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Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
May 8
1875 - John F. Powell, an Irish immigrant, becomes Justice of the Peace [story]
John F. Powell

Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Darryl ManzerSo many people have moved here from the San Fernando Valley, I sometimes wonder if anyone is left there. I am also worried that our Santa Clarita Valley could become a carbon copy.

No, the SCV will never be like the SFV – or the AV. As you drive from any of those other places and crest the hills that surround our valley, a calm feeling of “back home” envelops everyone in the vehicle. You can get that feeling even if you don’t live here in the SCV.

We are a collection of “been heres”, “come heres” and “visit heres.” I’m a member of the first group, a “been here.” There aren’t too many of us original “been here” folks. To be an original, you have to have been born and raised in our valley prior to Valencia. The “new been here folks” can claim native status, too, but they don’t know of a time when there was only one high school, junior high and five elementary schools – unless they read my columns and articles or SCVHistory.com.

I was getting gas and coffee at the 7-Eleven near Valencia High School not long ago, and the “cheer squad” from that school was having a car wash to raise funds. The Jeep needed a wash. It had been months. In fact, my black Jeep was really looking light brown from the dust and mud.

I asked the young lady what they were charging and found the price acceptable, but I had another question. “I’m a graduate of Hart High School, so does that mean I’ll get the same quality of service you would give to a Valencia graduate?”

She replied in a most reasonable manner, “Of course. We’re better, so we will give you the best car wash in the whole valley.”

I asked another question: “How does it make you feel when you go to a game in a bus that says ‘William S. Hart High School’ on the side?”

She took my money and in the course of washing my Jeep, I was sprayed from the hose only five or six times.

You see, even William S. Hart was a “come here.” My two older sisters are “come heres,” but I’ve got two nieces and a nephew who are in the “new been here” category.

Some of us remember that when California Institute of the Arts started, many local folks voiced strong disagreement with it locating here. We were going to be overrun with “draft-dodging hippies, dope-smoking idiots, and all them arts-type folks who could damage the kids at Hart High.” They were protesting a different – and many said “strange” – kind of “come here.”

Now we find that those “strange come here” types made films like “Toy Story” and “Bugs Life” and “Finding Nemo.” Even the former naysayers are proud of them now. Sort of like saying, “Yeah, they’re strange, but they’re a good strange.” They are our “strange come here” folks.

Many of them came here and stayed here and now have kids who are part of the “new been here” generation. And there is something remarkable happening. Unlike the kids who were here prior to Valencia, most of them want to stay here. It is a great place to live, and there is a lot to do, plus the drive to the beach, Disneyland, Universal Studios, Knott’s Berry Farm and Las Vegas isn’t that bad.

The first Monday of every month, a group of us Hart High School graduates gather at Cathy’s Deli on the corner of Lyons and Wayman for breakfast. The place is getting packed most times. Why we have folks from Thousand Oaks and Sylmar and Palmdale and Lancaster and Carpinteria and Acton and Washington and Arizona and Nevada and Texas and all over. Folks like me who got out of the SCV because it had to be better “out there.” Plus, unless you wanted work that was low-paying and had no advancement, you left town.

I wish that when I saw the Navy recruiter in San Fernando, someone would have explained to me that joining the Navy to “see the world” meant you got to see a lot of the world. Really. More than 70 percent is covered with water. When the time came to retire and I wanted to return, I figured there was some place in the SCV for me. Some place far enough from the sea that if I had an oar over my shoulder, someone would ask what it was.

So now I’m a “returning been here.” Lots of the people who meet monthly at Cathy’s Deli are also in that category. Some never want to return and have become another category called “visit heres.”

The “visit here” folks aren’t people who stop to see the sights and stay in the local hotels and motels. Those are “visitors.” The “visit here” people are usually folks who lived here and left, but return to see family and friends. Large difference.

We can’t quite describe the feeling we get when we return for good or for a short time. I remember my first reaction when trying to find my way through Valencia…

“Even the damned GPS is wrong, and I’ve no idea where I am.”

Along with: “What is Seco Canyon Road?”

At least I found San Fernando Road – the name I remember it being.

It’s pretty sad when one gets lost in one’s hometown.

Well, I can always blame it on my age.


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. I’m just sayin’, having this guys face on every post you make that he writes is really weird. How about making the picture more relevant to subject matter? He wrote one of chain restaurants a while back, having a picture of food would have been helpful for that one.

  2. Greg Brown Greg Brown says:

    Maybe not such a zoom lens used either. I got it; how about a full size pic of him pointing at the subject matter, or just pointing? No offense intended.

  3. I take offense. All the writers have a picture here.

  4. Greg Brown Greg Brown says:

    I do not understand your reply on my post. Please explain further. You can PM me. And again, I meant no harm. My apologies.

  5. I think he is saying, “what do you want? Want to see a picture of the horrible death my wife just died?” That makes sense to me. All critics of a photo of a person you don’t know, were you bullies like that in school? Because those remarks are just plain rude.

  6. Jayne says:

    I think he is saying, “what do you want? Want to see a picture of the horrible death my wife just died?” That makes sense to me. All critics of a photo of a person you don’t know, were you bullies like that in school? Because those remarks are just plain rude.

  7. Bob Becker Bob Becker says:

    He’s a writer. Read it. Complaining about his photo is moronic.

  8. Darryl ..Jayne is my friend …I can’t begin to tell you how much I have enjoyed your interesting stories and comments. You really are a funnel of knowledge..Not to mention a kind hearted man with a good soul .

  9. Greg Brown Greg Brown says:

    Jayne, those suggestions are not rude in any way. No one said he was ugly or made any derogatory comments. Why are you so judgmental and hostile?
    My condolences to him for the loss of his love. My she rest in peace.

  10. interesting conversation .. didn’t know there were people who’ve never heard of a column mug

  11. Most columnists have a picture and most of them never change that picture for years. Darryl writes a great column.

  12. old granny says:

    What the heck !
    Keep the photo – ignore the rest.

  13. Greg, I am responding to Jesse, as he has made more than one derogatory comment about Mr. Manzer, if I remember correctly, he has a problem with Mr. Manzer’s teeth. That is childish bullying.

  14. Jeanette White says:

    I find him a knock-out in person. So there.

  15. Nanette Lagasse Gaither says:

    Some people hide behind their computers and think it’s okay to insult other people over the stupidest things like a mug picture on a column instead of what the columnist has written. Some people who have commented on Darryl Manzer’s columns lately have been ridiculous in their unnecessary nastiness. They can’t fault him on the content of his writings so they stoop lower than a SCV rattlesnake and take the time when his ex-wife is dying to attack him unfairly on a personal level one after another. Seemingly, they get a kick out of being bullies so that says a lot about the kind of people they are. I’m sorry to say that they live in the same area I callmy husband and my beloved hometown. Too bad they found their way to SCV. In the “old days” when we were growing up, people in the SCV were mainly really nice people who wouldn’t have dreamed of doing that to a SCV neighbor. Darryl, we heard that Kathie died via the Hart High grapevine. We’ve been following your stories and knew you were back there with her. Gordon and I really liked Kathie and enjoyed meeting her and getting to know her. She was a really nice person. Our sincere condolences to you, your sons and their families. I agree with Belva’s post (above). Some people have too much time on their hands.

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