Sitting here at the bar of the unexpectedly beautiful The Dead Fish restaurant overlooking the Carquinez Straits in Crockett, CA - and marveling at discoveries made at the Crockett Historical Museum on the last day of my Magical Mystery Tour.
This morning I had set out from Stockton -- via the suddenly familiar CA4 West along the Delta -- for Crockett, to revisit the town where Papou George Sarris lived circa 1920 before marrying Yiayia in San Francisco. Did not know why he was in Crockett or with whom. By that time the C and H sugar refinery was in full operation. All I had was a photo of him in his apron in a candy store/fountain circa 1920. My aunt Libby said he owned the place. Did he really?
You betcha! The museum's Keith Olsen patiently ran the names in the "Crockett Signal" newspaper archive and pulled up ALL the references. Bingo!
George Sarris first shows up in the paper in 1915 donating $1 to charity. Later he was involved with the Louis Sarris Co. candy store/fountain -- also referred to as the "Palace of Treats" and whose opening was postponed, possibly because Papou had "entrained" with 11 other Crockett boys and was at Ft. Kearny for a few months. The series of sweet shop ads run in the Signal were priceless.
Louis Sarris is a newly-discovered step-brother and perhaps the mystery man in several old photos. Still not sure why they went to Crockett or exactly when Papou left there -- eventually for Stockton where his sister Sofia and Bill Demakopoulos owned the Palace Restaurant next to the Fox (now Bob Hope) Theater. There Papou cooked and made the fillings for chocolates hand-dipped by Yiayia Sarris and others. Just like See's! No pictures of the Palace inside, but I can still close my eyes and see them...And it looked a lot like the Crockett store!
|L. Sarris Sweet Shop (circa 1920)|
I am very proud of my Papou George Sarris and very happy that my brothers and I all got his cooking gene. Kali Orexi!
NOTE: The Signal also reported that Papou was involved directly in some catch-as-catch-can wrestling matches held in Crockett in 1924 -- then described as George Sarris of San Francisco...So while one mystery was mostly solved, another has cropped up...Stay tuned!
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