Serving Northern California

Since 1985

Life At Carlton

From Carlton Senior Living on Facebook


Why Carlton?

We help residents live their lives with attractive senior housing options, acclaimed services and our legendary “culture of care.”


Our Mission

We’re a family-founded, family-focused company, and taking care of you and your loved ones is our mission and our passion.


Service Principles

We aim to love, honor and care for our residents with exceptional service, enthusiasm and integrity.

Senior Living Surprise

While vacationing in San Francisco I decided to take a quick trip up to Pleasant Hill to see an old dear friend of mine who lives at Carlton Senior Living Downtown Pleasant Hill. I must say you guys do it right! The food was incredible (especially the salad bar!) I was quite impressed with the staff who went out of their way to make me happy. Very clean and the atmosphere was warm and inviting. As I left a fun county band started to play... I wanted to stay but had to leave, hopefully next time I will catch them. Keep up the great work Carlton Senior Living Downtown Pleasant Hill!!!Dr. Wright

Carlton Senior Living Downtown Pleasant Hill Assisted Living Is Truly Special

Special thanks to Lisa Spivey at Carlton Senior Living Downtown Pleasant Hill, on my visit to see my dear friend, you were so warm and welcoming and thanks for the nice chat. You and your whole team are gifts to all the resident that live their. If I retire in Pleasant Hill someday, I wish to call Carlton Senior Living Downtown Pleasant Hill my home. Thanks again and lunch was delightful.S Pelegrino

The Best Senior Living Community

I visited Carlton Senior Living Downtown Pleasant Hill and I was very much impressed with how you guys run this senior community. I live in Florida and what I've seen in my parts is not even close to what you have assembled here. The food, activities and staff are all above board. Very lively place as well. I'm impressed.John B

Assisted Living That Is Like Coming Home

Warm and friendly staff at Carlton Senior Living San Leandro! They make you feel welcome. Very nice apartments, lots of activities and the Sunday Brunch that I was fortunate to attend was OUTSTANDING! Really as good as anything you will find anywhere in the City. Not sure how you do it but I'm sure glad you do. John loves it there.Kathy Oslow

Wonderful Retirement Community

Thank you to the Carlton Senior Living managers and team, for all of the care, patience, time and efforts you put in to helping my father, he was a blessed and happy man until he passed in March. My husband and I appreciate all that you did for him. We really want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sending us flowers on his funeral. Thanks again!Betty Shrine
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Our Memory Care

“Everyone is helpful and caring. It is such a relief that my mom is taken care of at Carlton’s Memory Care. I never worry about her care or well being and she is happy when I visit. Thank you all!” – Alice C.

From the Carlton Senior Community Blog

Resident Spotlight - Frank Hopkins

Resident Spotlight - Frank Hopkins

Meet Frank Hopkins, Carlton Senior Living's spotlight resident - Francis “Frank” Hopkins was born June 6, 1942 in Lowell, Massachusetts to parents Frank and Kay Hopkins. Frank fondly remembers being a troublemaker as a kid. He also remembers being fascinated with photography; he wanted to become a photographer when he grew up. Frank still enjoys taking photographs at Carlton Davis events! Frank went to Lowell High School and the University of Miami. He joined the Air Force, during the Vietnam War, and served about four years. He was stationed on Crete and worked as a broadcaster for the same radio station that was portrayed in the movie “Good Morning, Vietnam.” After his time in the Air Force, he finished his education at UC San Diego. After college, Frank continued his career in radio. He moved to Sacramento to work on then-governor Ronald Reagan’s press staff. Frank is particularly proud of a photo he has of him and Reagan shaking hands. After working for Reagan, he stayed on at the California State Capitol. He was essentially in charge of radio press releases; he would interview legislators and relay the information to local news stations, who would then use Frank’s information in their own broadcasts. He was able to incorporate his love of photography into the job, as he was also sometimes asked to take photographs. He is proud of being friends with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. He and his late wife, Cindy, had one daughter, Christina. Frank has a lot of respect for Christina; she is inquisitive and very smart. He describes her as “always wanting to learn new things.” Frank, Cindy, and Christina enjoyed taking road trips together; they often went back east to visit Lowell and Boston. He has one granddaughter, Kira. Frank moved to Davis in 2018 to be closer to Christina. Frank describes himself as funny, helpful, and smart. He loves just about any “good food.” His favorite dessert is dark chocolate; Frank is especially fond of Dove Chocolate. He likes dancing, music and telling jokes. When asked for advice he would pass along to others, he suggests the advice he always gave his daughter, “never get a tattoo!” View additional Resident Spotlight articles. Written by Ben Slade, Resident Liaison at Carlton Senior Living Davis Read more

"Two Worlds Meet at Carlton: The Story of Setsuko Iwawaki Brockman" by Harriett Burt

An interesting thing happened during the recent temporary re-opening of the dining room so that new wait staff could be trained on proper meal service techniques. Table seating of residents (two to a table or booth) were organized by Dining Room Manager, Janine Smith of Carlton Pleasant Hill-Martinez. Among the ‘two at a table’ next to a window were Blanche Perry and Setsuko Brockman. Both being friendly types, they started exchanging information about themselves right away. Blanche mentioned she had lived in Japan for two years after World War II with her US Air Force husband and their family. Lo and behold, it turned out Blanche had lived in the same part of greater Tokyo as Setsuko had when she was a baby. Greater Tokyo is divided into 23 departments from east to west on the large island of Honshu. Since Setsuko had lived in Department 23 from her birth in 1929 to 1932 when the family moved to downtown Tokyo and Blanche lived in Narimasu, a small town in Department 23 in an American family complex called Grant Heights complete with a school, commissary, and theater from 1950 to 1952, neither knew of the existence of the other. But Carlton worked as a reunion of sorts for both of them. After their conversations, Blanche said, “I was surprised to meet her…it was wonderful,” Setsuko smiled and said, “I am fond of her.” Read more about Blanche Perry: "You Don't Meet General MacArthur But I'd See Him..." FAMILY: The oldest of five children, Setsuko was born in western Tokyo on February 20, 1929. In 1932 the family moved to downtown Tokyo, near the Imperial Palace and a large public park. Their home was not far from the Palace grounds which were open to the public twice a year. Also nearby was a beautiful large city park open to the public. Mr. Iwawaki, a graduate of the respected Yokohama Business School, had what Setsuko described as ‘a good job’ working for an airplane parts company. He also had a serious spinal cord condition which gave him a humpback on the left side which was very painful. It also caused his death in 1940 when Setsuko was 11. To this day she remembers him as a gentle man whom she often accompanied to a local hot spring so he could some get relief. Besides his advanced education, “my father was very westernized,” she notes. “He always wore Western clothes and shoes,” a preference he passed on to his sons, one of whom collected Western clothes and shoes as an adult. In fact, everyone in the family wore western clothes except Setsuko’s mother and grandmother. They both wore the traditional silk kimono except during the summer when it was too warm to wear silk comfortably. Then the two ladies wore cotton muumuus, Setsuko remembers. Setsuko’s mother was also well-educated. Trained as a teacher, she preferred to be a stay-at-home Mom, her daughter says. Setsuko, as the oldest child, was expected to help her mother with all the responsibilities of a housewife and mother which she did until she got married herself in 1956. Asked if that was a common expectation for eldest daughters, she thinks it was. The same expectation was not laid on eldest sons, she notes with a wry smile. “Even my father didn’t do anything,” she adds. While Setsuko’s father was still alive and working in the 1930s, the family was prosperous enough to own a telephone, rare for homes in Japan in those days. Setsuko remembers the neighbors coming over to ask if they could use it. Did they ever pay? She smiled and shook her head. The family’s life changed in several ways after Mr. Iwawaki’s death. For a while, the family functioned financially as it had when the father was alive. Later, they moved out of downtown Tokyo to an area of the city farther east. Like eastern Contra Costa County, it combined city residences with small farms and orchards. Setsuko recalls crying about the move because “it was so far away.” In the end, it was a good move for the family because they were not near the horrific Tokyo Firebombing of March 1945, which, like a similar bombing by the Allies of Dresden, Germany, resulted in thousands of civilian deaths. Second, Setsuko’s mother went to work in a factory. Third, the three younger brothers were sent to the north for their safety to live with their grandparents while Setsuko and her sister remained with their mother in the new home away from downtown Tokyo. Fourth: As was customary in Japanese families, Setsuko, as the first-born girl, had more responsibilities for the household than the younger children. Therefore, she could not accept an opportunity before Pearl Harbor to join a Western dance group that entertained Japanese. “No,” her mother replied when asked. “You are the first (child in the family) so you have to help me.” It was what Setsuko calls “the old system.” The oldest daughter served as an assistant to the mother. “You don’t argue with Mother,” says the daughter.  And fifth, Pearl Harbor happened in December 1941. As a result, life in Tokyo and throughout the country changed in many ways. EDUCATION: Japanese schools were organized so that some students graduated in our 10th grade with working-class skills while those who were going on to university graduated two years later as in Australia and other countries. Setsuko never lacked for jobs not only because of her personality and willingness to work hard but also because she was skilled with the abacus. In the days before computers and adding machines, the ancient abacus morphed into a variety of forms and uses. Her father used the Japanese soroban abacus at work. “He was a whiz with the abacus,” Setsuko says. She apparently inherited the skill so she took a class and became very adept. The strength of the soroban abacus is that it can be used for practical calculations even involving numbers of several digits as well as non-normal numbers such as 1.5 and ¾,  according to Wikipedia. One of the jobs where she used the abacus was at the Tokyo Post Office/Insurance Company. Another job was as an elevator operator in an 8-story building in downtown Tokyo taken over by the Americans. That job is significant because it inspired her to take English classes, and because that is where she met her future husband. WAR  - “In 1942, the War became very hard,” Setsuko says. The Doolittle Raid in 1942 was only the first air raid Setsuko experienced. As time passed, particularly in 1944 and 1945, the sirens began going off at night as well as during the day.  The neighborhood of three homes constructed a sort of air-raid shelter. Since the water level was very close to the surface, the shelter couldn’t be underground. So, a neighbor constructed a heavy wooden wall with a roof attached and a bench along the wall. Dark material hung down from the roof on three sides. When the attacks began, the neighbors gathered beneath the roof on the bench by the wall. Fortunately, no bombs ever dropped really close to them, but it was frightening enough anyway. The raids lasted approximately a half hour or so, she remembers. The number of raids and their destructive capacity increased in 1944 and especially 1945 when the US could use land-based bombers from the islands of Tinian and Okinawa. Before the end of the war, strafing became common forcing the family to huddle under the table in the house which had black curtains over the windows. “1945….that was a scary time,” Setsuko recalls. She and her family were not touched by the March 10, 1945 midnight raid of B-29s dropping large numbers of incendiary (fire) bombs on the working-class neighborhoods of East Tokyo. An estimated 100,000 people were killed in six hours. Similar to the Dresden firebombing in Germany in 1945, the purpose was to destroy people’s homes and cause large loss of life in order to encourage the government to surrender. While 60 Japanese cities were firebombed with estimates that many hundreds of thousands of people were killed in 1945, it wasn’t until two atomic bombings in August 1945 that the emperor surrendered. FOOD: There was rationing of course but her family obtained most of its food by “exchange” (bargaining) with nearby farmers. Although Setsuko had missed living downtown near the Imperial Palace, their new home was close to small farms where they could bargain with farmers for a variety of food. One farmer gave her mother a big bag of rice. She kept half of it and sold the remainder thus reaping more money for the family’s food needs. What was used for the exchange? One example is the beautiful silk kimonos Setsuko’s grandmother gave her each year for her birthday. Setsuko thinks about 10 or 12 of them were exchanged for food for the family. The exchange disappeared after the war as many farmers were too old to farm and the young people weren’t available for jobs in agriculture. It was replaced when the “the US gave a lot of food” to Japanese families including Setsuko’s which she says helped her recover from the negative feelings she had about America and Americans at the end of the war. The bombings and the hardship were one thing but the real issue for Setsuko was the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. HIROSHIMA --- The 75th anniversary of the atom bomb being dropped on Hiroshima occurred on Sunday, September 6 of this year while we at Carlton Senior Living Pleasant Hill-Martinez were spending an unusually hot day inside the building. For Setsuko, however, it is an event deeply ingrained in her being. She was outside at home at 8:16 a.m. on Monday, September 6, 1945, when she saw the southern sky fill with a huge shiny vision in a variety of colors which soon disappeared. Because Hiroshima is 450 miles as the crow flies south of Tokyo, there was no sound to be heard and no mushroom cloud visible in Tokyo. The news spread the next day that a new kind of bomb had been dropped, she recalls. The Japanese government was informed that unless it surrendered that day, another bomb would be dropped. When it didn’t heed the warning, the Nagasaki bomb was dropped. After that, the Emperor announced the surrender of the armed forces of the empire of Japan. 75 years later, Setsuko remembers vividly how angry she was at the time. “Everybody cried when the Emperor surrendered,” she says. Like many Japanese, she had been told “we would fight” to the bitter end. When she talks about it, she appears to have been ready to do just that herself. However, she and other Japanese found out as time went on that Japan had been losing the war for years. But, she was asked, didn’t she know that the Americans were moving north across the Pacific from island to island including the Philippines and Okinawa? “No” she answers, adding that the Japanese government never told the population the truth about the last three years of World War II in the Pacific. She also openly admits to the wrongs of Japanese soldiers in China during the 1930s and in the Philippines and elsewhere in the 1940s. According to an article in a recent 75th anniversary New York Times special edition at the end of World War II, there were Americans and wrongs as well including the deliberate firebombing of working-class neighborhoods with no factories but many wooden homes and buildings. Several American airmen, now in their 90s, told the Times “we hated what we were doing.” The purpose of the raids was to get the Japanese government to surrender but it took two atom bombs to accomplish that. Setsuko says that she honestly “hated the Americans” right after Hiroshima and the end of the war. When and how did that change? To begin with, as food became very scarce in the country because the farmers were aging with no one to replace them, the Americans stepped up and “gave us food.” Setsuko and her family were greatly helped by that. The Americans also were pleasant and helpful in other ways and provided lots of work opportunities which is how Setsuko ended up operating an elevator in an eight-story downtown Tokyo building and meeting in it the American man she would be married to for 63 years. JOBS: Chicago-born Carroll Brockman was a young weatherman in 1952 when he was posted to the Air Force weather station in Tokyo. It was located on the top floor of an office building in downtown Tokyo commandeered along with two other even taller office buildings. Using the elevator each day, he was immediately attracted to the cute, vivacious Japanese operator who had learned English ‘on the job’ and by taking classes. Setsuko had a Japanese boyfriend at the time but he moved away at some point. After Carroll and Setsuko took a few rides in the elevator, he asked her out in the employee break room. He was 21, two years younger than Setsuko. She refused but he was persistent. She’d see him at the corner waiting for her at the end of the day. He would then walk her to the train station. He even came over to their home to ask her mother for permission to marry Setsuko. “No, you are not going to marry my daughter,” was Mother’s crisp reply. Setsuko only translated the “No.” Carroll stayed in Japan until 1955. He went home, resigned from the Air Force, became a taxi driver in Chicago and did other jobs. In 1956, he rejoined the Air Force and was sent back to Japan. When stationed at Yohobe AFB near Tokyo, he reconnected with Setsuko. By this time, she says with a smile, “I’m thinkin’ he’s not such a bad guy.” They were married in 1956. He worked in the weather office and Setsuko, who never had a problem finding a job, worked in the base bookstore and as a cafeteria cashier. Their first child was born in Japan. They went to America in 1959, living in a Chicago apartment where the heat was turned off at midnight in the winter so they woke up to ice in the apartment. Setsuko remembers the baby having to sleep between her parents. Her first household task was having to chip off an inch of ice covering the window when she got up. From there, they lived in Cincinnati where their second child was born and Setsuko became an American citizen. For the next 30 years, the couple raised three children and lived much of the time in Japan where Carroll worked as a weather forecaster at two different U.S. airbases in the Tokyo area and later as a proofreader of the English language edition of Mainechi, one of the top four greater Tokyo daily newspapers. Her mother, whose feelings about Carroll had changed from suspicion to full approval, soon moved in with them and helped raise the grandchildren. Carroll’s last posting in the Air Force came in the 1970s when he and the family lived at Vandenburg Air Force Base in Southern California. After retirement, they ended up in Sacramento where Carroll worked for the Stars and Stripes and Setsuko landed what must have been her favorite job considering how enthusiastically she talks about it. She worked in the IRS tax document repository in Sacramento. It was charged with keeping and distributing all kinds of federal income tax forms. That included not just current forms but also those going back to the beginning of the federal income tax in 1913. She holds both arms up far apart to show the size of the original tax form sheet. The repository staff made sure that the Fresno Internal Revenue Office had what it needed and also mailed whatever forms for whichever years businesses, law offices and the public needed. Also in retirement, they made regular trips to Japan and traveled in the United States. They enjoyed going to Reno and Lake Tahoe and to some of the Indian casinos. Carroll would occasionally wake up in the morning and say to Setsuko, “Let’s go to Los Angeles (or elsewhere) for a few days” and they would. Because the war canceled college for her, Setsuko feels so fortunate to have been able to take painting, crochet and ceramic classes as well as a variety of business classes at junior college and to have a great family. She and Carroll made sure their three girls could go to college without having to worry about paying for it. The last few years became difficult for the couple as Carroll developed severe dementia. They moved to Carlton two years ago. Some months ago, his condition had worsened so much that he was relocated to Carlton Poet’s Corner where he passed away recently. After over 60 years of a happy marriage, Carroll’s illness and death has been a difficult time for Setsuko. However, she describes all the rest of their marriage and her entire life with a big smile as “Wonderful!” even with, or maybe even because of its challenges as well as its positives. Friendly Setsuko Iwawaki Brockman at 91 is still what she always has been….what the Australians call “a bright spark.” Written by Harriett Burt, Carlton Senior Living Pleasant Hill-Martinez Resident Read additional pieces by Harriett Burt Read more

Madame La Farge from La Barge

Madame La Farge from La Barge

There is a group of very nice ladies who gather each Tuesday and Thursday to discuss and practice the art of knitting and crocheting.  We have a wonderful time. I took the liberty of referring to our group as “Madame La Farge from La Barge.”  I constructed La Barge – I say it is in central South Dakota but who knows.  It is a good guess. My grandmother once told me that very nice ladies knit or crochet.  She was correct.  My Knitting and Crocheting group is composed of such wonderful and talented ladies – I do enjoy them.  They are constructing such lovely pieces of art.  You would be amazed at their talent.  They are developing lovely blankets, glass cases, along with delightful conversations.  It is fun to listen to them.  These ladies are also very generous, insisting that each person has sufficient yarn, needles, and anything to make each project a great success! And – there is great humor as well. A machine was needed in order to develop a ball of yarn.  That was a hilarious project!  Since Mander is so generous and talented in the art of getting all we need, he was called over.  The next day he gave us all the parts for the machine!  Our mechanical engineers were called in for the assembling process – work and more work.  I sat in the back and giggled. No success. Then our machine disappeared but “necessity is the mother of invention;” the ladies devised something else.  I don’t know what, but our knitting goes on and on.   I can relate story after story.  But it all returns to great fun being had by all in the Knitting group. Thank you – Mander, Cynthia, Michaela, and all those who knit or crochet. You are great, you are talented. Sincerely, Your Friend, Elma Read more

"There’s a Bit of Daredevil Inside! The 20th & 21st Century Life of Bobbie Rose" by Harriett Burt

It is an interesting coincidence that Barbara Sharp ‘Bobbie’ Rose was born in San Francisco on June 21, 1918, right in the middle of the Spanish Flu pandemic, the last deadly worldwide health assault before the Covid-19 pandemic we are now experiencing. Bobbie’s mother was in labor for three days. It took her five months in the hospital and one month with relatives to recover, at least partially, from a serious infection. It was not totally cleared until sulfa drugs were developed in the late 1930s. Another problem in this most difficult birth was that the umbilical cord was wrapped around Bobbie’s neck. To keep the baby alive during the birth, the doctor held the cord away from her neck. Even then, Bobbie showed the focus and strength that has served her for over a century. The family also helped out by having a friend who invited Bobbie’s mother to have her baby for free at the San Francisco hospital he owned including the unexpected extra five months mother and daughter stayed there. Bobbie is also testimony to the fact that we can live and even flourish through hard times as she survived and even flourished through not only the Spanish Flu pandemic but also the Great Depression, the Great Recession, the last year of World War I, all of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and all the wars in the Middle East. She has also witnessed and benefitted from so many medical breakthroughs and the countless inventions we now take for granted including film and television. To top it all off, the arts both in crafts and music, are the gifts which she was born with and has shared over the years. Bobbie also had caring parents who made sure she had many opportunities to grow and expand. “I guess the folks sacrificed an awful lot for me. I wish I could have appreciated it more at the time,” she says. Bobbie’s maternal grandfather had come to California from England sometime in the second half of the 19th century when he was 17. His immigration papers said he was to go to Portland, Oregon although it should have been Portland, Maine. While in Oregon, he worked for the Post Office before joining the United States Army. But he also met and married Bobbie’s grandmother who was living in Portland at the time. Long story short, they married and he joined the Army around the time of the Spanish-American War. He was stationed at Corregidor in the Philippines then at Angel Island in San Francisco Bay for two years. The family lived in Alameda while Bobbie was growing up. The paternal part of her family included her great-grandfather who grew up in Philadelphia in the early 1800s. In the 1840s, before the Gold Rush she says, he decided to bring his family including eight children to California using the Isthmus of Panama route. It was a difficult way of reaching California from the East Coast before the Panama Canal existed as travelers had to survive a 44-mile walk through the jungles. Many died of malaria and other tropical illnesses. Bobbie’s ancestors made it to San Francisco alive, however. It was most difficult for the family, especially for Bobbie’s then eight-year-old paternal grandmother who struggled to walk as she had rickets. In the end, however, they all lived and were soon on the ship to San Francisco. The good news is that once the family reached the City, the great-grandfather who was a doctor, had no problem finding work.  Two of his sons also became doctors. The third son, Bobbie’s grandfather, was an inventor of short-lived success when he developed a chemical to preserve plywood. The problem was, after great early sales, all the stock and the building it was housed in burned down because the “miracle” plywood chemical contained highly inflammatory material. The inventor’s son, Bobbie’s father, was born in 1889. As a young carpenter, he was hired to work on the Panama-Pacific Exposition where he helped build the iconic Palace of Fine Arts, the only building of that famous Fair which still stands as a San Francisco landmark. When no longer needed, he was laid off when the project was finished just before the grand opening in 1915. However, the young Pacific Gas and Electric Company was expanding as statewide more and more buildings and homes using the utilities we now take for granted. Fortunately, Bobbie’s dad had been trained to work with and repair much of the type of machinery used by the new power company. He was quickly hired as a PG&E engineer and assigned to one of the PG&E service offices and powerhouses in small towns and cities to assist customers and provide local power along what is now called the I-80 Corridor from San Francisco to the California/Nevada border. Although Bobbie had been born in San Francisco, the family lived outside of Auburn at the time. When she was five, she went to a one-room, one-teacher schoolhouse for 1st through 8th grades. There were 10 or 12 students, half of whom were Native Americans and one who was Japanese. “We all played together,” she recalls. “We didn’t think about it.” In 1927, her father was transferred to San Jose. How was the move for nine-year-old Bobbie? Ninety-three years later, she doesn’t hesitate to say, “It was horrendous!” First, she had to repeat fourth grade as the curriculum in San Jose was much more advanced than in a one-room school. Second, the kids teased and pestered her unmercifully. She had long red hair which was constantly being pulled. “I begged my mother to cut it but she wouldn’t.” To make things worse, Mother made Bobbie wear a hat when she went outside during recess….just one more thing to be teased about. Her years at Herbert Hoover Junior High were no better but San Jose High, class of 1937, was somewhat easier. The next stop was San Jose State College, where she earned a degree in general business and found her future husband. Hugh Rose was an accounting major. She met him when the professor used the alphabet to seat students at a long table. R was obviously next to S. Finding out accounting was Hugh’s major, Bobbie took advantage of his knowledge whether she needed it or not, she notes, with a twinkle in her eye. The numbers ‘added up’ so to speak in the mathematics of love. College tuition was reasonable in those days but her mother held on to the purse strings carefully as PG&E salaries had been cut as the Depression continued. “I always bought used books unless it was something I wanted to keep,” Bobbie remembers. Among her memories are taking dancing and music lessons but it was really the decorative arts she loved. She was taught to knit by her grandmother when she was four years old. She also embroidered and did other art crafts. When asked about quilts, she admits that she had made one although it took her seven years to finish it. Her father was quite a good oil painter, she says. Several paintings of scenes in the northern Sierra and the Oregon coast in her apartment attest to his skill. Bobbie graduated from San Jose State in 1941, a year after Hugh. To her shock, she had barely taken off her cap and gown when “my father very politely threw me out!” She replied in alarm, “I am going to get married! But I have to wait until he has some money!” Hugh had already purchased a cedar chest for her but that would not be enough to live on or in. “You are now through with your studies. Get a job.” was the quiet but firm reply.  So, she was hired as an accountant with the Food Machinery Company, a long-standing Santa Clara County business that in peacetime produced cannery machinery. During the war, it also produced for a time Water Buffalo Tanks, designed for use in marshes and swamps. “They took us for a ride once but the tanks were not that successful,” she notes. Bobbie and Hugh married in 1943 after Hugh had finished not only Army basic training but also training in military financial procedures and Officer Candidate School. He eventually reached the rank of Captain. In fact, at the end of the war, he was about to be promoted to Major which would have required him to stay in the service a little longer. He refused because, he told Bobbie, he missed her so much. Bobbie adds, “we were both so darned lonesome, we couldn’t wait to get together.” He was quickly hired by the Dole Cannery in San Jose. “The day he came home, I was through” at Food Machinery Company, Bobbie says. “I was a housewife after that!” In addition to her basic housekeeping duties, “I made all my own clothes. I love sewing.” She also volunteered to sing in a number of choruses and in grand opera and light opera concerts in San Jose. The couple lived in Santa Clara for a short time and then bought a home in Los Gatos where they lived until 1970 when Dole closed the San Jose cannery. Dole sold the cannery equipment to Tri County Cannery in Modesto so the Roses moved there where Hugh worked his last five years and they planned their retirement and the home they would build on the five acres near San Andreas in the Sierras they had bought in 1965. In 1975, the couple then became a home building team. Hugh did the heavy construction work, Bobbie did whatever was needed to assist Hugh, the home carpenter/cement layer/sheetrock installer, etc. The strength of their marriage was such that the two of them worked side by side for two and a half years without a fight or a divorce. Part of the reason may have been that the couple took a few months off each winter of those years and drove to Arizona for two or three months. But Bobbie says they only did that because you can’t build a house when it is snowing. After the house was finished, they traveled whenever they could. “We went to Alaska four times and across the United States and Canada several times.” When asked if they traveled to any foreign countries, her reply was a quick “No. If you couldn’t drive, you didn’t go.” Over the years they owned a variety of recreational vehicles to drive from San Andreas to Alaska, across North America and of course, each winter to Arizona. Bobbie learned to tow every type of ‘rolling home’ from camper, trailer, mobile home to a fifth wheeler. For 33 years their travel time during Northern California’s winter was spent in Yuma, a popular ‘second home’ for many seniors from all over the country and Canada. While some retirees bought or rented homes in Yuma itself, Hugh and Bobbie made friends with folks who gathered each year in a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) camp about 18 miles north of the city. The couple bought a Volkswagen ‘bug’ with a Porsche engine which they stored there in the winter for use from December to February, March or April. It was no vacation for ‘fraidy cats’, however. Bobbie fondly remembers some of the group’s favorite activities. Some days 20 or so vehicles of various models including a number of Volkswagens would go out into the desert hills to explore the narrow canyons and roads. Hidden Canyon, as its name implies, was hard to find and harder to get to unless a group of strong men “bumped you over” (i.e. lifted the rear end of your car and moved it a foot or two over to the right wall of the very narrow mountain road under an overhang of solid desert rock.) The driver could then turn the car to the right and move on down the road). Another ‘road’ took you up and down some “steep, steep hills.” At one point on that road, there was a 90-degree turn that the driver and passenger could not see because the car windows only showed sky. The “Captain” in charge of the drive could see them from below and would radio “Rosebud” and “Thorney” (The couple’s CB handles and Arizona names) giving stern directions to “TURN NOW”. “Weren’t you scared?” was this writer’s horrified response. “No, I loved it!” was Bobbie’s daredevil reply as if it were no bigger a deal than confidently stepping off a curb with your eyes looking straight ahead at the same time. Another of the many activities the group organized were ‘moonlight rides’ into the desert on nights when the moon was full. They would go out just before dark and ride around the desert, some without turning on their lights, until midnight.  Bobbie says she and Hugh always turned their lights on. 2010-11 was Bobbie and Hugh’s last winter in Arizona. He was 94 and she was 91.  His health had begun to fail with symptoms of dementia and macular degeneration. In fact, she had been driving them to Arizona for the previous several years because of his worsening eyesight. Hugh passed away on February 28, 2013 after nearly 70 years of marriage. Around the same time, Bobbie was in the same hospital with pneumonia. As she recovered, she got to sit with him a time or two before he died. She has fond memories and great stories of their life together. Her own complete recovery took six months during which time, her niece, who lives in Pleasant Hill and is as close as a daughter would be to Bobbie, brought her to Carlton Senior Living Pleasant Hill-Martinez where she has lived for seven years. Bobbie kept their home near San Andreas which she visited from time to time after moving to Carlton only to lose it and everything in it, including most of her decades of craft artwork, the only quilt she ever made, and all the pictures of her family and of her and Hugh’s life together in a 2015 wildfire in the Sierras. Asked how she dealt with that, she said with soft-spoken resignation, “It was hard but if you’ve lost everything, you just have to deal with it.” Now 102, Bobbie continues to be positive and busy with her many hobbies and enjoys playing Rummikub and Mahjong with friends. As for living in 2020, she says “It’s no worse than any other time as long as I‘ve got my health and can do a few things.” That’s Bobbie Rose for you—sensible, focused, strong, honest, and pleasant to be around whatever her age is or has been. Written by Harriett Burt, Carlton Senior Living Pleasant Hill-Martinez Resident Read additional pieces by Harriett Burt Read more

Resident Spotlight - Doris Voigts Bloom

Resident Spotlight - Doris Voigts Bloom

Meet Carlton Senior Living spotlight resident, Doris Voigts Bloom - Doris was born on November 29, 1922 in Mill Valley, California to parents Fredrick and Fodie Voigts. She had two sisters, Barbara and Shirley. As a child and young adult, Doris was athletic; she loved playing tennis and golf. She still enjoys watching both on television. Doris attended Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley. After high school, Doris went to UC Berkeley. She jokes that she went to school to get her “Mrs.” While studying at Berkeley, she met John “Jack” Bloom. Jack was on the crew team and they met when he drove her back to Berkeley after an outing with her sorority sisters. After they married, they moved to North Carolina; Jack was in the Army and he was stationed out there. After his time in the service, they moved back to Mill Valley as they were both from California and they missed it. Together, Jack and Doris had two daughters, Kathy and Sharon. Doris moved to Davis in 2018 to be closer to her daughters. Doris and Jack were able to travel extensively. They visited a few countries in South America and Asia, as well as Hawaii, France, and New Zealand. Their trip to France is one of her favorite life experiences; she and Jack rented a car and drove all around the country. She also loves Hawaii. It is hard for her to pick a favorite trip; she feels that every place they visited was so different that she cannot compare them. Doris’ life philosophy is to “live and be healthy.” She would like to be remembered as a good, giving, and kind person. She lives by the Golden Rule: “do for others have you would have them do unto you.” Doris likes soothing classical music. Her favorite book is Little Women. She loves German food and pecan pie. Here at Carlton Senior Living Davis, she loves playing BINGO and reading in the Carlton library. She most admires her mother, who was hardworking and selfless. View additional Resident Spotlight articles. Written by Ben Slade, Resident Liaison at Carlton Senior Living Davis Read more

"Life Isn’t Always Easy, But It Can Be Fulfilling: Bill Rainford's Story" by Harriett Burt

Life Isn’t Always Easy, But It Can Be Fulfilling: Bill Rainford’s Story Carlton is not the first place Bill Rainford has lived in the neighborhood dominated by Taylor Boulevard, Pleasant Hill Road and Alhambra Avenue. A few years ago he owned a condo on Ridgeview Court, which is located near Carlton. But he has also resided in an impressive number of other neighborhoods across the country and overseas for much of his life before ending up twice, so to speak, in Pleasant Hill. Rainford is the name of a village in the northwest of England formerly famous as a producer of clay pipes. His paternal grandfather grew up there leaving in the 1890s to fight in the Boer War. Coming home, he soon married and then sailed with his wife and baby son to the United States. They lived briefly in Boston before settling in Norwich, Vermont where Bill’s father grew up. Norwich University was the first of six private military colleges and universities, including The Citadel in South Carolina, organized in the United States. Although less well known nationally, it is recognized as the birthplace 200 years ago of what later became the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) which operates not only in the private military colleges but also in many of the land grant universities across the country. Bill’s father graduated from Norwich and chose a military career which included World War II. Bill was born on December 5, 1939 in Goffstown, New Hampshire. All he remembers about WWII is the invasion of Normandy and the town grocery store where, like this writer, he pestered his mother for a treat only to be told she didn’t have enough ration stamps for it. He had barely started school in 1945 when the family packed up and prepared to go to western Germany where his father had been assigned as an occupation officer. The Rainfords were taken to Frankfurt first. To Bill’s young eyes, the city “looked like a table because of the bombing.” By 1950, the Germans had cleaned up most of the bomb wreckage but hadn’t yet replaced the buildings. The cities have long since been rebuilt but the vivid reminder of Frankfort then is still stark in his memory 75 years later. Nearby Heidelberg remained largely intact because of its many hospitals and thus was spared the massive destruction of most of Germany’s major cities. As a result, American military officers and their families were assigned homes there. Bill, now six years old, went to the American schools established for children of the military. It wasn’t always easy for him or the rest of the family. One neighborhood German child, grieving his father’s death on the Eastern Front, threw some liquid on Bill’s face which stung badly but fortunately caused no permanent damage. However, Bill does have a cherished memory of his years in Germany. “I met a fascinating man who could see our back yard from his bedroom. He invited me to visit him.” The man was an elderly bed-ridden gentleman who had been a Field Marshal in the German Army. Unfortunately, Bill does not know his name or any details about his service but having learned enough German by the time they met, he always greeted him by saying “Guten Tag, Herr Feld Marshal” as he sat down to be enthralled by the stories the Field Marshal recounted about World War I and the Kaiser. When the old man died, he left Bill his World War I dress military helmet, a picture of the Kaiser and a set of all the postage stamps used in the German African colonies prior to World War I. The family returned to the U. S. when Bill was a 5th grader. “We moved all the time,” he recalls. When his father was stationed at the Pentagon, Bill remembers riding his bike on a Saturday from their home in Arlington to the 14th Street Bridge bus terminal, leaving the key to his bike lock with the terminal clerk and catching the bus to the Library of Congress where a librarian was ready to help him find the research materials he needed for a class assignment. His father demanded to know where he had been but couldn’t say much when Bill told him and showed the research material he had obtained. When it was time for high school, his father made him go to Valley Forge Military Academy. The most positive thing to Bill about the celebrated school was the fact that J. D. Salinger had attended it and used it as the setting for “Catcher in the Rye.” After being dismissed in his junior year for drinking, Bill was sent to live with an aunt and uncle in a small New Hampshire town and finished his high school education at a school with only 17 students, a much happier experience than Valley Forge. Bill’s British grandfather was a real American politician, he says. He never ran for office himself but had managed the first Senate campaign of Styles Bridges, a nationally known five term senator from New Hampshire from the 1930s to 1961. At one point, he recalls, “my father told the Senator I wanted to go to West Point.” Bill refused to apply for an appointment. But when he graduated from high school in 1956, he chose to enlist in the army with his mother’s help. His father was shocked. “You want to go into the army as an enlisted man?” he exclaimed. Asked why when he couldn’t stand his father, he still wanted to follow him into the Army, Bill’s response was, “I was going to go anyway so he couldn’t stop it.” Later in his young adulthood, on another issue, Bill says he told his father off and never spoke to him again. “I had a difficult childhood,” he observes in a matter-of-fact tone of voice. The United States Army Airborne Division was famous in WWII for parachuting into Normandy on D-Day and other important battles. Bill loved Army Airborne both as an enlisted man and later as an officer and eventually took enough training to reach the top skill and leadership positions. One of his first orders after completing basic training was to go to Alaska for jump training. After seven years at various posts, in 1963 he was encouraged by his peers and those above him in rank to apply for the Army’s Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning, Georgia. Bill apparently was ready himself since his father was not coercing him. But he notes, the recommendations said his work ethic and values were exactly perfect to be an officer. The predictions were correct. He was promoted from Second to First Lieutenant and then to Captain. Bill also earned a Bronze Star, an Army commendation medal and two Purple Hearts in Vietnam. OCS was a successful experience for him. Bill graduated first in his class which gave him his choice of assignment. When asked if his father ever said anything to him about becoming an officer, the answer was “No.” Soon he and his family with two young children went to the 508th Airborne based in Panama. When America became involved in the Vietnam War, Bill was transferred to the 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Commanding a rifle company, he knew the troops needed to be “whipped into shape because we all knew where we were going.” There would be no parachute jumps in Vietnam. Like many combat veterans, Bill chooses not to talk about his year in Vietnam except to describe it as a “maturing experience.” As it turned out, his year “in country” ended in February 1968, just as the North Vietnamese were launching the Tet Offensive. He knows he was fortunate to miss that. Bill left the army within two years because, he admits, “I wanted to make money” but also because he felt he had accomplished what he wished to in the service. He was then encouraged by others to learn about the new and expanding world of computers. The Army Data Processing Training was excellent, he says, and it landed him his first civilian job, working for Ross Perot. Perot was one of the earliest businessmen to develop a large, successful business using computers to help other businesses manage data whether in employment, sales, records or any other need they had easy record-keeping of all kinds of information. Asked what Perot was like, Bill pointed out that the millionaire mainly hired retired military like himself. Perot “was driving, dynamic and expected a huge effort” from employees, he observed. When asked why he left after two years, he replied, “I liked bigger computers. They’re more satisfying.” For the next several years as computers took a larger and larger place in our lives both in business and soon in our homes, Bill worked for and learned a lot at a number of companies either developing or applying computers to their businesses. He worked for Control Data where “I got some training in programming.” Other company names on Bill’s resume included National Semi-Conductor and Foremost-McKesson Data Center in Oakland which paid him an annual salary of $40,000 which seemed like half the money in the world to him in the 70s. From 1980-81, he was Director of Computers at UCSF Medical Center. He calls that his favorite job although he left it after only one year. The reason? Bill answer was that while the Center’s administration was very easy to work with, “dealing with the doctors” was another and very frustrating story. After a number of years of working for others, he decided to set up two small companies, one specializing in networking projects, the other focused on custom work such as designing logos for companies such as Safeway. Bill considers himself lucky to have entered the field when he did. With a smile, he says, “if you could find your fanny, it was easy to learn.” Meanwhile, his third marriage had failed due to his wife’s alcoholism. Bill, who has been clean and sober for 37 years, asked for and received full custody of the couple’s seven-year-old Katie who has grown into a mature, bright, capable and charming woman with a degree in psychology from USF and a Master’s degree in business at New York University. She now works for a consulting firm specializing in giving people with potential the tools they can use to enhance their skills and be successful. That is a talent she inherited from her father who used it on a number of people he managed as well as, he admits, his own daughter. Bill took Katie all around the country during the summers of her youth to see the variety of sites of beauty and historical interest our country possesses. He also took her to Contra Costa Children’s Chorus rehearsals and any other activity she was involved in. The pair even cleaned house together each Saturday using Katie’s checklist of what needed to be done. When Bill was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010, Katie, by then a junior at Campolindo High School, lived with her loving maternal grandparents while Bill was recovering. Katie is very fortunate in her education, Bill feels, because she attended the highly rated Palmer School for elementary and middle school students in Walnut Creek. He was sorry to learn of its closing in early June of this year. “She’s an amazing young woman,” he says proudly. Katie now is a very successful personnel analyst working for Connery Business Consulting, a firm that has software that provides people who have a lot of potential the tools they can use to enhance their abilities and opportunities just as her father had done in his work life. When asked if it all boils down to “you looked after her when she was a child and now, she is looking after you as a senior?” He thought about it and “Yes” was his unequivocal answer. When Bill was asked what he was proudest of looking back over his 80 years on earth, he didn’t hesitate. “I was able to spot people with talent and get them started.” After giving some examples (ED: which would certainly include Katie), he concluded by saying “I have great pride in my ability to develop people.” Written by Harriett Burt, Carlton Senior Living Pleasant Hill-Martinez Resident Read additional pieces by Harriett Burt Read more