Coalinga Zwicky goes to war

Just a tease — it’s been another awful day, with very little time in it for blogging — for a Zwicky family posting on Pearl Harbor Day (side note: best wishes to my cousin Lynda Zwicky Hood, born 12/7/41!). Arriving in my mailbox by happy coincidence this morning: in the mildly lubricious Our Armed Forces at Play genre, Army Air Force Lt. John K. Zwicky (hereafter JKZ) of Coalinga CA, sunbathing with two buddies in the Aleutian Islands in 1944:

This is a remarkable snapshot from the National Archives (in College Park MD), made in some haste by researcher Aubrey Morrison, who’s been tracking down JKZ (the photo reproduced here with his permission). I can report that after the war, JKZ went right back to Coalinga and stayed there, with his wife and three kids (a girl and two boys), working in the local oilfields and living a very long life (into his 100s).

But Coalinga rang a little bell in my head, well, because of the oddness of the name but also, I eventually realized, because it was where photographer Jill Ann Zwicky, the subject of my 7/29/22 posting “The life she lived”, grew up: a place in the middle of the Central Valley, in between US Route 101 and I-5, out in the middle of nowhere (to my mind), but a place she remembered with tremendous affection.

Yes, Jill was JKZ’s daughter.

Well, then I have a lot to say about JKZ and Coalinga and the Swiss diaspora in the US, and Aubrey is still unearthing more stuff.

This posting is just today’s proof that I am Not Dead Yet. Stay tuned.



3 Responses to “Coalinga Zwicky goes to war”

  1. Brian Says:

    I have heard that Coalinga was coined by the Southern Pacific in the days when their locomotives were topped up with coal in that location. “Coaling” had an -a added to make it sound more local and colorful. No actual documentation for this, however.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Many things Coalinga — a map! a panoramic aerial view! — to come in a real posting on Coalinga Zwicky. This was just a brief tease, as I said. I’m struggling to manage any posting at all, but I have a lot of material. And yes, the SP was responsible for the name: Coaling Station A, shortened to CoalingA, and on from there. (Some actual word histories are hugely more incredible than the colorful stories people concoct.)

  2. Brian Ashurst Says:

    Details of truncated Name below!

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