My life began on March 16, 1931, at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley. My parents, who resided in Albany, were George and Adele Martin. I was either so perfect or so imperfect that they never saw fit to produce another child.

I lived in Albany until 1937, when my parents divorced and I was sent to Hayward to live with my maternal grandmother for the next four years. Then it was back to Albany to my mother until 1947, when I moved to Oakland to live with my father, where I remained until I graduated from Fremont High School in 1949 and went to San Luis Obispo to study architecture at California State Polytechnic College.

After two years it became apparent that I would never be an efficient architect so I returned to Albany and began to serve my apprenticeship as an automobile mechanic. This was interrupted in 1952 by an offer I couldn’t refuse to spend two glorious years at Fort Bliss, Texas, with all expenses paid by the U.S. Government.

During this stint I made one of the best decisions of my life. I returned home on leave in 1953 and married Priscilla (Patty) Edelstein, who is still my beautiful wife in a marriage now approaching 58 years. Also during this period, after a reasonable time, our first daughter, Jacqueline, was born.

Having wasted two years (except as noted above) in the Army, we returned to Oakland and were joined by our second new daughter, Jeannine, in 1955. Shortly thereafter, we purchased a new home in Hayward where we lived for the next 3-plus years and now had our son, Max. Circumstances caused us to then move to San Leandro where we resided for almost 40 years and added our third daughter, Michele, to the family.

Over time, I was employed variously as an auto mechanic, auto parts man, assistant car distributor, and, ultimately, a copier technician for Xerox Corporation for 17 years until I retired in 1994.

As our children grew up and went out on their own and our family diminished in size down to just Patty and I, we made the decision to move to Castro Valley in 1998, where, as of this writing (December, 2010) we still are. Of all the places that I have lived, Castro Valley is the most enjoyable.

Always the hobbyist, over the years I built model airplanes, R/C model cars, and model trains (which I still have). Concurrently I raced cars on the dirt tracks of California, Oregon, and Nevada until two fairly serious injuries indicated that I should maybe retire in 1966. I then acquired sailboats and sailed on the Bay and Delta for several years.

Still the hobbyist, I am involved with garden railroads, Alfa Romeo automobiles, and bocce. And, since my maternal grandfather came from Italy, I am a qualified Italian and am active in several Italian American Clubs, most notably the Buon Tempo Club right here in Castro Valley. One of my proudest achievements is getting the recreation department to build bocce courts in Adobe Center Park.

I continue to have a great interest in the past, present, and future of our great community.

Sories in and around Caastor Valley by Ken Martin