When we were going through my mother’s belongings several years ago, I laughed at some of the clippings she held onto. She had boxes of them. One was with a letter I’d sent her, scribbling on it: “This is one of the many reasons I live here! You should, too!”
It was a tattered black and white picture from The Cambrian in the early ’80s. The caption read, “Mayoral candidate Henry Cooper proposes offshore parking to help alleviate some of the downtown congestion” (or something like that).
Imagine, if you will, Henry in his campaign-signature top hat, wielding a pair of garden sheers to cut a ribbon to celebrate opening of said “offshore parking.” I have no idea who was holding the big ribbon on either side, outside of the camera’s eye.
This was early Cambria (by my standards, having moved here in ’81). This was our friend, Henry Cooper, Handsome Hank, who, along with his wife, Kathy O’Brian, started the Harmony Pasta Factory so many years ago. Excellent food, excellent service. Remember “Cheers,” where everybody knew your name? Well, that was certainly the atmosphere, but coupled with good eats.
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A carpenter, funny man and good friend, Cooper and Kathy were truly missed when they moved north to redwood country. They have (or had) been happy and healthy ever since, working and lovin’ life. But Henry was definitely a lifetime member of “The Cambria Characters” club.
One of the reasons I told my mom to move here was because I knew she’d not only appreciate the warped sense of humor many of us held, but because of the sense of community which I brag on many times a year in this space! (You all did show her much grace. Thank you.)
And, just because one moves out of town, does not necessarily mean you’re out of the family. No. When one-of-our-own has a need, we all do the best we can to help out and that’s why I mention it now. For those of you who know/knew Henry and Kathy, a little love and support would be greatly appreciated right about now.
He was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and is in treatment 90 miles away from Kathy up there in northern California. Not only is he struggling, but Kathy is continuing to work and then traveling all those miles regularly to see her honey. So, here’s what I’m asking:
If you can send a note and $5 or whatever, the good juju would be greatly appreciated. It’s not something they’ve asked for, it’s just something we know needs to happen. If you’d like to help, call Sheri Odenwald at 927- 5537.
Another friend, Pat Riley will be raffling off three of her one-of-a-kind, hand-painted items of clothing at The Garden Shed, 2024 Main St., in Cambria, this weekend. She’ll be there from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 7 and 8. For more info, call Pat at 550- 8066. Great wearable art for a great cause; how can you go wrong?
Many of us often lament the decline of “Cambria Characters.” Henry most definitely was one. Throw some love their way if you can. Thanks!