The Late & Great "Waldini"
By Judy Borello
Hearing the news this morning from my bartender and cleaning lady Linda that Waldo Giacomini had passed on last night, I was stunned. Not that I hadn't expected it, as I had gotten word from family friends that he was doing poorly and it was just a short matter of time before Waldo would leave us. When the reality hits, even though I'd been forewarned, it still hurts. There are some characters in Point Reyes Station who have certainly left their mark on an era in the times of wild and woolly West Marin that will never again be. Waldo was definitely one of them. Stories I had heard and some witnessed always brought amusement, smiles, and deep yearning to go back to yesteryear when the times were more raucous, free, and wild. So let's go there and take a trip down memory lane.
My late husband Bob Borello told me of a few incidents which involved Waldo and Bob's father Al Borello. It seems that Al and Waldo had each bought a new truck, one a brand new Chevy and the other a brand new Ford. They parked the vehicles in front of The Old Western Saloon and went in to toast their new acquisitions. Being friendly feuders, they started arguing who had the better truck and one thing led to another so they decided to go outside and put their trucks to the test. It started out with a race down Main Street and ended up with them bumping and pushing each other's trucks to test the strength of the bumpers. This and other assorted jousting went on until the trucks wouldn't run anymore, so Bob drove them home. The next morning, Bob brought the two renegades back to town where they viewed the bodies of their battered trucks. They started arguing over who was going to sue who and who drew first blood. Then they started laughing and decided to go in The Old Western Saloon and "have a little hair of the dog." Well, all's well that ends well, and the two gladiators had their trucks towed and fixed up again and went on being friendly feuders.
When Waldo's brother Toby built a baseball field near White House Pool and coached baseball teams, Dr. Waldo Giacomini would arrive at the games sporting a doctor's black bag and would revive team members with his snake oil and medicinal tonics of whisky, vodka and brandy. He became known as the best doctor in town and people faked fainting so they could call Dr. Waldo.
Waldo owned the original Palace Market which I believe was then called the Emporium, before the present Palace Market was even built upstairs over an empty lot. Waldo's grocery store was housed where Cabaline stands today.
There are so many stories of Waldo's gregarious past that it would take 10 columns to reiterate them all. Who could ever forget the public meetings or social gatherings where Waldo would break into song -- some of his most famous were "Home On the Range," "I Want a Girl Just like the Girl Who Married Dear Old Dad," "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover," and "On Top of Old Smokey." These songs have always reminded me of Waldo and they always will.
We are blessed to have had this amazing man in our community along with his late wife Rita, who also was a load of fun, liveliness and warmth. They always contributed to the community by allowing the children in town to be taught to swim in their private swimming pool, working tirelessly at community barbecues, and always being there for people who needed help. I remember during the flood of 1982, the Western's basement was inundated with water. With no sump pump then in place, they came with their pumper truck and did what they could. Rita called me and offered a pump from Waldo's ranch to use in my basement. I asked her that with so much water everywhere didn't they need it? She put Waldo on the phone and he said it was an auxiliary pump that he would need if his primary pump went out. He said he would give a call if that happened. I thought to myself, how many people would lend you something and leave themselves vulnerable to help others? So Bob and I went over to Waldo's and picked up the pump along with Waldo himself. They placed the pump down below, got it going and then left to see what they could do to help at Nicasio Dam as it was a hair away from overflowing and inundating the entire town.
I recall many times serving Waldo and his brothers Tobias and Ralph. I noticed they all shared the same genetic traits: being good-natured, having a ready laugh and smile, and twinkling eyes like a slightly mischievous elf. The town has suffered a great loss with the passing of Waldo Giacomini, but it has also been very enriched by his life and presence.
P.S. God bless you, Waldo, and every time I hear, "Home On the Range," I will smile and think of you! Our prayers and hearts go out to Waldo's family and friends!
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