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S E C T I O N 2 Community S TO R I E S A B O U T P E O P L E A N D E V E N T S I N T H E C O M M U N I T Y Ed Jelich, left, and Jelich Ranch Manager Skip Parodi rode around the orchards in late July to give Mr. Jelich a look at what had changed since his experiences growing up there early in the 20th century. T here was a time in Portola Valley when civility regularly took a holiday, when Sunday, a day of rest and worship, also meant fisticuffs. It’s an anecdotal tale, part of the community’s history as recalled by Ed Jelich. Now 94 and residing in Walnut Creek, Mr. Jelich came to Portola Valley in late July with family members to revisit the community of his youth. As one of four brothers, he worked on his father’s orchard at 683 Portola Road, tending fruit trees, including apple, pear and apricot. As the youngest, he got the unpleasant jobs — picking up fallen fruit, pruning the trees and weeding the undergrowth — but on Sundays, Ed would head over to Mangini’s Picnic Park on Alpine Road, where the Alpine Swim and Tennis Club now is. Social clubs from San Francisco and the Bay Area would make the trip to the Picnic Park to flirt, eat, dance — and fight, Mr. Jelich told the Almanac. “You knew that every Sunday there would be a scrap,” he says, adding that he did not participate. In any case, the injuries were minor, he says, of the class of black Where there is an old fruit orchard, chances are good that somewhere on the grounds will be an old truck. A boy’s life in Portola Valley Ed Jelich visits his old home and recalls the times of his youth Photos by Michelle Le | Story by Dave Boyce eyes and bloody noses. It was entertainment, and entertainment was hard to come by. Once in a while, his dad would give him money for a movie, but growing up on Jelich Ranch generally meant work, he says. The summer vacation is well-known as a holdover from when farming was small-scale and children were vital to getting crops in before the rain. Such was the situation that Mr. Jelich experienced first hand. “(Friends) used to ask me when am I going on vacation,” he says. “I said going to school is my vacation.” School for him was a short walk north to what is now Town Center, where there were two elementary school buildings: the Historic Schoolhouse and a red schoolhouse, the two separated by a playground. These were his alma maters, along with Sequoia High in Redwood City. His school day ended with another short walk, this time to the south, and his work day would begin. With a change into work clothes, it was out to the orchard for him, he says. During the summer, he was out there all day. “Summer meant a lot of work.” On Sundays, the family operated two fruit stands: at the intersection of Portola and Alpine roads, and out in front of the ranch, Mr. Jelich says. The Jeliches also owned orchards in Cupertino, Sunnyvale and La Honda, and they sold fruit to small grocery stores on the Peninsula and to the Safeway and Purity chains in San Francisco. Such a distribution network necessitated hauling by truck on local roads. Portola and Alpine roads had coatings of asphalt, Mr. Jelich says, but See page 19 September 4, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN17

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