Franz Weinschenk

Host, Valley Writers Read

Franz Weinschenk, his parents and his older brother Fritz were indeed lucky to get out of Germany just before World War II.  For a while they lived in Brooklyn, N.Y., before moving to Madera, CA.  He graduated from Madera High and Fresno State.  From 1948 to 1952 he taught at Edison High School in Fresno after which he was drafted and served in the US Army for two years. 

After being discharged, he started teaching speech and English at Fresno City College.  As the years passed, besides his teaching assignments, he was chosen to be the school's first yearbook adviser, their first debate coach, and the first Dean of the college's brand new Humanities Division, a job he held for 12 years.  He retired from working full-time in 1980, but to this day continues teaching at least one evening class.  From 1980 to 1988, he served as the director of the Volunteer Bureau of Fresno County.  Franz has three children and lives with his wife Sally. He enjoys power walking, swimming and biking.

This week's program features a story by Don Parkay entitled “The Distance Between Stars.”  Mom and daughter live in the countryside up in the high desert of Western California.  Dina, the daughter volunteers at a bookstore in town.  Then, when Mom meets Clay, the owner of the bookstore, they seem to be attracted to each other.

Michael Karibian / Educational Employees Credit Union

Franz Weinschenk reads “A Hike down Colony Mill Road.”  Story is about an unhappy group of sailors from San Francisco known as the “Kaweah Colony,” who built a saw mill at the 5,000 foot level in what it now Sequoia National Park. It took them four years to construct a 10-mile road up to the saw mill, but they were forced to vacate once the national park was established.

This week on Valley Writers Read, Howard Hendrix reads “Red Rover, Red Rover.”  This is a science fiction story about a billionaire who, along with his talking dog “Cogzie,” decides to move to Mars.  Soon, and often, the dog reminds him how mankind has abused dogs, which gets the two of them into a big fight.  

This week on Valley Writers Read, Mark Arax reads from “The King of California.”  This is the story of how some cotton farmers dried out the largest fresh water lake west of the Mississippi (Tulare Lake) and made it into a huge cotton empire.  The lead grower, J.G. Boswell, believes in making a factory out of the fields and goes by the saying “from the lab to the fields to the gin.”

This week on Valley Writers Read we hear a story by Fresno author Jim Ashford titled "Country Roads." Back in high school, Tom Carson fought off some bullies who were after Billy Slurd.  So that when Billy passed away, he left Tom a present-- a magic 1956 Ford Thunderbird that turned into a time machine.  When you tuned in the radio, all you could hear is 1956 radio talk –  Al Radka carries on about Mrs. Winterbottom and KYNO broadcasts of the Fresno Cardinals.

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear a story by Hope Nisly titled "Milk Run." Austin and Jed escape from the half-way house in which they're incarcerated and live in the mountains selling pine cones to vacationers.  But they get re-arrested and soon find themselves being transported back to prison.  They try to tip over the van they're in, but don't succeed.  So now face many more years of imprisonment.

Gary Hill reads “There's No One At Manubi, Only Flies.”  This story takes place in the huge Gibson Desert of Australia.  A desert tribe desperately hopes a distant rain cloud will end the drought.  But it doesn't.  But just as they prepare to die of thirst, they see a water truck in the distance.  However, even if it saves them, some will not want to go to the mission with the truck but remain in their ancestral home.  

Valerie Schultz reads “Some Kind of Bee” and “Four Seasons and The Moon.”  Grandma is driving down the street when a bee blows in the window.  She's so distracted she loses concentration and wrecks the car.  Now all she can talk about is how old she is, just old enough to make funeral arrangements.  But she's in for a big surprise!

Jim Benelli reads “Big Joe and the Red Headed Hitchhiker.”  A beer-drinking, Buck Owens-loving truck driver is on his way to St. Louis with a load of tomatoes.  He picks up a red-headed  hitchhiker who knows all the words to Buck Owens' songs but somehow disappears after the truck has an accident out in the Mojave desert.  

Debbie Everson Borofka reads "Remembrance."  The narrator's father came down with bronchitis when he was just a baby.  So the grandparent put him in a tent with boiling water inside to supply steam.  Unfortunately, the water spilled over and scalded the baby's feet so badly that he lost them.  This accident affected family relationships for decades.