[Update: Steve passed February 2014. Services were held at Wilson & Kratzner Mortuary Civic Center Chapel, followed by a wonderful gathering of family and friends who met at his home here in The Point.]
When my wife and I first moved to Point Richmond, we kept hearing stories about this guy named Steve who had lived here since the early 1940s. People shared fun stories, but mainly kept saying he was quite the character and that I just had to meet him. Well, I finally got the chance to sit and talk with him and I didn’t want to leave.
I don’t know for sure, but I’d say Steve Wyrick is probably the oldest member in the Point Richmond community. Besides living a long and healthy life, Steve’s enthusiasm for it is one of the things that really stands out when talking with him.
First of all, for much of his life Steve was a prolific gardener. For years he shared with his surrounding neighbors the bounty from his garden. He grew carrots, peppers, tomatoes, artichokes, string beans. He also has 3 different types of lemon trees, an orange tree and a “prized” pear tree.
In his aged, Texas-rooted voice, Steve told me, “I always started with Early Girl tomatoes. I’d get them first. [I’d] always buy at least six of those. I’d plant in the same spot every year but I put in old 10-10 fertilizer, you know, and then you’d chew it down into the ground. That makes everything grow good!”
At nearly 97-years old he’s had to stop gardening. Now his garden is tended to by some of his family members who plant a few items, but mainly keep the grounds clear of weeds. When talking about the gardening help he now gets, Steve said, “They’re very good but they don’t understand the basic stuffs for gardening, you know?! I try to teach ’em.” Adding with his wonderful and sly laugh, “but they don’t listen to me. Ain’t that something?! Yes sir, boy.”
As you’ll hear, Steve has lived a full life and you can still hear the zest he has for it in this episode of Stories from The Point. Once you’re done listening please feel free to leave a comment. I love to hear from you!
Thanks to patchen and RHumphries at freesound.org for the train sounds.
Noah, This is so great!! I can hear an era in his voice and in his story. i love the train sound with his story. This is really wonderful!!
Cheers, Bonnie. Thanks for coming over to take a listen. The ironic thing about the train sounds is that we have those exact sounds in our town – kind of a love-hate thing amongst residents – but I've just been too busy to go and capture what I needed…and the guys that recorded the ones I used had much better stereo mics than I 🙂 Anyway, thanks for listening. More to come!!!
All those years here, and I don’t think I ever met him! I wish I had!
Noah, I enjoyed this audio story of Steve’s very much. I just now followed the link you posted in Next Door Point Richmond where you notified us of Steve’s passing. Sad to lose him. (Just curious — in the tags you created for this story you say, re: his railroad work, “breakman”…. wouldn’t it be “brakeman?” No big deal…just wondering.) I loved hearing about his dancing days with his beloved wife Annie. I loved it all. This is such a great thing you are doing for the community. I’ve listened to the other stories over the past year and really enjoyed them. I discovered Point Richmond in 1974 and fell deeply in love with it, started working here in 1980 and moved here in 1992. You enrich my experience of the Point.
Cheers, Jessie. I appreciate the feedback. I’ve really enjoyed listening to people tell their stories and I’m so happy to have been able to capture a bit of Steve so that others will still be able to meet him in a way. And you are absolutely right about the spelling! Good eye :-). It is now corrected. Until the next story from The Point!
loved listening to Steve tell his stories…Loved his laugh!
God’s country indeed!
Noah, Thank you so much for doing these recordings. I truly enjoy listening to the folk and learning more about our town. They must really be delighted to have their lives recorded and heard by others. Living a long time is truly an accomplishment and worthy of note. I am quite sure that living in Pt. Richmond does enhance longevity. Your work is a blessing.
Thanks very much, Noah. Loved Steve’s laugh and his view of life here in the Point. Wonderful that you are putting this together.