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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly clear
Mostly clear
47°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
January 21
1914 - Signal newspaper owner-editor Scott Newhall born in San Francisco [story]
Scott Newhall


| Sunday, Dec 23, 2012
Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

Christmas is almost upon us and I’m loving the music, decorations and good spirits all around. Yes, this is a Merry Christmas. Memories abound.

The first few years we lived in Pico Cottage in Mentryville, the lights on the Christmas tree were a big issue. You see, we had to have the generator on to have the lights, and that meant noise. Not a joyful noise. So we often just had a decorated tree bathed in the gaslights glow.

There was some garland on the stair railing and some special decorations on the mantle in the dining room. Candles and such. We would sing carols around the piano with my dad on guitar. (If he played his banjo, my mother would walk out of the house until he stopped.)

Our family tradition was to open gifts on Christmas Eve at my grandmother’s home in Sylmar.  So after chores were completed and the stock was fed, we would load up and drive down Highway 99 to her house.

The writer's parents, Pat and Alton Manzer.

The writer’s parents, Pat and Alton Manzer.

Before we had oyster stew that my grandmother insisted we eat, we would drive to see the lights in various neighborhoods. I was always amazed by those lights. In Pico Canyon we didn’t have enough generating power to light all of the lights on one house. I’ve always wondered what Pico Cottage would look like all decorated like those homes we saw.

In downtown Newhall there were decorations across San Fernando Road and the light poles. All of the stores had the windows painted in holiday scenes. There were also a few places where an adult beverage was offered to folks coming into the store.

Shopping? We didn’t always have to drive to that valley just south of the SCV.  Just to list a few from 1967: Dean’s Hobbland, Newhall Shoe Store, Country Girl Fashions, Newhall Jewelers, Baxter’s Knitting Nook, Newhall Auto Parts, Newhall Hardware, Cassell’s Television and Appliances, Losier’s Men’s Store and Mode O’Day.  Yep, you could buy just about anything right here in the SCV, in downtown Newhall.

There was no mall. It was still a carrot field. Or maybe onions, or hay or who knows. I do know we had roast duck one holiday season. Hunted them on a pond located just about where Santa Clarita City Hall sits today.

At William S. Hart Junior and Senior High School, the choir got to sing all of the Christmas songs – even those that had religious themes. Now we have to think Christmas came from some guy named Santa Claus, or some store in some mall in some city.  “Silent Night” is a beautiful song. We have to ban it from schools since it may fall on non-Christian ears.

Christmas decorations over San Fernando Road (Main Street) in Old Newhall, early 1960s. Click to enlarge & see more.

Christmas decorations over San Fernando Road (Main Street) in Old Newhall, early 1960s. Click to enlarge & see more.

At the high school – in 1967-68 there was only one – football was over by Christmas vacation and basketball was starting after the break. We usually had two weeks of vacation. We needed it.

Classes started at 8:30 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m. If you were in sports or stage band, your school day started an hour earlier. And then there was practice after school. Yes, we needed Christmas vacation. So did the teachers.

We had some Christmas parties at Pico Cottage, and I have a few pictures. Short sleeve shirts on Dec. 20. Must have been a warm day.

What did we do at those parties? Danced to some records. Sang some carols. Walked hand-in-hand with a “steady” up as far as the schoolhouse and back. Dimmed the gaslights in the living room and dining room and necked a little.

Sounds pretty boring to you, doesn’t it?  Not to us. We always had a blast. Even the Christmas Eve we put dish soap in a fountain. Soap bubbled across four lanes of traffic. It was great. What that had to do with Christmas, I’ve never figured out. But it just seemed like the natural thing to do at the time.

That was really clean fun. Nothing harmed. I think we went to the A&W after that, and then cruised San Fernando Road all the way to the Hi-Chic and back.

Wish I had the ’66 El Camino now. (It would make a great present to me, if you’d like.)

I hope all of you have memories as wonderful in your past. May you all be blessed this Christmas and through the whole new year. Make some memories this season. It’s easy to do when you’re in the best valley and the best part of the best state.

Merry Christmas!

 

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 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.

No Comments

    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
    Monday, Jan 20, 2020
    Did you sign up for a Medicare Advantage health plan last year only to find that it doesn’t meet your needs? Not to worry.You still have time to switch to another Medicare Advantage plan, or return to Original Medicare.
    Friday, Jan 10, 2020
    If you are a spouse or you know a veteran in need, please refer them to Blue Star Ranch, Serving Our Nation’s Veterans with Equine Assisted Therapy.
    Friday, Jan 3, 2020
    Tejon Ranch now forbids you on their conservation property if you belong to any one of several environmental organizations.
    Friday, Jan 3, 2020
    In his first monthly message of the new year, Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin describes a new sense of community in the wake of 2019.
    Monday, Dec 16, 2019
    Each year, Medicare premiums, deductibles, and copayment rates are adjusted according to the Social Security Act. For 2020, the Medicare Part B monthly premiums and the annual deductible are higher than the 2019 amounts.
    Tuesday, Dec 3, 2019
    The city of Santa Clarita continues to be a forward-thinking city, providing residents with the resources and amenities that make Santa Clarita a great place to raise our families.

    Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
    Castaic Union School District, in partnership with the Castaic Elementary School Parent Teacher Association, will be hosting a “Be Kind to Your Community” event at Castaic Lake (lower lake), Saturday, Jan. 25, and the entire community is invited.
    Jan. 25: Team Up to Clean Up Castaic Lake
    Arson investigators have said the Tick Fire is not currently considered part of a criminal investigation.
    Tick Fire Not Part of Criminal Investigation
    Residents and visitors rely on Santa Clarita Transit to get where they need to go, and riders will soon be able to expand their transit opportunities, thanks to the new bus transfer station at the Vista Canyon development located south of the 14 Freeway.
    Jan. 27: Vista Canyon Bus Transfer Center Groundbreaking
    The Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees will hold a Business Meeting Wednesday, Jan 22, starting with a closed session at 3:30 p.m. and followed by an open session at 5:00 p.m.
    Jan. 22: Santa Clarita Community College District Business Meeting
    A woman and a man were both arrested on Sunday on charges related to an attempted murder investigation.
    Canyon Country Woman,  Newhall Man Arrested on Attempted Murder Charges
    The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday the creation of a new NonProfit Council designed specifically for local 501c(3) nonprofits who are members of the Chamber to keep our local non-profits on the forefront in charitable giving, advocacy and regulations.
    SCV Chamber Announces Launch of Nonprofit Council
    LOS ANGELES – The second annual Los Angeles Kings Festival – in which Kings Season Ticket members and fans can meet the entire Kings team – will be held on Thursday, Feb. 27, at Staples Center.
    Feb. 27: LA Kings Festival
    A multivehicle traffic collision on Highway 14 resulted in all southbound lanes closed for more than two hours Monday night.
    Multi-vehicle Collision Prompts Closure of State Route 14
    Back in the 1960s, there weren’t any special education programs in the Santa Clarita Valley.
    Hansen Family Continues Making Impact with SCV’s Special Needs Community
    Castaic Union School District is excited to announce that online Kindergarten enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year is now open.
    Castaic Union Kindergarten Enrollment Now Open
    1914 - Signal newspaper owner-editor Scott Newhall born in San Francisco [story]
    Scott Newhall
    The William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board unanimously voted to recognize the week of Feb. 3-7 as National School Counseling Week across the district during Wednesday night’s board meeting.
    Hart District: 1st Week of Feb. is ‘School Counseling Week’
    Did you sign up for a Medicare Advantage health plan last year only to find that it doesn’t meet your needs? Not to worry.You still have time to switch to another Medicare Advantage plan, or return to Original Medicare.
    Medicare: Not Too Late to Change Plans | Commentary by Cate Kortzeborn
    The Santa Clarita Valley Chinese School hosted its annual Chinese New Year celebration with food, games and crafts at the Old Town Newhall Library on Saturday afternoon.
    SCV Chinese School Celebrates Year of the Rat
    The Santa Clarita Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Commission will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 10:30 a.m.
    Jan. 21: Parks, Recreation & Community Services Commission Special Meeting
    Valencia, California-based Princess Cruises is part of Carnival Australia which has pledged $1.9 million in total to various bushfire relief efforts in Australia.
    Carnival Australia Pledges $1.9M to Bushfire Relief
    The Hart High School Baseball Program will host its annual Alumni Game and 2020 Hart Baseball Team Preview at the Hart baseball field in Newhall on Sunday, January 26, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Jan. 26: Hart High Baseball Alumni Game, Team Preview
    The Santa Clarita Valley Man & Woman of the Year Committee has set Friday, Jan. 31, at 5 p.m. as the deadline for nominations to the community's premier volunteer recognition event.
    Jan. 31: Deadline for 2020 Man & Woman of the Year Nominations
    The man who died after being found unresponsive at his home in Saugus on Saturday has been identified as Daniel Brett Bennett, according to Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office officials.
    Coroner ID’s Saugus Death as Daniel Bennett, Former Rep. Hill’s Brother
    A 37-year-old man whose legal name is Sexy Vegan has entered a no-contest plea in connection to a video he posted with a dog, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.
    Sexy Vegan Pleads No Contest for Video With Dog
    Former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Angel Reinosa has been charged with falsely reporting that he had been shot by a sniper while in the parking lot of the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station on August 21, 2019, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
    Angel Reinosa, Ex-Lancaster Deputy, Charged in Bogus Shooting
    1993 - Hart High grad Dee Dee Myers (1979) becomes first female White House press secretary [story]
    Dee Dee Myers
    1967 - Original airing of Star Trek "Arena" Episode: Kirk battles the Gorn commander (Saugus resident Bobby Clark) at Vasquez Rocks [watch]
    Kirk vs. Gorn commander
    %d bloggers like this: