My dad was in the business. What can I say. I grew up on Durant Ave. in Oakland. His shop was called The Glass House and was on MacArthur Blvd. between 108th and 109th avenues. It was a family glass/mirror business, started in 1948, which added custom picture framing as a side business to keep my mother occupied in the store while my dad was out fixing broken windows. The picture framing aspect grew and eventually equaled the glass in sales totals
When I was 12, my parents sold the house on Durant Ave. and moved to a new house off Grass Valley Rd. in Oakland. I was still in 7th grade at St. Louis Bertrand School, on East 14th St., now International Blvd. Every morning I rode with my father to work, hopped on my bicycle and drove myself to school. After school, it was back to the shop and be there 3 hours before dad drove home. Starting with sweeping, he put me to work. It grew from there.
I graduated from Bishop O’Dowd High School. Every day after school I hitch hiked down to my dad’s shop and worked. I was fitting pictures into their picture frames at the age of 14. The last two years of high school my dad supplied a car which was safer than hitch hiking. Guess those were different times. When I was 16 my dad bought 40 acres of land in Grass Valley. Every weekend he went up to his land. At the age of 16 I opened and ran his store every Saturday by myself. Sold some pieces of glass but mainly waited on custom picture framing customers. What adult would trust a 16 year old to help them design a custom picture frame? But they did. I learned a lot and it grew.
After 4 years in the US Navy during the Vietnam War, I returned home and did the college thing at Cal State Hayward (now East Bay). I opened up my own picture framing store in 1973. It has now been 42 years that I have been picture framing in Montclair Village. I have been blessed with amazingly devoted customers from the Montclair area and Piedmont. Friendships have developed over the years. Today, I am as invigorated and charged as ever to create lasting memories and superior design for my picture framing customers.