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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
66°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 19
1863 - Gen. Edward F. Beale loans money to A.A. Hudson and Oliver P. Robbins to erect toll house in Newhall Pass [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
    Saturday, Sep 16, 2017
    While not perfect, SB 54 kept intact our ability to maintain partnerships with federal law enforcement officials who help us in the fight against gangs, drugs and human trafficking. It also retains the controlled access that the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement has to our jails.
    Thursday, Sep 7, 2017
    Local residents have the right to record things their congressional leaders and legislative staff members say to residents of the 25th District and any of Rep. Knight's town hall meetings and legislative decisions.
    Tuesday, Sep 5, 2017
    Speaking with one of our Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies recently, he was telling me about the hardest part of his job.
    Friday, Sep 1, 2017
    Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth invites residents to join him for the Santa Clara River Rally cleanup on Saturday, September 23.
    Thursday, Aug 24, 2017
    McConnell’s herd was among the Republicans who have been yelling about repealing an replacing Obamacare for over seven years, and now he says Trump is expecting a change too soon?
    Thursday, Aug 24, 2017
    I started by asking my grandchildren what color they would use to draw a fox. I handed them a box of crayons. The situation became impossible when both started fighting over the red crayon.

    Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
    On the heels of releasing its draft environmental impact report (EIR) for the Lyons Avenue and Dockweiler Drive extension, the city of Santa Clarita is setting its sights on an alternative that would leave Lyons Avenue alone and filter traffic to Railroad Avenue via 13th Street.
    City Eyeing Alternative to Lyons Extension
    Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barber is hosting the inaugural Santa Clarita Valley Transportation Summit.
    Sept. 21: Santa Clarita Valley Transportation Summit
    Preview of Santa Clarita arts-related events for Sept. 18-24.
    Sept. 18-24: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
    State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson strongly encourages sixteen- and seventeen-year-old students to pre-register to vote with the beginning of High School Voter Education Weeks from September 18–29.
    Sept. 18-29: High School Voter Education Weeks
    No. 20 College of the Canyons will host No. 11 Long Beach City College at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, at Cougar Stadium.
    Sept. 23: Cougars Football Hosts Long Beach City College
    College of the Canyons hosted its annual Western State Conference (WSC) tournament a on Monday, coming away with a second place finish behind conference leader Santa Barbara City College at El Cariso Golf Course in Sylmar.
    Cougars Golf Takes Second Place at COC Annual Tournament
    A potential water rate hike prompted Santa Clarita Water Division officials to call for a public meeting Tuesday evening for its Budget and Rates Committee.
    SCWD to Discuss Possible Water Rate Hike at Public Meeting
    California State University, Northridge art history professor and archeologist Owen Doonan was honored earlier this year by the Explorers Club — an international multidisciplinary professional society that helps advance field research and preserve exploration — for his international excavations in Turkey and a related exhibition, “Stone Sounds: Echoes from 4000 Years at Sinop Kale.”
    CSUN Professor Honored by Explorer’s Club
    The California State University has selected 23 students, one from each campus, to receive the 2017 CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement.
    CSUN Mechanical Engineering Student One of 23 Recognized by CSU
    A group of Newhall School District parents upset the elementary school calendar doesn’t match up to the high school one plan to attend this week’s board meeting, continuing a “walk-out” threat.
    NSD Parents Upset Over School’s Calendar; Threaten Walk-Out
    Six Flags Magic Mountain's biggest season of Fright Fest, presented by Snickers, reopened Saturday.
    Magic Mountain Fright Fest Back, Bigger Than Ever
    Child pornography resulted in a six-month jail sentence for a Santa Clarita man Monday, officials said.
    Santa Clarita Man Suspected of Child Pornography Pleads No Contest
    California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with 17 States, today filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court opposing the Trump Administration’s effort to impose a travel ban on people from six predominantly Muslim countries. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on the case on October 10.
    Becerra Files Brief Opposing Muslim Travel Ban
    California Credit Union is inviting all Los Angeles County teachers who have a great class project idea to apply for a credit union grant through its bi-annual Teacher Grant Program.
    CCU’s Fall Teacher Grant Applications Underway
    California's housing market defied gravity as existing home sales and median home price registered increases on both a monthly and an annual basis in August, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said Monday.
    State Sees Increase in Housing Market
    1863 - Gen. Edward F. Beale loans money to A.A. Hudson and Oliver P. Robbins to erect toll house in Newhall Pass [story]
    California State University, Northridge students and faculty have joined forces with Bet Tzedek to expand legal aid for undocumented parents of CSUN students.
    CSUN, Bet Tzedek Expand Legal Aid for Students’ Undocumented Parents
    Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, the family of a missing 16 year old Hart High student is asking the community for help in locating him. Plus, dust off your resumes: COC is hosting its Fall semester Job & Career Fair soon. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
    SCV NewsBreak for Monday, September 18, 2017
    The Governing Board of the Saugus Union School District is extending the deadline to apply for the 7-11 Advisory Committee through Thursday, September 21 at 4 p.m.
    Saugus School District Extends Deadline to Apply for Surplus Committee
    After letting an early two-set lead slip away, the TMU Mustangs volleyball team rallied from behind to secure a 3-2 win over the San Diego Christian Hawks Saturday night.
    Mustangs Volleyball Team Rallies to Beat San Diego Christian 3-2
    The Master's University and Bethesda University battled 110 minutes to a scoreless draw in double-overtime Saturday afternoon on Reese Field.
    TMU, Bethesda Men’s Soccer Teams Battle to 0-0 Draw in Double Overtime
    The TMU Mustangs men's and women's cross-country teams raced in the open division of UC Riverside’s event Saturday.
    TMU Cross Country Impresses at UC Riverside Invitational
    The TMU Mustangs volleyball team rallied to win sets four and five against Arizona Christian Friday, taking the match 3-2 on Bross Court.
    TMU Volleyball Edges Arizona Christian 3-2
    The Gentle Barn is celebrating its 18th year of spreading compassion and hope for animals around the world from its current locations in Santa Clarita, California, Knoxville, Tennessee and the newest animal sanctuary set to open September 24 near St. Louis.
    Gentle Barn Animal Rescue Sanctuary Turns 18
    “Wildwood Canyon: The Resilience of Nature,” a photography exhibit by artist Kristina Jacob, will be on display at the Jo Anne Darcy Library in Canyon Country from September 26 through January 24.
    Sept. 26: Wildwood Canyon Photo Exhibit at Darcy Library
    October is National Arts and Humanities Month and to celebrate the city of Santa Clarita will host ARTober during the month.
    October is ‘Artober’ in Santa Clarita
    College of the Canyons will host the one-day conference, “It’s Still Happening Right Here! Human Trafficking,” on Friday, Sept. 22 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
    Sept. 22: COC Hosts Human Trafficking Conference
    College of the Canyons hosted the 2017 California Community College Athletic Association Southern California Preview on Friday, attracting a field of more than 500 cross-country runners to the course at Central Park in Santa Clarita.
    Canyons Women Take Second at CCCAA SoCal Preview
    The Dodgers enter the final leg of their 10-game road trip (4-2) tonight with the first of four against the Philadelphia Phillies, with Clayton Kershaw on the mound.
    Dodgers and Kershaw Open 4-Game Stand in Philadelphia
    Family members report they have found Elias Ortiz, a 16-year-old Newhall resident who had been missing since Saturday night.
    Newhall Teen Missing Since Saturday Found
    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that six of 27 national monuments under review by the Trump administration be reduced in size, with changes to several others proposed, but the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument is not on Zinke's shrink list.
    San Gabriel National Monument Not on Interior Secretary’s Shrink List
    The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce will move from its present location at City Hall to new office space at 28494 Westinghouse Place, Suite 114, Valencia 91355, on October 12.
    October 12: SCV Chamber Moves to New Office
    The Modesto Nuts pulled away late and swept the California League Championship Series with an 8-1 victory over the JetHawks in Game 3 on Friday night at John Thurman Field, ending the season for the Lancaster team.
    JetHawks Swept in CLCS to End 2017 Season
    New stencils on Santa Clarita crosswalks are part of the city's 'Heads Up' pedestrian safety program.
    ‘Heads Up’ Crosswalk Stencils Boost Santa Clarita’s Pedestrian Safety Effort