June 2, 2010 |

Remembering Albert

Olga Connolly, Five time Olympian and Olympic gold medal winner, was a 50 year resident of Culver City, She now resides in Huntington Beach.

The old-world milieu of Sorrento Market drew me to stopping in whether or not in shopping mode. Sometimes I would order a sandwich handcrafted by the grand old lady at the back counter, sometime I would hang around the tomato sauce cans. What really kept me there was listening, smiling with, or, commiserating with strangers who shared events in their lives with the supremely patient ear of Ursula Vera, or engaged in straightforward talks about civic affairs in which Albert’s input overshadowed any analysis one would hear in radio talks.

Ursula and Albert could not be fooled. Their understandings and practical counsels were based on the only true reality of business-life in a community: experience of years spent by working with own hands, seeking problem solving options by own minds, and unflinching in their faith.

Dear psychologists with university degrees, Albert Vera’s second-to-none knowledge of people is the one key class you missed and can never replace. In my view, Albert was uncompromisingly exacting, even ruthless in pursuit of advisement from life experience of personal labor in building business without stepping on community members who were in need of human and compassionate care.

I moved farther South just about when Albert began to block Culver City’s downslide into a dwarfed-treed standard town and teamed up with creative minds and hands equally devoted to the City’s reconstruction. Today’s Culver City reflects their accomplishments on every corner. It recovered its loveliness and a special, living Americana place. Let Albert’s spirit remain interwoven with every green branch in the city’s garden setting and with every patriotic thought of its citizens.

Albert, and Ursula, thank you for your friendship with my family and for everything I have seen you doing without asking for thanks … like the awesome lunches you prepared for the crews of California Conservation Corps and the respect with which your presented those to the rake and shovel wielding youth who were contributing to the beautification of your beloved Culver City.

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