[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]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Tuesday, Dec 3, 2013
Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

Nov. 7, 1966, I got up and got ready for school.

We had moved from Pico to Carpinteria because my father had transferred to work on the off-shore platforms of Standard Oil Co. of California.

We also moved there because – my sisters and I now think – my father also wanted to get my mother a home that had all the modern conveniences in it. Things like a dishwasher and automatic washer and dryer. There was also the garbage disposal. That was a big deal for a family that had seen the Pico Cottage move into the 20th Century with electricity instead of gas lights just two years earlier.

He wanted her to have a modern home because, we think, her cancer had returned and it was going to end her life in a short time. Maybe a year, or at the most two, but we are only guessing about this because he never said anything.

He couldn’t say anything after Nov. 7, 1966, because that was the day he died in a helicopter crash at sea between the oil platforms and land.

I was at school. Carpinteria High School. Back then is was located in the building that is now the Middle School for that town.

Our family came to Carpinteria from all over the country. We stood on the bluffs looking out to sea as they searched for the four men who were on the aircraft that day. It quickly turned from a rescue to a recovery effort.

Alton and Pat Manzer, the writer's parents.

Alton and Pat Manzer, the writer’s parents. Click image for more family photos.

Nearly a week after the crash, they found part of the leg of a man. It was in a boot. The Santa Barbara television stations broadcast that before any of the families had been told anything about it. My mother saw that broadcast and fainted.

The next day they recovered the rest of the body of my father. That was followed by his funeral at Newhall Presbyterian Church, and he was laid to rest in Eternal Valley.

My mother and I returned to the SCV and lived in Saugus. Her cancer had indeed returned, and she died nine months after my father. She, too, is buried in Eternal Valley next to the man she loved, her high school sweetheart.

This past weekend, two men were killed in another tragic and horrific accident. Movie star Paul Walker and his friend Roger Rodas. They were speeding in a car, and the impact was so hard that the car burst into flames.

There were immediate pictures of blood stains and burn marks. Flowers and candles started to appear at the crash site. Fans turned out to see the site of the crash.

Two families mourn. They may not have known about the deaths before we in the public knew. It was all over the broadcast news and shortly afterward in print, too. I would think it is all over the Internet and soon the magazines you see in the local supermarket checkout lines.

Some dignity those men were not allowed. Same for the folks they’ve left behind. Not a very dignified way to broadcast the news. I look at it the same way as when we first heard, “A portion of a man’s leg was found still inside his boot…” Same tragic consequences for the uninformed families as what happened at that weekend crash.

Maybe I’d just like to see something more dignified as a life ends. The ghoulish news reports and pictures. We had the right to know and see even before those closest to the dead knew? We got to see the graphic details and pictures. We got to lay flowers and candles and stuffed animals at the scene of the accident.

Walker-Rodas crash scene.

Walker-Rodas crash scene.

Maybe all of that money spent on those items could have been spent on a child who might not otherwise get a gift for Christmas. Maybe something could have been done with a lot more dignity.

Maybe people are really shocked at how they died. I’m not. They had a fast car and liked to go fast. Two lives lost because they were being, frankly speaking, just a little stupid. No matter how famous and how many movies you’ve been in, stupid usually trumps common sense.

There was and is no outpouring of public grief when four men who had no fame or fortune died in the waters off of Carpinteria in 1966. Or the hundreds who have been killed on the Ridge Route, old Highway 99 and Interstate 5 in the last 100 years. They at least had a more dignified memory. Most had families were notified before the public knew. Flowers and candles and teddy bears don’t cover the sites of those accidents.

I guess that is the price of fame. It is a price I am not willing to pay. I want my dignity and that of my family maintained.

Sometimes I’m really shocked at how some actor or celebrity gains final fame by being stupid, crazy, drunk or on other drugs. For that, we forgive them and use them as examples of folks we should emulate. Look at James Dean, for example. And now Paul Walker. You know we’ll remember that name.

Will we remember the names of those killed in that helicopter in 1966? I only remember one, Alton Manzer, my father. None of the four got flowers on the beach or anything like that. They were just doing their job.

Somehow we still remember James Dean, and I’m sure the same will be true of Paul Walker. Long remembered for being in a fast car at the wrong time and place. Will someone tell me why?

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 Tuesdays and 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.

3 Comments

  1. jack murphy says:

    that was absolutely terrific! One of the best reads I have had in a while D!

  2. Dennis O' says:

    Great read, Darryl. I still have a lot to learn – about YOU! No one speculates that these guys could just as easily have hit a station wagon full of kids going the other way instead of a tree because someone so famous would never do anything that callous, eh? The N.Y. train crash also illustrates the fact that mechanical systems, cars, trains, planes and submarines, have to obey certain physical limitations or disaster follows. Going 80MPH into a curve designed for 30MPH (with a possible safety factor of 2) equals death & destruction every time. No one has yet considered that these guys had to be flying, in a residential area, to accomplish the complete annihilation of the Porsche and the fact that their bodies were too badly mangled to identify at first. “You can’t fix stupid.”

  3. Me Jayne says:

    Mr. Walker was a passenger and not responsible ultimately for the tragedy. That being said, they were young, lacking in common sense, and in a neighborhood full of families commuting to and from activities. I am thankful they didn’t kill anyone else. However, I do mourn their loss, as the loss of one diminishes us all. Darryl, your father was a hero supporting his family. The men in that car were merely famous.

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