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THE SECOND OLDEST PROFESSION Kate’s Journal


Episode 17 Alameda, 1946-1949

What was I thinking? I had quit my good job in San Francisco, and now my new husband tells me to “get a job”. I began tromping the streets in Oakland asking if anyone needed help. I literally had no skills except being a nice looking willing to work child bride.

I found a respectable job with an advertising dentist who happened to be the father of a friend. Is that nepotism? I wore a white nurse’s uniform including a cap, and began learning which instrument was needed for a specific task. We decided to live on my salary and save his. Rather trusting in retrospect don’t you think?

After returning from overseas, Sam’s plans to return to Cal were delayed due to the need to help his father in the trucking business.

In essence, the Silk Road became the world’s first trucking route. This modest non-road became one of the most transformative super highways in human history.

In 1907 two brothers and a a brother-in-law in San Francisco began an ambitious endeavor which in turn became a small local ‘Silk Road’. Fulfilling the need of residents living atop Nob Hill for cigars, whiskey, food and other necessities, they transported goods by horseback, referring to their newly formed business as “The Mustang Express”. As Business grew, they purchased wagons, and took in a younger brother recently graduated from school. The ‘younger brother’ was my father-in-law, Victor. The newly formed company was named RB&S Trucking, for Rasmussen Brothers and Svane. Svane being their brother-in-law. The purchase of wagons became the purchae of trucks and the name changed again to the “Inter-Urban-Express Company”, which conveyed merchandise throughout the Bay Area. Their familiar green and yellow trucks could be seen from San Francisco to Oakland for many years. Later, Svane’s son, Peter Victor, formed his own small trucking company carrying goods in San Francisco.

Victor Rasmussen
Victor Svane Rasmussen

Though the principals of the company did no driving of trucks, each of the sons and son-in-law and a grandson took their turn at not only knowing how to drive the large semi trucks, but also what went on inside them. Many years after the Inter-Urban was defunct, I watched Dr. Advice in a business suit help a young truck driver get straightened out when he had managed to jack-knife his truck. The boy was about 20 years old, and panic stricken, with traffic built up behind him, and he looked about to cry. Seeing the boy needed help, Dr. A stopped, climbed into the boy’s truck and set it straight. Getting back into our car, he remembered how someone had helped him, at age 16 when he had been in the same fix. Some things you don’t forget.

Some years later, my father-in-law left his brothers and started his own company named the East Oakland Drayage Company on 10 acres of land in East Oakland. His own father had told him that if you took a silver dollar and threw it as far as you could, you should buy the land. The trucking company would make a good living, but the real value is in the land, not the business on it.

Ten years later my father-in-law retired and sold the company and told the boys to ‘get a job’.

As to what the ‘oldest profession’ is, I’ll leave that up to you.

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12 comments on “THE SECOND OLDEST PROFESSION Kate’s Journal

  1. A man that can get a truck out of a jack- knife is worth his weight in gold. On the other hand, a child bride / woman who knows how to wield dental equipment could also be a very good catch. I reckon, especially with the extra alure of nurses uniform and a cap. Dr A knew a good woman.

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  2. The nurses/dental assistants today don’t have the same allure do they? Any old thing will do. It seems almost anyone can drive a truck today; but can they keep it out of trouble?

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    • I remember a female dentist doing my teeth up. She had an unusual techique whereby she tackled the teeth while bending over the patient from behind. It gave her more flexibility but for me it was also a rather pleasant and soft experience. It was a long time ago. ( when female softness featured far too much).
      I now have a ‘partial’ . Even so, still capable of chewing the sour-dough crusts. How about that?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nurses and truck drivers are worth their weight in gold. Also, plumbers and welders. I hear all are in short supply, and getting shorter.

    Good drivers of any sort are valuable, actually. When I had my surgery, I had to go back for an “emergency” checkup and couldn’t find anyone to take me, so I made use of the services of Javier, who drives for the eye clinic. My, goodness. A professional driver, who knows all the streets, and the detours, and so on, is just a pleasure.

    I lived in the Oakland flats for a time. Good times, especially the music scene. I was a bit enamored of Tower of Power, with their Oakland funk, and got to see the Edwin Hawkins Family in concert. I don’t care who you are, that’s just good music.

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    • The night life in those days was cutting edge, with many who became big stars later performing at local high schools, etc. The art scene in Berkeley at that time was invigorating. Oakland was a different place back then. I can’t believe when I started college several years after my children arrived, that I actually walked unafraid in areas I wouldn’t drive in today.
      The Uber drivers are getting a lot of action today. Since I dojn’t own a smart phone, I can’t access them. How deprived can you get?

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  4. Tower of Power! Mic Gillette went to our high school (he was younger…) and they played at our high school dances. Hard to believe. Oakland is a vastly different place now. There is some revitalization down by Jack London Square but for the most part Oakland suffers from crime, gang activity, drugs, and one of the worst school districts in Northern California. I was born in Oakland and hate to report this but it’s true.

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  5. Kayti, those Rasmussen men are handsome. Those Danes!

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  6. My then father-in-law got me my first job. Perhaps it is nepotism, but it is so very difficult to get that first job, with no record of employment or letters of reference. More difficult now than it was then.

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  7. Absolutely right mrsdaffodil. I often think employers have to have a certain degree of insight or esp to determine who might be the best candidate for the job.

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  8. Fascinating stuff. I’m learning so much from Kate’s Journal. I particularly enjoyed the rescue of the young driver who’d jackknifed his truck. It says so much about helping one another and good deeds being repaid.

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