I began writing my story over two years before the 2011 Family Reunion, just for my children and immediate family so please understand why it is mostly all about me with limited information about others.
However, it does contain photos and information that was available about ancestors who may also be yours. I nurse regrets that I didn’t ask Mom, Dad, and Grandmother more about their early lives.
I have divided the story into progressive segments, but as you will see, it is interwoven with events where they best fit. And, keep in mind it begins with memories that are over eighty years old so some may be missing or partially misremembered.
And like most of us, there are incidents in my life that I am not proud of and would like to erase. But, using this as a confessional would serve no purpose. I am humbly ashamed of their existence and deeply regret them.
I have been fortunate in many ways, not because I was a genius but because of my parents examples and expectations, the environment they provided, and the unique opportunities of my era.
Mom was the peacemaker in our disagreements with Dad. He was hard working but lacked understanding at times because ours was a different world than the one he was shaped in. However, they showed loved and respect for each other. Mom wasn’t physically strong after five children but she took care of our home with Dad making certain that her four sons did the heavy chores. They never argued and if they had differences of opinions they never revealed them.
Dad was strict and when he gave us chores he would inspect the results and, if they were unsatisfactory, we had to do them over. This ranged from washing the dishes and edging the lawn to teaching us his trade of painter/paper hanger. That training has left me dissatisfied with anything less than satisfactory and motivates me to try to improve the things I control. Dad gets the credit.
Next, I have to credit the educational system and great teachers. I don’t remember any I disliked, some I loved and, they all made lasting impressions. This is in spite of going to Junior High School (7th thru 9th) half days for three years because of the earthquake. After that, high school was followed by a correspondence course, a wonderful trade school and college night courses.
But from childhood, I was blessed with a passion for drawing and construction that were the driving forces that gave me direction. Having observed my children, my step children and those from Big Brothers, I’m convinced that a child’s passion for something constructive is a wonderful gift.
Now add the timing. The depression was an era when you had to work if you wanted anything. Twelve year old kids could deliver early morning newspapers and sixteen year olds could work for Western Union. Then a wonderful trade school, World War Two, coming home to Marguerite and a child followed by three more, the Junior Chamber, appointment to the Water Commission, followed by failure as a general contractor, the discovery of an obsolete and shabby real estate industry ripe for a do over, the development of Century 21 followed by six years as a California State Senator and then Anne.
While there are references to family members I found it difficult to try to include everything about everyone so I have put many family details separately. And, since I have no in-depth information about Marguerite’s family history, her sister Betty Ann, is providing it separately.
Admittedly I am the world’s worst proof reader but I try. So, as you find glitches, be as forgiving as you can. And maybe, as you go through life this will inspire you to leave information about yourself and your family for those who follow.
With love to all, both known and unknown. Oliver "Ollie" Speraw, 1921 to 20??
Please note: In the following chapters, you will find many photos. You may click each photo to see a larger version, with names or descriptions.

© 2011 Oliver W. Speraw Next Chapter