Beginnings…The Star Fish and LGV

A Big Fish TaleWe posted the “big fish” photo on Face Book yesterday; it was taken in 1956 on the docks which butted up to the Star Fish & Oyster Co. with, Arthur Gonzales, standing proudly next to. The “big fish” hauled in was not that unusual; this was a seafood company with a fleet of 15 fishing smack headed out to sea weekly. They were hauling in two finned friends and foe constantly!

But like most successful businesses, the Star did not start out with a fleet of boats, its own ice plant and up to 1000 men working on their docks and boats. In the summer of 1899, young Sebastian Gonzales and his wife Leopoldina, my great grandparents, hung their plaque, “Gonzales Fish and Oyster Co., Purveyors of all kinds of Fish, Oysters, Turtles, Crabs and Shrimp” in front of Stall No. 15 on the corner of Royal and Church Streets in Mobile. Sebastian Gonzales listed as “Manager”.

I am guessing you might be curious how I know these 113 year old megabytes of info. Land ho! This longtime scrapbooker landed a huge booty last summer when my mom brought from San Antonio the beautiful black leather scrapbook kept by the Star Fish staff. It was stuffed with memorabilia dating back to 1899. What a treasure! I cannot begin to describe! I really cannot. The letters, photos and articles from 8 decades not only fascinate me…they add fuel to continue this entrepreneurial fire.

Understanding in new ways from where my entrepreneurial spirit comes is so affirming! Plunging into Entrepreneur Land has been a dream but one that choked out once to “the serious stuff”. Ina’s email gave me concrete goals, which I devoured. Yet once again, I had doubts and wondered could my dreams set sail. My parents simply were not risk takers and so that gutsy spirit that Sebastian and Leopoldina, immigrants from Spain and Mexico respectively, had in them and handed down to my grandparents, had gotten lost in translation. Not unusual mentality for Depression babies and the post WWII generation.

Unlike Fred Goff. Fred exclaimed to James Hand, on deck the Emilie G. on an unfortunate day in July 1925, “I am done for, please throw me overboard”. Fred, for a reason we will never know, set the Emilie G. “afire”. Captain Peter Martin witnessed the act and “come out of the cabin in a flame”. Fred simply gave up on his dreams that day. Ours are just beginning! (Photos inserted tomorrow)

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