Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Way Back When We Had Only One High School
Published in The Signal, 7-17-2005.

Darryl Manzer, 2004     I get lots of e-mail. Much of it is in reply to what I write in this column, and much of it is jokes and thoughts passed on from friends. Most of it is good enough to pass on to you.
    For example:
    * Cows. Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that our government can track a cow born in Canada almost three years ago, right to her stall in the state of Washington — and they even tracked her calves — but they are unable to locate 11 million illegal immigrants wandering around our country?
    Maybe if the U.S. Department of Agriculture were guarding our borders, we could track the illegals. Maybe the USDA should track Osama bin Laden, too?
    * Our Constitution. Iraq is drafting a constitution. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, and we don't seem to be using it, anyway.
    * West of Interstate 5 joining Santa Clarita. Don't you find it odd that the folks fighting to keep Santa Clarita from annexing the areas west of Interstate 5 are the ones who will make the most money if growth isn't controlled by Santa Clarita? I'm not thinking Joe Average Homeowner here.
    * Martha Stewart. As George Carlin said, "Boy, I feel a lot safer now that she was put behind bars. O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake and now Michael Jackson are still all walking around, and bin Laden, too — but they take the one woman in America willing to cook, clean and work in the yard, and haul her off to jail."
    For those of us who remember, Magic Mountain is located just about on top of the former stockyards owned by The Newhall Land and Farming Co. Therefore, it was built on a large pile of —
    This used to be the time of year when onions, garlic and alfalfa were being harvested in the SCV. Can we ever forget the wonderful smell of those crops? Then they would plow the fields, and a fine film of dust would settle on everything. Sometimes, "way back when" doesn't seem as wonderful as I thought.
    There was a time when you could count all of the schools in the SCV without a calculator. The William S. Hart Union High School District had only one school site and didn't have to worry about developing condominiums at inflated prices. The district didn't need a "foundation" to buy land for school sites.
    Anyone know why the district needs that foundation now? Maybe it was created to provide jobs for former superintendents. Didn't you elect the school board to do the job and not a "foundation"? Oh — I understand now. There are school board members on the foundation board, too. I thought there were better conflict-of-interest laws in California.
    In the late 1960s, when CalArts was starting up, folks of the SCV were worried that Newhall might be overrun with "hippie, pot smoking, kids". Well guess what? It wasn't CalArts that caused the problem. Have you been to downtown Newhall of late? At least most of the CalArts students speak English.
    While I'm at it — do you realize that federal and state labor laws will keep the Ten Commandments from being posted in the local courthouse or city hall? It seems that putting up something that says, "Thou shalt not steal," "Thou shalt not commit adultery" and "Thou shalt not lie," in buildings full of lawyers, judges and politicians would create a "hostile work environment."
    I would like to thank Chriss (class of '72), Mike (class of '67), Nannette (class of '68), and the many others who helped me with this recitation of random thoughts. I specifically listed only the class year — way back when we had only one high school.

    Darryl Manzer lived in the Santa Clarita Valley oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s as a teenager. He now lives in Virginia.

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