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End of the line for Carl's Jewelers

After three generations, the family craft won't be passed on

Adele Garland
Adele Garland

Health issues led the late Carl Goldberg to move his family from New York to San Carlos, where he opened Carl's Jewelers in 1978. His daughter Adele (Goldberg) Garland's health issues prompted a "Going Out of Business" sale on July 17 and could end soon, Adele said in an August 20 interview.

"It's hard to do," said Adele, a third-generation jeweler. (Carl's father, Max, was a jeweler). "What made this store important and special for me was what the store and my parents and I did for the community." Their activities included donating items to local churches and charity auctions.

Carl, Adele, and Rachel Goldberg in 1979

The Goldbergs' move west was prompted by a doctor's advice to go somewhere warm. The family had friends in San Diego and moved to the area in 1977. In September 1978, Carl's Watch Repair and Key Service opened inside Alfred's Tailoring. That was the business Carl's friend Alfred Jacobs opened in a new center located at the intersection of Mission Gorge Road and Princess View Drive.

The business owners had a disagreement, and the jeweler and wife Rachel opened Carl's Jewelers that November in a center located at 8736 Lake Murray Boulevard. "We barely had enough to put on the shelves. My mom came from a long line of retailers and worked on that."

Adele joined the family business in 1979. "I became a watchmaker because my father told jokes constantly. Someone had to [install watch] batteries."

She started doing the books and advertising, and learned jewelry-making by taking some classes. In addition, "all the jewelers we hired allowed me to apprentice."

Adele recalled making nuggets by pouring molten gold over material ranging from rock salt to charcoal. "Nugget pendants were so popular in the 1970s and 1980s. We were doing nuggets every week." The 1990s saw a demand for monogrammed jewelry and engagement rings. Some people proposed in the store; many invited the jewelers to their weddings.

After the '90s, there was much custom work that included "recycling" old jewelry into new pieces. Carl's battery coupons brought me to the shop where the sights and sounds of the clocks entertained me. Adele said there were some cuckoo clocks; most were Seiko clocks that Carl's started selling in the 1980s. The shop sold many Seikos; those in stock were purchased two weeks after the closing sale was announced.

Adele brought out her Seiko Puppet clock and put it on her workstation wall. She pulled a chain and music played as the clock opened, revealing two figures. Near the clock was a photograph of Carl and Jay Leno. Adele explained that her father won a radio station's joke-telling contest. The prize was a limo that took the family to Burbank, where Leno told Carl's joke on The Tonight Show.

Rachel and Carl in 2009

After Carl retired in 2005, "he'd go to [the nearby] Albertsons to tell jokes." He was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and died two years later. Rachel had numerous ailments and died nine months after her husband of 56 years. Adele installed a final $6 (coupon-rate) battery in a watch that Carl rescued (see my comment below) and showed me where her father recorded the month and year of battery installations on the watch interior.

While we talked, customers told Adele they were sorry about the shop closing. "I've been coming here for years," said Betty Martinez.

Adele's health issues include arthritis and chronic pain. After working on watches for many years, "I want to give my hands a rest." Retirement plans include spending time with her husband Scott and their cats.

Asked about Carl's jokes, Adele and Scott couldn't remember one that wasn't "dirty." (See comments for Carl's favorite joke.) She found a "clean" one in the piece she wrote for her father's memorial: "When Carl was born, the doctor didn't know which end to slap."

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Adele Garland
Adele Garland

Health issues led the late Carl Goldberg to move his family from New York to San Carlos, where he opened Carl's Jewelers in 1978. His daughter Adele (Goldberg) Garland's health issues prompted a "Going Out of Business" sale on July 17 and could end soon, Adele said in an August 20 interview.

"It's hard to do," said Adele, a third-generation jeweler. (Carl's father, Max, was a jeweler). "What made this store important and special for me was what the store and my parents and I did for the community." Their activities included donating items to local churches and charity auctions.

Carl, Adele, and Rachel Goldberg in 1979

The Goldbergs' move west was prompted by a doctor's advice to go somewhere warm. The family had friends in San Diego and moved to the area in 1977. In September 1978, Carl's Watch Repair and Key Service opened inside Alfred's Tailoring. That was the business Carl's friend Alfred Jacobs opened in a new center located at the intersection of Mission Gorge Road and Princess View Drive.

The business owners had a disagreement, and the jeweler and wife Rachel opened Carl's Jewelers that November in a center located at 8736 Lake Murray Boulevard. "We barely had enough to put on the shelves. My mom came from a long line of retailers and worked on that."

Adele joined the family business in 1979. "I became a watchmaker because my father told jokes constantly. Someone had to [install watch] batteries."

She started doing the books and advertising, and learned jewelry-making by taking some classes. In addition, "all the jewelers we hired allowed me to apprentice."

Adele recalled making nuggets by pouring molten gold over material ranging from rock salt to charcoal. "Nugget pendants were so popular in the 1970s and 1980s. We were doing nuggets every week." The 1990s saw a demand for monogrammed jewelry and engagement rings. Some people proposed in the store; many invited the jewelers to their weddings.

After the '90s, there was much custom work that included "recycling" old jewelry into new pieces. Carl's battery coupons brought me to the shop where the sights and sounds of the clocks entertained me. Adele said there were some cuckoo clocks; most were Seiko clocks that Carl's started selling in the 1980s. The shop sold many Seikos; those in stock were purchased two weeks after the closing sale was announced.

Adele brought out her Seiko Puppet clock and put it on her workstation wall. She pulled a chain and music played as the clock opened, revealing two figures. Near the clock was a photograph of Carl and Jay Leno. Adele explained that her father won a radio station's joke-telling contest. The prize was a limo that took the family to Burbank, where Leno told Carl's joke on The Tonight Show.

Rachel and Carl in 2009

After Carl retired in 2005, "he'd go to [the nearby] Albertsons to tell jokes." He was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and died two years later. Rachel had numerous ailments and died nine months after her husband of 56 years. Adele installed a final $6 (coupon-rate) battery in a watch that Carl rescued (see my comment below) and showed me where her father recorded the month and year of battery installations on the watch interior.

While we talked, customers told Adele they were sorry about the shop closing. "I've been coming here for years," said Betty Martinez.

Adele's health issues include arthritis and chronic pain. After working on watches for many years, "I want to give my hands a rest." Retirement plans include spending time with her husband Scott and their cats.

Asked about Carl's jokes, Adele and Scott couldn't remember one that wasn't "dirty." (See comments for Carl's favorite joke.) She found a "clean" one in the piece she wrote for her father's memorial: "When Carl was born, the doctor didn't know which end to slap."

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Comments
2

There was a time in the late 20th century when I bought a lot of watches. Not that I was fascinated by timepieces, but the only ones I found were cheap watches with plastic straps that got caught on things and broke. The watches were so inexpensive that it was easier just to buy another one. I hated the digital display (eg. 10:00), but I couldn't find what I was looking for.

I complained to my mother, Dorothy, not realizing that she would look until she found what I wanted: a silver watch with a small face displaying all 12 numbers on it, two hands to indicate the time, and a sweeping hand that measured seconds. She gave me the watch on my birthday and described an extensive search that ended when she found my watch at the Longs Drug Store in Grossmont Center.

My mother's unexpected death in 2008 left me shell-shocked. The feeling worsened a week later when I discovered the watch crystal was missing. I don't know when, where, or how it happened, but I went to Carl's and asked the jeweler for help. Carl replaced the crystal. I didn't realize until I interviewed Adele that her father made it. I'm touched to wear this keepsake of both of our parents.

Aug. 24, 2015

Carl Goldberg's favorite joke: Adele told this joke during the interview and wrote it up to accompany this story. Carl was born in Brooklyn in 1929 and "spent his youth in a leg brace and survived the taunts of other children, this enabled him to create his sense of humor," according to Adele's write-up for her father's 2009 memorial.

A couple of bums are walking down the street. One turns to the other, sniffs, and says, "Did you shit your pants?"

The other bum replies, "Of course not."

They walk on and a little further. The first bum sniffs and says again, "Did you shit your pants, you stink?!"

The other bum looks indignant and says emphatically, "No!"

They walk a few more steps and bums #1 can't stand it. He stops and says "OK, drop your pants!"

He does and is covered in shit!

Bum #1:" I thought you said you didn't shit your pants?"

Bum #2: "Oh, did you mean today?"

Aug. 24, 2015

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