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After 35 years as an educator I retired from that field and worked at Hearst Castle until 1982 as a guide and guide supervisor. Since 1988 I have researched and created a weekly newspaper column called ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO. The column researches and presents San Luis Obispo County TRIBUNE articles written a century ago. At the end of each year, unabridged columns are formatted into books which, because of the vast number of vital statistics, are of great help to those interested in genealogy. There is, as well, a great amount of other important county information to be found in the books.
(Click here to see the 1898 book.)
(Click here to see the 1899 book).

This was when the horse, the horse and buggy, the stage coach, the boat and train were the only modes of transportation available. The telegraph had become the major method of long distance communication, electricity and the telephone were in the developmental stages. Life was simple, not complicated by airplanes, automobiles, television, cell phones, CB’s, computers and other modern devices. Sewage disposal and potable water offered major problems. There were no malls or shopping centers. Food produced on the farms went directly to small grocery stores or often, from the farmer to the consumer. It was an interesting, if difficult time in which to live.

I am a fair piano player, specializing in sing-along type music. I spend time entertaining residents and patients of convalescent hospitals, nursing homes and residences for senior citizens. I entertain organizations of the area with a program I call FUN WITH MUSIC, and I also give historical talks when requested to do so. I sometimes talk to groups on how to save money when buying prescription drugs, a subject that is of great concern to me.

Of interest to some might be that I have been making root beer for over 70 years. This is easy to do and I am happy to share my expertise in the process. All one needs to concoct this delicious beverage is a bottle of McCormick Schilling Root Beer Extract, yeast, 5 pounds of sugar, 5 gallons of water, crimp-top bottles, bottle caps, and a capper. (Click here for a description of the root beer process.)

We have traveled a great deal in Mexico. Our many friends there have assisted us in learning more about the Mexican culture. Our travels have also taken us to Europe, Australia and New Zealand as well as to many places in the United States, where we have participated in Elderhostel programs.

I am fluent in Spanish and able to communicate in Italian to a fair degree. My Italian is really the patois used in my family’s home Canton of Ticino in Switzerland, the only Canton of that republic which borders Italy.

My wife is Henrietta Brown Tognazzini. We have been married 60 years (as of December 1999) and have had ten children. We presently have 18 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

My e-mail address is

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