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Valentine’s Day

Love is a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination. — Voltaire





How to reach us: Gilroy Today Published By: InfoPOWER Communications 7446 Rosanna Street Gilroy, CA 95020 Telephone: 408.848.6540 Email: EDITOR J. Chris Mickartz COPYWRITING Larry & J. Chris Mickartz PHOTOGRAPHY Larry J. Mickartz

CONTRIBUTORS Finance Jeffrey M. Orth, CSA, ChFC, IAR Health & Fitness Deb Smith, F.A.T.E. Fitness Real Estate Marta Dinsmore/Peter Casper Gardening David York, Garden Accents

Display advertising Contact us at 408.848.6540 or email for ad placement, information, and availability. Community Events & Information Submit for free inclusion, space permitting. Š Copyright 2007. All rights reserved. No part, either editorial or display advertising, may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher and author. 2



his is an exciting time for me. On January 8th I became a grandmother. Now, I’ve always known that I would love this part of my life and I looked forward to it with great anticipation. But, WOW, this is awesome. Words cannot describe the feelings that ensue, holding your own child for the first time —BUT— holding your grandbabies certainly rivals it. So I’m sharing a photo of my mother and father, John and Margie Albaugh — holding my new little grandbabies, Isabella (Izzy) and Addison (Addie) — because this issue is highlighting Valentine’s Day and lovers and I don’t know of two more loving or in-love people than my parents. Mom will tell you that she literally chased daddy until he gave in and asked her out. All I can say is that we all should be as intuitive in our teens. That was over 61 years ago. We’ve added two features this issue. The first is “Gilroy’s Got Pros.” Each issue we hope to highlight an individual in Gilroy who has a profession that extends beyond the community. This month we chose Carol Peters. I’ve known Carol for over twenty years but had no idea that she had gone into modeling at the tender age of … well, I’m not going to tell you. Check her out on page 10-11.

From the Editor J. Chris Mickartz

The second new feature is called “Historically Speaking.” Each issue, we will highlight some historical places, people and things in Gilroy. We started with an historical home that we know and loved, mainly because we were running out of time — grandbabies, remember. Anyway, we hope you enjoy getting to know the Gilroy Fitzgerald House, its rich history and its amazing versatility. It was really neat to find such a unique home for our “Gilroy Living” feature. This is modern living at its finest. Just imagine having your daughter, her husband and your grandchildren living under one roof. Burga Santiago loves it. The home is designed to accommodate three-generations and does so comfortably, allowing private space for each generation, yet, affording space for family bonding. We hope you enjoy our Valentine’s Day feature on pages 18-19 as much as we enjoyed interviewing Gilroy’s valentines. Each couple featured is unique but all have that special something that makes for a happy ending.



s#OMMERCIAL s)NDUSTRIAL s3ALES s,EASING s-ANAGEMENT 1230 First Street, Ste 204, Gilroy phone (408) 847-1553 fax (408) 847-2158




Let’s Boycott New Year’s Resolutions


hile waiting in the checkout line at our local grocery store, I noticed how many magazine covers had articles related to diets, health, wellness, or fitness that would appeal to any of us who may have been searching for the perfect New Year’s resolution. Here are just a few: “Lose 15lbs Fast!”, “Burn extra calories while you sleep”, “Cut Carbs, Lose Weight”, and “Erase belly fat for good”. By now those New Year’s diets are probably waning — not to worry — you can start eating your way to health and fitness today. I’d like you to focus on the power foods that are your best friends. I’ll call these foods:

DEB’S POWER 9 This is not an exclusive list, but can serve as a starting point to help us make better choices.

Salmon By Deb Smith, Personal Trainer Owner of F.A.T.E. Fitness for Adults in Transition - Energize!

No more crash dieting… power foods are a much better choice!


Salmon is an excellent source of quality protein and rich in omega -3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the risk of heart disease. The best sources of these nutrients are certain types of fish like salmon, but also include albacore tuna, bluefish, and trout. If you’re a vegetarian, or if you just don’t like fish, there are other food sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as tofu, ground flaxseed, canola and olive oil or soy (Edamame, yummm).

Spinach Popeye was Right! Spinach is high in vitamins A and C as well as folate. It’s a good source of fiber and it may also help reduce the risk of several diseases such as cancer and age-related macular degeneration of the eye.


Almonds Each ounce of almonds contains a good amount of the antioxidant vitamin E, 6 grams of protein and no cholesterol. Almonds are also an excellent source of magnesium and offer calcium, fiber, the B vitamin folate and phosphorus. Almonds also supply you with monounsaturated fat - the “good” fat associated with decreased heart disease risk.

Wheat Germ Wheat Germ is the “heart” of the wheat kernel - a concentrated source of several essential nutrients including: Vitamin E, folate (folic acid), phosphorous, thiamin, zinc and magnesium.

Extra Lean Beef Lean beef is full of power-packed nutrients, especially iron, protein and creatine — all the musclebuilding components you need to MOOve you along!

Eggs Egg protein (from the whites) contains all the essential amino acids that the body needs. An egg contains varying amounts of 13 vitamins plus many minerals.

Tomatoes Tomatoes and tomato-based products (like salsa) can reduce your risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and several other chronic illnesses.

Oatmeal Oatmeal is a good source of complex carbohydrates providing your body with sustained energy and a great source of fiber. Oatmeal is also high in soluble fiber which lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) by absorbing cholesterol from your food.

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Our muscles NEED natural carbohydrates. Our bodies can store approximately 400 grams of carbohydrate in our muscles. This storage form of carbohydrate is called glycogen. Glycogen literally “fills up” our muscles. When we are working out, the body burns up all the glycogen from our muscles and depletion of muscle glycogen actually causes our muscles to “deflate.” Think of our muscles as a balloon and glycogen as air. When we pump up a balloon full of air, the balloon stretches and expands to its capacity. That’s what happens to us when our glycogen is full. The muscle is harder, the muscle is bigger, and the skin is tighter. When you let some air out of a balloon, the balloon “deflates” and gets smaller, flatter and softer. So it is with our muscles. Low carbs equals low energy and a flat, “un-pumped” appearance. I’m certain Saturday Night Live characters Hans and Franz would agree that CARBS will “Pump You UP”! REMEMBER: It’s a new day, a

new month, a new year every day. And each is filled with challenge, with possibility, and with the opportunity to live life to the fullest. What could be better than that?

Growing Interest In Green by Marta Dinsmore, Realtor


wareness of global warming, renewable energy sources, and high fuel costs is driving consumers’ interest and desire for “green homes.” Homes equipped with solar panels, tank-less water heaters, low-flow toilets, Energy Star appliances, and rain collection systems are becoming mainstream. The government is also on board: In California, a new program is bent on getting solar rooftops onto one million new homes, and in North Carolina loans are being allocated to help subsidize solar systems on 3,000 homes over the next three years. It’s not just a residential trend. The National Association Of Realtors four-year-old headquarters building in Chicago incorporates many green features, including the use of interior lights that are equipped with daylight sensors (which automatically adjust as natural light dims or increases), reflective Energy Star roofing materials, and a roof terrace with concrete pavers that help cool the building. Nationally, the number of green homes is expected to grow to between five and 10 percent of all housing starts by 2010, up from 2 percent in 2005, according to a National Association of Home Builders report.

“Green” Transactions —Technological

ments, the growing “green movement,” and the knowledge that each real estate transaction eats up an average of 70 pages of paper are driving the trend toward paperless transactions. Lambert Jemley, vice president of marketing at Seattle-based Docusign, Inc., says a Xerox survey found that 15 trillion sheets of paper were fed through office machines last year. “That’s an awful lot of trees,” says Jemley, who sees the paperless real estate transaction (which uses PDFs instead of faxes and electronic filing methods over the traditional filing cabinet) as a viable way for today’s eco-conscious Realtors to go green. “Realtors will save paper and the fuel that it took to shuttle that paper around,” says Jemley. “It’s a win-win deal.” Forest Stewardship or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design: buildinggreen/leed.asp.

Quick Statistics GILROY

Single Family Homes Condos/Townhomes

Current Inventory Median List Price Median Sale Price Average List Price Average Sale Price Average Days on market Closed Sales

377 $635,000 $625,000 $816,000 $765,000 144 37

32 $360,000 $375,000 70 0

Conforming 30 Year Fixed 5/1 ARM Interest Only

5.875% 5.875%

0 points 0 points

Jumbo 30 Year Fixed 5/1 ARM Interest Only

7.375% 6.875%

0 points 0 points (December 2007 Data)



More Bridlewood Sales. More Thrilled Clients. Buying or Selling in Bridlewood, call

Tim Carey Realtor, GRI

(408) 472-6225 Coldwell Banker Let me show you the way home!



Gilroy’s Own “Islands of Beauty”


ome people take on big projects: Al Gore, Global Worming; Condoleezza Rice, Peace in the Middle East; Charlie Wilson, Communism; Mayor Al Pinheiro, Downtown Gilroy; and Maria Scocylas, the Homeless of Gilroy. Others approach causes on a much smaller scale and/or closer to home. Brenda Cherani and Betty Lepper have carved out a small garden that they have named “Islands of Beauty.” Traveling west on Sixth at Eigleberry, you will notice a small triangular garden on the corner. A closer inspection reveals a flowering garden with a few rocks strategically positioned. A large rock in the center of the garden hosts a simple plaque “Islands of Beauty.” Some have wondered if this is an official City mini-park or an eccentric flower-loving property owner. No! It’s the brainchild of Betty, the “idea lady” and Brenda, the “let’s do it lady.” With permission from the property owner and without any public funding, these two have created the “Islands of Beauty.” Betty remembers a time around Taft, in Central California, when oil drillers and their families converged on the area to build rigs to suck black gold out of the earth. There were lots of temporary houses where many had an “Island of Beauty.” Sometimes it was a delicate lace curtain in a drab window; other times it was a beautiful painted door; occasionally it was a small flower garden in front of a weathered temporary house. These images became the inspiration for the Sixth and Eigleberry “Islands of Beauty.” In the fall of 2006 Brenda and Betty started the little garden. Without any experience in garden design they have created a beautiful little country garden. They have had some interesting help. Once, early in the project, two very clean and proper missionaries in white shirts offered to help the two very grimy ladies dig up old weeds and junk. Betty and Brenda declined that time. One day an unknown lady delivered an Orchard Supply gift card to help purchase supplies. One gentleman dropped off a miniature rose that continues to flourish; another left a gorgeous primrose. Two uniformed soldiers from the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars

Hall across the street declared “Good job, Maam.” Another day two Hispanic young men stopped to admire the garden when one of them announced enthusiastically, “This is so beautiful. I would marry this garden if I could!” As these two inexperienced gardeners have cared for this plot, they have learned a few lessons on landscaping and gardening. Some plants go together; others do not. Every now and then you get a major surprise like the time the marigolds grew to over six feet! Brenda and Betty are shy people who did not take this project to make news. They did it because it was a good thing and to encourage others to create “Islands of Beauty.” Brenda also tends to the flowers in front of The Nimble Thimble and Gilroy Antiques, both in Downtown Gilroy. Both ladies encourage others to create or adopt their own “Islands of Beauty.” For more information contact Betty at 842-5291, Brenda at 842-6208.

Following a winter rain, Brenda Cherani and Betty Lepper plan for the spring. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 GILROY TODAY


The Concrete Truth

By David York

Winter Elements vs. Your Garden Accent


New Year is here and so is Old Man Winter. To me, fountains are like music in the garden… being a drummer and playing music inspires me, just as the sound of a bubbling fountain can add an amazing, inspiring atmosphere; a soothing sound and a place for the birds to kick back. I bet you’re wondering how to still enjoy your outdoor fountain in the cold and freezing weather conditions. Think back to last winter – we had record temps in California. Morgan Hill and Gilroy bottomed out in the mid 20’s – plenty cold enough to freeze the water in your fountain or to damage your pump.

Here are a few helpful hints to protect your investment: For any temperature below 35º Keeping your fountain running is really the best option because the recirculating water cannot freeze completely. You may have a top layer of ice frozen and some really cool icicles in the morning – almost a piece of natural art. Last year the gardens at Garden Accents looked like they were decorated with giant ice sculptures. If you keep your fountain running, the water will not completely freeze and your pump will continue working. The moving water helps the pump parts from getting sticky and keeps the fountain bowl from completely freezing and cracking.

For continued cold days and nights My recommendation is to drain the water from the fountain (a wet/ dry shop vacuum works well). Covering the fountain with a tarp or heavy blanket will help to keep it from freezing.

For statuary and fountains Good preventive maintenance is to use a clear masonry sealer (the


kind that is recommended for cement). This can be purchased at most hardware stores. Apply this product on a warm day to keep your fountains and statues from absorbing moisture in the winter months. You might have noticed on your fountain surface a white residue. This is caused by climate change and cold weather. Also, concrete has alkali in it which can appear on the surface. The best way to clean this is with white vinegar and water (about ¾ vinegar /¼ water) mixed together. You can use a sponge or a rag to clean the surface with this mixture. In areas where it snows, draining the water completely and covering the fountain or storing it in the garage is the best option. Hairline cracks are common on all fountains and shouldn’t be taken too seriously – as these can be repaired easily. These few tips will help to preserve your fountain so you can enjoy it even more when spring arrives.

And that’s The Concrete Truth! David York has over twenty years of fountain and statuary experience. He has been employed at Garden Accents located at 11155 Lena Avenue, Gilroy for over three years.




Continued on page 13






When the Santiago and Taylor families decided to combine their resources and buy a home that they all could call “home”, they could not find a house that would meet all their needs. On the advice of local Realtor, Patty Filice, they decided to look at some custom lots in Gilroy. The result is this three-generation home with over 4800 square feet on three major levels. It has views stretching in three directions. There are two master suites, a guest bedroom and two bedrooms with a shared bath for the girls. The kitchen is spacious with two islands allowing for multiple activities. Alcoves, stained glass and balconies enhance the views and appointments. In the planning process, all of the adults chose a special element. Burga wanted a study to house her books, complete with a cozy fireplace. Doug had his heart set on a full service bar

LEFT TO RIGHT: Susan & Doug’s daughters, Burga Santiago, Susan and Doug Taylor.



in the family room. And Susan opted for the two-sided fireplace in the bedroom suite. Two laundry rooms address multi-generational needs. The upper level laundry room has an extraordinary view of the eastern foothills. Architect Mike Davis, DZ Designs, did an exceptional job of combining the unusual needs of this extended family with the uniqueness of the location. Landscape designer, Karen Aitken, complimented the house design and interior work with a fantastic landscaping plan. The trees on the hilltop were saved and incorporated. Spacious decks surround the pool and the upper master suite has a secondary entrance to a balcony, also with breathtaking views. Walkways and seating areas cascade down a mature oak-studded hillside. The interior is full of travel artifacts and glimpses into the remarkable history and adventures of the family. The result is a spacious home, very well appointed, that is very livable. Some houses look like they are always waiting for the editors of Architectural Digest to knock on the door. While this home clearly deserves that knock, it is “home� first of all.




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Local girl makes good in the world of modeling

Carol Peters with her husband, Jack.

Most of the people who know Carol Peters know her as former high school art teacher, or former President of Leadership Gilroy and/ or City of Gilroy Art & Culture Committee member. But only a few, those who are closest to her, know that she flies to New York and Los Angesles on a fairly regular basis to model for a New York modeling agency. Carol belongs to the ever-growing number of baby boomers who find themselves retired but, by no means ready to relax and let life happen. She doesn’t fit the stereotype ideal of a model — young and very tall. But when she accompanied a friend to the 2006 Modeling Association of America International competition in New York, she was, in the words of the industry, “discovered.”

All of us, one time or another, lose perspective. We get so caught up with the “everyday” around us that we miss some of the “extraordinary” right next door. In this new feature, Gilroy Today would like to highlight some of the national and international professionals…”Pros” who live in our great little city.

Several hundred models from all over the world attended the showcase and competition. Much to her surprise, Carol discovered that the competition did not have a “mature” division and that she would be competing with much younger women. This was very intimidating for this not very well-prepared model, who was just there to support her friend for a week in New York and have some fun. The results completely shocked Carol. She won three medals for top ten awards, two third place trophies and one second place trophy. The next day she was taken on a tour of agencies and was one of only four that were offered contracts.

Since signing with the New York Model Management Group she has traveled back to New York, Los Angeles, San Diego and several place in-between. She has been in a variety of commercials, ads, photo shoots and even a video, which, ironically, was a training video for teachers. Carol herself is an accomplished artist who has often dreamed of having her work shown in a major museum. Now, some photos of her are in a video that is being shown at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. As she says “There is more than one way to get seen in a major museum.” Carol continues to go on assignments every couple of weeks. She thanks her husband, Jack, for his continuing support and encouragement. “He puts things in perspective for me and I really appreciate and take his advice.” While she thoroughly enjoys the work, she approaches it from the point of view that it is fun and every outing is another opportunity to learn more about the modeling business and herself. On one recent assignment she was checking in with a number of much younger models and their mothers. One mother was shocked to learn that Carol was one of the models and not a hovering mother. “It’s just part of the fun,” chuckles Carol. Congratulations to Gilroy’s own mature, petite, brunette, professional model, Carol Peters.







ver time, you have accumulated a number of financial assets in one form or another. Many of those assets will be left to your heirs through beneficiary designations, rather than through a will or trust. There is a good chance that you own at least one of the following assets:

• Life insurance (personally owned or group)

Your Life Changes… Have Your Beneficiaries?

• Annuity (s) • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) • Retirement plans • 401(k) plans

One of the most common mistakes you can make with respect to your financial plan is to fail to update your beneficiary designations. All too often I run across policies with ex-spouses as beneficiaries, or parents of a subsequently married insured as the beneficiary instead of the new spouse, or a named beneficiary that is no longer alive. So why would this be a problem? Let me give you a few examples:


by Jeffrey M. Orth, CSA, ChFC, IAR

Charlie has three children from a previous marriage. In 1992, he gets married to his second wife, Betty, and names her as beneficiary of his life insurance policy, 401(k), and IRA. Charlie and Betty divorce in 2001, and with all that is involved in that process, he forgets to update his beneficiary designations. When Charlie died in 2003, Betty received all the proceeds from his life insurance, 401(k) and his IRA. Charlie’s three children got nothing.


A7JC 1108-04

John purchased a life insurance policy in 2001, when he first got out of college, to accumulate cash on a tax deferred basis. He was single at the time, so he named his parents as beneficiaries. In 2003, John married Kathy, and they had their first child two years later. John died in a car accident in 2006. Since his parents were the named beneficiaries, they received the proceeds from the life insurance policy tax-free. John’s parents wanted to do the “right thing” and passed the money on to Kathy. Because the beneficiary was never changed, Kathy needlessly paid taxes on money that she could have received tax-free.

Terry & Susan

Terry and Susan are in business together. Terry owns and is the beneficiary of a policy on her mother Susan’s life. This policy was used to fund their buy-sell agreement, which will allow Terry to purchase the business from Susan’s estate when she dies. Unfortunately, a few years later, Terry and her husband divorced, and in a nasty settlement agreement, he was awarded half of all marital assets. As it now stands, Susan’s ex-son-in-law now owns one-half of the policy on her life. If she were to pass away, there would be insufficient money to fund Terry’s purchase of the company, as outlined in the buysell agreement, and the ex-son-in-law would receive a substantial amount of life insurance money. All of the problems illustrated in the examples above are preventable by regularly re-evaluating your current financial plan and adapting to changes that take place in your life. It is important to realize that not all financial assets should be treated the same, and all should be reviewed periodically to insure they are performing as desired. It is recommended that all life and annuity contracts, as well as 401(k), IRA and retirement plans be reviewed at least every two years. If you have purchased insurance and investment products, you have demonstrated that you care about and are planning for the future. Although people don’t generally plan to fail, failure to follow-up can cause a lot of unnecessary heartache for those you love. Don’t let your careful planning go to waste because of overlooked details. Call your financial planner today to schedule a review of the various elements of your current financial plan.

Valentine’s Day It seems that the story of Valentines Day, although not certain, began somewhere around 270 A.D. when a clergyman, by some accounts — a bishop in the Catholic church by others — secretly married young lovers. At the time, the emperor, Claudius, felt that married men were more emotionally attached to their families, and thus, would not make good soldiers and officers. So marriage was prohibited. This was around when the heyday of the Roman empire was coming to an end and there was much civil strife. Claudius had Valentine arrested for being a “friend to lovers” and after a stay in prison, had him executed. In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honor St. Valentine and he became the Patron Saint of an annual festival that involved young Romans offering women they admired and wished to court handwritten greetings of affection on February 14. The greeting cards acquired St. Valentine’s name. Some reports say that Valentine himself wrote the first Valentine to the prison keeper’s blind daughter while he was in prison, signing it “From Your Valentine.” By another account, the earliest written greeting card was sent in 1415 by Charles, duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was a prisoner in the Tower of London. The card is now preserved in the British Museum. The first commercial cards were produced in the U.S. and created in the 1840s by Esther A. Howland. Howland is known as the Mother of the Valentine. She made her elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures know as “scrap.” Although its history is a bit confusing, the spirit of love is the theme of the holiday. And according to Hallmark research, it is the second-most popular greeting card giving occasion. It is celebrated in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.)

Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity. — Henry Van Dyke

Gilroy’s own Valentine couples

As Valentine’s Day approaches, our thoughts turn to that special someone who has captured our heart. For some, that may be a new romantic attachment; for others, it’s the person they have shared most of their adult life with. For all, it’s someone who has aroused the intense feeling of deep affection that we call “love.”

Kristen & Eric Lopez

You might say Kristen and Eric were childhood sweethearts because they first met in eighth grade (1991). But, although they found themselves accompanying each other to many social functions over the next six years, they remained just friends. Friends say they were both really shy and quiet in high school — Eric was on the high school football team and Kristen was on the cheerleading squad. After high school and two years at Gavilan College, Kristin went off to Sonoma State College and Eric found his way to a coaching position in San Diego. Their romance actually began when they both moved back to Gilroy in 2001 and ran into each other at Applebees. They were drawn together by a mutual appreciation for each others smile, Kristen’s hazel eyes and Eric’s sense of humor, that Kristen describes as a little silly at times. “We’ve been together for four years now,” states Eric, “and just the person she is makes me a better person — she completes me.” Spoken like a true fan of Jerry McQuire. When Eric decided before Christmas 2006 that he would propose, he wanted to do something big. On New Years Day he purchased a dozen red roses and placed rose pedals all over the big “G” on the football field at Gilroy High. “I left one long stem rose in the middle of the ‘G’,” Eric recalls. Under the guise of going for a walk, Eric lured Kristen to the football field and the ‘G‘— he picked up the long-stem rose, got on one knee and asked Kristen if she would marry him. Kristen and Eric were married on Thanksgiving Day last year. Kristen teaches first grade at Rucker Elementary School and Eric, who has a degree in Political Science is a Probation Counselor at the Boy’s Ranch in Morgan Hill. They decided to make Gilroy their home,— “This is where we were raised, I can’t imagine living anywhere else,” says Kristen. They are looking forward to starting a family and buying their first home. Kristen and Eric plan to buy each other a romance movie — he likes guy romance movies like Jerry McGuire. Her favorite is Under the Tuscan Sun. They’ll make dinner together — “nothing fancy,” adds Kristen, “but it works.”

Roxie & Marv Thomas


Patty & Joe Giacalone

When asked how Patty and Joe Giacalone first met, Joe quickly says “At a swingers convention in Las Vegas. NO! Really, Bank of America in San Jose.” He was a customer, Patty an employee of the bank. “I still am a customer,” whips Joe. Joe first saw Patty in 1981 and thought her to be a “hot tomatoe challenge.” His words of course. “She always had flowers on her desk so I knew I couldn’t afford her. I was just a poor Sicilian kid.” It took three years before they actually went out. Patty says, “He was pretty slow.” Joe says, ”She wasn’t available, she was engaged at the time.” Joe was relentless, however, and always appeared at the bank after closing time so Patty had to keep a window open for him. Fellow employees helped keep Joe in touch with Patty’s coming and goings. “Let me know when the coast is clear,” he would tell Patty. The characteristics that attracted them to each other: for Joe, “she was tall, blonde and a challenge.” For Patty, his humor and three years of “is the coast clear.” They went to OJ’s (Original Joe’s)

Anja & Pieter Kerstens

in San Jose and sat at the counter for their first date. Joe proposed to Patty in the kitchen at her mother’s birthday party. “Everyone was outside. The whole family was together. So I figured I could save time and money by doing it then.” chuckles Joe. They moved to Gilroy because they both wanted to move to the country; they both were born and raised in San Jose. Now they are toying with the idea of moving because they feel Gilroy is getting a little too big and they long for a smaller, quainter environment. They are looking for property in Aptos. Joe is going on a ‘mans trip’ over the Valentine’s Day holiday. “Valentine’s isn’t a big holiday for us. We do more on our birthdays” says Patty. Her most memorable gift from Joe was a Christmas stocking with a piece of coal wrapped on the top, then some jewelry cleaner, and a beautiful 1.5 carat diamond ring tucked in the bottom.

Anja & Pieter Kerstens are from the Netherlands. Valentine’s Day is a relatively new holiday for them. They usually spend the holiday going out to dinner with friends. “We did it last year and it was a lot of fun. It’s not very romantic perhaps, but we enjoyed it.” says Anja. They met on the dance floor. In the Neitherlands, ballroom dance lessons were very popular — much like we take lessons for volleyball or guitar lessons here in the US. Those who didn’t have a partner were to pick someone on the dance floor. Anja was getting discouraged, having tagged two gentleman that she found were attached — when you tag a couple, they are supposed to switch but some don’t. She was a little nervous when she tagged Pieter but he switched and they’ve been dancing together ever since. Peiter liked how talkative Anja was. “She was easy to talk to, and pretty.” Anja found Pieter to be very mellow, tall, slender and very

secure with himself. They didn’t really have a first date as they met weekly to dance. Initially they were just friends but after about six months her friends started telling her that he was in love with her. “Everyone knew except me.” she says. After five years of dating, they got married — Pieter prososed over dinner. He didn’t get down on his knee or present a ring as that is not typical in Holland. They have been married for 25 years ago. Anja and Peiter are world travelers and plan to take thier children, Maarten, Annemieke and Monique, with them to Europe, Spain and Italy this summer.

Valentine’s Day won’t be too much fun for Marv and Roxie Thomas, as Roxie’s is having surgery around the holiday and they will probably be laying low. They usually go out to dinner and/or Marv gets Roxie the traditional bouquet of flowers. Then he gives her a kiss and makes his rounds to the widows of Gilroy, delivering primroses. Last year, he delivered 38 primroses. He’s quick to say that he doesn’t always do the deliveries by himself, sometimes he gets help. Marv & Roxie first met in 1957. They were living in a co-ed boarding house in Berkeley. Marv recalls the first time he saw Roxie — “she was wearing a yellow cotton dress and I thought this gal has everything I want.” It was the first time Roxie had lived away from home — she’s quick to clarify that the guys were on second floor and the gals on the third. Roxie recalls having too much fun to notice any one person as the group went most places together. Roxie remembers that she usually ended up sitting next to Marv on outings. On the fourth of July 1957 (Sunday) Marv asked to take Roxie out — just the two of them. “She had to chose between the whole group and just me,” Marv recalls. So when he called on

Thursday, she said “yes.“ Marv says he avoided her, awaiting her decision. ”I had to put my foot down, that’s what she wanted.” The characteristic that attracted Roxie to Marv was his dependability. “He was someone I could count on and had wonderful manners.” Marv said he was smitten and admired her because “although she was attractive, she could get along with all the other women in the boarding house.” They had quite a marathon first date, starting at Bimbo’s 354 Club in North Beach, San Francisco, veiwing the naked gals in the fish bowl, then to the light opera and ending the evening at the Marin Town Country Club for a dance. It was the “Big Kiss” in the hills above Berkeley that made the sparks fly. Marv sold his MG to purchase a wedding ring. They’ve been married for 60 years. “We’ve never discussed retiring or picking up and moving. We love this home. We live like kings in this country. We’ve gone on some wonderful trips and we want to do some local ones. We’ve had some fun times. When you boil it all down, our friendships and family are the most precious things that we have.” JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 GILROY TODAY



This Old House

Patrick Fitzgerald and family around 1895.

Above: A self-portrait of Inez Fitzgerald Right: A portrait of Patrick Fitzgerald.

The Gilroy Fitzgerald House Bed & Breakfast 2008



In and around Gilroy there are a number of houses that are rich with history. Gilroy Today would like to start this new series, “Historically Speaking…” with a look at a house we know quite well because it is our home and business location. It is the Fitzgerald House on Rosanna between Fifth and Sixth Streets. The original construction dates back to 1885. In 1887 the property transferred from R.M. Davis to William Fisher. In 1889 Patrick Fitzgerald purchased the property. In 1894 he remodeled the house, adding a second story and adding the Queen Anne elements that adorn it today. Mr. Fitzgerald owned a local livery stable. Folks say that a small single-walled house across the street, that has since been moved and remodeled, was for his ranch hands. The livery stable was located on Monterey between Fifth and Sixth. Patrick was a colorful character who also served on the Gilroy City Council. At one time he was also one of the owners of the local newspaper, The Advocate, the precursor of The Dispatch. His brother, Walter G. Fitzgerald, was the Mayor of Gilroy in 1908 and served on the Council until at least 1928. Another relative, Inez Fitzgerald, was a local photographer. As a photographer she was unable to make a living in San Francisco. In Gilroy, her studio was reportedly also on Monterey between Fifth and Sixth. Numerous photos of Gilroy oldtimers were produced at the Fitzgerald Studio. Inez had a reputation for being something of an “ambulance chaser.” When there were accidents in the area, she was known get to the scene as soon as possible to record the event. Over the years family members of former residents, including descendents of Patrick Fitzgerald, have visited the Fitzgerald House. With their help, the history of this 121 year-old house and its occupants is coming together. The house, as it is today, was raised four feet in 1987 and a first floor apartment was built. Since then, the whole interior of the house has been rewired, replumbed and remodeled. New materials have been utilized to mimic its Victorian roots. The house is a three-story structure with almost 6,000 square feet. Currently, in addition to being a home and the office for InfoPower Communications and Gilroy Today, it is The Gilroy Fitzgerald House Bed & Breakfast, the only B&B in the Gilroy, Morgan Hill, and Hollister area. If the history of older homes is intriguing, join a history tour with Connie Rogers and the Historical Society.

PRSRT STD U.S. Postage PAID San Jose,CA 95121 Permit No. 2198

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T Valentine’ s Day JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 Love is a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination. — Voltaire A BI-MONTHLY PUBLIC...