Mountain View Voice

News - October 14, 2011

Steve Jobs called Mountain View home as a child

by Daniel DeBolt

A childhood friend of Steve Jobs recalls that Silicon Valley's quintessential entrepreneur was partly a product of Mountain View, where he attended school and lived until his early teens.

On Friday, Mountain View resident Steve Hatt reminisced about a 1965 class photo of Jobs and himself at the now-closed San Ramon School on San Ramon Avenue, just east of Rengstorff Avenue.

Jobs was "motivated and not afraid to try something different," and was a little mischievous and awkward as well, Hatt recalled. He said he counted Jobs as one of a half-dozen close buddies in the Monta Loma neighborhood. Hatt remembers Jobs attending Monta Loma elementary school, and according to county property records, the Jobs family owned a house at 286 Diablo Avenue from 1959 to 1967.

The Monta Loma neighborhood was a vibrant young neighborhood in the early 1960s, popular with Stanford professors and early Silicon Valley engineers. Hatt said that "everything was engineering" for the neighborhood's kids, who could often be found building electrical kits, like crystal set radios, from places like Radio Shack.

The adoptive parents who brought Jobs to Mountain View, Paul and Clara Jobs, were a machinist and an accountant, respectively. He called his adoptive father a "genius with his hands" and said he wanted "to try to be as good a father to them (his own children) as my father was to me."

Jobs reportedly was born in San Francisco to his biological mother, Joanne Schieble. She gave up Jobs amid family pressure to not marry his biological father, Abdulfattah Jandali, a Syrian Muslim who went on to become a political science professor. His biological parents eventually married and had a daughter, novelist Mona Simpson, whom Jobs later met and said he considered "one of my best friends in the world."

After sixth grade, Jobs reportedly moved away and attended Cupertino Middle School and Homestead High School. It wasn't long before Hatt said he saw Jobs on the cover of a magazine as the successful young entrepreneur who co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak. Hatt said people in the neighborhood loved to talk about Jobs' success.

"Everyday it inspires me," Hatt said of having known Jobs.

Perhaps Jobs was thinking of his hometown when he recently told the Cupertino City Council that if Apple could not build its new headquarters in Cupertino, "We have to go somewhere like Mountain View."

His local connection may have also been why Monta Loma elementary school was one of the first to receive free Apple computers. Hatt said he remembers that his kids, who were attending Landels at the time, did not receive them until later.

Hatt said it astonished him that news reports have made no mention of Jobs' connection to Mountain View. He hopes local kids are inspired by Jobs "to learn something new and do something great."

Mountain View Whisman School District officials said most of their records from the early 1960s were destroyed. They could confirm that Jobs attended Crittenden Middle School for seventh grade and Monta Loma elementary school for a year.

He apparently did not enjoy Crittenden, according to a Los Angeles Times report: "Jobs' willfulness and chutzpah were evident early on. At 11, he decided he didn't like his rowdy and chaotic middle school in Mountain View, Calif., and refused to go back. His family moved to a nearby town so he could attend another school."

Email Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

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