and let us know!

Reel Tributes Unveils its Mission Statement

Reel Tributes is pleased to announce the release of its first ever Mission Statement. The team put a lot of thought into what makes us tick, and which principles we strive to uphold each and every day and with each and every client.

At the beginning of a project, we will give the client a printed copy of this Mission Statement. That way they know what to expect from us throughout our relationship.

Take a look at the document below, and let us know what you think! We’ll be evaluating it on a regular basis to make sure it still reflects the beliefs and culture of the company.