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Hospitality of the Bradburys never forgotten
I remember spending a weekend with the Bradbury family at their home on Gondring Road shortly after my mother met her untimely death in 1936. She was but 46 years old and well known and loved in the Ceres area. During this weekend, in his despair, my father was probably on a trip to San Francisco or elsewhere. I realize now that he was in a forelorn state as all my family was at that time. During the period of a year we had lost my Grandfather Noble, my Grandfather Wilkinson, my mother and one of my best friends and schoolmate, Holbrook McCurry. Last week I wrote about Holbrook, who was 11 when he was accidently killed by a shotgun on Thanksgiving, 1936.

The Bradburys - Harriet, Jim and daughter Jane - lived in a lovely home with luxurious furnishings and provisions. Metal heaters were placed throughout the house and the living room with a fireplace and piano had a thick carpet that I loved to walk on barefooted. A big and long kitchen with a breakfast nook overlooked the backyard of trees. They also had a formal dining room with a big table and a tea cart that I will long remember.

I had been in this house many times but this time was very different. I was given my own room, the guest room with its large bed with ornate bedspread and a deep rich comforter. Until this time I had been just a neighborhood kid but this weekend I was a honored guest in this home of friends and neighbors that I loved!

The guest room was on the northwest corner of this big white house which was a much better home than the little red house that I lived in on Old Creamery Road nearby. Things at my home had always been very basic and to be invited into this "castle" and have my own bed and guest room was overwhelming to me. I remember waking up on Sunday morning and reading a framed declaration on the wall which went something like this: "You are welcome in this house. Stay as long as you want, sleep as late as you want and enjoy yourself to fulfillment."

This must have made a great impression on me for I remember this after all these 71 years. The feeling I obtained from that plaque on the bedroom wall and the hospitality that I as a young child experienced that weekend have stayed with me. This happened at a time that I needed consolation and encouragement. I received it that weekend in the Bradbury house.

The Bradburys have all passed on and by this story I wish to thank them for all the nice things they did for me. Things such as being good friends and especially to Jane for her attempt at trying to teach me to play the piano, teaching me to dance and giving me confidence to do so! I could always talk to her and get a honest and suitable answer. I remember once in high school at a evening dance I asked how her strapless gown stayed up. She explained quite simply that it had stays that originated at the waist to hold up the dress. I will remember long how we swam and played together, rode your horse in the field and dressed up together. The Model T Ford we shared and talked about going to football games in. I looked up to you and Marian Gondring and I was never disappointed in those relationships. We were good pals!

You can see a recent photo of Bradbury drop where many people of Ceres spent a lot of time so long ago in the hot summer months before it was concreted as shown here. It was not unusual to see eight to 10 cars parked nearby while the owners swam and splashed in the cool waters of this facility.

Bill Noble may be reached via email at