Change is in the air. Not just the autumn changes of those bright yellow big leaf maples littering the pavement, nor the huge chestnut-colored buckeyes rolling down the lane. Yes, the morning sun is a little paler, low in the sky and the evening chill sets in suddenly with dark. But there’s a bigger change evident in our little village.
The new is replacing the tried and true, and despite the fact that we obviously welcome these changes, they involve a few wistful goodbyes.
We have a new dentist – two, in fact. We have a new vet – two, in fact. Plus, there’s a new psychologist up the street, a food truck parked by Bob Marshall’s (now Kevin Flores’) garage and a manicurist who’s moved in with Roseann and Sharon. That latter team would be Fanucchi and Burns, of course, who have become an institution in our fair village. But let me start with two dear friends, also neighbors who have been here a long time and have served us all so well.
Dr. and Mrs. Wag
We begin with our dear vet, Bob Wagner, mostly known in these parts as Dr. Wag. Rumors report that happy dogs bark his name and contented cats purr it. He’s beloved by animals, as much as by their owners. His helpmate and sweetie is Pam Wagner, much appreciated by all of their clients. Their family has included at various times, Miss Tillie, Thistle, Hawley, and BBD (Bob’s Boxer dog), if my memory serves me well. Which, as many subjects of this column well know, it doesn’t always. So, takes these “facts” about the Wagners as my version only. Then, ask for theirs.
Bob will freely tell you that “I’ve been here all my working life,” noting that these days, he even greets grandchildren of clients continuing the good old Glen Ellen tradition of having their pets cared for by dear Dr. Wag, our local vet.
Bob has fond memories of time spent here in Glen Ellen as a kid. He grew up in San Francisco, but summered in Glen Ellen. San Francisco mamas would often bring their kids from the City to spend the summer in the sunny climes of our Valley, with papas arriving on the weekend. Bob’s memories of good times in Glen Ellen are extensive.
He describes a bucolic Sonoma Valley with cattle, dairies, orchards and beautiful hot weather as a respite from the cooling fogs of San Francisco.
It was a sleepier town in those days. “I could walk down the middle of the street in Glen Ellen then,” Bob smiles. I respond with fact that both of my dogs did that, too, in their day. Bob laughs with memories of that, both of us acknowledging that no one would do that now.
Cars, trucks and vehicles of every size and shape now speed through our little town at a velocity that threatens both man and beast.
Studying sick sea lions
Bob joined our local Glen Ellen Volunteer Fire Department at 16 and stayed with it until he left town around 21. “Warren Mak was the chief back then,” Bob says. In later years, Bob served on the GE Firefighters’ board of directors.