Memory Lane

Shirl Ames Recalls When the Living Was Easy


Published:

Native Alamedan Shirl Ames fondly remembers old Alameda and still appreciates her hometown for what it is today. In full swing, Ames can be found on the golf course two or three times a week.

Why do you think you have stayed in Alameda all these years?
It’s a comfortable place to live. Childhood was sweet when I was growing up. Pressures were not the same back then, and going to school here was a fabulous experience. I graduated in 1942 from high school and am still friends with many of my classmates. At that time, after graduation, boys were going to war, and girls were off to work. It was a different day. Social time happened when we walked to and from school. So many theaters were open back then. It was easy living in Alameda. When I graduated from high school, I worked for the American Trust Company, which is where I was working when I met my husband.

What do you think of Alameda today?
Well, I think the city is trying hard to meet the needs of the new generations. I appreciate the new developments that have been made on behalf of the citizens. I’m particularly impressed with many of
the schools. Alameda is definitely a busier town than it used to be, and whether that is good or bad is in the eyes of the beholder, but I like it. No place is perfect, that’s for sure, but Alameda is doing just fine.

I understand that you are an avid golfer.
I have been golfing for over 40 years. For good, bad or evil, I still get out there and play. I am out on the course two or three times a week, no matter what. I play at Sequoyah Country Club in Oakland and Chuck Corica golf course here in Alameda. I was on the golf commission board for eight years here, and it was more stressful than owning and running Glenview Hardware in Oakland, which I did with my husband for 30 years!

What life lessons have you learned from golf?
Sportsmanship and honesty come to mind. The game requires good manners and great discipline. If someone learns how to golf at a young age, there is no substitute for the social gift they will be given. The camaraderie between golfers is very special. It is also a great place to see volunteerism at its best. In the game of golf, no matter how good you are, all that really matters is that you know the rules. That’s true of life in general, I think.

Do you miss your hardware store?
I miss the people. My husband and I had the business for 33 years and we really loved what we did. The day we moved into our business, neighbors came to shop, but instead ended up staying to help us move in. We were open seven days a week. My husband, even on holidays, was always rescuing neighbors who always seemed to have some kind of emergency. He was such a helpful and handy man. I used to tell him he could have been the mayor of the Glenview district on Park Boulevard. He was a one-of-a-kind guy who was the perfect person with whom to own a hardware store. I really miss Bud, my partner in life.   

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