Where Did All My Old Friends Go
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by Frank Shortt
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As we look back on the pages of time, there are some friends who stood out and even though
they did not make national headlines, or do anything extraordinary as pertaining to overall mankind, they were special in their areas
Orland Walker was my mentor in the gospel. He was born in Oklahoma and during
the ‘Dust Bowl’ days removed to California, along with many other ‘Okies’ to work the fruit fields. Landing in Marysville, along with
his wife Nola Zetty and two daughters, with an old beat up car, and the clothes on their backs, they set up housekeeping underneath
an apple tree. Nola outlined the rooms with rocks that she gathered in the adjacent field and made beds on the ground for her husband
and herself. The girls slept in wooden fruit boxes lined with whatever linens Nola had in the trunk of the car. After a month, and
payday, they were able to rent a small shack in the vicinity of the orchards. After his conversion, Orland became an avid minister
of the gospel, preaching wherever he was led to go. He was converted while being a lumberjack in the huge forests of Washington State.
I still remember one of the stories he told me about being a lumberjack. “In the morning we always ate flapjacks and maybe some meat
if we could get it. We always ate the flapjacks with butter and kept the syrup to the side. After the flapjacks were gone, we would
all turn up the container of syrup or honey, provided for each man, and we would drink the syrup to insure an energy surge for the
hard work ahead!” He founded several churches throughout Oregon and Washington, and after declaring that salvation belonged to the
Lord and His Word, he was barred from preaching in any of the churches he had founded. His pulpit became the world and he and Nola
went to practically every nation preaching the gospel. I shall never forget his statement after going to Australia and seeing that
the men he had led to the gospel were not following the teaching he had presented. He turned to his son and said, “Gerald, they betrayed
me!” This last trip was done in a wheelchair as he was paralyzed from the waist down! He died in 1995 having laid a foundation for
many men and women throughout the world.
Rudy Caloca was a veteran of the Korean War. After
the war he did any job that would provide sustenance for his family. He ended up working at the Ford Motor Plant in Milpitas, California.
When the plant moved to Kansas City, he was given an early retirement. Not being one who could sit around doing nothing, he came to
me where I was Chief of Operations at the Alum Rock School Department in San Jose, California. I have never had a more faithful employee.
He was there every day except when he was so sick he could not drive. I could call him at any hour and he would drop what he was doing
to come and give me a hand. If I went on vacation, I would return to my home and find that my lawns were mowed, my trees trimmed,
or pruned, and everything around the place would be shipshape. I shall never forget a story he related to me while a soldier in Korea:
“We were up on the front lines with no hope of relief, and especially no hope of a decent meal, as this was Thanksgiving season. A
currier reported to us that we would receive a hot meal on Thanksgiving day, so with anticipation, we waited for the cooks to bring
our meal. It was chilly cold that day, and by the time the food arrived, it was frozen solid. We had to melt the rations with a small
Bunsen burner and ate them as soon as the ice melted. Whether or not they were still cold, we ate them with relish!” This was the
only time I ever heard Rudy speak negatively about his time in the service of his country. Afterward he was faithful to the VFW in
his hometown of San Juan Bautista, California until his death in 2011. He was loved by all who appreciated an honest and hard worker!
Arthur Boos was an artist of renown in the San Francisco Bay Area. He became my friend
when I was custodian of the school where his children attended. I had seen his work in Sedona, Arizona and was quite taken with his
techniques in the art of Pastels. I had asked the museum owner about this extraordinary artist and was told that he was an old hermit
living out on the deserts of Arizona. When I met him for the first time I must say that I did not like him immediately. He was as
gruff as an old hermit, but was in reality, one of the finest floor contractors in the San Jose area. His parquetry, which requires
great artistic ability, is still present in many of the very expensive homes in the hills of Los Altos, Burlingame, and throughout
the San Francisco Bay Area. After we became close friends, I would visit him during my time off at the school department. Each time
I would visit him he would be sketching a cowboy picture, either in pen and ink or in lead. At the end of our visit he would sign
the picture and present it to me as a memento of our visit. Sometimes he would say, “Frank, let’s go down to the studio and do a picture.
To the tunes of Mozart and Beethoven, he would render a finished painting in pastel as he sat and smoked, told funny stories, and
enjoyed the strains of classical music. At the end of the visit, I would go home with another of his creations with an invitation
to “come over any time and let’s talk books!” He loved reading the old western and adventure authors such as Rex Beach, James Oliver
Curwood, Jack London, and a host of other fiction writers. Art’s most avid fan was Clint Eastwood, the famous actor, producer and
director of Hollywood fame. They had become acquainted while both lived in the town of Birney Falls, California. Art could barely
get a painting out to the public as Clint would buy them before he had a chance to display them. In his lifetime he had been a Merchant
Marine Man before he was eighteen years of age, a wonderful graphic artist, a champion motorcycle racer, a great floor man, husband,
father, and faithful friend. He died June 28, 2009 in Cameron Park, California.
friend I will never forget is Lloyd Krelle. Lloyd was raised on a farm/ranch in Lodi, California. He attended the local schools there
and went on to University of the Pacific as well as San Jose State University, eventually becoming a teacher. He was able to work
his way up to school principal before his retirement. We met at the San Jose Flea Market as both of us were avid book collectors.
We met while diving in a box for the same book, a boy’s book written by Capt. Ralph Bonehill. He was gracious enough to allow me to
buy the book and I still have it until this day. I once did antique shows in the San Jose area. On each Sunday morning I would go
to other dealers before setting up to see if they had brought any books that I might be interested in. When Lloyd arrived to the show,
I, along with every other dealer there, would know that he was on the grounds and looking for books. He would ask each dealer if they
had seen me, in his booming voice! He was hard of hearing and talked very loudly thinking that he was using his normal voice. When
he spotted me he would always ask the same thing, “Hey Frank, have you found any books?” Usually , the following week, Lloyd and I
would get together to ‘trade’ books. I would look for the authors that he collected and he would look for the authors I collected.
Most of the time his books were far superior to mine so his favorite saying was, “I am trading you quality for quantity!” By the time
Lloyd died in 2000, most of his great collection of books had been sold at auction so that he, along with his wife Irene, could travel
the globe. Lloyd was one of the most knowledgeable bookmen that I have ever encountered!
Where are all my old friends
The ones I loved so well?
The ones I thought would never leave
Oh, words could never tell,
Of the times we spent together
Through sunshine, snow and rain
Where are all my old friends
Will we ever meet again?