Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

I Hereby Declare 'Wife's Day'
Published in The Signal, 10-9-2005.

Darryl Manzer, 2005     If I ask 10 men just where and when they met their wives, I would bet only two of them could remember. Maybe three, but that is a long shot.
    There is Mother's, Father's, Grandparents and Valentine's Day. Thanks to the big-box stores — Lowe's, The Home Depot, etc. — there are many "husband's days." But is there a "Wife's Day?" Not that I can find.
    So, by the power not vested in me, I hereby and forthwith declare today Wife's Day. This includes all married women. Not just mothers. They never had a day before. Now they do.
    I met her at San Fernando Valley State College. For those of you who don't remember or don't know, that's what it was called before it was California State University, Northridge.
    It was in political science class and our professor was Miss Osborne (I think). A fraternity pal of mine had recommended the class because of the teacher. Classic "California blonde," he said. "She always wears short, short skirts and looks about 20 years old." I only remember her by that description. I don't know if it is true or not. My eyes were riveted to the girl in the back of the room, not the one at the front.
    After graduating from Hart High it was only logical that I go to Valley State. It was close to home and I could commute from Newhall in about 15 minutes. Try that today! I could also keep my job at Newhall Auto Parts. It was the perfect time in my life.
    I noticed that the smoking section was at the back of the classroom. So I picked up a chair-desk and moved it to the back next to the girl I'd had my eye on. (Way back when, you could smoke in class.) I don't remember the lecture, but I do remember asking her name.
    We walked from class to the student union building and I got the courage to ask her out. That night. She said yes. We exchanged the usual student pleasantries — major, sign, etc.
    That was November 1968.
    You know, it's a long drive from Newhall to Topanga Plaza mall. She worked at the Broadway (another name now forgotten). Heck, it isn't even called "Topanga Plaza" anymore.
    I knew her three days when I knew she was The One. I've never regretted it. Sure, we had some rough times, but WOW! I wouldn't change much — only me. She deserved a lot better.
    Our dates were pretty tame. A movie, fast-food dinners, and she got the chance to sit and watch me rehearse with the various bands, opera orchestra, woodwind ensemble and such that a music major had to endure. And we always had poli sci.
    I got a draft notice not long after that. I escaped to the Navy. Not a lottery in those days. "Greetings. You have been selected..." Thank you, President Johnson.
    She endured my being in San Diego and Dam Neck, Va., and New London, Conn., before she finally got me in Newhall long enough to have a wedding in July 1970. Soon she got to go through pregnancy, childbirth, Navy pay (low), and all the other great benefits of being a Navy wife.
    She raised our sons. I was there, but it was she who did all the work. She also managed to complete her bachelor's degree and a master's degree and then attain certification in her profession. She really worked!
    With the boys gone and married — we're grandparents now — life is good. I carried a picture of her with me when I went to sea. It shows her leaning against a tree in William S. Hart Park. She has that great smile on her face as if to say, well — you get the picture. She still gets that smile. My girl in Hart Park.
    So on this first "Wife's Day," maybe you want to take your wife to Hart Park, and whatever else. Don't forget flowers. In fact, flowers are good anytime. If your wife is like mine, she deserves every day to be Wife's Day.

    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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