After my last jaunt to Mansmansylvania, I hinted that Phil the Barber might be a lapsed Mormon. I take that back now.
I've spoken with some of the people he namedropped and now I have a better theory.
See, fifty, sixty years ago the East Bay was loaded with Mormons. Why, even thirty, forty years ago each grade level at my high school had at least thirty Mormon kids. These days? I doubt there are tha many in the whole school. Maybe not half that many.
Having read the Oakland Stake's history, I know that where now we have one stake we once had at least four. The number grew then shrunk as the number of Mormons grew, then shrunk---a combination of white flight and The Rent Is Too Damn High. (Notes: 1. These things don't usually go together. 2. Not that all Mormons are white. Though they proabaly mostly were, here, at that time.)
Anyway. The point is not that Phil the Barber must have been Mormon but that, at the time, he lived in a Mormon town, had Mormon friends---Mormons Mormons Everywhere.
Which provides a new piece of the puzzle in understanding my new home.
That is all.