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Centennial Ribbon & Pin courtesy of Wayne Evans


“The things I did and I kept – little mementos or trophies – I have memories of and I can tell stories about them all day long, but this one reminds me of family, and the tie to San Bernardino and community.”

Wayne represents the fourth generation of his family’s residence in San Bernardino – his great-great paternal grandfather arrived here in 1873. Wayne, and the rest of his father’s family – including nine aunts and uncles and over thirty cousins – take great pride in their family’s local history.

My father was born here, his father was born here. And Covered Wagon Days, more recently called Pioneer Days, was a big family function for us when I was growing up. My uncles would get out their horses, and we’d dress up and participate in the parade. They would all meet up at some local tavern afterward and be sure they celebrated properly for our family.

The ribbon and pin pictured above are souvenirs from the Covered Wagon Days Centennial in 1948. Wayne doesn’t remember much of the event, but he keeps the memento because it reminds him of his father.

My father kept this. And he gave it to me five or six years prior to this death in 2000. I didn’t understand why my father had kept it – why he had passed it on to me – until I realized it was the centennial ribbon. So, it has historical value. But for me, it became a symbol of my father and the bond we had, especially in my youth. So that’s really the reason that I’ve held onto it.

Wayne fondly remembers the time he spent as a child with his father.

My father was always proud of me. He took me everywhere. I cannot tell you how many Saturdays I spent with my father at one of Uncle Guy’s bars, playing shuffleboard. My dad would go out on a job and take me with him whenever I could go. So we had a very tight bond — I spent all my free time with my father, and he let me do anything I wanted to do. His philosophy was, ‘If you don’t try it, you’re never gonna know.’ I have a lot of scars to show he didn’t care about getting hurt.

Wayne’s broader paternal family also play a central role in his memories of growing up in San Bernardino.

I had 37 first cousins. Four or five of them I’ve never met, but for the most part there were about 30 of us around. There were always adventures to be had when you had a family the size of ours, because I could always go visit cousins, aunts and uncles. I was the only person in my family in those years – in the 50’s – that could go to any aunt and uncle’s house and visit with them, even if they weren’t talking to my father, because I was everybody’s favorite.

My memories for the most part through my teenage years have to do with Dad’s family and the things that they did and the big barbeques – Uncle Vernon lived on a ranch and he had a big pit about five feet deep and they put wood and rocks in there and barbeque on top of it. My memories are all about these pit barbeques and the family functions.

Wayne and 14 or 15 of his cousins still manage to get together for Christmas each year. But the longest lasting and perhaps dearest tradition that they have is a running joke about the Evans family being denied a place in the history of San Bernardino.

One of the family stories is that when they decided to form the Pioneer Society in San Bernardino, the reason they picked the date they did for the founding was because it was six months before my great-great grandfather got here. Thomas Jefferson Evans, who was the first Evans, is buried at Pioneer Cemetery. But we had to physically dig the dirt down six inches to find his headstone, because they had allowed it to grow over. The Eagle Scouts did this nice sign that lists all the pioneers buried there, but they didn’t list him. I’m sticking to my story that they pick on us. There isn’t a bit of truth to it – it’s just the way it happens in our family. There’s a lack of respect for the Evanses and I guarantee it’s not intentional, but it makes a heck of a good story.