Joaquin Arnett's biography

Monday, March 23, 2009

Joaquin Arnett's biography

Joaquin was born in San Diego Old Town, California on November 27, 1927. He went to Stockton Elementary School and Memorial Jr High School. He lived in a home his father built. Dad's interest in cars started at an early age. I think he was around 12 or 13. He drove his mom and her friends around to do their shopping and errands. He attended Stockton Elementary School, and attended a school in Tijuana, Baja Norte, Mexico. He then went on to Memorial Jr. High School, and San Diego High School. He joined the Merchant marines, and was on the S.S.Ina Coolbirth, he was discharged in 1945 after a severe illness acquired on ship.

My father's mother Esperanza Ramos Arnett was born in Bisbee Arizona. She was a seamstress and housewife. She worked and retired from the cannery in San Diego CA. She was extremely creative and a crafter. Dad's father was a successful self-employed landscape gardener. He was a talented builder and built their childhood home on Market Street in San Diego, CA. He was born in Opodepe, Mexico.

Dad did not take any shop classes in school. He lost interest in school and began working on his own interests. He had a paper route to earn money to work and get cars. The first car he obtained was an old junked car he purchased when he was around 13 years old. A nearby welding shop is where he learned how to weld. He began to repair cars then to building, chopping, welding and modifying them. He built a 1934 Ford coupe in the early 1950s. It was sought after and finally purchased by Andy Granatelli for $3,000.00. This was a lot of money back then. This spurred his interest further. And added to Dad’s enthusiasm for working with cars.

Upon his discharge he married my mother, Viola Marie Ceseña, on September 8, 1945. They had a civil ceremony at the courthouse. He likes to tell the story that mom’s mother Josephina Ceseña, was upset at this civil ceremony. When they came home, which was at my grandmothers place. She marched them to the Christ of King Catholic Church to get married in the church. “So we got married twice in one day,” he said to me many times. That is the story dad loved to tell, smiling and laughing saying “I can never leave mom now, I am married twice”. At both ceremonies, Henry Martinez and Albert Calderalo were there. They then went on sort of a mini honeymoon. And both Henry and Albert tagged along. They drove dads car to Warner Hot Springs. His friends meant a lot to him.

At the time of his wedding & honeymoon dad was driving his 1932 Ford chopped black sedan. He had worked on this car in the shabby wood garage on “J” street. He and Mom went to Warner hot springs after the wedding along with a couple of dad's friends, Albert Caldarella and Henry Martinez.. They spent the day together cruising around the mountains. Dad liked building and chopping cars, and his interest intensified. Dad loved the mechanics of the engine and wanted to go faster. He began to build roadsters and experiment with engine. His buddies shared this interest with enthusiasm. They all wanted to go fast and took pride in the cars they were building. When he began to build a race car. His friends were together after work and weekends talking, socializing, encouraging him and sharing ideas. They stayed in touch as their lives moved on in their own directions. They were a group of loyal friends with the same values and interests.


About Me

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I was born and raised in San Diego, CA. I spent my early week-ends going to the drags with Mom, Dad and my brother Sonny. We mostly went to the Paradise Mesa Drags. No pit passes back then We were free to go to the starting line and watch them push start my dad's cars. We would run all around the surrounding canyons and had lots of freedom. My mom would bring Beans, Rice and tortillas which we all ate for lunch..