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September 25
1970 - Lagasse family helps save Mentryville buildings as Newhall and Malibu brush fires erupt & join into worst fire in SoCal history. Twelve fires over 10 days burn 525,000 acres, kill 13 people and destroy approx. 1,500 structures. [story]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Dec 15, 2013
Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

Here I am in Las Vegas, waiting on the next leg of my journey to Kentucky for Christmas. It is a little more than over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house. About 2,000 miles more. A few more rivers and woods and … nope, no big, bad wolf. Wrong tale.

While sitting here, I had a most enjoyable meal with an old friend from my other high school, Carpinteria High School. Barbecue worthy of anything in Kentucky. Even on a par with the restaurant that was in Saugus at one time, called, amazingly, The Rib. It was fantastic.

Today the building is still there. It is a nursery on the corner of Bouquet and Magic Mountain, just north of the Saugus Café.

Anyway, you’d walk into the place and be overwhelmed by the aroma of barbecue cooking. Succulent baby-back ribs, and then there was the salad dressing … for those who remember, you can’t ever find better.

It is those kinds of places that make our little part of California unique. Take a short drive to Carpinteria and drive down Linden Avenue. Just after you cross the railroad tracks there is an institution called The Spot, right on the corner of Linden and Dorrance Way. It has to have some of the best and least expensive burgers in California.

Maybe the ribs and the burgers were so good because the sun and surf and whatever we had made us so hungry. It was always a special treat to go to either of them.

What was so great about the two places? The Rib was at the east end of Highway 126, which was the way to the beach. The beach was the goal of each and every person who lived in our little valleym now called the SCV. Hot, dry and dusty, we could escape down a somewhat dangerous two-lane road that went through fields and groves to Ventura.

Some of us stopped at Ventura. We really loved to go to Carpinteria. It had “The World’s Safest Beach.” There was even a sign to tell you so.

The sign is gone today, but an artist has recreated it on the side of a building on Linden Avenue.

As much as we liked the beach in that little town, it was a sometimes a bitter rival in football. As the teams battled on the field, there were also battles in the stands. Hart cheering louder, followed by Carp doing it even louder, and…

In 1966 my folks and I moved to Carpinteria, and I went from a huge marching band to one of maybe 14 kids. I had to play tenor sax and switch to clarinet. After a band of well over 100 members, the Carp band was a bit underwhelming. Of course, when I enrolled at Carp, I think they said I was the 476th student in the school. At Hart there were nearly that many in my class of 1968 alone.

In later years, I’ve learned that the rivalry existed even before the first Europeans arrived. We know the Chumash didn’t get along with the Tataviam. Sometimes nothing changes.

It is funny that both Hart and Carpinteria high schools are called Indians or warriors or braves. So maybe the battle did continue. Did you know the Chumash are the only native people who built watercraft in what we know as a European manner of plank on frame? Modern wooden boats are still built that way. To seal the seams, the Chumash used the natural oil seeps found at the cliffs in Carpinteria that we called “tar pits.”

It is a good surfing spot. You can look it up in Surfing magazine or ask Jason down at the Surf Shop in Old Town Newhall on Main Street. Another Carp connection, huh?

So I’m headed east, away from my Pacific Ocean, away from my favorite part of my favorite state (and it isn’t confusion). But I’ll be back.

There is some good news. I get to be with my grandkids. That is even better than The Rib and The Spot and The World’s Safest Beach.

Merry Christmas one and all!

 

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].

 

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1 Comment

  1. Evelyne Vandersande says:

    Have a good trip and a Merry Christmas.
    Thanks for all your stories.

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