As a person grows older, he or she begins to miss certain aspects on life, especially those that were taken for granted, like the freedom to walk down the street without having to look over one’s shoulder. Ralph Buss misses those days when Fairfield was a quiet little town and everyone knew each other.
Ralph had grown up in the Fairfield-Suisun area and he remembers when times were simpler. He graduated from Armijo High School in 1943. Today’s graduating classes can be over 500 people, but Ralph’s class only had about 50 graduates.
The first house that he lived in was not too far from the school, on Illinois Avenue. When he wasn’t walking, Ralph got around either on his bike or in his family’s Ford flatbed truck.
When he wanted to get something important or to do something fun, he would often travel down to Texas Street, because that was where everything happened in those days. At the time, downtown Fairfield was the equivalent to a mall, which included a grocery store for people’s convenience. Going downtown was nothing special; it was just something people did for their everyday needs and entertainment.
When Ralph wanted to do something fun, he’d head over to the community theatre, and he spent a lot of time at the theater watching movies. Sometimes Ralph would help out with the theater and, as a reward, he would be able to avoid the 10¢ fee to watch a movie.
School and work were important, but so was having fun. One of Ralph’s favorite memories was going to the 1939 World Fair when it had come to Sacramento. He also remembered spending a lot of weekends going to either Sacramento or San Francisco.
Ralph misses the days where a person was a person, and loved simply for that reason. His only advice for young people today is to stay away from drugs and live a clean and healthy life so it can be lived to its fullest.