I just read your story about Jeff Hansen and Leland Johnson and had to respond. Being a second generation Watsonvillian, I could relate to and remember all the people and places referred to. My grandfather and father owned California Furniture Store, just 100 yards or so from Watsonville High School. Although I have no living family in the area, I still make the trip down from the Bay Area 2-3 times a year to visit my parents at the cemetary on Hecker Pass. Then I stop in at Gizdich Ranch to visit Vince and his mom, Nita, and buy a couple pies. It’s always great to visit old friends, as there aren’t too many of us left.
I knew the Hansen brothers, Jeff, Billy & Bobby, growing up, as our families socialized – our dad’s were in the Elk’s together – and I remember that they were the first ones in town to get Stingray bicycles! I think they had a connection at Johnny’s Bikes in Santa Cruz.
Those days of the Wooden Nickel were wild ones indeed. I had moved to the Bay Area for college, but I always returned to town to visit my parents and pop into the Nickel for a few cold ones – it was my ‘Cheers’, as my high school buddies were usually there and everyone knew my name!
Yes, those were great days indeed, so it’s always nice to reminisce with friends about good ol’ Watsonville.
Mark J Gross
WHS Class of ‘71