default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Randy Rosa: Grape Bowl graduations are an important tradition

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014 12:00 am

This is an open letter to Dr. Cathy Washer and members of the Lodi School Board.

Lodi is funny about traditions. Some are cherished and preserved and some wither away with time. (I miss cheese buttons.)

Lodi is an essentially conservative town and so are many of our traditions. The oldest church is still on Church Street. Hill House still shares a light into our past. The old S.P. train station was fenced off and saved until it became the Amtrak Station it is today. Lodi High was torched and forgotten, yet became Hutchins Street Square. The U.S. Post Office and its tall oaks were restored, expanded and remained Downtown. The Carnegie Library became the Carnegie Forum. The Grape Festival is still the festival we loved as kids, and yes, the grape murals endure. Fourth of July fireworks still wow us at Lodi Lake (but I do miss the roar of the boat races). The Boy Scouts still collect our Christmas trees. The local paper still comes to our door from a paper boy or girl. The Girl Scouts still sell cookies. Our kids still dance at the Pigskin prom.

Even so, new traditions find their way to us. Traditions like the street markets twice a year, the beloved Christmas parade, Farmers Market — food and music all blessing the summer in Downtown, zombies staggering through our streets, kids coming home from college for a pub crawl in Downtown with old friends every Wednesday before Thanksgiving (and smiling moms and dads pick them up at closing time), and wine strolls showcasing Downtown and our amazing wineries. Lodi celebrates Dr. King’s birthday as a city holiday and the Breakthrough Project continues to lead Lodi into an age of compassion and Love. Zinfest and Lodi Lake are becoming a premier showcase of Lodi at its best. And there is “Lodi Rules,” the nation’s most innovative and balanced statement of organic and environmentally sound farming practices, the Salvation Army Food Drive and “box packing.”

The reader has no doubt thought of many more traditions in Lodi.

At the corner of it all, at the very essence of what Lodi is, stand the crown jewels of the old Works Progress Administration: Lodi Lake, the Grape Bowl, and the Festival Grounds.

We are 80 years removed from a time of national despair, a time where many in Lodi were without jobs and any means to support their families.

The WPA provided jobs for Lodians, who could then feed their families, pay bills and buy clothes. The Grape Bowl stands for so much more than a venue for a football game, or even a graduation ceremony, and yet the Grape Bowl stands exactly for those reasons.

We sit in the Grape Bowl and watch our children play, cheer and yes, graduate. We watch the flower girls because their moms and aunts and grandmothers were flower girls.

The wind blows (make a wind screen), and high heels sink into the field (wear flats), we get sunburned (sunscreen?), and then cold as the sun sets (sweaters?).

It is chaos and balloons and yells of support and pride. It is an occasional boy or girl who has beaten odds that no one in the stands is aware of. It is old men and women (with a smile) sitting on uncomfortable benches (buy a cushion).

It is caps and gowns and tears and hugs and kisses as young and old hunt for each other in a sea of red and white or purple and gold.

It is the last time these parents, these students and these teachers will meet on common ground to celebrate a transition to a new life — and it happens in the most hallowed of our public spaces — the Grape Bowl.

Please continue the tradition of the Lodi High Schools graduation ceremonies at the Grape Bowl. It there are challenges or problems in our way, ask that we solve them as a community.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.


Recent Comments

Posted 17 hours ago by Ed Walters.

article: Raley’s celebrates re-opening of Sargen…

If you plan on speeding on Sargent Rd., beware of the roundabout as it will slow you down fast. [wink]


Posted 18 hours ago by Ed Walters.

article: Letter: The drought is punishment

Myers, man is always asking or praying for something, now you believe the West Coast is caught in a drought due to people disobeying God…


Posted 18 hours ago by Jien Kaur.

article: Letter: How is free community college g…

A friend of mine and I are both placing our bets on the 'Fox and Friends' as the show the Mr Wilson is dedicated to since it has the 3 peop…


Posted 18 hours ago by Ed Walters.

article: Letter: How is free community college g…

Chang, Insults, honest; [sleeping] [huh] [sneaky] [scared] Same O, Same O


Posted 19 hours ago by Steve Schmidt.

article: Letter: The drought is punishment

Ross Farrow is dead? I guess I missed that. Lodi is poorer without him. :(



Popular Stories



Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists