Being at a resort like this makes me think of a resort our family used to go to over half a century ago. (Yikes, that is a long time). But places like this have existed through the ages. And this one had many special characteristics that carry through to this very day.
It’s been a while but every now and then someone will ask me about the 3 Js. Not my 3 kids with J names; Jeffrey, Jenna and Julia. But the combo from the 60s; The 3 Jays. : )
It started decades ago our family of Eight. Yes, Mom, Dad and 3 boys, 3 girls would venture from Pine Ave in Willow Glen in San Jose (now surrounded by eBay, Apple and others). We’d pile into a station wagon (all 8 of us) and drive to Lake County on winding roads to the family resort called Hoberg’s. Occasionally someone would throw up on the way there or the way back. It was a ritual, a rite of passage each summer.
It was located on Cobb Mountain and was an annual event for us for several years. We stayed in a little cottage (more house than cabin as I recall). And friends of ours were in adjoining cottages. It was like a little village and we (my parents actually) seemed to know everyone surrounding us. Or if they didn’t, they were very good at making friends easily – a trait I think we all developed later in life.
I was probably 10 or 11. The Beatles were on the rise and I fancied myself to be like them. I watched a Hard Day’s Night and had eight rings on my fingers. All plastic of course. I purchased them at the little souvenir shop just outside the main lobby or dining hall of Hoberg’s.
There was a round jovial guy I recalled named Ozzie Coulthart. Ozzie was like the Emperor of Hoberg’s. He held court daily and nightly. Whether it was calling the numbers for bingo or introducing the nightly band. He was the czar of fun and entertainment. Ozzie blew his trumpet to attract crowds and participants to his baseball games and swimming contests. Ozzie took to calling me Ringo. It didn’t bother me, but it did stick, and my siblings teased me endlessly. Ringo, Ringo….everyone (even people I didn’t know) seemed to call me Ringo that summer.
At night my older sisters and brother would go dancing at one location and those of us under 12 were sequestered with mom and dad. Hah, so of course we would go where Ozzie was and listen to a quaint combo in the dining hall turned dancing hall. All their friends would be there, and they would all take turns dancing with one another. The band was called The Three Jays.
A power trio for sure. These guys knew every song and the crowd loved them. They played Sinatra and big band favorites as well as contemporary music. Some of us tried to be wall flowers but that did not last long. The Jays would rip into “She was Just 17, you know what I mean…” and all would be raising dust on the dance floor. Even us youngins.
It was like the movie Dirty Dancing but far more innocent, sweet, purely simplistic and loving; at least in the eyes of this young Ringo.
The 3 Jays seemed to represent all of this rolled into one memorable package. My brothers and I years later would joke about the 3 Jays. Oh, I heard that before from the 3 Js, or let’s call our next band the 3 Jays.
Or maybe I’ll name my kids after the 3. Really? Funny thing, how the sub-conscious works. It wasn’t till Julia rolled around that it occurred to me. Innocent enough with a Jeff and a Jenna. But with the third we thought of other names like Rachel or Katie.
But then we thought of the damage that might cause. You know with 2 J names and the third was something else. No, it would have to be the 3 J’s for sure. And as it turns out we often refer to them as the 3 Js. “Hey, have you heard from any of the J’s?”. Or, “is that J texting?”; “Big J or little J?”. “Are all 3 Js coming to dinner?”
There you have it. From Hoberg’s, our happy place, to Lake Louise years later. And, of course, our 3 J’s. …and The Three Jays, wherever they may be. How lovely is that.