Helen Eells: Uncle Hobart

Helen’s Oral History
Chapter 5
Uncle Hobart

Published November, 2010

“Well, I think I’ll start with my poor Uncle Hobart. He was my father’s brother. He was younger than my father. He was very, very bright. My father put him through law school as soon as he graduated. [Both attended Hastings College of Law which was attached to the University of California.] He came to the city, lived with my mother and father, went into the same office as my father, when he went in with Mr. Cooper in the Crocker building. He ran all my father’s errands. And I’m pretty sure that’s why my father could accomplish so much, as he did, before he died. Because Uncle Hobe couldn’t bear to go to court. He didn’t get along with clients. And so he simply did my father’s work. My mother put up with him. That’s about all you could say for her. She wouldn’t be unkind, and she did personal things for him. But she never could really enjoy him.

“Now Uncle Hobe was as good around the garden and the house and running errands for my mother as he was for my father. I’m sure my father loved him very deeply. And he worshiped my father. So they got along well. He loved bees, and he had a beehive. And he had a terrible temper. And when he’d go out to take care of the bees, if one got underneath the crazy things that they have to wear, you heard him screaming with terrible swear words, all the way home. He got bitten by my sister’s pony, whose name was Chipmunk. And he beat the pony up, with his face running blood. My mother rushed out and said, ‘Hobart, Hobart, what has happened?’ She did him up and he wouldn’t go to the doctor. All kinds of things like that happened.

“He used to stop at The Brown Jug [now the 2 AM Club], which was kind of a little bar, on the way home. They called it a saloon in those days. And while my father was a teetotaler, my uncle used to have a little drink. And he’d come home a little bit tipsy, and my mother was very ashamed of that. One night, he came home so tipsy, that when he saw a skunk at the back door, he thought it was the cat. And he picked it up. And of course, it let fly all over him and the back door. He had to have his clothes buried. You could hear him screaming with fury for miles away.

“Well that was one of the things that went on in this little place in Mill Valley that, you know, just was too much. It was so different from other people. And my mother, you know, just suffering the whole scene in her little, silent way. Don’t think that she didn’t get her way though. In her little, feminine way, she got those men to wait on her hand and foot. She got the servants to help her. She really knew her way around. It was just that she was so passive in her behavior and her style.”

If you have comments or questions about this article or other topics
pertaining to the history of Homestead Valley,
please feel free to e-mail Chuck Oldenburg.