John Manassero and Jeff Manassero

Recorded December 27, 2009 Archived December 27, 2009 01:07:33 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: SFB000631


Jeff Manassero, 24, interviews his father, John Michael Manassero, 63, about his life.

Subject Log / Time Code

Born in Stockton, raised in Lodi
Parents both had family that worked in the mines
How his brother Pat died--car accident
Met his wife at Halloween party--she was a tiger, he was a devil
Best fishing day in Mexico--325 lb. tuna!


  • John Manassero
  • Jeff Manassero

Recording Location

San Francisco StoryBooth


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00:04 My name is Jeff manassero. I am 24 years old today is December 27th 2009. I'm in San Francisco with my dad John and I'm his son.

00:17 I'm John actually, I'm like manassero. It's john-michael manassero, but everybody calls me Mike part of my story. There were a lot of John's in the neighborhood. So I'm like so agent 63 today's date is twelve 2709 location San Francisco relationship Jeff's father. So I have some questions asked you starting from the very beginning. So where were you born and raised I was born in Stockton, California. Okay. And what year in 46 October 24th 1946 time ago and I've been living there for a year. I don't really remember much about Stockton and my dad work for the PG&E and mom was a teacher and dad got transferred to Lodi, California, which is only about 15 miles away from Stockton. But Lodi is a really nice place ended up. That's where all my childhood memories are. Lodi was a small-town when we move their paws.

01:17 20000 maybe not even that may be under 20000 15000 Small Town Country Town Canoe Andy Griffith kind of place Weaver. I had a great childhood. Absolutely wonderful time. There was no no locks on the doors and you left your keys in your car. I can ride my bike from one end to the other from The Vineyards to the lake. Who is your neighborhood like to remove the first house 532 East Locust Street in East Lodi, which is near the freeway was great. It was very close to Neighborhood all the kids play together every day. We played you to play football baseball or ditch. It was really was it just a really a different way of life and it is now I think I think it was just a different slower time. When did you move to the West Elm House West?

02:17 And I didn't I resisted that because I don't my friends and I'm Locust Street there and so I actually went out and took the for sale sign down and so did you win? What do you think? I like you were talking about that I being overly different place in today has been no spaces work, but what do you think was the biggest problem in Lodi do when you're going out? Like what do you think so many people were worried about

02:44 What's the problem? I know there was always world affairs going on when I lived in Lodi by the biggest problem was but the pig of bay the Bay of Pigs and it may have tags when you know, when there was a threat of nuclear attack from Cuba to people you remember people talking about all we had to do drills where we had to get under our desk which really went almost didn't happen. So it was validated. Were there any like not white people in Lodi at the time was that like that's quite amazing that that that I didn't.

03:37 I didn't really need any black people until I got into sports in high school and realized it was integrated in your schools. Like there was no junior senior year. There was one one black guy in the whole school system great guy was just

03:59 Personally, I don't at that time. I had no idea why and we really didn't really wasn't.

04:05 We saw we saw it happening. We saw with Martin Luther King. We saw the March is starting to happen in the 60s in but it just seemed far away from you guys to know. How does this happen out of this? How did this happen? Well, yeah, I really don't know how it happened. I have some ideas, but eventually now it's it's integrate the schools in a great mix in Lodi now, so tell me a little bit about Grandma and Grandpa, where were they from and he told us a little bit about what they did already, but you can expand there's another time again grandma is from Jackson, California and grandpa is from Sutter Creek which are about 15 miles apart Foothill up in the foothills of California Gold Country Grandma and Grandpa's father was the county clerk for in Jackson, California for 30 years. So he

05:05 Sauce in politics. He saw a lot of a lot of different things happening her a lot of her friends parents worked in the coal mines. She saw a lot of that happening. She saw they had several explosions where the mud is Saul said he would just stop in a liberal and off and everybody would be outside in mind praying and on it but a lot of miners lost their lives in a lot of moms.

05:30 Friends parents were caught in the mind Sandlot then try to be positive here. They used to play on the mind and the wheels that would turn to bring out the bring out the or a grandpa on the other side to Grandpa. Basically same thing as well. Actually his father worked in the mines. They live not too far from the mines and sunset of Kate. There were several mines in the Foothills and there still are but they're just not operating and dad's father worked in the mines. He actually died from

06:12 Blackhawk from being in the morning at a young age. I never met my meth Grandma already made him and they grew up with your dad would happen happen before he would go to school. They would try and get the hides and sell them for 4. That's how they made many times. You came and smell like a skunk and had to go home over they chopping chopping skunk under coyote all that they lived on a ranch and Bunker Hill, which is actually outside of Sutter Creek that's isolated area up there. I was basically Wild Country you could you could do what you want to do a creek running through the property. I was so lucky to be able to spend time up there with grandma just one on one.

07:00 The grandma didn't speak any English. She was familiar spoke Italian and I regret not being old enough to really pick up any of that because I spent a lot of summertime up there. But she said that's Grandpa's mother and Grandpa's father were from Italy right straight to California. Do you know where did they live somewhere else went to Ellis Island are actually on my brother went to Ellis Island and went to the there's a there's a septic computer. You can look up their signature and then it came it came from actually came from there at West came out all the way west and with the gold the Gold Strike.

07:46 So tell me a little bit about your brother's. What was it like growing up with him and who were the three brothers and George George is the youngest that was on the oldest it was I was I was quite a bit older than luck Pat and I were pretty close Pat and Pat had a different I was into sports that within the drama. We got two different worlds how far apart were Union to forgot. We're only three years apart. So, you know, he was 8 years younger. So there was always this he was like, I was like in high school. He was like in the third grade was really hard to do. But no, of course, we always got along to me, but I didn't really get close to it. I should mention hold on my little mother rather have chocolate.

08:44 Was younger so we didn't have me I always was watching out for him and stuff. But we really work hard until he got into into college and then in our relationship really grew from that point, you know, he got injured in the matter so much then so we were able to have a really good ratio to have a great relationship with my brother George. So tell me the story of how I died that was going to procure School in Stockton with lids in Lodi Saint Mary's and would drive back and forth with friends. They would carpool and stuff like that take different cars in

09:20 He was Sixteen Going On Seventeen real close and

09:25 Had driven the school had them to school got to school with somebody else and realized that he had mom's keys in his pocket and it's about a car to drive back. But I was it was a very cold March windy rainy day and driving back he on a turn start sliding and slipping head-on into a garden did not survive. So how old is he? He was 16. So you are 19 and you weren't to do that in sacrament of the time. We reached that time. I was still living at home. I was going to Delta College. So where were you ever where you were when I was your brother in that accident, and I thought I'd films got home really quick and

10:17 And what was I like how did like what happened that day that week that week was just

10:25 Hard to explain them in I mean I I was able to with Mom and Dad were just the basket case because Mom specially so I didn't try to do as much as I could be on the priests were there and uncles were there and family was their butt and all family came together on that. How did you Grandma Grandpa cope with it? Do you think like, what did they do? I think their face to face and kept them. That's what got him through this and I think that's what I'm looking for. My angel. That's what I saw held them together and had projects and dad like to hunt and they did some traveling they and they worked on the house and that you got to it. Did you or your family do anything to like remember him?

11:19 Yep. Yes, did there's a there's a scholarship at st. Mary's High School yearly scholarship in past me. So moving on to a few other things. I want to hear a little bit more about what school was like for you growing up. So like what type of school did you go do what type of student where you was at? Like I first six years of elementary school. I went to St. Ann's Oak Hill School and which was which was fine, except it was they were nuns actually nuns teaching at that time and are they could be a little tough on you a little tough in many ways, but it was good give you good if you could straight line to follow the older I got the more I see my friends all my friends are

12:10 All my friends were going to public school and I had friends in the Catholic School also been where I lived with all my friends went to public school. So I said, it's 6th grade. I said, I just said I just want to come on. I really I don't want to go anywhere. I want to go to the public school winter in with all my friends and I played Sports and I know that's what it got me. That's what got me through. I did a lot of sports and have some good friends and got a job in high school is like

12:46 What can I say All American kind of place had the big pillars out front with a wonderful high school? I had to have a really great year some great years of my life have great memories. What did you want to be when you grow up at that time?

12:59 Good question your question.

13:04 I have to wonder if I'm to do the outdoors. I did it that time. I wanted to work in the outdoors and

13:13 And be outdoors

13:15 Do you remember your first kiss I do when or who that was a one-night. What is that where you you up when one person is over here? I am like this the rest of you go hide and that he's got to come find you so I don't see if I can see we got a deal going to hell am I so it was Diana Venturi, but had to been 11 somewhere around there. And when did you graduate from high school? What year 1965 on? All right. So why did you decide to move to Sacramento? Once you were done with high school in Newton Delta Delta graduate and Delta 1967 and

14:13 Was trying to put in my college education. So I had applied for to get into sex Sacramento State College and did and then what did you say that law enforcement but found out that really wasn't my deal. So I moved to public administration. Okay, that's where I got my degree in. Okay, and then afterwards you didn't end up doing anything outdoors for your job Indian independent a cop. So then how did she get involved with the management project one finger and when I get out of college when I got to text 8 and 4 year degree?

14:54 That was the the draft for Vietnam. The draft was going to head implemented the draft. Okay, and they were going to drop a lot of people. Well once you graduate from what I was able to have a deferment in college, so I didn't know I was able to finish my college, but I knew once I got a card I was going to be drafted and that was fine. So I knew I would have served so I went I actually got the point where I was I was

15:19 And taking the tag go down to open take the test at the physical test. I passed all that stuff. So I was right for the picking and right at that time. They had the they had the lottery draft lottery and I can remember stay in your eyes working in downtown Sacramento to and a sandwich shop and staring out the window. Listen to these numbers being pulled and my number was ended up being October 24th was 196. My draft board was actually in Stockton California. So I just as well and they said, you know, who knows what's going to happen just have to wait. So we waited and waited and done.

15:56 What do my draft board about a week before and they said well it 196 wear it when were at 194 and it was expired. If you didn't get done by turn David remember the date you just wondering if you were out of an engine or drop them off. So I made it Pottery. I said immediately went looking for work. And then you ended up. What was your first big job like adults job adult job. I actually went to work for

16:29 Candy company in Sacramento on Peterson candy candy and tobacco and nuts and seeds and they sold locally they've been around for 40 years or father had started it and so they put me on to see how this guy so it wasn't really a nice job. I really good job. I need you some money that people I worked with were great. We're all about the same age. So and I was left on my own to do what I want to do long as I got it done and then it was a time of expansion. Everybody was expanding to our business with expanding. It was really a fun time. So you're in Sacramento and working at Peterson's and when and how did you meet Mom? Well, I lived I'm single that time. So I lived in a big apartment complex with four other guys pretty things pretty good thing in this complex in Sacramento is known for its

17:22 What can I say parties? I guess you might say anyway, so that's what young people would congregate. So we're living there and it's a Halloween party and invited to a Halloween party. So

17:34 I end up going to Army party and behold there. I Met Your Mother a few times before but I also she knew my brother and I swore she was younger than me. So I knew who she was and I'd seen her but she was younger than me and I was like when I was a senior she was like a sophomore so I remember but the high school to separate the west campus campus.

17:59 Sophomore freshman remind me West Campus so you really have much interaction with those people. But if I remember seeing her telling me she had met her she was a

18:11 She was a tiger and I was our tiger asking if I was a devil chatted and talked to him since since we lived in the same area. I was here more and more now and we've come across our paths will cross eventually I asked her out and we get some dates and we did.

18:35 We went together for about three years. Other three years before you ask her to give me I was really old and how did you ask Mom to marry you that's a little story. I didn't quite know how to do it. So what I did was I had in my job. I got to drive a lot. So I was out and about and all these different areas and it was right at the house. Boom. Younger people were the housing boom the 80s early early late 70s early 80s and everybody was buying housing. So what I did think I found a place I thought was pretty night really nice place and pick her up and we drove out to the housing tract and went up to the model. She knows what that was. Well, you think if we think

19:24 Do you think if I if we buy a house together we should be married and she said yeah I said let's get in there and get married the same time don't ever do that. It we survived. So what in mom made you fall in love with her. Do you think Salinas willingness to to just about do anything? She was game printing cheap matter fact taught me how to ski she was up balls downhill skiers was amazing, but she taught me how to ski and I just things like that. We we had some things in common. We we laugh together we laughed a lot and they had a lot to do with it. So, what year did you get 1980 and then did you go on honeymoon would you go out with you and skin?

20:23 Are there fun time skiing every day for we went 6 days and whiskey for 4 days. So how many years were you married before you had Chelsea was born 1985 to review certified. So did you always want children?

20:49 My parents I wanted I wanted to be I know we had a great a great life. So I wanted to repeat that. I wanted you to have that and I wanted that to happen. But I knew you when I was younger that I wasn't ready and I went in my twenties. I just a few chances where I could have and you're just not ready and I can adults don't dictate a lot of friends are already going through divorce is he didn't want that to happen. So so asking if you always when you found out mom is having Chelsea. Do you remember when you found that out like how she told you or yes, I think I remember the moment. I walked into after work walked in from after work and then was singing the living room, which he usually doesn't do that usually.

21:49 Odd lyrics I walked in there to Endeavor. The fire going to is really nice and she's just sit down. So I sat down and she told me so what's it like when me and Chelsea were born in the hospital. Like what is that feeling like when you have finally have a kid or your than hell? Yeah, it's it's it's it's Bobby. It's a greatest moment of my life. Both of you both the greatest moments in my life.

22:24 I was able to witness both first and be there and hold you both right after you were born. So that's moments. He'll never forget.

22:34 Do you know who decided our names like was mostly mom wanting to do that? Did you try to actually we we work together? No, no, it was pretty good. We went to a movie On Golden Pond and

22:49 Jane Fonda was Chelsea and we watched a movie in play like that name and we both did and that's where we can open with the with Chelsea. And Jeff was where I like four names I was going down and when was Hank Frederica non kiss, I like that. So your mother agreed. So why did you give me Patrick is among them who thought of that and why because of a out as a testimony or two and you certainly done. That name very well. Okay, so I want to have kids one day. What advice would you give me for being a good dad? What would you say to give one to advise of what I should do I prepare for I think about when I do that one piece of advice would be to

23:46 Be there to be there for support for

23:52 Times good times are bad be there. That's when when I would say, so what's the hardest part of being a dad and has been like raising us and being part of that the hardest part.

24:08 The hardest part III really patients. That's the hard part. You have to get some patients you have to have patience because I know that children look up to the parents and they watch their behavior, whether we think they are not they're watching our behavior and you're picking up picking up things from us. So it's patients. It's kind of intelligent. Try to make the Right Moves and try to control your temper. What did you enjoy most about having kids?

24:42 I think Dad been in time spending time family being around you guys watching your girl watching watching them.

24:51 I've never stayed your lives because it goes so fast your baby's all the sudden. You're not babies all the sudden you're in high school. I adjust it doesn't happen that it's amazing. So I'd enjoy every stage. What's the phone number? You have us being kids like me or Chelsea when you were little like we were in Rancho Cordova Rancho Cordova, probably some of the best ones were teaching a book how to ride bicycles. That was a big deal as a lot of fun. I can remember going up and down the streets up and down the streets and and pushing pushing the kids and getting you the right bite and then the long walk down by the river and the quiet evenings home together look into the pictures last night and there's one of me riding a bike heading for the first time when you let go of me. It's a really good picture. Did you see it? Did you crash? No, I did not see if I'll show it to you in my mind and tell me about our fan.

25:51 Trips to Tahoe over that like we were fortunate to have friends that had accommodations that we could use and in Lake Tahoe home. We are able to take advantage of that.

26:04 It was really a was really fun. We did we did the bicycle ride. We did the beach. We were Beach people. We still are Beach people love the beach. We just hang out. I still have vivid memories almost have every trip at and then the time that Uncle Chris told her boat up there and then it blew this truck up, but we got the boat into the lake and then we had to every morning would have someone would have pick straws and who would have to swim out to pull it off the off. The anchor freezing of water is still cold butt and I remember all of us getting together for dinner. It is someplace different Tahoe. That was I was really a great time was just a fun time smelling the smoke smell in the trees smell in a pine tree describe Sand Harbor Lake if someone had never been there before I would you describe it.

26:53 Ciara's and tropical tropical setting the water is absolutely beautiful. It's turquoise with rocks and it goes out and do you see different layers as it as it gets deeper. It's absolutely beautiful place. It's a it's a place. I'll never forget.

27:13 Yeah, definitely one of my favorite videos. All right, so you've been a fisherman longer than you've been a prune salesman. So when do you start fishing build? My dad died all my uncles are very fortunate very fortunate to have all my uncles that love the outdoors and they get they would take me they would know how they did it, but they would back me up and take me along. So I have memories going back. I put the pictures of me with a fly rod with five years old fishing with a fly rod, which is really doesn't happen very often, but it just turned onto my life. I love to be on the water in love to be near water. It sucks.

27:52 Not so much to catch. It's the being there and being in the outdoors and being on the water. It just doesn't it just gives me a feeling good feeling. So tell me a little bit about your friend Mark you fish restaurant ears to see us a good friend that he started working with me yet.

28:11 Pearson candy he was the computer operator dead time in and he was just a young kid and I was a little bit older. But anyway, so he like fishing I like fishing so we would talk fishing and he went another Direction I fished locally and he got into bass fishing tournament bass fishing and eventually talked me into that. We eventually ended up fishing tournaments for 30 years together.

28:35 Every every every Lake and in Northern California together, he was a great guy and very unfortunate situation is a you passed away three years ago. So I lost my buddy dirty. What do you miss about her? Most humor? You was quite a character and you would actually many times out in the water fishing was any good eats start singing with having a lot but it would drive me crazy, but I loved it and in the end of did he also you could have them a flock of turkeys up on the hill in or near the goblin Goblin Goblin fishing and we'd be fishing along there and he would cookies would gobble gobble gobble gobble back if they didn't even call him until it's the one ended up winning.

29:32 Tell me the best fishing store. You've got like the biggest fish or the best day or something happened. Okay?

29:40 The biggest and most exciting day ever had on the water was down in Mexico down to see my friend on Bailey is one of my best bud in a porch be our time. He had his lots of friends with boats and activities and you know that love to fish are you set me up with one of his friends to go fishing Due West of them Brickyard data and it's it's an area where a mountain range comes right up out of the water and you can actually see the chips in the mountains or just barely sticking out. You're really cool. We were fishing for Fortuna and that we had live bait just live bait. That's all it was on on this rake and we're just drifting and not much happening. I will send both rods take off. So I grabbed one you grab the other one. It's almost impossible to do any adjuster huge. They're cute, and I've got we finally kind of got one up. I can't move my Valentine. Went up and it was huge and

30:40 Is huge and he said that nothing compared to yours. So in the meantime, we're both going to cost of deck running into each other's slamming each other anyway to make a long story short an hour and a half later. I'll and mine we lost his tail wrapped and we lost it but mine was able to land it and once we got on Troy was 325 lb yellow yellowfin tuna, which is really once-in-a-lifetime shot in face like that. Text me the biggest fish ever caught you. All right. So you've done a lot in your life. Do you regret anything or would you have done anything differently?

31:27 IBM and Yahoo! Okay, I could that would have changed. Okay. So what is something you're most proud of?

31:38 Probably

31:41 The thing I'm most proud of is is

31:45 The way you and your sister have been raised in what you've ended up being that's what I'm worried about a month.

31:51 At some very fortunate

31:55 So you thinking back to you in let's say just like the last 20 years how have you changed your grown in the last 20 years me not since you're a kid, but what about you you feel his?

32:08 Changed I think with age comes.

32:15 Comes a certain feeling you get where you can you can decipher things better. I think you can decipher things better and try not to sweat the small stuff. You can people sweat the small stuff and it's a waste of time. I think it was age of comes. You learn to cope better with the with your feelings with your anger with your other people with them. Hopefully not anger, but good life itself. And I think once you get to a certain age, you really don't care what people say, you know, what you have to do, you know, what's right in your heart and that's what you do and you really don't care anymore. But other people have to say I mean, I don't think about you.

33:01 So, where do you see yourself doing or where in 10 years?

33:07 10 years. That's a good question, or do you want to see my friends invited me to come down there, and that might be a possibility someday. I don't know. I don't know right now. I'm just trying to make it through life and and we just jumped I hope to be retired in 5 years and not sure we're not sure what direction going. I'm just not sure I should but I don't think about that right? Well, thank you so much Dad. I enjoy talking with you. Thank you. I love you. I love you, too.