Ming Quong: a Los Gatos Monument

Ming Quong Arch appx c.1940
Children playing beneath the arch at the entrance to the Loma Alta Home around 1940.

At the end of Loma Alta Ave in the foothills sits the Los Gatos campus of Uplift Family Services, formerly Eastfield Ming Quong (EMQ) Family First. Tucked away among quiet residential streets, this unassuming establishment often goes unnoticed by locals, but it has deep roots in this Town and across the Bay Area, and especially within the Chinese community.

Origins: “Radiant Light”

Discriminatory laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882-1943) took their toll on US Chinatowns. Organized crime took hold in US Chinatowns and with it, human trafficking. Tong kidnaped Chinese women, smuggling them through the Golden Gate and into prostitution and slavery. In the late 19th century, Presbyterian missionaries in San Francisco began an effort to help the victims, women and children, escape to safety.

This undertaking expanded, providing safe houses and orphanages: Chung Mei (“China America”) Home for boys and Ming Quong (“radiant light”) Homes for girls.

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RIP Miguel Torres, Thrasher Termite – GoFundMe for his kids

On July 20, 2021, my termite inspector, Miguel Torres, Thrasher Termite & Pest Control, died without warming. He was a single dad and leaves behind a devastated family and minor kids who could use support. Today I am writing to request your help with the GoFundMe (and if you are one who prays, please also send some prayers for this family).

UPDATE: The goal has been met, thank you to all who helped!

RIP Miguel Torres, Thrasher Termite & Pest Control

Never before have I blogged to ask my wonderful  readers to contribute to a charity or fund, but this one is personal.

Thrasher Termite & Pest Control has been my go-to, most trusted termite and pest control company for my entire career (1993 to today). Janet and Duff Thrasher started the company, but 21 years ago, Duff suffered a fatal heart attack while at the beach with Janet and their 3 kids. Miguel stepped up to help Janet and to grow the company. Miguel’s passing is a lot like lightening hitting the same spot twice.

But I digress.

Miguel was a trusted professional, careful with his work (neither overstating nor understating issues), as good with my clients as with the details of his profession. He was reliable, friendly, kind. I could not have asked for better either from him or from Thrasher.

Miguel has 3 children, two of whom are dependent.

Janet Thrasher, his employer, started a GoFundMe account to help keep the 2 dependent sons in their rental home for the next year while things get sorted out. There are enough sea changes without also being forced to move.

Every donation, great or small, matters a tremendous amount.

If you would consider donating and spreading the word, I would be immensely grateful.

Go Fund Me page to help shelter Miguel’s kids

Black Cat Hats

One of my favorite shops in downtown Los Gatos is Black Cat Hats, which features all kinds of accessories in addition to hats for men and women. The folks there are friendly and knowledgeable and take a personal interest in helping customers to find just the right item they want or need.

 

2021-07-28 Black Cat Hats in Los Gatos

 

Over the last week, we’ve been there twice – first for a hat for me, and then a couple for my better half. Both times we got what we needed quickly.

 

2021-07-28 Hats for Men at Black Cat Hats

 

We were impressed by the nice selection among the men’s hats. Truthfully, I hadn’t paid much attention to them previously, but there was a good variety of styles, colors, and sizes.

 

Hats on display at Black Cat Hats

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North Restaurant – Seasonal Vietnamese

menu at North Vietnamese restaurant in Los GatosA couple of days ago, my husband, Jim, and I enjoyed outside dining at North Restaurant, a downtown Los Gatos eatery offering seasonal Vietnamese food. It was our first visit there. The meals and service could not have been better, so I wanted to give them a shout out here on the Live in Los Gatos blog.

We arrived at North a little before 12 noon and wanted a table away from other diners and the sidewalk. It wasn’t too crowded and we were seated in a corner by ourselves. A nice surprise was noting plexiglass between our table and one nearby. The parklet was also covered, which was helpful with the summer sun.

Superb service at North Restaurant

Our server was masked, which we appreciated, and came quickly to take our order. We didn’t have to wait long for the food after ordering. Throughout our meal, he would look in our direction to see if we might need anything, and did step over to ask directly if all was ok and if he could get us anything. We never felt rushed, but he was around. When we paid our bill it was the same – he didn’t waste any time, but never made us feel like we needed to hurry. Kudos on the service, it was an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10. (He probably told us his name, and we forget it, unfortunately!)

North Restaurant menu offerings

The offerings were diverse and tempting! One item that I’ll return to have next time is the crab spring rolls, which was advertised as including “Rice Paper, Dungeness Crab, Avocado, Mango, Rice Vermicelli, Green Leaf Lettuce, Mint, Soy Vinaigrette”. So often, restaurants offer crab dishes but actually serve fake crab – but this is Dungeness!

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Los Gatos Youth Theatre summer musicals

Los Gatos Youth Theatre presents “All Shook Up” in an outdoor venue starting tonight – tickets are on sale now!

This school edition of All Shook Up is inspired by, and features the music of, Elvis Presley.

 

reprise all shook up - LGYT

Here are the details from the Los Gatos Youth Theatre:

IT’s LGYT’s OPENING WEEKEND!

Time to Get🎵All Shook Up🎶. It’s been TWO long years, but we are back performing LIVE with TWO DIFFERENT SHOW VERSIONS AND TWO CASTS! COME TO BOTH!

Shows Tonight, Sat, Sun, Thur, Fri, and Sat

OnStage Outdoors at RJ Fisher Middle School.

Performances start at sundown. Seating opens at 8pm.

 

ALL SHOOK UP

Encore High School Cast

July 16, 22 and 24

 

ALL SHOOK UP Young@Part

Reprise 10-14 yrs old Cast (photo of dress rehearsal)

July 17,18 and 23

 

Under the direction of Artistic Director, Heather Stokes

 

Tickets: $15

https://lgyt.net/

 

Los Gatos Youth Theatre logo

Los Gatos Youth Theater summer musicals showtimes:

Encore – July 16, 22, 24
Reprise (Young@Part) – July 17, 18, 23
Seating begins at 8pm
Outdoors Onstage @ Fisher Middle School
19195 Fisher Avenue, Los Gatos

Tickets on sale @ https://lgyt.seatyourself.biz

Learn more about Los Gatos Youth Theatre at https://LGYT.net/

 

Los Gatos Youth Theatre - All Shook Up

Kenwood Acres subdivision

The Kenwood Acres subdivision on the east side of Los Gatos was begun in 1947 and 1948 with smaller, ranch style homes on good sized lots.

This was a sleepier time, but the 1940 installation of Highway 17 through downtown Los Gatos had made Kenwood Acres a little less remote for those working in San Jose. Nearby Surry Farm was still a horse ranch at that time, with the stables up against Kennedy Road. The valley was still full of orchards then, too.

Even then, it was convenient, with schools only about a mile away and downtown Los Gatos only a mile or two away, depending on your destination.

 

Kenwood Acres - Los Gatos - street view (click to see slightly larger image)

Where is Kenwood Acres?

The Kenwood Acres runs along Marchmont between Kennedy and Hilow and includes all of Topping, most of Littlefield, and parts of Hilow, Kennedy, and Englewood.

It’s in the same general area as Stonybrook (“Stony Brook” in the list of subdivisions in the county), Surrey Farm, and Vista del Monte.

 

Los Gatos - Kenwood Acres, Stonybrook, Surrey Farms - Mary Pope-Handy

 

 

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Mountain Charley

Mountain Charley's Saloon sign - named after the colorful figure well known in Los Gatos“Mountain Charley” was one of the first non-native settlers to this area and he made his home in the summit area of  the Santa Cruz Mountains beginning in 1851. (In some places, he’s referred to as Mountain Charlie.)

Charles Henry McKiernan was an Irishman whose main claim to fame is that he was attacked by a thousand pound, angry mama grizzly bear and managed to live despite losing a chunk of his skull to her.

Mountain Charley married a nurse who made sure he survived and she also bore him 7 children.

Additionally, he was responsible for accosting some stage robbers.

His colorful story lives on as part of the town of Los Gatos’ more interesting history – and folklore.

Related Reading

E Clampus Vitus has a page on Mountain Charlie if you’d like to learn more.

Another colorful person in Los Gatos, sometimes confused with Mountain Charley, was Charley Parkhurst, written about in Surprises of the Wild West of Los Gatos on this site.