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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
59°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
January 19
1967 - Original airing of Star Trek "Arena" Episode: Kirk battles the Gorn commander (Saugus resident Bobby Clark) at Vasquez Rocks [watch]


| 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
    Thursday, Jan 11, 2018
    There may come a time in your life when you need mental health care. Your Medicare covers a wide variety of such services, in both hospital inpatient and outpatient settings.
    Monday, Jan 1, 2018
    Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin previews Year 4 of the city's five-year Strategic Plan in his monthly message for January 2018.
    Sunday, Dec 10, 2017
    Derelict since the 1994 earthquake, the Pioneer Oil Refinery in Newhall was the first productive oil refinery in the American West and is believed to be the oldest existing refinery in the world today. Unfunded restoration plans have come and gone. Now that the surrounding property is under development, will the promises be kept?
    Friday, Dec 8, 2017
    A National Memorial designation for St. Francis Dam will honor those who lost their lives in the nation’s worst engineering disaster and the role it played in ushering in a new era of oversight for dam construction.
    Thursday, Dec 7, 2017
    Eliminating net neutrality would allow Internet service providers such as Verizon, Comcast, Spectrum and AT&T to create a “slow lane” and a “fast lane” on the Internet, prioritizing certain companies over others and dictating what websites you’re able to visit and at what speed, or even blocking you entirely from visiting certain websites of your choice.
    Monday, Dec 4, 2017
    In his monthly message for December 2017, Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin encourages residents to shop and party locally during the holidays to keep the cash in our community.

    Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
    The nonprofit SCV Mayor’s Committee For Employment of Individuals with Disabilities will host its second annual Educate-Empower-Employ Recognition Luncheon at COC on Thursday, February 22.
    Feb. 22: SCV Mayor’s Committee Annual Luncheon, Fundraiser
    CalArts alumni will stage the second annual Co-Incidence Festival, an experimental music festival and residency hosted at Washington Street Gallery in Somerville, Massachusetts from Jan. 19-28.
    Jan. 19-28: CalArtians Stage Co-Incidence Festival in Mass.
    Joseph Wayne Monroy, a South Gate man charged with the murder of a Newhall man in January 2016, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Los Angeles Superior Court today, and was sentenced to 21 years in prison.
    Monroy Sentenced to 21 Years for 2016 Newhall Murder
    The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reports that influenza activity has declined over the last two weeks; however, activity is still widespread and higher than peak levels observed during recent seasons.
    Flu Outbreak Eases in LA County, But Still Widepsread
    The Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District has appointed Brittany Kruczynski as the new Director of Fiscal Services.
    Kruczynski Named Hart District Fiscal Services Director
    Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies were out in force stepping up enforcement of pedestrian and bicycle safety laws and issued 69 citations to drivers Wednesday, but none to pedestrians.
    SCV Deputies’ Pedestrian, Bike Safety Push Nets 69 Citations
    California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued a statement calling out Acting Director Mick Mulvaney of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for requesting a total of $0 for the agency's second-quarter budget.
    State AG: ‘Trump Officials Treat Consumer Financial Protection as a Joke’
    The Santa Clarita City Council will hold its next Regular Meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 6 p.m.
    Jan. 23: City Council Regular Meeting
    Amazon announced its list of top 20 finalists for their new headquarters Thursday, and the Los Angeles area -- including the Santa Clarita Valley -- was named among them.
    LA, Including SCV’s Newhall Ranch, In the Running for Amazon’s HQ2
    1967 - Original airing of Star Trek "Arena" Episode: Kirk battles the Gorn commander (Saugus resident Bobby Clark) at Vasquez Rocks [watch]
    In an exciting conclusion of events, approximately 40 inmates who participated in the Education Based Incarceration program received either a high school diploma or certificate of completion for vocational training.
    Largest Class of Inmates in Education Based Incarceration Program Graduates
    The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency (SCV Water) has selected its inaugural leadership to preside over the launch of the newly formed water provider.
    SCV Water Selects Inaugural Leadership
    Well V-205, located near McBean Parkway and Valencia Blvd., was voluntarily removed from service in April 2012 when perchlorate was detected in low concentrations, below the Detection Level for Reporting (DLR).
    Perchlorate at Out-of-Service Well Reaches Actionable Level
    The Santa Clarita City Council will consider purchasing the 4,598-square-foot building Roger Dunn Golf Shop building in Newhall when the council meets next week.
    City Eyeing Purchase of Roger Dunn Building
    Here are the Santa Clarita arts-related events for Jan. 20 and Jan. 25:
    Jan. 20, 25: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
    Following in the footsteps of her grandfather, dad, mom and several other family members, Erin Oxhorn-Gilpin always wanted to be a teacher.
    CSUN Alumna Nabs Teacher of the Year
    Legendary Band, "The Chieftains," will celebrate their 55th Anniversary with a performance at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (SCPAC), Saturday, Feb. 24, at 8:00 p.m.
    Feb. 24: The Chieftains 55th Anniversary Tour
    SEATTLE - Amazon reviewed 238 proposals from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to host HQ2, the company’s second headquarters in North America.
    Los Angeles on Short List of Amazon’s HQ2
    The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District Board of Directors will hold its Regular Meeting Friday at 11:30 a.m.
    Jan. 19: SCV Sanitation District Regular Meeting
    Kevin Young has been selected as the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) 2018 Katie Jacobson Writer-in-Residence. Young will conduct workshops with CalArts students in the MFA Creative Writing Program and present public readings, which will be held at CalArts on Feb. 15 at 7:00 p.m. and at REDCAT in Downtown Los Angeles on Feb. 16 at 8:30 p.m.
    The New Yorker’s Poetry Editor Selected as CalArts 2018 Writer-in-Residence
    LOS ANGELES – The County Interim Health Officer is issuing a Cold Weather Alert due to the National Weather Service’s forecast for low temperatures. Wind chill temperatures are expected to be below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Affected areas include:
    Cold Weather Alert Issued for SCV
    Here is the Valencia Crime Information and Public Safety report for the week of Jan. 1:
    Crime Blotter: Shoplifting, Burglary, Grand Theft Auto in Valencia
    Here is the Saugus (Zone 4) Public Safety and Crime Prevention Information for the week of Jan. 8:
    Crime Blotter: Burglary, Grand Theft Auto in Saugus
    Here is the Stevenson Ranch (Zone 3) Public Safety and Crime Information Report for the week of Jan. 8:
    Crime Blotter: Attempted Robbery, Grand Theft Auto, Burglary in Stevenson Ranch
    Here is the Newhall (Zone 6) Public Safety and Crime Prevention Information for the week of Jan. 8:
    Crime Blotter: Commercial Burglary, Vehicle Burglary, Grand Theft in Newhall
    1899 - Martin & Richard Wood buy J.H. Tolfree's Saugus Eating House, rename it Saugus Cafe [story]
    The dismantling of a multi-state drug trafficking organization that used the U.S. Postal Service to mail packages of crystal methamphetamine and marijuana from California to traffickers in Pennsylvania since at least April 2016 - and the arrests of five leaders who spearheaded the corrupt organization, including two from the Santa Clarita Valley - were announced Wednesday by Montgomery County (Penn.) District Attorney Kevin R. Steele.
    2 from SCV Netted in Major East Coast Drug Bust
    With The Master's University's 2018 baseball season about to begin, TMU Sports Information Director Mason Nesbitt offers a preview.
    TMU Previews Mustangs’ 2018 Baseball Season
    Several CalArtians are among the Chicago-based United States Artists' annual fellowship class of 45 artists and collaboratives who will each receive an unrestricted $50,000 grant for their respective art practices.
    CalArtians Among United States Artists’ New Fellowship Class
    The TMU Mustangs' men's basketball team, on a 17-game winning streak, has moved up to No. 4 in the NAIA Division 1 Men's Basketball Coaches' Poll.
    TMU Men’s Hoops Team Up to No. 4 in NAIA Coaches’ Poll
    Tuesday night's 93-37 rout of St. Katherine University was more than just a non-conference tune-up for the TMU women's basketball team.
    Master’s Women’s Hoops Team Shoots Down Firebirds
    iLEAD Schools will honor College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook with its 'Vision in Education' award at the Santa Clarita Valley International School’s annual benefit dinner on March 10.
    iLEAD to Honor COC’s Van Hook with 2018 ‘Vision in Education’ Award
    Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters quickly extinguished a 1/4-acre brush fire in Newhall early Wednesday afternoon.
    Small Brush Fire in Newhall Quickly Doused
    Los Angeles County Assessor Jeffrey Prang and the county Board of Supervisors have proclaimed January "Homeowners' Exemption Awareness Month" promote the county's property tax savings program.
    County Officials:  January is ‘Homeowners’ Tax Exemption Awareness Month’
    In an effort to provide support to local communities affected by the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean, and after the sell-out of the inaugural group on the January 20 Crown Princess sailing, Princess Cruises and Fathom Travel are adding two additional spring sailings in 2018.
    Princess Adds More Caribbean Cruises for Spring 2018
    California State University, Northridge journalism professor David Blumenkrantz documents the stories of the homeless of Los Angeles in an art exhibition titled “Street Scenes: Making the Homeless Count,” on display at the San Fernando Valley Arts and Cultural Center in Tarzana through Jan. 27.
    CSUN Prof Uses Grant to Illuminate Homelessness in LA