Editor, Ceres Courier,
I've never written to a newspaper editor before but I feel compelled to write to you. I was traveling north to Reno last Thursday from my home in Paso Robles. The purpose of my trip was to visit my Dad and sister who live in Sparks and to meet up with some friends for "Hot August Nights" (I love classic cars, hotrods, and classic rock and roll).
I had a little bit of extra time, so on the way, I thought I'd stop in my old home town of Ceres to look around and take some pictures. I moved away from Ceres in 1962 or 1963 (I was around 11 years old). Once in a great while I'll stop by my old hometown to reminisce with great memories about the first 11 years of my life spent in Ceres. My Dad and I (he's 86 now) love to sit and tell "Ceres stories" with each other as we laugh thinking of all the good times.
After I took a few pictures of downtown on Fourth Street, and getting in my car to head north, I thought of one more thing I needed to do: get a copy of the latest Ceres Courier. I didn't read any of the articles until after I arrived at my Dad's house in Sparks. I brought the Courier to him as a surprise. My sister, Carol, started reading your editorial outloud to us ("Goofus and Gallant"), knowing how much we would enjoy the subject of your article.
We all clapped when she finished reading and all agreed wholeheartedly with everything you said in your article. We want you to know how much we admire your courage to write and publish such a wonderful piece that totally "tells it like it is" regarding our world's modern society. We could not agree with you more.
Your article took me back to the days when I use to love reading Highlights magazine. The latest issue would always be waiting for me at my dentist's office whenever I had an appointment. Eventually, my mom bought me a subscription to the magazine so I wouldn't have to wait for a dentist appointment to keep up on my Highlights reading.
My two sets of grandparents (from Arizona and Missouri) and many of their relatives had settled in Ceres long before I was born at Ceres Memorial Hospital in 1951. My paternal grandfather, Burley Ramsey, was a home builder and built many homes in Ceres. My maternal grandfather, Charlie Baldridge, was employed as the bus mechanic and janitor for Ceres High School for many years. Dad worked at the Modesto Bee and raced cars every weekend at Stockton 99 Speedway. Many of the family on my maternal grandmother's side, the Lanes, still live in Ceres. Councilman Ken Lane is a cousin of mine.
All the love, support, and Christian upbringing I received from such wonderful family and relatives in this small community helped me grow up to be more of a "Gallant" type of kid. In fact, thinking back about all my schoolmates back then, there were actually very few Goofus types. Sadly, now (as you pointed out in your article) a lot of us can agree that the "Gallants" are in the minority.
Our modern society needs more of people like you and your article to remind us of living with just plain common decency, the way God meant us to be. As I walked down Fourth Street, many great memories came flooding back to my mind. I can still smell the Butch Wax from Sterling's Barber Shop, where I used to get my flat top haircuts.
Countless times I used to walk past Roger Strange's Drug Store to gaze at the Mickey Mouse watch displayed in the window that I always hoped would end up under the Christmas tree. I loved to go in the bakery (the current location the boot repair shop), where the smell of fresh baked bread was euphoric. Before I was too young to read, I always ordered the Hostess Cupcakes at the bakery because I thought that the white squiggle on the top of the chocolate frosting was my name written out.
And then there were Miner's Department Store (the Miners were wonderful neighbors of my grandparents) and Martin's Variety Store who sponsored baseball teams in the Ceres Pee Wee League.
One of my all-time favorite TV shows is the Andy Griffith Show because it so reminded me of my childhood in Ceres. In fact, whenever, I'm asked about where I originally come from, I tell them "I'm from the little town of Ceres... California's version of Mayberry." So many great memories of a great little town that I'm very thankful for having the privilege of spending my childhood in.
I'm so glad I picked up that copy of The Courier.
Dr. Dave Ramsey
LETTERS POLICY: Letters to the editor will be considered for publication but must be signed and include an address and phone number. Letters should contain 250 words or less and be void of libelous statements. Letters may be sent to The Ceres Courier, 138 S. Center Street, Turlock CA 95380 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org