Councilmember John McKay built the chair with landscape architect Don Jensen

The Big Blue Chair


By Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi

A Morgan Hill Life reader stopped me on the street a few weeks ago and asked about the Big Blue Chair. Seems it’s missing from the pop-up-park on the corner of Second Street. So I reached out to City Councilmember John McKay who built the chair years ago. Seems it was recently broken so he took it home to repair it.

“That’s the second time (it’s been vandalized),” he said. “It was built to be sat on, not flipped over.”

McKay said he’s working on the repair and it should soon be back in its rightful spot, waiting for locals and visitors alike to take pose for photos.

Sorry to hear that some people cannot respect property, but I’m glad to hear it’s on the way back. This time, let’s not break this piece of oversized furniture that’s a source of downtown fun.

Karen France, the owner of Mainstream Boutique on Cochrane Road, wrote to tell us of a fundraiser they had to support the Edward Boss Prado Foundation.

To celebrate their second anniversary they partnered Castillo Winery and invited customers (reservations were required) to a fashion show, shopping and an afternoon of wine tasting. A pop- up store was set up under a gazebo and 10 percent of sales was donated back to the Edward Boss Prado Foundation as well as 10 percent of wine sales. For every $10 spent and direct donations guests received a raffle ticket to win prizes donated by Mainstream and local artists. More than 70 people attended and they raised more than $1,000.

“It was a beautiful day and emotional on my part knowing the business survived a pandemic, due to the support of my staff and the guests that were in attendance,” France said. “We could not have celebrated in a better way than to give back to an amazing organization.”

Great job, Karen.

Fifteen local students were awarded $1,000 each from the Rotary Club of Morgan Hill.

This year’s recipients are, From Ann Sobrato High School: Coty Camachat, Taylor Conely, Taylor Freeman, Andrea Martinez, Ermela Negash, Oscar Romero Lazaro, Kylie Sullivan, and Saskia Vaillancourt.

From Live Oak High School: Emma Bass, Aliyah Habib, Janelle Laflin, Taylor LaRocca, Quetalle Negrete, Yuvraj Pannu, and Andres Rocha Jayasinha.

Congratulations to you all.

Finally, some sad news. Local barber Joe Acosta passed away May 4.

Joe cut hair for many locals for nearly 25 years at his First Street shop filled with sports memorabilia and police badges from dozens of agencies.

He had plenty of customers who while getting their haircuts enjoyed chatting about the latest in athletics. Joe was an avid Bay Area sports fan who loved the 49ers, Giants, Warriors and Sharks.

In 2014, he installed a San Francisco Giants-themed chair in his downtown shop. The chair, dating back to the 1920s, was reupholstered by a customer who completed the job while Acosta went on a vacation with his wife and daughters. The chair is a fun addition to all the other sports memorabilia adorning his shop’s walls.

Joe’s shop is across the street from my downtown office. Getting my hair cut from him for the past decade or so, I’d often visit him and we’d chat about just about anything. We enjoyed our talk about sports, but perhaps his favorite topic was his family. He spoke admirably of his wife Karen, and his children Wendy, Katelyn and Alyssa; his granddaughter Maggie; as well as his brother and his extended family. He was extremely proud of them.

Acosta bought the shop from the late Charlie Powell, who operated the downtown shop for 50 years and urged his customers to give Joe a chance. They did, and he developed a very loyal following, calling many of them friends. Now the family is looking to sell the shop and hopes that his customers will give the new operator a similar chance.

I know I will. Rest in peace, Joe. ( See his obituary on page 8)

Robert Airoldi