Potter

Melody Potter’s shop, The Fifth Season, was a popular destination.

Last week’s Remember When “mystery photo” attracted more than the usual number of responses identifying who was in that photo from the Press archives.

Here are some of the comments, with the authors’ names up front:

Cindy Schack – Last week’s Remember When “Mystery Photo” was of Melody Potter, a lovely down-to-earth lady who no longer lives in Tracy.

She and her husband, Eric, owned The Fifth Season at four different locations in town.

They specialized in custom framing. They also carried unusual artisan gifts, jewelry, silk and dry floral arrangements and gourmet food items. Their largest store was the go-to place for Christmas decorations and gifts.

They started out on 11th Street across from the Tracy Inn, then moved to Central across from the fire station. She started offering silk and dried floral arranging classes in the early 80’s from that location.

Their store grew and they more than doubled the size by moving its location to North Central. (American Title now located?). Prior to closing, they downsized and relocated on West 10th Street where Thai Jasmine is now.

A great downtown store and missed by many.

Mary Mitracos — So, last weekend I asked Pete who the people in "Remember When" were, and without skipping a beat he said, "Waldo Stephens and Dorothy Zanussi." Then he said, “They're at the Museum.” I said I was going to send you an email, which obviously I didn't.

Anyway, this weekend I did recognize Melody Potter in The Fifth Season. My mother liked a lot of the things that Melody used to carry, and I know she went in on a regular basis. I suspect Joan, and a lot of other women around town did, too.

Gail Gabbert — The Remember When photo is our sweet friend Melody Potter with The Fifth Season! She was on 10th Street and also on Central Avenue!

Kelly McDonald — This week's Remember When “mystery photo” is Melody Potter in her store, The Fifth Season. Her first location was on Central north of Tredways. Then she moved to West 10th, I believe it was in the current location of Town and Country or possibly the spot next to it.

It was a wonderful store, originally a custom framing and gift store. When she moved to 10th Street, the store became better and better. They continued custom framing and had beautiful pieces of art from prints to custom candles, jewelry, ceramic pieces, and occasionally even clothing pieces. I rarely walked out of that store without buying something.

Columnist’s note: After reading the comments and remembering the crowd that filled the upstairs room of the Great Plate on Jan. 28, 2011, to say goodbye to Melody and recall her impact on Tracy’s downtown, I decided to send an email Melody’s way, asking about her whereabouts and current activities. She responded immediately. Here it is:

Melody Potter (herself) — Wow, 28 years ago!!! We all were babies. I am in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for a month with my roommate from my Haight Ashbury days.

I moved to Nevada City about 10 years ago. It’s perfect for me, filled with art, music, nature and hippies. I hope you’re doing well and the city is thriving.

A tie to West High gone

Several weeks ago, I mentioned we had reached the 50th anniversary of the decision by Tracy Joint Union High School District trustees to name Tracy’s second comprehensive high school after Merrill F. West. And I mentioned how important Merrill was as a high school trustee in many aspects, including the development of what became Merrill F. West High School.

A living legacy of Merrill was his son, Wayne Merrill West, but that tie to West High is now gone. I have learned that Wayne died Oct. 27 at the age of 84 in Lodi, where he had lived for many years.

Wayne, valedictorian of Tracy High’s class of 1954, had a civil engineering degree from Stanford and joined Siegfried Engineering of Stockton, eventually becoming CEO of the company. He took part in the dedication of West High in 1992 and always told me how proud he was of Merrill F. West High School being named for his dad.

• Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by email at shm@tracypress.com.

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