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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly clear
Mostly clear
64°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
April 26
1906 - Bobby Batugo, World Champion Mixologist in the 1970s, born in The Philippines [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
    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
    The Santa Clarita Planning Commission will hold a study session, Tuesday, May 1, at 5:00 p.m.
    May 1: Santa Clarita Planning Commission Study Session
    The Santa Clarita City Council will hold a Budget Committee meeting, Tuesday, May 1, at 2:00 p.m.
    May 1: City Council Budget Committee Meeting
    On Friday, April 20, CalArts students competed in the inaugural competition, Junk Battle, a new environmental contest that asks some of LA’s most creative young minds to focus on an enormous environmental issue—namely, what to do about the mountains of waste that we humans create.
    May 9: New Normal Sustainable Arts Fair, Green Workshop
    On Thursday, May 3, the CalArts Expo returns to showcase radical new directions in digital arts and technology from students, faculty, alumni, and guest artists working across all disciplines.
    May 3: CalArts Digital Expo
    The CSUN Softball team takes on UC Santa Barbara this weekend in a three-game series.
    Matadors Face-Off Against Gauchos in 3-Game Series
    May’s National Foster Care Month provides an opportunity for people all across the nation to focus attention on the year-round needs of American children and youth in foster care.
    May 19: Foster, Foster-Adopt a Child Information Meeting
    “Wheelchair Assist” — a business venture and senior design project created by a team of California State University, Northridge mechanical-engineering students — won first place and $20,000 at CSUN’s annual Bull Ring New Venture Competition that took place earlier this week.
    Matadors Take First Place, $20K in Bull Ring New Venture Competition
    The Santa Clarita Chamber of Commerce is excited to celebrate the 10th annual State of the County Luncheon as Supervisor Kathryn Barger shares her vision for the Santa Clarita Valley.
    May 11: Chamber’s State of the County Luncheon
    The Northpark Village Square is planning a Child Safety Fair in the center for Saturday, May 5, from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
    May 5: Child Safety Fair at Northpark Village Square
    The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (RR/CC) began mailing 5,148,411 Sample Ballot booklets to voters for the June 5th Statewide Direct Primary Election.
    More than 5 Million Sample Ballots Mailed Out Ahead of Statewide Primary
    NORTHRIDGE - With the regular season in the rearview mirror, No. 19 CSUN Water Polo now sets its sights on the Big West Conference Tournament.
    CSUN Readies for Big West Tournament Play Against UC Irvine
    On a lovely, summer evening, June 16, 1978, Saugus High School celebrated their first graduating class with a ceremony full of firsts.
    June 16: Saugus High 40-Year Reunion Class of ’78
    The JetHawks couldn’t overcome an early deficit and fell to the Visalia Rawhide, 10-5, on Wednesday afternoon at Recreation Park.
    George’s Homer Not Enough to Overcome JetHawks’ Deficit
    The Community Gardens of Santa Clarita first broke ground in 2011 with the support of Garden Club of Santa Clarita and the city of Santa Clarita.
    May 5: Community Garden of Santa Clarita’s Farm-to-Table Kids Event
    SACRAMENTO - On Wednesday, Senator Scott Wilk, R - Antelope Valley, announced that the Senate Committee on Governmental Organization has unanimously passed Senate Bill 1452, a bill aimed at creating an official state memorial for those Californians who have fallen fighting in support of the Global War on Terror.
    Wilk’s War on Terror Memorial One Step Closer to Reality
    On April 15, 19-year-old artist and Santa Clarita resident, Lauren Dair, stumbled across the Stagelight Monthly Music Contest II on social media and on a whim, she casually entered her song "Monster.”
    SCV Resident Releases Song Co-Written by Linkin Park Band Members
    For over 30 years, College of the Canyons has been a leader in Workforce Training and Development by providing customized training solutions to businesses in our region.
    May 18: COC’s Business Partner Breakfast
    The Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy is an independent office that serves as a voice for small business within the federal government, the watchdog for the Regulatory Flexibility Act and the source of small business statistics.
    May 3: Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtable
    The Gentle Barn, a national, nonprofit, animal sanctuary that saves animals from abuse and neglect has an inspiring new rescue story.
    Gentle Barn, ‘Walking Dead’ Star Team Up for Cow Saved from Slaughter
    The Santa Clarita City Council approved Councilmember Bob Kellar’s nomination and appointed Philip M. Hart to fill a vacancy on the Planning Commission during the council’s regular meeting Tuesday night. Hart was selected on the recommendation of a community-driven advisory panel and will replace Charles Heffernan, who resigned earlier this year.
    Phil Hart Fills Vacancy on Planning Commission
    The Opioid Crisis is a severe and growing problem. On average, 174 people in America every day die from an overdose or addiction-related complication. This is completely unacceptable. In order to combat this national challenge, we must approach this issue from all angles.
    April 28: National Drug Take Back Day
    1906 - Bobby Batugo, World Champion Mixologist in the 1970s, born in The Philippines [story]
    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