June 18, 2007

While doing research for the new Sunol book I am writing, I had the opportunity to speak with Betty Roraback whose family settled here in the 1920’s. Several people in town had urged me to seek her out because at her age, at 88 years young she has lived in town almost longer than anyone else. I spent nearly two hours at her comfortable two-story Kilkare Road home, talking about growing up in Sunol and looking at pictures. As usual we were discussing the local wildlife and Betty stated that she was puzzled as to why the flock of turkey’s that usually linger in her spacious yard had all but disappeared. Then she told me a story that had me laughing so hard I nearly fell out of my chair.

A few months ago, on March 18 to be exact, I know this because Betty got out her calendar where she had neatly written in the small space, “turkey window”. One day while Betty was sitting at her kitchen table she heard a loud noise in the other room. Before she had a chance to get up from the table there was another loud crashing sound.

When Betty entered her living room she was amazed at the site of a large hole right through the center of her very, large front window. Realizing that the only thing large enough to make a hole that size and fly through the window of the second story was, yes, a turkey! But where was the turkey? Betty started poking around the room and discovered the big bird behind one of her couches. Have you ever seen a turkey fly? They usually don’t fly very high; in fact, I think they would rather just walk. Thinking the bird was dead, Betty called her niece, Loretta Loftis, who rushed over from her Livermore home. Upon arriving at Betty’s home, Loretta quickly realized that the poor turkey was only stunned and was actually still alive.

Living in Sunol it’s not too unusual to find an animal in your home. I personally have seen bats come down chimneys, raccoons stealing food from the kitchen, scorpions in the bathroom, squirrels scampering in bedrooms and alligator lizards running through the house, but it’s not too often that you have an unconscious wild turkey lying in your living room.

Not knowing how to handle the situation, the women called the Alameda County Animal Control Department. The women, who were sitting in another room from the turkey, exclaimed to the animal control officer that the poor turkey was still alive. When the officer cautiously entered the living room and slowly peeked over the couch the turkey was gone! Great, thought Betty, now where did the big bird go? The bedroom? The bathroom? After searching the entire house, the animal control officer stated that the turkey probably flew back out the way it came in, through the large hole in the window. The animal control officer said that is what they usually do; go out the way they came in. So, if you happen to see a turkey looking a little dazed and confused, it’s probably Betty’s uninvited guest.

On to a more somber tone, the passing of another longtime Sunol resident, Antoinette “Nettie” Corege-Prater. Nettie moved to Sunol with her parents, Joe and Angeline Corege and her seven siblings in 1948. In recent years she has lived in McMinnville, Oregon with husband Phil Prater. Nettie loved to garden and her neighbors called her “The Flower Lady”. She also leaves one son, James Hamilton and six grandchildren. Her older sister Teresa Cooper would like to invite those who knew Nettie to her memorial at the Little Brown Church of Sunol on June 22 at 10:30 a.m. and refreshments will follow in the church’s fellowship hall.

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