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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Partly cloudy
Partly cloudy
77°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 15
1970 - SCV voters recall two Hart School Board members who won't let students circulate anti-Vietnam War petition [story]


| Sunday, Dec 23, 2012
Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

Christmas is almost upon us and I’m loving the music, decorations and good spirits all around. Yes, this is a Merry Christmas. Memories abound.

The first few years we lived in Pico Cottage in Mentryville, the lights on the Christmas tree were a big issue. You see, we had to have the generator on to have the lights, and that meant noise. Not a joyful noise. So we often just had a decorated tree bathed in the gaslights glow.

There was some garland on the stair railing and some special decorations on the mantle in the dining room. Candles and such. We would sing carols around the piano with my dad on guitar. (If he played his banjo, my mother would walk out of the house until he stopped.)

Our family tradition was to open gifts on Christmas Eve at my grandmother’s home in Sylmar.  So after chores were completed and the stock was fed, we would load up and drive down Highway 99 to her house.

The writer's parents, Pat and Alton Manzer.

The writer’s parents, Pat and Alton Manzer.

Before we had oyster stew that my grandmother insisted we eat, we would drive to see the lights in various neighborhoods. I was always amazed by those lights. In Pico Canyon we didn’t have enough generating power to light all of the lights on one house. I’ve always wondered what Pico Cottage would look like all decorated like those homes we saw.

In downtown Newhall there were decorations across San Fernando Road and the light poles. All of the stores had the windows painted in holiday scenes. There were also a few places where an adult beverage was offered to folks coming into the store.

Shopping? We didn’t always have to drive to that valley just south of the SCV.  Just to list a few from 1967: Dean’s Hobbland, Newhall Shoe Store, Country Girl Fashions, Newhall Jewelers, Baxter’s Knitting Nook, Newhall Auto Parts, Newhall Hardware, Cassell’s Television and Appliances, Losier’s Men’s Store and Mode O’Day.  Yep, you could buy just about anything right here in the SCV, in downtown Newhall.

There was no mall. It was still a carrot field. Or maybe onions, or hay or who knows. I do know we had roast duck one holiday season. Hunted them on a pond located just about where Santa Clarita City Hall sits today.

At William S. Hart Junior and Senior High School, the choir got to sing all of the Christmas songs – even those that had religious themes. Now we have to think Christmas came from some guy named Santa Claus, or some store in some mall in some city.  “Silent Night” is a beautiful song. We have to ban it from schools since it may fall on non-Christian ears.

Christmas decorations over San Fernando Road (Main Street) in Old Newhall, early 1960s. Click to enlarge & see more.

Christmas decorations over San Fernando Road (Main Street) in Old Newhall, early 1960s. Click to enlarge & see more.

At the high school – in 1967-68 there was only one – football was over by Christmas vacation and basketball was starting after the break. We usually had two weeks of vacation. We needed it.

Classes started at 8:30 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m. If you were in sports or stage band, your school day started an hour earlier. And then there was practice after school. Yes, we needed Christmas vacation. So did the teachers.

We had some Christmas parties at Pico Cottage, and I have a few pictures. Short sleeve shirts on Dec. 20. Must have been a warm day.

What did we do at those parties? Danced to some records. Sang some carols. Walked hand-in-hand with a “steady” up as far as the schoolhouse and back. Dimmed the gaslights in the living room and dining room and necked a little.

Sounds pretty boring to you, doesn’t it?  Not to us. We always had a blast. Even the Christmas Eve we put dish soap in a fountain. Soap bubbled across four lanes of traffic. It was great. What that had to do with Christmas, I’ve never figured out. But it just seemed like the natural thing to do at the time.

That was really clean fun. Nothing harmed. I think we went to the A&W after that, and then cruised San Fernando Road all the way to the Hi-Chic and back.

Wish I had the ’66 El Camino now. (It would make a great present to me, if you’d like.)

I hope all of you have memories as wonderful in your past. May you all be blessed this Christmas and through the whole new year. Make some memories this season. It’s easy to do when you’re in the best valley and the best part of the best state.

Merry Christmas!

 

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
    Wednesday, Sep 4, 2019
    Paying attention to the road and avoiding distractions when you're a driver is always necessary.
    Tuesday, Sep 3, 2019
    Eight questions tenants should ask before signing a lease.
    Tuesday, Sep 3, 2019
    Did you know that children who read for enjoyment perform better in school, develop a broader vocabulary, have a larger base of general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures?
    Thursday, Aug 15, 2019
    Would you like for a family member or caregiver to be able to call Medicare on your behalf? Would you like a way to store all your health records in one place online, so you can quickly share them with a new doctor or other healthcare provider? How about an easy way to print a new Medicare card if you lose yours? You can do all that and more by creating a free, secure MyMedicare.gov account.
    Friday, Aug 2, 2019
    After a six-month development process, the City Council has once again passed an on-time, balanced city budget for the 2019/2020 Fiscal Year.
    Thursday, Aug 1, 2019
    Summertime in Southern California means high temps, high gas prices and an increase in travelers heading off for vacation. What if I told you there was an easy way to beat the heat…at a fraction of the cost…without the stress and hassle of dealing with traffic? There is – and it is called public transit.

    Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
    1970 - SCV voters recall two Hart School Board members who won't let students circulate anti-Vietnam War petition [story]
    1924 - SCV Deputy Ed Brown killed in shootout with Gus Le Brun [story]
    Deputy Ed Brown
    A bat left on a napkin on the doorstep of All Creatures Veterinary Center in Newhall on Tuesday has tested positive for rabies, the Department of Public Health reported Friday afternoon.
    Rabid Bat Left at Veterinary Center in Newhall
    Twenty-six years after Chris Beck left the diamond and etched his name in The Master's University baseball program's record books, his son, Jackson, will take the field for the Mustangs in 2020.
    TMU Baseball Signs Jackson Beck, Son of Hall of Famer
    Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies detained an "uncooperative person" in Valencia Friday afternoon, according to station officials.
    SCV Deputies Detain ‘Uncooperative Person’ in Valencia
    College of the Canyons will look to rebound from its week one loss when the Cougars host Grossmont College in Week 2 action Saturday night in a non-conference contest.
    Cougars Football Ready to Rebound in Week 2 vs. Grossmont
    Despite having some chances, the College of the Canyons men's soccer team suffered a 1-0 loss to Moorpark College as the visiting Raiders were able to spoil the Cougars' 2019 home opener.
    Canyons Falls 1-0 to Moorpark in Home Opener
    The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District has confirmed three additional mosquito samples positive for West Nile virus have been collected in two new areas: Boyle Heights and Whittier.
    West Nile Virus Confirmed in Boyle Heights, Whittier
    The city of Santa Clarita will host the 25th Annual River Rally Cleanup and Environmental Expo on Saturday, September 21, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., starting at the Newhall Community Center located at 22421 Market Street.
    Sept. 21: 25th Annual River Rally Cleanup
    To help keep kids safe, the California Highway Patrol is joining its traffic safety partners throughout the state for Child Passenger Safety Week, which begins September 15 and concludes September 21 with National Seat Check Saturday.
    CHP Preps for Child Passenger Safety Week
    Senate Bill 153 has cleared the California Legislature and the industrial hemp bill will now go to Governor Gavin Newsom for final action, the bill's author, Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced Friday.
    Wilk Hemp Industry Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk
    The California Senate passed a robust consumer protection law Friday that limits the amount of interest payday lenders can charge their customers.
    California Lawmakers OK Cap on Payday Lending Rates
    It was a regular day at work for employees at Jimmy Dean’s in Valencia on Thursday until several customers and employees were witnesses to a suspicious man near the restaurant who was removing his clothes.
    Witnesses Share What They Saw Before Thursday’s Shooting
    Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau detectives are continuing their investigation of Thursday afternoon's deputy-involved shooting in Santa Clarita, according to an LASD update Thursday night.
    Detectives Continue Deputy-Involved Shooting Investigation
    With her bills approved by the Legislature, Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita) announced the status of her 2019 legislative package Friday.
    Smith Bills Update: Seven Passed, Four Already Signed
    Moving to keep children off websites like Facebook and Instagram, California lawmakers on Thursday approved a bill barring social media companies from opening an account for anyone under the age of 13 without receiving parental consent.
    California Moves to Keep Pre-Teens Off Social Media
    Sebastian Barrales Raymundo of Santa Clarita was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on charges of taking upskirt photos of four women, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
    Santa Clarita Man Charged with Taking Upskirt Photos
    The California Legislature on Wednesday approved Senate Bill 206, the "Fair Pay to Play Act," authored by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and co-authored by Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita.
    California Legislature OK’s SB 206, ‘Fair Pay to Play Act’
    1964 - Fire fighters mop up after blaze in Bouquet Canyon that destroyed world's largest live oak tree [story]
    fire
    Longtime Agua Dulce resident Doreetha S. Daniels, who became the oldest person ever to graduate from College of the Canyons in June 2015 at age 99, died Sunday. She was 103. Services are pending.
    Doreetha Daniels, COC’s Oldest Graduate, Dies at 103
    The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday the Latino Business Alliance Businesses of the Year Awards to Northeast Valley Health Corporation and Premier America Credit Union.
    Chamber to Honor Northeast Valley Health Corporation, Premier America
    As part of annual roadway improvements, the city of Santa Clarita will reconfigure two area streets to include a bicycle lane in both directions.
    Road Improvements Scheduled for Plum Canyon Road, Smyth Drive
    On Wednesday, Santa Clarita Sheriff’s COBRA detectives, assisted by deputies, detained several local high school students after learning about social media threats regarding committing acts of school violence.
    Several Students Detained After Alleged Threats of School Violence
    A suspect was shot by a local sheriff’s deputy in the Valencia Industrial Center Thursday, prompting a shutdown of the intersection of Rye Canyon Road and Stanford Avenue.
    Suspect Shot, Killed in Reported Deputy-Involved Shooting
    %d bloggers like this: