header image

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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
58°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 24
1992 - Dedication of Santa Clarita's first Metrolink station (Santa Clarita Station) [brochure]
brochure


| 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
    Friday, Oct 2, 2020
    In his monthly message for October 2020, Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin spotlights results of the city's 2020 public opinion survey about the quality of life in our community.
    Thursday, Oct 1, 2020
    As with everything in 2020, this year’s State of the City event will be different than years past. We are looking on the bright side, embracing the necessary changes for safety’s sake and rejoicing in the fact that this year’s event is truly inclusive of the entire Santa Clarita community.
    Saturday, Sep 19, 2020
    Assembly Bill 1457, authored by Assembly Members Cervantes and Reyes, and supported by Santa Clarita’s Senator Scott Wilk, Assemblyman Tom Lackey and Assemblywoman Christy Smith, represents an important step forward in jumpstarting California’s economic recovery.
    Wednesday, Sep 2, 2020
    In his monthly message for September 2020, Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin spotlights how the Santa Clarita Public Library branches are helping students and families get back to school.
    Tuesday, Sep 1, 2020
    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to drag on, many of us are spending more time at home. This means more eating at home, more projects at home, more cleaning at home and all of that equals more trash at home.
    Thursday, Aug 6, 2020
    College of the Canyons is widely recognized as a leader in the innovative development of distance and online education, as well as zero cost textbooks for our students.

    Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
    1992 - Dedication of Santa Clarita's first Metrolink station (Santa Clarita Station) [brochure]
    brochure
    The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Friday confirmed 23 new deaths and 2,773 new positive cases of COVID-19, including 56 new cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
    Friday COVID-19 Roundup: 296,821 L.A. County Cases, 7,000 in SCV
    California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday announced a major injection of new Homekey funding made possible by the Legislature to expand and support the state program, helping thousands of families experiencing or at risk of homelessness find permanent, long-term housing solutions.
    Sixth Round of ‘Homekey’ Funding Includes $24M for L.A. County
    The Santa Clarita City Council has posted its agenda for a regular meeting in Council Chambers at City Hall on Tuesday, October 27.
    Oct. 27 Meeting Agenda: Santa Clarita City Council
    The city of Santa Clarita has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.
    City of Santa Clarita Earns National Financial Reporting Award
    The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station will host a National Drug Takeback Day event on Saturday, October 24, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
    Oct. 24: SCV Sheriff’s Station to Host Drug Takeback Day
    City of Santa Clarita officials delivered the 2020 State of the City event Thursday in true COVID-19-era format: virtually, while shining a light on local essential workers who have toiled tirelessly since the onset of the pandemic.
    Santa Clarita 2020 ‘State of the City’ Highlights Resilience Amid Challenges
    Governor Gavin Newsom has announced the retirement of California Highway Patrol Commissioner Warren Stanley, and the appointment of Deputy Commissioner Amanda Ray to succeed Stanley.
    CHP’s Stanley to Retire; Governor Names Amanda Ray New Commissioner
    A new state law set to take effect in January requires employers to provide notice of workplace COVID-19 exposure, and Santa Clarita Valley business leaders are urging local businesses to review their health and safety procedures now.
    COVID-19 Exposure: SCV Business Leaders Weigh in on AB 685
    A Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputy arrested a woman and a male parolee on felony drug and weapons charges in Valencia earlier this week.
    Parolee, Woman Arrested in Valencia on Felony Drug, Weapon Charges
    1888 - 8:15 a.m.: Newhall's luxurious Southern Hotel burns to the ground [story]
    Southern Hotel
    California State University, Northridge will be home to one of the 1,000 vote centers across Los Angeles County that are open to the county’s voters in the days before the Nov. 3 presidential election.
    CSUN to Serve as L.A. County Vote Center Beginning Oct. 24
    Los Angeles County residents who lost their home or sustained other losses due to the recent Bobcat Wildfire may now apply to receive federal assistance.
    FEMA Application Now Open for L.A. County Residents Affected by Bobcat Fire
    Los Angeles County Treasurer and Tax Collector Keith Knox and County Assessor Jeffrey Prang are alerting the public to a property tax scam under the guise of COVID-19 that has been reported to a District Office of the Assessor.
    County Officials Warning Residents of COVID-19 Property Tax Scam
    Los Angeles County is providing a second opportunity for financial assistance to businesses that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and have been allowed to reopen by the State, but ordered to remain closed by the County of Los Angeles Health Officer Order as of Sept. 4, 2020.
    L.A. County Announces Second Round of Funding for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
    The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Thursday 18 new deaths and 3,600 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, including 6,944 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley and a new fatality in the city of Santa Clarita.
    Thursday COVID-19 Roundup: 73rd SCV Death; Local Cases Up to 6,944
    SCV Water is undertaking multiple planning efforts designed to effectively manage the water supply for our customers, ensuring they have access to reliable water today and tomorrow.
    SCV Water Undertaking Multiple Planning Efforts to Enhance Water Reliability
    With L.A. County’s Project Roomkey coming close to an end, Bridge to Home officials announced Thursday a new initiative to house more than two dozen local homeless individuals, but it will require help from the community
    Bridge to Home’s New Initiative Pledges to House 30 Homeless People by January 5
    Santa Clarita Artists Association will hold its last virtual oil workshop of the year on Sunday, Nov. 15, from 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m., with Rich Gallego, entitled, "Using a Modified Zorn Palette to Create Harmonious Landscapes."
    Nov. 15: Last SCAA Virtual Oil Painting Workshop of 2020 with Rich Gallego
    The Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center will host a virtual open house event on Friday, Oct. 30 for prospective students interested in earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree through the center’s partner institutions.
    Oct. 30: Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center Virtual Open House
    Santa Clarita homeless task force members are exploring options to start a local overnight parking program akin to those in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.
    SCV Homeless Task Force Exploring Overnight Parking Options
    The William S. Hart Union High School District will likely not return to campus until January, Superintendent Mike Kuhlman said during the district’s governing board meeting Wednesday.
    Hart District Looks to January Reopening
    Los Angeles County Public Works and Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts will host a free Household Hazardous Waste and E-Waste Recycling Roundup, Saturday, Oct. 24, from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., at Val Verde Park.
    Oct. 24: Free Household Hazardous Waste & E-Waste Recycling Roundup
    California theme parks are considering legal action to receive permission to reopen, following state guidelines announced Tuesday that keep venues such as Six Flags Magic Mountain closed for an unknown amount of time.
    California Theme Parks Consider Legal Action Over State’s Reopening Plan
    %d bloggers like this: