Uncle Ernest married Jesse Dominquez and together they had three children, Charlie, Gilbert, and Vera.
My Memories of Ernest - submitted by Bobby Alcala
Ernest and Jesse were my godparents. I remember them living in a house that had a very large porch in front and also along one side of the house. I know that I did not see too much of Ernest.
One fond memory that I do have of Uncle Ernest is that every Christmas for five years I would find a gift from him on our front porch on Christmas morning when we lived on State Street. Sometime during the night of Christmas Eve the gift would be delivered when we were all asleep. Every Christmas it would be the same thing, a robe. Every Christmas the robe would be too small and Tony would end up wearing it. I never told him they were too small because I think he went through a lot of trouble to do this.
I'm sure that because he was my godfather is why he brought me the gift. I will always remember him.
O.K., I've got a story about Cousin Gilbert that I'll title, "Where does your old man keep his booze?" a story that my brother, my dad, and I share among ourselves occasionally, even after forty years.
A brief introduction would be in order. Since Uncle Ernest is about 18 years older than my dad is, I'm guessing that Gilbert is about 18 years older than myself, just to give you some perspective. I think Gilbert at the time of the story could very well have been a ladies man if I may say so. A good-looking young man, light eyes, cool hair, he spoke real slow, kind of like Jack Nicholson. Now to the story.
If memory serves me right I was about 10 at the time and my brother Be-Be was about 8. Uncle David would sometimes invite my mom and dad and another couple or two out to the Los Angeles Philharmonic in downtown Los Angeles. The Philharmonic was on Sixth or Seventh and Grand Avenue and was the place to see musicals, before the Music Center. It was during these times that my brother and I would stay home by ourselves and most likely watch TV.
One thing that seems odd now, although it wasn't odd back then, was that the doors to our big house were never locked - day or night. People would always be coming and going, which as you can imagine made it quite interesting. So on this one particular Saturday evening, Cousin Gilbert, who was probably in his late twenties at the time, "appears" as other people did, in our living room. Of course we knew who he was but I was a little uneasy because our parents weren't around to act as a buffer, you know, initiate conversation and such, and of course, there was the age difference.
So Gilbert comes in and we all say, "How's it going" or whatever it was 10 year olds and their older cousins would say to each other. Then Gilbert says (if you can imagine Jack Nicholson saying it, "Where does your old man keep his booze?" He says it in kind of a whisper, you know, kind of looking left and right and talking through the corner of his mouth. Well, I figure, this guy's old enough to own a liquor store so I point him in the right direction, which is only about 10 feet away in a little hall area. My dad had this bamboo or wicker style three or four tiered shelving unit stocked with probably any type of booze you can imagine and the ingredients to any drink was probably available. So he's standing in the little hallway fixing, sipping, stirring, pouring, sipping, drinking, pouring, sipping, drinking, fixing, stirring, drinking, sipping, sipping, stirring, …well you get the picture.
During this time I'm thinking to myself, how are we going to get this guy out of here? Well before I know it, Gilbert's back in front of us holding a drink in his hand. Now he says, (Jack Nicholsonish), "Do you guys know how to Bolero?" Now I'm thinking, "for Christ's sake, now we're going to take dance lessons from the guy". Be-Be and I look at each other and say, "No". "Do you want me to show you how?" Well he didn't buy our line about us being Seventh Day Adventist and as such we weren't allowed to dance, but we were somehow able to convince him that we didn't want to dance. So he closed his eyes and started doing his own Bolero, slowing turning and moving smoothly around our front room as if he was on the main dance floor at Pontrelli's on First Street. I don't remember what ever made him leave but whatever it was, it wasn't soon enough.
I never asked my brother why he didn't dance with Gilbert, as for me, I was holding out for dinner and a movie.
The photo above includes Vera, an unknown gentleman to the left, and her son Ronnie.
If you've never noticed, Ronnie appears in "The Grandchildren" page above Paul Alcala.
As a matter of fact, I've modified that page so that if you're using Microsoft Internet Explorer as a browser, you can, on The Grandchildren page, move your mouse pointer over a face (don't click it though) and a name will be displayed - try it!
Vera with current husband Vern Grempler