History

Post image for Former Menlo Oaks resident recalls growing up in the same neighborhood as Gayle King

Did you know that Gayle King, CBS This Morning co-anchor (and, of course, Oprah’s best friend), lived in Menlo Oaks during the late 60s through early 70’s and graduated from M-A? Her father’s job as an engineer brought them to Menlo Park.

The Kings were the second black family to move into Menlo Oaks. As far as we know, our family was the first. My father was a private practice physician in Menlo Park for nearly 50 years. Our two families became very good friends. We lived on Berkeley Avenue near Bay Road. The Kings lived a block over on Menlo Oaks Drive near Colby.

Gayle King_M-A yearbookThe Kings had four daughters and no boys, and our family had three girls and no boys. Mr. King and my dad, who became friends, were out numbered 9 to 2 by the “female factor!” They didn’t stand a chance!

The four to six year age difference between Gayle and my sisters and me is insignificant now, but in 1970 she was 16, and my sisters and I were between 10 and 12 years old. Those few years made a big difference then. Therefore, though Gayle’s sisters, Sharon, Lynn and Caryn, all hung out often with my sisters and me, understandably, we were too young to hang with teen Gayle.

Mrs. King used to come over to our house almost everyday. She was totally at home at our house. I remember she would open the frig and ask my mom, “Vi, what you got in this frig?” Mrs. King was very well educated but when with friends she’d be just a “down home girl.”

What I most remember about Gayle is her being in her room studying and that she had a Bill Cosby poster on the back of her bedroom door.

The Kings moved away to Maryland, but Gayle stayed behind in Menlo Park to finish high school (graduated in 1972 I believe) and lived for a year with M-A teachers Roger and Peggy Heathcote.

The ties that bind loosened over the decades and there was less and less contact with the Kings once they moved away. One day after almost 25 years of not seeing my Mom, Mrs. King totally unexpectedly rang my Mom’s doorbell. Mom answered the door and started (happily) screaming when she saw Mrs. King! From then on they kept in touch by phone until Mrs. King’s death in 1994.

My sisters and I last saw and spoke briefly with Gayle at M-A at the 2002 All Class Reunion. She was being followed by TV cameras from the Oxygen network.

Little-known Gayle King fact: “I changed my name from Gail to Gayle in seventh grade because I liked to make a loopy y.”

Now you know!

Photo of Gayle King courtesy CBS News

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In honor of the Grateful Dead’s farewell concerts, a guide to Dead places in Menlo Park and Atherton

Thumbnail image for In honor of the Grateful Dead’s farewell concerts, a guide to Dead places in Menlo Park and Atherton

Editor’s note: In advance of their farewell tour appearance at Levi Stadium tonight and tomorrow night. We touched base with music chronicler — and Grateful Dead historian/expert — Corry Arnold to see if he had a list of places in Menlo Park that are part of Grateful Dead lore. And sure enough, he had that […]

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One daughter salutes a great Menlo Park dad on Father’s Day

Thumbnail image for One daughter salutes a great Menlo Park dad on Father’s Day

Editor’s note: Debbie (Morris) Evangel let us know about her father’s model train table, a conglomeration of memories from Menlo Park and Redwood City. She writes: “He grew up in Menlo on Live Oak and ECR and met my mom in Redwood City, so the places he frequented growing up and in married life we […]

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Memorial Day gains new meaning after visiting Normandy beaches

Thumbnail image for Memorial Day gains new meaning after visiting Normandy beaches

In April, we visited the invasion beaches in Normandy for the first time. On a trip that featured sunny skies and unseasonably warm temperatures throughout, it rained. That seemed fitting. Those of us who grew up in Menlo Park in the 50s and 60s shared a common bond. Almost all of our fathers had served in World […]

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M.A. Harris estate is one of Atherton’s historical best – then and now

Thumbnail image for M.A. Harris estate is one of Atherton’s historical best – then and now

Over the past 100 years, there are a few special properties in Atherton that have maintained their prominence. The estate located at 120 Selby Lane is one. Originally part of a 16+ acre parcel, this estate was home to Matthew A. Harris, member of the first Atherton city council, subsequent Mayor of Atherton and president […]

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Calling all Add Janes Swim School alums – a reunion is being planned

Thumbnail image for Calling all Add Janes Swim School alums – a reunion is being planned

Update: The reunion is scheduled for Saturday, September 26 from 12-4 at the Burgess Swim Center and will be catered. Emails Brian Ferrin: “We are making great progress on contacting past members, coaches, and staff.” A group of swimmers who hung out at Add Janes Swim School, which was located on Willow Road in Menlo Park, […]

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Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Menlo Park, a city with deep Irish roots

Thumbnail image for Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Menlo Park, a city with deep Irish roots

We spotted this not quite four leaf clover attached to a car in downtown Menlo Park lot, with a matching clover on the passenger side. Many local restaurants are serving corned beef and cabbage today, but best to call ahead to confirm. If you want to make your own, Draegers offers two cuts of corned beef […]

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Discover the history of Menlo College at Kepler’s this Thursday evening

Thumbnail image for Discover the history of Menlo College at Kepler’s this Thursday evening

Whether or not you have ever set foot on the Menlo College campus in Atherton, you can learn about its 85-year history when Pam Gullard, author of Through the Gates, discusses the college’s past, present, and future with the new president, Dr. Richard Moran at Kepler’s Books on Thursday, Feb. 19. The event will begin with a 7:00 […]

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“Do you remember (the old Menlo Park?)” is hit Facebook group with folks who grew up here

Thumbnail image for “Do you remember (the old Menlo Park?)” is hit Facebook group with folks who grew up here

Philip Peters’ Facebook group, Do you remember (the old Menlo Park?), strikes a chord with people who grew up here, so we thought it high time we caught up with Philip to learn how it all came about. He told us that he’d seen a similar group dedicated to Palo Alto, and given that lots […]

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Former Menlo Park City Attorney Jack Jorgeson talks about the 60s and 70s at Menlo Park Historical Association annual meeting

Thumbnail image for Former Menlo Park City Attorney Jack Jorgeson talks about the 60s and 70s at Menlo Park Historical Association annual meeting

At the annual meeting of the Menlo Park Historical Association an audience of about 50 were taken back to the City of the 1960s and 70s by Jack Jorgenson, the Menlo Park City Attorney from 1961 to 1985. In 1960, Jorgenson was assistant to City Attorney James O’Keefe, Jr. when O’Keefe left to take an elective […]

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Personal remembrance: A disappointed Giants fan 25 years ago today

Thumbnail image for Personal remembrance: A disappointed Giants fan 25 years ago today

When I was growing up in Menlo Park, the Giants moved to San Francisco. My extended family would attend games together, and my two uncles, who both lived in the City, taught me baseball and sowed the seeds for the lifetime fan I am. Twenty five years ago today, I was still technically living in Southern […]

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