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.

THE SECOND OLDEST PROFESSION


One of the world’s least traveled roads brought about the greatest global transformation. The Silk Road changed history, bringing not only the exchange of goods, but also the exchange of religions, art, languages and new technologies. Strictly speaking, it wasn’t a single “road”, but rather many different overland routes leading west out of China through Central Asia to Syria and beyond. In essence, it became the world’s first trucking route. This modest non-road became one of the most transformative super highways in human history. The first reference to a ‘Silk Road’ was used on a map in 1877.

In 1907 two brothers and 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. The newly formed company was named RB&S Trucking, for Rasmussen brothers and Svane, Svane being their brother-in-law. The purchase of trucks came next 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.

Though the principals of the company did no driving of trucks, each of the sons and sons-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. Advice 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. I haven’t a doubt that he could still do it today. 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 father had told him that if you took a silver dollar and threw it as far as you could, you should buy it. 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 the land to where the BART station is now located in east Oakland.

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