[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
56°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
April 25
1891 - President Benjamin Harrison stops at Saugus Depot, dines at Tolfree's Saugus Eating House [story]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Dec 9, 2012

Darryl Manzer

Aboard a ship in the Panama Canal the other day, I was again amazed at the accomplishments of those folks who built that canal. I’ve lost count of the number of Panama Canal crossings I’ve made, but each and every time, I’ve seen something new and different in or on the canal.

The new sights on this transit included the progress on the new and larger locks that will allow the biggest ships to use the canal. Many of the techniques used for the construction are exactly the same as those used in the original construction that took place from 1904 to 1914. Some methods are too good to “improve.”

Many of the men that built that canal had little education. There were thousands of uneducated men from Barbados, and islands near there, who did the heavy labor with picks and shovels. Thousands died from working conditions and disease – but they carried on.

The skilled white American workers, machinery operators, machinists and the like were mostly educated to the eighth grade. Few had formal schooling beyond that. The doctors, engineers, accountants and nurses had additional education, including college. Most of that schooling happened in little one-room buildings just like Felton School in Mentryville.

You know that prior to the invention and use of computers in schools, many great things were accomplished by those who were educated without them. There was the building of the railroads, including the Union and Central Pacific lines that opened up the West (for better or worse, but it did happen).

The Wright brothers had an eighth-grade education. So did Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Samuel Clemens. Many of the men who designed and built America’s Navy, which has keep us free since the first battles at sea, had a bare minimum of education. Our nuclear-powered fleet of submarines and aircraft carriers had little if any computer use to design and build them.

The main engines of the Saturn V rocket and space shuttle were designed using slide rules. Those slide rules were used by many men who started school in a little building like the one in Mentryville.

I may go so far as to say that before the personal computer and laptop, the accomplishments of mankind were astounding. Just a few are: Railroads that spanned continents, and planes that did it faster; ships and submarines that can travel years without refueling; manned space exploration in Earth orbit and trips to the moon.

What has happened since then? Facebook? Adventures in blogging – like this one? What great accomplishments are happening since those little machines came out? I won’t even get into a discussion about the educational “system” we have in the United States.

I am so amazed by the men and women who were able to save those historic structures at Mentryville. Those people also started out in small schools. Without computers. Heck, few families had a telephone.

Frenchy Lagasse

Who were they? They were folks like mine who in 1959 and 1960 convinced Standard Oil that Mentryville buildings needed to be saved. The ones who followed them, Frenchy and Carol Lagasse. I know my folks started in a one-room school. I’m not sure about Frenchy and Carol; I do know Frenchy went to San Fernando High.

Regarding Frenchy, I have an error to correct. I had always been told, or thought, that he was of Cajun ancestry. Alas, I was very wrong. I must have thought that, because his cooking for events at Johnson Park had a flavor I associate with Cajun cooking.

In fact, Mr. Lagasse was of French-Canadian heritage.  I had stated the Cajun “fact” about him on video and in print. I admit I was wrong and want everyone to know that.

Like my father, Frenchy was a hero of mine. Long before he ever thought of moving to Pico Canyon, he gave me a talk about becoming too “cocky” about riding my motorcycle. A few months later, I was in a wheelchair while both legs mended. Frenchy was right.

A computer didn’t help in any of those huge accomplishments. Slide rules, No. 2 pencils, drafting instruments, hard work and the sweat of countless thousands did.

So, the next time you think the problems of the world can be solved by a few keystrokes, think again. Our efforts since the invention of the personal computer and laptop have given us little in comparison. More free-thinking computing power happened in Felton School and others just like it than any PC or other machine could ever accomplish.

That’s because all of those machines lack a basic ingredient we people have, but use so little: imagination.

Now, go use your imagination. Create a new canal or a colony on the moon. Don’t worry what your friends on Facebook think, because it just doesn’t matter. The best and most powerful computer on Earth is between your ears. Use it.

 

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com and his commentaries, published on Sundays, are archived at DManzer.com. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

No Comments

    Leave a Comment


    Opinion Section Policy
    All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
    Read More From...
    RECENT COMMENTARY
    Monday, Apr 16, 2018
    The best way to fight kidney disease is to find it before trouble starts. But if you’ve already been diagnosed, Medicare can help you make informed decisions about your care.
    Thursday, Apr 12, 2018
    In 2016, California voters went to the polls and made it clear they wanted elected state officials to spend more money on school construction and passed Proposition 51 to invest $9 billion to upgrade aging buildings, build new schools where needed and build Career Technical Education (CTE) facilities to support better CTE programs.
    Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018
    Despite voter approval of construction funds in 2016, school districts are struggling to explain to their communities why the state is refusing to release the majority of the money.
    Tuesday, Apr 3, 2018
    “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” — Frank Lloyd Wright
    Monday, Apr 2, 2018
    Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste and the City Council invite residents to celebrate the 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, which officially kicks off April 19.
    Friday, Mar 16, 2018
    Quentin Kopp, retired judge and Bay Area politician, was once chairman of the High-Speed Rail Authority and helped sell the bullet train to voters. He’s now suing to stop it, saying, "The litigation, which is pending, will result, I am confident, in the termination of the High-Speed Rail Authority's deceiving plan."

    Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
    College of the Canyons hit three home runs to power past Victor Valley College 10-2 on Tuesday, keeping the Cougars' conference championship hopes alive.
    Cougars Power Past Victor Valley 10-2
    College of the Canyons finished its conference schedule a perfect 16-0 by beating Barstow College 6-2 after 'Sophomore Day' ceremonies at Whitten Field.
    Canyons Clinches Division Championship With 6-2 Win Over Barstow
    College of the Canyons' men's golf team had all five players finish in the top-five of the individual standings on the way to a 35-stroke team victory at Western State Conference No. 10 on Monday at San Dimas Golf Course.
    COC Men’s Golf Team Crushes Competition at WSC No. 10
    The College of the Canyons Cougars closed out their three-game series with conference leader Glendale College, downing the Vaqueros 5-2 on Saturday to finish the weekend one game back with three to go.
    Canyons Takes Series With 5-2 Win Over Glendale
    The SCV Senior Center's Scholar Series will present a historical reenactment of American educator, author and journalist Laura Ingalls Wilder performed by Louise Willard of the American Association of University Women on Friday, April 27, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
    April 27: Senior Center to Present Historical Reenactment of ‘Little House’ Author
    In a unanimous 4-0 vote Tuesday night, the Santa Clarita City Council appointed former Logix Federal Credit Union Chief Operating Officer and Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation board member Philip M. Hart to fill a position on the city's five-member Planning Commission.
    City Council Appoints Phil Hart to Planning Commission
    California State University, Northridge gender and women’s studies students and queer studies students will present their capstone research projects about the cultural aspects of sexuality and gender to students, faculty, staff and members of the community on Tuesday, May 1, and Wednesday, May 2, at the university.
    May 1-2: CSUN 5th Annual ‘Sex in the Library’ Event
    The California Senate Committee on Public Safety voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve Senate Bill 1024, the Animal Cruelty and Violence Intervention Act of 2018, introduced by Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, as a way to address the undeniable link between animal abuse and violence towards humans.
    Wilk Animal Cruelty Intervention Act OK’d by Committee
    The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Foundation hosted a recognition and appreciation dinner on April 19 for the dedicated men and women who volunteer with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
    SCV Sheriff’s Foundation Honors Local Volunteers
    Brandon Gold didn’t allow a run over seven innings, and the JetHawks hit two home runs to support him in a 9-3 win over the Visalia Rawhide on Tuesday night at Recreation Park.
    Solid Gold Gets Third Win with Help from Bats
    Rep. Steve Knight (R-Antelope Valley) introduced H.R. 5610, the bipartisan Better Energy Storage Technology Act, on Wednesday, seeking to establish innovation goals to develop large-scale commercially viable energy storage technology.
    Knight Introduces Bill to Boost Energy Storage Development
    Cannabis management officials from LA County and the city of LA offer advice to people seeking employment as retail cannabis budtenders.
    Cannabis Officials Offer Job Tips for Aspiring Budtenders
    An Arleta man and his sister are happy to be alive after another driver shot at their vehicle eight times on Highway 14 near Crown Valley Road in the Acton area Tuesday night.
    Assailant Shoots at Arleta Man, Woman on Highway 14
    Senate Bill 1409, which would update current law to streamline the production of industrial hemp in California, has been passed by the Senate Committee on Public Safety.
    Wilk Industrial Hemp Bill Unanimously Passes Senate Committee
    Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Valencia has formed a new clinically integrated network — the Henry Mayo Care Network, LLC.
    Henry Mayo Launches New Clinically Integrated Network
    1891 - President Benjamin Harrison stops at Saugus Depot, dines at Tolfree's Saugus Eating House [story]
    The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency's Engineering Committee will be holding a meeting, Thursday, May 3, at 5:30 p.m.
    May 3: SCV Water’s Engineering Committee Meeting
    Building on the success and excitement surrounding LA’s first-ever Arts Datathon in 2017, the LA County Arts Commission (LACAC) presents Arts Datathon: Collections, which aims to explore collections data as a way to increase access to the arts.
    April 27: LA County Arts Datathon Collections
    The 24 members of the West Ranch High School percussion Ensemble will forever be known as world champions as they took home the top prize at the Winter Guard International (WGI) World Championships in Dayton, Ohio, this past weekend.
    West Ranch Percussion Ensemble Returns Home as World Champions
    Launched Jan. 1, 2018, California’s newest water agency, SCV Water, is already making progress on commitments of enhanced efficiencies and financial savings.
    May 15: VIA Luncheon to Highlight SCV Water Agency
    The fourth annual Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) Future Jazz Master Scholarship was awarded to trumpeter and CalArtian Sara Sithi-Amnuai (Music MFA 19).
    CalArts Student Awarded Jazz Master Scholarship
    NORTHRIDGE - CSUN Baseball (17-22) opens up a road-heavy stretch over the last five weeks of the regular season on Tuesday evening. For the second time this month, the Matadors will head to Fresno State to start a seven-game road trip. A video stream will be available on the Mountain West Network at 6:05 p.m.
    Matadors to Start 7-Game Road Trip
    Santa Clarita Artists Association's new show, Colors of Spring, will open on May 4, with a free reception, from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. The exhibit will run until June 24, 2018.
    May 4: Opening of Santa Clarita Artists Association’s ‘Colors of Spring’
    SUN VALLEY - Mission Valley Bancorp (OTCQX: MVLY) President & CEO Tamara Gurney announces year to date net income of $1,384,000 for the period ended March 31, 2018 – the strongest first quarter in the history of the company.
    Mission Valley Bancorp Records Best-Ever 1st Quarter
    Flair Cleaners, Southern California’s leading eco-friendly dry cleaners, will host the third annual Flair Cares Spring Food Drive, May 1 – May 31.
    May 1-31: Flair Cleaners Annual Spring Food Drive
    West Coast auto racing enthusiasts, “Fast & Furious” fans and family and friends of the late actor Paul Walker are gearing up for the inaugural In Memory of Paul Car Hangout, set for College of the Canyons in Valencia on Sunday, May 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    May 20:  In Memory of Paul Walker Inaugural Car Hangout
    The Placerita Canyon Nature Center will be holding its annual Open House, Saturday, May 12, from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
    May 12: Placerita Canyon Nature Center Open House
    BAKERSFIELD - College of the Canyons had a strong first-day showing at the Western State Conference (WSC) Swim & Dive Championships, with two of the men's relay teams performing strong enough to perhaps earn a trip to next month's state championship meet.
    Cougars Head to Bakersfield after Strong WSC Showing
    Santa Clarita Valley International, a free public charter school serving grades TK through 12, will host its annual “Expresstival” event, a celebration of student creativity, from 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Friday, April 27 at the school’s campus at 28060 Hasley Canyon Road in Castaic. This family-friendly event is free and open to the public.
    April 27: Annual SCVi Charter’s ‘Expresstival’
    Here is the Community Newhall (Zone 6) Crime Information & Public Safety Report for April 9 - 15:
    Crime Blotter: Grand Theft, Petty Theft, Vehicle Burglary in Newhall
    This year’s Coachella Valley Music Festival started out on a sour note for 135 concertgoers who received misdemeanor citations for fraudulently using disabled person parking placards.
    DMV Issues More than 150 Disabled Parking Citations at Coachella
    1962 - SCV residents vote to connect to State Water Project, creating CLWA [story]
    Applications are now open for the summer 2018 LA County Arts Internship Program, which will provide 179 university and community college students with paid on-the-job experience at more than 100 arts organizations across LA County this summer.
    County Expands Summer Arts Internships for College Students
    The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner has identified the man killed in a solo crash on Sierra Highway between Santa Clarita and Agua Dulce early Sunday morning as Brandon Scott Isaman, 31, of Palmdale.
    Coroner ID’s Palmdale Man Killed in Solo Crash
    Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a Pine Mountain man on weapons and drug charges Thursday, an out-of-town resident for alleged possession of methamphetamine and a zip gun Friday night, and two locals for alleged possession of heroin for sale on Saturday morning.
    SCV Crime Beat: Arrests for Heroin, Meth, Homemade Gun
    With summer just around the corner, the city of Santa Clarita will hold a summer swim lesson assessment at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center, 20850 Centre Pointe Parkway, on Thursday, April 26, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
    April 26, May 5: City to Hold Summer Swim Lesson Assessments