The handsome couple in the photo to the right are Aileen "Ma" Porter and her husband, Len. The photo was taken sometime in 1968, when I was 12 years old.
Ma and Len were the proprietors of Rheem Valley Billiards in Moraga's Rheem Shopping Center. As a young and impressionable kid, Ma & Len had a huge and positive influence on me.
In those days, if I wasn't reading comics, I was usually at Ma's pool hall playing my favorite pinball machines. I often hung out at Ma & Len's place after school and on weekends. In between games of pinball, I talked with Ma a lot, her advice was invaluable to me---and she was a great listener.
Back then, there were rumors that Ma & Len had lost a son in Viet Nam. What we came to find out years later is that Ma regularly corresponded with probably dozens of GI's stationed over-seas, sending them her love and compassion on a weekly basis. Those soldiers, like those of us guys who became 'regulars' at the pool hall, were all her 'sons'---and our girl-friends became her 'daughters'. She was just that way.
Well, my lovely wife Libby reminded me that today is the anniversary of Ma's birth.
Although Ma passed away in June '05, and Len passed away several years before that, I'll always remember their kindness and influence on me.
Both Libby and I share the same vision for FLYING COLORS that we felt whenever we visited Ma & Len--- to have a business that would be so comfortable for everyone it would seem like an extension of our own family.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a column about the lessons I learned from Ma & Len. It was originally published in Comics & Games Retailer magazine and I thought today would be an appropriate day to share it with you again.
You can read it by clicking
Peace--- and Happy Easter!
(Flying Colors will be closed on Sunday April 8 to celebrate the Son Rise of Easter.)