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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly clear
Mostly clear
63°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
June 19
1946 - Community leader Bobbie (Nash) Trueblood arrives in Newhall [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
Friday, Jun 14, 2019
Medicare doesn’t cover "free" genetic tests or cancer screenings unless a doctor who’s treating you orders them and they’re medically necessary.
Friday, Jun 7, 2019
In her Friday, June 7 "Keeping Up with Kathryn" newsletter, Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger addresses the recent spike in the county's homeless population and calls for additional public and mental health outreach.
Thursday, Jun 6, 2019
There are reports of attorneys losing tens of millions of dollars to flimflam artists. Here is what happened when they tried it on me.
Tuesday, Jun 4, 2019
Our City has long been celebrated for its high quality of life. Santa Clarita boasts top notch schools, miles of off street trails, 34 parks, well-maintained infrastructure and amenities and activities for residents of any age.
Monday, Jun 3, 2019
Summer means hot temperatures, splashing in the pool and hopefully a vacation, and at our Santa Clarita Public Library, it also means the popular Summer Reading Program is back.
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Since Medicare pays for a significant amount of prescription opioids, we strive to ensure appropriate stewardship of these medications that can provide a medical benefit but also pose risks.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1946 - Community leader Bobbie (Nash) Trueblood arrives in Newhall [story]
Stay Green Inc., a Southern California-based landscape industry leader, has once again been named to Lawn and Landscape Magazine's list of the Top 100 landscaping companies in North America.
Local Landscape Firm Named Among Nation’s Top 100
SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom issued an apology Tuesday through executive order on behalf of California to California Native American Peoples for the many instances of violence, mistreatment and neglect inflicted upon California Native Americans throughout the state’s history.
Newsom Issues Apology for State’s Wrongdoings to Native Americans
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a proposal Tuesday by Board Chair Janice Hahn to explore master leasing agreements with motels across the County in order to use rooms as interim housing for chronically homeless individuals.
County to Explore Motel Leasing Agreements as Interim Housing for Homeless
LOS ANGELES (CN) – A report released Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union blasted Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, finding she has only secured death penalty convictions against people of color since taking office in 2012.
ACLU Blasts Lacey Over Continued Pursuit of Death Penalty Despite Moratorium
While you’re starting to make your plans for Independence Day, don’t forget the Santa Clarita Valley Fourth of July Parade.
June 22: Deadline to Join SCV Fourth of July Parade
The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck is rolling back into Valencia this Saturday, June 22, from 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
June 22: Hello Kitty Cafe Truck at Westfield Town Center
The following events are scheduled for the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce:
POP-Up Biz Expo, Patriots Luncheon, Empowering Women’s Lunch Coming Up at SCV Chamber
According to a recent report by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), homelessness in LA County has climbed 12 percent over the past year, in a dramatic reversal from a four percent decline the previous year. Homelessness has been a persistent issue in California, stymied by the lack of a comprehensive system-wide solution and resources.
CalArtian Easing LA’s Homeless Crisis One Bag at a Time
Recently, the Probation Reform and Implementation Team (PRIT) released comprehensive recommendations outlining its proposed authority and structure for the civilian Probation Oversight Commission (POC) for Los Angeles County’s Probation Department, the largest in the U.S. The proposal includes a call for subpoena power, authority to investigate complaints, and empowering former Probationers as community liaisons to serve as the County’s “eyes and ears.”
County Releases Recommendations for Civilian Oversight Commission
The Santa Clarita Public Library is looking for a fun and friendly team of volunteers to help out during the Summer Reading Program, taking place now through July 27 at all Santa Clarita Public Library branches.
Volunteers Needed for Santa Clarita Library’s Summer Reading Program
This weekend, The Power Plant, a leading contemporary visual art gallery in Toronto, Canada, opens If you end up with the story you started with, then you're not listening along the way, by artist Mario Pfeifer (Film/Video 09).
CalArts Grad Opens New Solo Show in Toronto
The San Fernando Valley Council of Governments Transportation Committee, whose members include Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean, will hold a meeting Thursday, June 20, at 1:30 p.m.
June 20: SFV Council of Governments Transportation Committee Meeting
The Master's University women's soccer team has signed Alexis Mendoza, a technically-sound midfielder who head coach Curtis Lewis described as "calm on the ball."
SoCal Midfielder Alexis Mendoza Signs with TMU
Officials working on the construction of Castaic High School believe they’ll be able to meet the deadline to open the school, just days after it was revealed the school site was without gas piping and hookups weeks before opening.
Officials Now Believe Castaic High Will Meet Deadline After County Expedites Permits
With the onset of summer temperatures, Crime Prevention Unit deputies parked the patrol cars and took to foot patrol, checking the welfare of homeless individuals on Monday.
Crime Prevention Deputies Check In on Welfare of Homeless Individuals
The Canyon Country Advisory Committee (CCAC) meeting will be held Wednesday, June 19, from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
June 19: Canyon Country Advisory Committee Meeting
1925 - Newhall lawman Jack Pilcher buried; funeral expenses paid by local Ku Klux Klan [story]
Jack Pilcher
The Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival is back, and continuing an expanded season with Summer Theatre Festival 2019 events through August.
Shakespeare Festival Sets 2019 Summer Theatre Events
In her latest "Director's Blog" entry, Los Angeles County Animal Care & Control Director Marcia Mayeda offers information about pet aging and tips senior pet care.
County Animal Care Director Offers Tips for Senior Pet Care
Fourth of July 2019 is only a few weeks away and, as you begin to make plans to celebrate, do not forget about all the fun activities that are happening throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
Top 10 Tips to Make this a Great Fourth of July in SCV
The Public Outreach and Legislation Committee of SCV Water is scheduled to meet next on Thursday, June 20, at 5:30 p.m.
June 20: SCV Water Public Outreach, Legislation Committee Meeting
The nonprofit Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging will host its annual assembly at the new Bella Vida senior center in Canyon Country on Thursday, June 20, starting at 5 p.m.
June 20: Annual Assembly at Bella Vida Senior Center
Two people were airlifted to the hospital Monday afternoon after being plucked from a ravine where their box truck plunged into the dry creek bed near Agua Dulce.
Two Airlifted from Crash After Truck Plunges into Ravine
%d bloggers like this: