Reminiscences of Kernan and Geraldine Robson

By Hazel Jones
March 1961

We lived across the street from the Robsons. For some reason they took a liking to us and we became good friends. Geraldine asked me one day if I would drive her to San Francisco one afternoon a week, and as I loved going to the city, I was happy to do it. We always left at the same hour. I would leave her in front of the White House, then park the car at Union Square. Two hours later I would pick her up at a given place and we drove home.

Mr. Robson had two big cars, one a Lincoln and the other a Cad. My husband was retired and Mr. Robson asked him if he would take him to his office in San Francisco each morning and pick him up at 5 each p.m. He was happy to do it as it was a pleasure to drive those two big cars.

In this way we learned a lot about the habits and lives of the Robsons.

Mr. Robson had his breakfast each a.m. at the same time in a small room they called the breakfast room. His menu never changed. Mrs. Robson had breakfast at the kitchen table and it always consisted of oatmeal, toast and coffee – never a change or any variety.

At night they were served their dinner in the dining room at a large oval table, she at one end and he at the other.

I don’t think they ever ate a meal outside their home. He always took his bag lunch to his office each day.

Mrs. Robson was a great scholar. She read and studied constantly and was a brilliant woman. She had a large, valuable collection of netsuke and she could tell you the whole story and origin of each one. When ever we had guests from out of town, she had us bring them over and she would show them all her treasures and the home. They never attended a movie or any entertainment of any kind.

When Mr. Robson died, his funeral service was held in the drawing room in front of the fireplace and he was dressed in casual clothes and house slippers and lying on a cot as if asleep. Mrs. Robson remained upstairs in her room during the service.

After that the two cars were disposed of and a Cad limo was purchased for her and one could see out of the windows, but no one could see in. I didn’t mention that she had a parrot she loved dearly, which was her constant companion. Whenever she went for a drive, which was daily, the parrot accompanied her and sat beside her in a big cage. I was invited to go to the city often and the bird would sit between us. When it died, it was a great loss to her.

Occasionally Mr. Robson attended the Presbyterian Church, but she never went with him. Weekends he walked, but I never saw them walking together. They had a beautiful orchard with all the different fruit trees and they were very generous with the fruit to their neighbors. He took sacks of it to the city for the office force.

My sister visited me from Spokane and Mrs. Robson asked me to bring her over to call. When we arrived, the housekeeper seated us in the drawing room, and she finally came down the stairs wearing her hat and gloves. We had a visit, then a tour of the house. The hat and gloves amused my sister.

 

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