At 101 years old, Bob Scudder is still driving.
On Saturday morning, December 4, however, someone else will be behind the wheel. This is because Scudder will need both hands free to greet people.
Scudder will be the Grand Marshal of the Highlands Christmas Parade. He doesn’t know why and suspects the organizers can’t field anyone else. But he agreed to do it.
“It doesn’t take too much work. At my age, I can’t do too much, ”says Scudder.
Steve Ipson, the parade committee chairman, says Scudder’s sympathy and longevity both played a part.
“We suggested a few names, but it was the unanimous choice. You can’t dispute that, ”says Ipson. “And what an exceptional man, a man of principle.”
Marilyn Anderson, executive director of the downtown Cooper Regional History Museum and herself a former Grand Marshal, urged me to speak to Scudder. He’s a successful businessman, he lives independently and, yes, he still travels around town, she told me, telling me, “Your life will be enriched by meeting him. “
When Scudder opens his door on Monday morning, I realize I recognize him in the audience at Upland city council meetings, where we were both regulars.
Scudder shows me around his comfortable house, decorated with paintings, photos and books. He has a watercolor of Milford Zornes above his fireplace and a Betty Davenport Ford bear sculpture in his planter. An art book by Diego Rivera comes out of a shelf. “You should surround yourself with beautiful things,” he says.
Born and raised in Indianapolis, Scudder admires Kurt Vonnegut, native of Indy, and regrets missing a documentary about the writer who only played one day at Laemmle Claremont. “Then he was playing Pasadena and I was going to drive there,” he says, “but I couldn’t go on the first day and then it went from there too.”
It might as well be if you’re commuting on the 210, although Scudder swears he’s a good driver. “I don’t have any bumps in my car,” he cracked, adding that one of his relatives refused to drive with him.
After two Priuses, he now drives a Ford Fusion Hybrid and gets 61 mpg. An environmentalist, he tries to live green and keep a small carbon footprint.
Born in 1920, Scudder studied metal trades in high school and became a tool and die maker, moving to San Diego in 1947 with his young family after a friend spoke about California.
When a job opened with Western Moldings and Stampings in Ontario, the Scudders moved north and bought a house in Upland in 1953.
With his son Robert, Scudder established his own tool and die shop, Vanguard Tool and Manufacturing, in 1969. He switched to manufacturing metal products for the paper industry, such as file clips and binders. rods for hanging files. Robert has been running it since his father retired in 1986.
Her other son, John, will accompany her on Saturday’s parade, which will begin at 11 a.m. on A Street and Second Avenue and last for about an hour. Vendors will sell merchandise from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and photos with Santa can be taken after the parade.
This is the city’s first Christmas parade since 2019 and Ipson says there will be 1,200 attendees, which makes me wonder who will be left to watch.
Scudder has lived alone since his wife, Martha, died in 2008, but his whole family lives there, an aide comes in the morning to help him and a neighbor puts his newspapers outside his door.
He celebrated his 101st birthday on October 1 with his family, a year after an outdoor centennial party at the venerable Sycamore Inn in Rancho Cucamonga.
Having experienced the fear of polio, when “everyone has been vaccinated”, Scudder is perplexed by the resistance to the vaccines against the coronavirus. He had both injections and a booster with no side effects other than arm pain. “If we could get everyone vaccinated, we could free everyone, right? ” he says. “It’s a political thing.”
He wears glasses and hearing aids, and he wobbles a bit when he walks due to numbness in his feet. His right hand also has numbness. To stick his hearing aid in his right ear, he uses his left hand and a mirror.
But his life is relatively active. He goes to lunch with friends and enjoys spending time in Claremont, having dinner every week at a favorite spot, and shopping for items at a bakery whose owner walks him to his car.
Scudder’s desk has a large open book, some papers strewn about, and a calculator handy. He manages his son’s industrial properties. “I have to increase the rents. I haven’t raised them for three years, ”he explains with a sigh. “A sweet is who I am.”
He loves California as much today as he did when he arrived 75 years ago. When he was active he would hike and go bird watching.
“Southern California is the best there is. You have the mountains, the deserts, the ocean. You can’t beat it, ”he said. To California opponents and cowards, he has a message: “Go. Please go. There are a lot of people. ”Then he laughed.
I tell him that his positive attitude is refreshing.
“You have to continue to associate with people. Most of my old friends are dead, so I have younger friends, ”Scudder says. “Otherwise, you end up in a rocking chair. “
I ask him if he has any goals at this point in his life.
“My last goal was to vote for Trump,” he shares. “I wanted to live that long.”
With that accomplished, he has nothing in mind. “But you still want to live,” Scudder said vigorously. “I don’t care how old you are. I like people. I am interested in a lot of different things. It makes life great, really.
Anderson was right: my life was enriched by meeting Bob Scudder.
If you see people wearing Hawaiian shirts and wearing ukuleles at Riverside on Friday, don’t worry. It’s just tiki fans that descend on the Inland Empire Tiki Market, a market for kitschy clothing, home decor, and art, as well as live music, Polynesian food, hula dancers, and an Elvis Santa. It will take place from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Life Arts Center, 3485 Mission Inn Ave. Tiki, I mean tickets are $ 10.
David Allen writes sticky Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Email email@example.com, call 909-483-9339, like davidallencolumnist on Facebook and follow @ davidallen909 on Twitter.