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1853 - Sarah Gifford, community leader and wife of Newhall's first railroad station agent, born in England [story]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Wednesday, Dec 31, 2014

darrylmanzer_blacktieUp until last June I was writing a weekly column. Somehow I got talked into doing a daily one. Now I have to come up with something each day.

Some days I didn’t write. Travel, tired, sick, sick and tired, busy, mindless – those are some of the reasons I missed some days. But for the most part, I keep writing this stuff. I’m gratified that some folks find time to read it.

I’ve done a little roundup of the subjects I’ve covered this past year.

Started with my return from the cold and snow in Kentucky. As I pulled into my last stop and set up camp and the RV, I was so very grateful for the warm sun. A week later, I had been to Pico Canyon and Mentryville. Always a good subject.

I wrote about the restaurants in our town and how we are overrun with all manner of chains. We would do well to have a Cracker Barrel and a Sonic.

Maybe put the Sonic in the roundabout in Newhall? I sure wrote about that little item a bit. Also enjoyed some writing about the drought. I still think showering with a friend is a great idea.

A short tome about the talented students at Hart and the Hart District, living in an RV full time, Vibe Performing Arts Studios, seatbelts for dogs, and rain when we shouldn’t have had any rain at all.

Slowly the “billboard issue” started. That one took a lot of space in many of my next commentaries. Some more rain-at-the-wrong-time stuff, and then my life took another turn.

In early April last I was asked by my ex-wife to go back to Kentucky and be with her as she was slowly being killed by brain cancer. We resolved our differences, and that is when she told me we would meet again “without tears and without regret.”

She died holding my hand on Mother’s Day. The funeral was a great time for the whole family to heal, and I once again got on a plane back to California.

I was flying the last leg, and as the plane went lower toward Burbank, I looked out at the SCV. I had a thought then that was the next column, “Boring Shades of Dirt.” That is about the only way I can describe the colors required in a neighborhood governed by a homeowners association gone mad.

Soon I was penning words about the St. Francis Dam, more billboards and red light cameras, then a little thing about applause at City Council meetings, the election in June, and “come-heres” to the SCV. (They bug us natives.)

The drought, and more water-saving ideas. The No. 1 idea about saving water for me is still sharing the shower with a friend.

The blues music started at the Hilton in the summer. Love that. Lots of cell phone problems, followed by a little tirade about Chiquita Canyon Landfill.

There was some stuff about the proposed St. Francis Dam Memorial and the new San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

How about the road through Pico Canyon to the 126? Remember that one? Followed shortly by my memories of 9/11. November brought another election, a little piece thanking “Take the Buck” for his years of service and Cemex.

Did you notice we still have Cemex? I’m still sure Howard P. “Take the Buck” McKeon knew it wouldn’t clear the Senate. Just glad he is gone.

Last night brought a little snow in the air after I rushed around looking for some things I need for a New Year’s Eve celebration.

Yesterday was about SCV History, and now it is the last day of the year.

That was my year. All in all, it was a year in which I would have appreciated some different outcomes. I would love to have seen two people I loved win the fight against cancer, but that was not to be. They are free from pain, and I’m sure they’re watching our efforts with some pretty good grins. You see, God has better plans, but all those in Heaven get a good laugh when we follow our plans and not God’s.

Where to from here? So much to write about in the next year, and I’ll do my best to give each of you a daily topic that you might love and might hate. Whatever it is, I’m loving the writing. To know that it might make some smile or shed a few tears, yell, scream, write a nasty comment in reply, or print it out on your printer just to have some birdcage liner makes my day, every day.

So thank you, my friends. This is fun, but it is work. And I must remind you again of this: Sometimes I write just to stir the pot. Getting all y’all to think and take action on some issue in our valley. If that causes some change for the better in the SCV, my work will be rewarding for me, and maybe for some others.

Happy New Year.

 

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, where he serves as executive director of the SCV Historical Society. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com. His older commentaries are archived at DManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

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1 Comment

  1. RuthAnne Murthy says:

    Thank you, Darryl!

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