The view of McFarlane Parkway is magnificent, as it draws one’s eyes toward the perpendicular street that led up the ‘hill’, where the ‘white people’ resided. The end of the McFarlane Parkway (away from the Clubhouse) one could see, but never play on the ‘white people’ baseball field or for that matter their swimming pool or enter their side of the post office or Commissary. To the right (not in view) was the ‘Dispensary’ (also divided in two sections (a Silver section and a Gold section). To the right of the Dispensary was the fire station that served all of Gamboa’s residents. Thank goodness there was never simultaneous fire combustion in the Silver and Gold sections of Gamboa that required the fire fighters to choose which they needed to attend to first.
This photo captures what we assume was a typical ‘Gyambo’ Sunday mid-day scene in the late forties/early fifties. Why Sunday? Because it is the middle of the day and there are a lot of men can be seen casually enjoying a ‘day off’. There are also lots of ‘period cars’ of this era in view. Owning a car was a big deal in those days. The cars in the photos are not ‘jalopies’. Most likely they were well cared for by many of the skilled mechanics that lived in ‘Gyambo’, including Mr. Shan who lived on building #305, where we see several men hovering, chatting and checking under the hood of the car on the right.
You can also see a group of kids, ‘lally-gagging’ on the stairs, as we were wont to do, ‘before the lottery played on Sunday’ and just before we were called to ‘dinner’. More than likely, these kids were admonished by their mom… ‘It’s Sunday…don’t go too far…stay on the steps! The young man walking toward the parked cars (bottom/center) is most likely returning from an errand to the ‘Club House’. He probably went to buy a pack of cigarettes for his Dad (ten cents a pack in those days).
See the buildings on the left of the Parkway, the view leads away from the Club House/Movie Theater. The first building in view is #324 (where the Bowen’s lived); followed by building #318 (where the Josiah’s lived); followed by #317 (where the Hamilton’s lived) and finally #316 (where ‘barber Welch’ lived).
This street was the ‘center’ of town and brings to memory parades, with the Joseph’s band in uniformed performing ‘march’ music and throwing in a popular tune in the mix every once in a while. These were rare but specular events that left all the young people tapping, dancing wanting to ‘grow up’ and learn how to play one or all the instruments.
Note the ‘lamppost’. ‘Gyambo’ was the first ‘Silver town’ constructed with underground (covered) electrical cable power sources. Unlike previous construction of ‘local rate communities’ Gyambo’ had no overhead electrical power poles with attached lights along its streets. In the late thirties, the arriving ‘Silver/local rate’ residents thought these lampposts were phenomenally modern features of their new hometown. For the younger, predominantly males groups, the lamppost were ‘cool places’ to hang around with your ‘paseiros’ and engage in ‘basilón’; that is, until a neighbor yelled and complained or the cops came by and hushed you along.