June 29, 1998
1939 photo taken of me standing in front of a Boeing plane on display at the Fair. Photo was taken by my brother, Milton.
by Oscar Roloff
It was 1939 and the Golden Gate International Exposition was to be in full force at Treasure Island. Officials found a rather shallow site in the Frisco Bay and filled it in with tons of dirt and debris.
The John Adams family wanted to go down there but had a herd of cows. No dairyman ever left the farm to go anyplace. Every morning and night they had to milk cows.
When word seeped out to other dairymen of the Adam's plan, neighbors called them crazy. They lived near Sunnyside where we had lived and gone to school. I knew their kids.
Nonetheless, they sold their cows and shoved off in an old clunker that had seen better days.
Having lived in the area, we knew all the dairymen.
My brother, Milton, and a school classmate shoved off by themselves via Shanks' Mare. They wanted to see the Fair too. I'd be there via the Navy. My brother had arranged to stay at our Aunt Celia's home in Frisco. I would meet them at the Fair.
After thumbing rides for awhile, a car stopped. It was the Adams family all jammed into an old car. The car stopped.
Recognizing each other, Mr. Adams gave Milton and his friend a ride all of the way down to the Fair.
Also present was President Franklin Roosevelt giving a Fleet Review. I have photos of him. He'd be at the Fair too.
The Reader's Digest had picked up the cow-selling story.
At Fair's end, my brother and his chum, hitch-hiked back to Yakima.
After the Exposition was over, the Navy grabbed the land and made a naval base out of it. But not until they had hauled thousands of tons of dirt to enlarge the island and make it suitable to naval use.
During the war that followed I'd stay there briefly. Today the dirt is sifting away and a problem arises. Slippage around the island's edges is increasing.
Back to John Adams. A day after they'd arrived home, he went to the bank, got a loan and bought some cattle and was back in business. His friends quit sneering at the Adams family.
His family was the only one to have seen the Fair. Jealous as all get out, neighbors said, "We should have done the same thing."