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1876 - California oil industry born as CSO No. 4 in Pico Canyon becomes state's first commercially productive oil well [story]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Tuesday, Mar 4, 2014

darrylmanzer021014It has been an exciting week here in the SCV. Election signs are up, and in a little over a month the election will be upon us. City Council may change a little. Later, we will get a new face in Congress.

So at the monthly breakfast meeting of the Hart High Friends yesterday, we managed to solve all of the problems in the world and a few in our old home town. We also had some new faces with us … well, not new; just a few many of us hadn’t seen in years.

As a group, we are mostly Hart alumni from the ‘50s and ‘60s. This time, sitting at a table off to the side, there were some 2012 Hart grads. Did we look that young a couple of years after graduation?

Most of us at the table knew of only one high school in the whole SCV. It was a small school compared to those in the lesser valley to the south, and everyone knew everyone. It was, at the time, a small-town high school. We were also isolated up here in “the sticks” or “Hicksville.”

We had the usual small talk about favorite teachers and coaches and those who weren’t so favorite. I suggested we sing the alma mater, but not everyone could remember the words. We all knew the lyrics were written by Mr. Sims.

Friends from two decades of Hart High students. Long ago we decided we were all seniors now, so seating at the table didn’t evolve into a “Junior lawn” (between the administration building and the auditorium) or a “Senior Quad” (where the collection of pipes in the form of a lodge or teepee sits). No, we sit near old friends or new ones. It doesn’t matter. We are all proud Hart High Indians.

Our topics of conversation have changed. Our politics have moved a little more to the right as a whole, and many of us guys would really like to see our belt buckles, when we are wearing them. We complain of stiff joints and loud grandchildren. (Love those grands.) Smart phones get passed around with pictures of those grands and kids and dogs and wives and ex-wives and places we’ve been, too. Thousands of pictures. Each of us beams the biggest grin as we show off our kids and grandkids.

Each month the server takes our picture, only this time she had to take four or five to get us all. We had a very large turnout.

The folks at Cathy’s Deli at the corner of Lyons and Wayman got our coffee or tea and took our orders. Good food and good company. We need little more. Back in the day, we had few places for a breakfast meeting. Maybe the Saugus Café.

Last week I also learned how much I love our California freeways. Taking the 14 to the 5 to the 405 and west on the 101 … made that trip a few times before I graduated, and now I’m doing it again. This time I had family visiting and staying with my ex-father-in-law in Woodland Hills. Happy times to see them, including my former wife.

This week it is more trips to the same place as I get to be a cab driver for the ex-father-in-law. He has a number of medical appointments and can no longer drive.

So now there are two in the family who cannot drive. My former wife and her father. She flew back to Kentucky yesterday, along with our daughter-in-law and grandson. It was snowing there the last time I checked the weather reports. They must be really cold about now.

It was a good visit with the family and with old friends, too. At the monthly breakfast we always talk about those we would love to have breakfast with, but have already passed to the world beyond the horizon. We’ll have to wait to see them.

The same with my former spouse. Her health is declining quickly. As I took the bags out of the trunk and placed them on the curb at LAX, my eyes were filled with tears. I realized I may never do that for her again.

But she said something that gave me hope and increased my faith. She said she loves me and always will. She said the next time we meet, it will be without tears and regret. We hugged and I watched her roll away in the wheelchair with our grandson at her side.

Yes, we will all meet again without tears and regret. That is my faith.

But getting there hurts so damned much.

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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