Who were these mean looking dudes in the hats and the cowboy outfits? Was the sheriff arresting a the leaders of a famous gang of thieves?
Heck no! It’s my Great Uncle, Theodore “Kid Cyclone” Pacheco Smith, my Grandfather, Joao “Bohne” Pacheco Smith, and their Nephew, Alfred Souza. They are in these outrageous get ups to celebrate the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition on San Francisco Bay.
From what my Grandmother (Anna Jackson Shellabarger) told me the people who lived on E. 25th Street in Oakland had a blast during what she called “Expo Days”. Most probably they couldn’t afford to go to the Expo, so they decided to have a grand time anyway. They dressed up in the old West costumes (the hat that Joao is wearing made it’s way to several different heads from the looks of the photographs). Costumes were mandatory or Sheriff Fred put you in the mock jail. They then partied it up and had a good time.
Incidentally, from all the photographs I have of the Expo Days, the female family members, except for my Mom who was only 2 1/2 at the time, are conspicuously absent. I have several photos of the men and the children, but none of the women. No doubt they were stuck inside cooking food while the men were outside drinking It would have been nice to see a few of their smiling faces.
It’s fun to see these silly photographs. It’s quite a contrast to the dour turn of the century portraits that are in my collection. Though the depression made many of their lives harsh, they still were able to enjoy the festive nature of the Expo and take part in their own way. It’s fun to see them in these moments of whimsy.