Memories of Old Palo Alto by liaoqinmei


									Memories of Old Palo Alto

   Cubberley Senior High School
           Class of ’58
      50th Reunion Edition
        September 2008

            Preliminary Edition
            Revisions Coming

3.   Apples and Oranges by Lynda Rice Ballard

5.   From Baking in the Desert
     to Basking in Idyllic Palo Alto by Lynn Abe Edmiston
7.   How Working at Palo Alto Little League Baseball
     Turned into a Career by John Pletsch

8.   A Tribute to Mr. Porter by Beverley Zoerb Trigilio Hines

9.   Remembering Palo Alto by Julianne Herz Smith
                         Apples and Oranges
                                    Lynda Rice Ballard

As much as many of us regretted the change, we started to get excited about the first day
of school in the fall of 1956. The day opened sunny and hot, but I insisted on wearing my
new Italian knit sweater with a straight wool skirt and the ubiquitous Bermuda saddles.
(Yes, of course my socks matched my sweater; and they were rolled below my ankle

Since I lived nearby, I had already checked out the purple and orange and green doors on
the teaching wings. I disliked them but could see their logic. Quite a few of us were
disgusted by the sight of the place.

It was still pretty raw and so very modern compared to the classic style of Paly. But we
found our lockers and we found our classrooms and life moved on.

One thing I noticed was that it seemed that we all got along better than at Paly. There
were none of the fights in the courtyards that we saw almost daily those first days at Paly.
I guess we had to establish our right to be there, and I was secretly grateful to those who
did it for me. One other thing I noticed was the relative maturity of this group.

Last year most of the guys arrived with gravelly voices and pieces of toilet paper on their
necks and chins from shaving. The girls had "developed" over the summer, and almost all
of us wore lipstick as a "badge" of arrival. Our hair was combed tightly in pageboys
mostly or "flips" as we set it in pin curls at night and then slept on the darn things. This
year we knew what we were doing (or so we thought).

Lunchtime at Paly meant going across the street to Edy's or wandering the shaded walks
at Town & Country Village or hanging around the outside of the cafeteria. I think there
were three lunch periods that year, there were so many of us. At Cubberley we had a
choice of the cafetorium (a new word for us), or we could walk down to Bob & Hal's
(later Bob's, or was it Hal's?) down Middlefield Road and across San Antonio Avenue. If
we had access to a car, we would drive to Pard's up Charleston Road at El Camino Real.

Most of the faculty was new to me, although a few had come over from Paly. I had been
proud to go to Palo Alto High. My mom and stepdad were class of '38 and my dad was
class of ’37, so I was following in their footsteps. My mom was known for her singing
and my dad played football and baseball. My stepdad smoked and played poker with
Bobby and Dick Wentz' dad, Leon. Mrs. Duncan, Head of Attendance as she was at
Cubberley, made sure I knew that she expected me to follow in the footsteps of my
goody-two-shoes mom. Miss Upmann, Mrs. Gill, and Bourbon Bob Frasier were some of
the faculty that were still around from my parents’ time. But things were different now.
We had a chance to start a raft of new traditions and memories.

I don't have to tell you how great our athletic teams were. We won; we always won.
Well, almost always and it was the ref's fault when we didn't, we were sure of that.
Academically, we were as smart as Paly kids were and we knew it. The teachers were
energized by new facilities. We used the labs for science and languages, and I loved the
library. It always had what I was looking for. I loved the sock hops—just take off your
shoes in the gym and dance! No limos, no formals, no hotel rooms or dinners, just go to
the game and then dance afterward. What more could I want. I loved to dance and I went
to most of the dances that we held those two years.

One bad memory: Benson Ellis, monster of the Biology department, was (in my opinion)
a bad teacher and a bad person. He seemed to enjoy picking on those who were
struggling, weak, or unprepared, and demeaned or threatened with failure those kids who
needed the grade for college or a diploma. Those who could dropped out but many of us
couldn't. He continuously did and said so many nasty things that one day I finally lost my

On this day he was being particularly threatening to some sophomores, and I stood up
and told him off and said somebody was going to sock him one day. The attendance
collector came in about then and heard the whole thing and ran back to the office . . . and
they pulled me out of class! There I was, facing Mr. Parsons and Miss Seward (Mrs.
Hofstra was off campus). I told them everything that had been going on and that although
I had no intention of hitting him, I still thought he should be. My mom had to come to
school and for once she stood up for me. They investigated, and Mr. Ellis went away. Me
and my big mouth! But I'd do it again and sort of have, I guess. I have never put up with
bullies very well. We were used to being treated like we had some sense in Palo Alto. I
had never had a bad teacher until Mr. Ellis. I particularly remember Miss. Leveen (PE),
Mr. Peters (music), Mr. Smith (history), and Miss Seward (library) as positive influences.
My Palo Alto education has stood me well.

Comparing Paly and Cubberley is like apples and oranges. I loved them both and
although they were both similar and at times very different, we all grew up in the healthy
fruit basket that was Palo Alto. We developed our own traditions and symbols as we had
promised. We became our own concept of a school and our own selves. We continued
that growth and individuality to become who we are today. But those were the days and
we will not forget.

                     From Baking in the Desert to
                      Basking in Idyllic Palo Alto
                                          Lynn Abe Edmiston

      My memories of Palo Alto are quite different        learning to throw and kick a football, dribble a
from those of my classmates, having been classi-          basketball, and bat a baseball; but I must admit
fied as an “enemy alien” at one and half years of         that I never mastered throwing a baseball.
age, serving time in a “relocation” camp, and out-
                                                                  Many happy hours were also spent roller-
smarting the Military Police at age four while
                                                          skating at the rink at Loma Verde Avenue and
hunting horned toads in the desert with my
                                                          Middlefield Road. My older sister, Cho, even
brother, Ko. After several years of being incarcer-
                                                          earned a silver medal in competition pairs skating
ated in two of Americaʼs internment camps begin-
                                                          back east. The only bad memory was of a child
ning at Tule Lake, California, and then in Topaz,
                                                          predator who lurked behind the rink, sitting in a
Utah, we returned to the Bay Area in 1945 and
                                                          car waiting for me to walk by. Being wary of
with the help of a man named James Edmiston
                                                          strangers, I ditched the man; but he waited be-
(a very distant relative through marriage), settled
                                                          hind the rink for two weeks, finally giving up be-
in Palo Alto at 752 Loma Verde Avenue about a
                                                          cause I found another way home through the
half block from Middlefield Road. (The house and
                                                          backyards of neighbors. Although my sisters
number are no longer there, having been devel-
                                                          knew, I never told my parents because I didnʼt
oped into an Eichler subdivision.)
                                                          want to bother them and figured I knew how to
     My folks bought an one-acre parcel of land           take care of myself (at age nine).
which had been a chicken farm with a tiny house
                                                                Later during high school years, some of my
and a huge chicken barn three times the size of
                                                          earnings from babysitting were quickly spent rid-
the house. We even had our own well, which was
                                                          ing horses at the Stanford Stables or ice skating
used to water my fatherʼs extensive flower and
                                                          with my pal, Helen Burge (now Petrell). Such
vegetable gardens. Backing onto our farm was a
                                                          care-free times!
goat dairy owned by Tom Nelsonʼs family; and I
remember feeding those goats a lot of California                 I started in the first grade at South Palo Alto
poppies—wonder if their milk was affected in any          Elementary School not understanding a word of
way.                                                      English; then in third grade was transferred to the
                                                          old Channing School for a year, where my most
      Loma Verde Avenue was still in the “sticks”
                                                          vivid and creepy memory is of me stumbling and
with open fields and pastures where cows, goats
                                                          rolling down the stairs into the dark, dank base-
and horses grazed. I have fond memories of
                                                          ment. South Palo Alto Elementary School was
splashing in the flooded fields following heavy
                                                          being remodeled and subsequently renamed
winter rains. We could see and hear the trains go
                                                          Hoover Elementary School, and I was glad to get
by near Alma Road. We had milk delivered from
                                                          back to a lighter, stair-free school. From there I
Piers Dairy two blocks away and watched with
                                                          attended Jordan Junior High School for a year
envy as horseback riders trotted by from the rid-
                                                          and again was transferred to the new Wilbur Jun-
ing stables nearby. Summers were spent bicy-
                                                          ior High School. Then onto Palo Alto High School
cling all over town and swimming in the
                                                          for a year before being uprooted again to attend
Rinconada Park pool at Embarcadero and Mid-
                                                          Cubberley Senior High School.
dlefield Roads. Having an older brother meant

      A baby boom compounded by the lure of                       One of my favorite teachers was Mr. Jerome
Stanford University and an emerging technology-           Hathaway, who taught us shorthand and business
based bay area . . . whatever the reason, Palo            classes while coaching sports, and by his exam-
Alto was growing rapidly. During a summer job,            ple showed us not to slot ourselves into gender
one of my bosses at Dura Bond Bearing Com-                specific roles. Another favorite was my English
pany showed me a prototype of an ultrasound               teacher, Mr. Bernard Tanner, whose encyclopedic
cleaner, and we watched in awe as it cleaned our          mind exposed our still innocent minds to fresh
rings and watches; today such a device is readily         ideas and taught us how to think for which Iʼve
available to clean not only jewelry but dentures          been eternally grateful. In fact, I feel my career in
too!                                                      publishing had its genesis in both of their classes.
                                                          I had other favorites such as music teacher, Mr.
      It was an exciting time to be the first stu-
                                                          Ken Peters; gym teacher, Mrs. Connie Dietrich;
dents in a brand new school, with sophomores
                                                          art teacher, Mr. Dale Carlson; counselor, Mr. Gor-
and juniors only, and to be in its first graduating
                                                          don Parsons. As I looked back, I realized that I
class. With no seniors to serve as examples or
                                                          enjoyed all my teachers and had the school dis-
mentors in our first year, we were pretty much on
                                                          trict to thank for the quality of our teachers. We
our own to establish traditions. Preoccupied with
                                                          were extremely lucky to have had such a well-
sports and academics, I was oblivious to any so-
                                                          rounded curriculum and didnʼt realize it at the
cial problems. I remember the occasional fights
but as a rule, I thought everyone seemed to get
along quite well.

     How Working at Palo Alto Little League Baseball
                 Turned into a Career
                                              John Pletsch

In Spring 1957, I got my first real job working at         playgrounds at Fairmeadow and Ventura
the Palo Alto Little League Baseball Park on Mid-          schools, Mitchell Park, Wilbur Junior High Teen
dlefield Road. My job was to drag and water the            Nights, and scorekeeping adult softball games at
infield, chalk the foul lines and then keep score          El Camino Park. After receiving my B.A. degree at
of the games. The pay was $1.25 per hour, which            San Jose State, I worked 30-plus years for the
I thought was tremendous. Little did I know that           San Jose Parks & Recreation Department. I man-
this part-time job would be the springboard to a           aged many programs including adult and youth
career working in the Parks & Recreation field             sports, aquatics, ballfield & stadium mainte-
and also as a sports official for over 30 years.           nance, and community centers.

I was always interested in sports. I was fortunate         At the same time I continued to umpire baseball
to be a part of Cubberley's 1957 championship              for Little League, Babe Ruth League, American
football team. I also played on the Cougars base-          Legion, and eventually worked 30 years of high
ball team for two years. I was not a great athlete,        school and junior college baseball. I learned to
but enjoyed being part of the teams. Some of my            officiate football, which I still continue to do. I
favorite teachers at Cubberley were also the               have had the opportunity to officiate several high
coaches—Bob Jones, Bud Presley, Jerry Hath-                school championship games in both baseball and
away and George Hurley.                                    football. One of my favorite games was to umpire
                                                           Cubberley's last baseball game in 1979 just be-
In 1958 I returned to the Little League and in             fore the school was closed. Mr. Len Doster was
addition to taking care of the field and scorekeep-        the coach. Another part-time job I enjoyed was
ing, I also umpired many of the games. In the              being the official scorer for the San Jose Giants
fall, after graduating from Cubberley and attend-          baseball team in the California League. I did this
ing Foothill Junior College, I got a job working for       for 23 seasons, retiring just last year.
the Palo Alto Recreation Department. My super-
visor, Mr. Don Moore, thought I would do well in           When I look back I will always have memories of
the Parks & Recreation field and suggested that I          the Palo Alto Little League ballpark and how it all
major in Parks-Recreation Management when I                began.
transferred to San Jose State. I worked six years
for the P.A. Recreation Department, working on

              A Tribute to Mr. Porter
                                    Beverley Zoerb Trigilio Hines

         ne thing that stands out in my mind about our high school years was a favorite teacher,
         Mr. Porter, the mild-mannered science teacher who always wore a yellow sweater. He
         repeatedly taught two concepts of logic that I have found to be invaluable in my life. The
first was the concept of the "single factor fallacy"; that it is a fallacy to consider the possibililty of
a single factor as a determinate in just about any event. The second was that "it is often possible
but not probable." I use those rules more often than I can count. I am so grateful for the educa-
tion we were given. We had the best!!!!!

  Remembering Palo Alto
                                                Julianne Herz Smith

F       reedom. My fondest sense of growing up in Palo Alto was the complete and absolute freedom children
        could be allowed (within reason) by their parents. Palo Alto was safe. I was raised in College Terrace, a
        peninsula of Palo Alto surrounded on three sides by Piers Dairy grazing land and Stanford University prop-
erty. We kids could pack a lunch and hike all over the foothills. There was an old buckboard on the Piers Dairy land
up above Amherst Street. The Terrace kids used it a lot to play Cowboys and Indians. Good imaginative play stimu-

Many Terrace children rode their bikes to Stanford Elementary School every morning along the Mayfield Avenue
school path. The student living lowest down in the Terrace started out, rode to the next home up and in turn every-
one was picked up along the way. It was good camaraderie. As we rode the school path, we checked the anise
plants growing along side for those green monarch butterfly caterpillars and loved to listen to the meadow larks call
from the telephone wires above.

For me Palo Alto also provided stability. Stanford Elementary was small with a student body of around 250. Some
classmates and I attended school together first grade through college. John Sterling and Mack Chapin were both in
my kindergarten at Ford Country Day School in Los Altos as well as at Stanford Elementary and beyond.

Stanford Elementary held an annual Kite Day in the spring on Pine Hill. Every student spent hours designing and
making a kite or purchased the “perfect kite” and brought them to school on Kite Day. The entire student body
walked en masse from school up to the top of Pine Hill for the competition. It was great fun and very empowering to
see your kite soar (or not). Our individual efforts most often resulted in an award for some prowess.

The other grand and memorable tradition of Stanford Elementary was May Play Day with folk dances, races and
games. The 6th Grade always did a May Pole Dance. Parents brought picnics for lunch. Lots of good memories.

Day Light Savings gave Terrace children time to play Kick the Can in the evening until quite late. The can was
placed smack in the middle of College Avenue as there were few cars to bother us. Anne Liddle and her brother,
Ralph, lived across the street and were always major participants.

My sisters and I spent much of our early years at the Community Center and Children’s Theater. Children were
most fortunate to have these assets in Palo Alto. In the summer months, Mother registered us for full days of activi-
ties at the Children’s Theater, Junior Museum and Children’s Library (remember The Secret Garden?). She made
us sack lunches, gave us a nickel for a coke from the machine, pinned bus tickets to our tee shirts and sent us off
for the day to the Community Center. We practiced for productions, enjoyed our classes and had a good time inter-
acting with the other children. Children’s Theater Director Hazel Robertson was a definite positive role model for all
the children involved in her productions . . . a wonderful person.

For many years we were participants in the May Day Parade followed by the May Fete’ at the Community Center.
I have family movies of dancing in the May Fete’ that include Anne Rothwell and Jeanie Dougall.

Wolo and his puppets were very imaginative and wonderful entertainment of which I have great memories.

How many of you would not miss a Stanford Row Carnival or the Big Game Bon Fire?

I could ride my bike anywhere around Palo Alto and the Stanford campus. One major point of intrigue was the
Stanford Steam tunnels I explored extensively with Harriette DuShane and later showed to John Stewart.

Each Spring, Stanford’s Lake Laganita dries up and is teaming with bull frogs. Harriette DuShane and I and proba-
bly a few others would tie our tee shirts tight around our chests, catch the frogs and stuff them down the front of our
shirts to take home.

Sneaking into the Rooting Section at Stanford Football games was always a challenge. We did not go so much to
watch the game as to sneak into the Student Rooting Section. One year Anne Rothwell, Jean Dougall, Lorrie
Naughton, Harriette DuShane and I were recruited to lead the rooting section in a cheer. We went to one of the
Row Houses after school to practice and did an enthusiastic job the following Saturday. It was also great sport to
snatch pom poms and Roos Bros megaphones from the students. I still have three trophy megaphones in my pos-

Anne Rothwell and I loved to give parties. The one I remember the best was in 7th grade. It had a Western theme
planned for the out of doors at the Rothwell home at Interdale on Alpine Road. Anne and I made tuna casserole to
serve for dinner at the party and just thought ourselves grand Chefs Par Excellence to be preparing all the courses.

Music teacher, Kenneth Peters, was among the reasons I chose to request a transfer from Paly to Cubberley when
our class was once AGAIN split up! I played flute in the orchestra under Mr. Peters at both Jordan and Wilbur. He
was a wonderful teacher, very motivating. He chose music for the orchestra to perform that expanded my horizons.
I always think of Mr. Peters when I hear them today. As a result of the musical challenges he presented and love of
music he instilled in me, I have been taking flute lesson again for the past eight years and play in the Placer County
Gold Country Senior Band.

U.S. History teacher, Hamlin Smith, was another truly innate Cubberley instructor. He knew and loved his subject
and personally “fought” every battle of the Civil War, diagramming all the maneuvers and battle plans for us in inti-
mate detail on the blackboard. You knew it was important information to commit to memory. Mr. Smith was also my
Driver’s Training instructor. I still hear his voice in my head reminding me to keep two hands on the steering wheel
at all times because you never knew when you might hit a chuck hole in the road.

Benson Ellis made Biology come to life for his students. He planned unusual and dynamic dissections, projects and
experiments for his classes that made you look forward to being there. It speaks to his effectiveness as a teacher
that five of his students won awards for their research projects in the first annual Palo Alto Science Show March

It speaks well for the academic level of Cubberley in and of itself that its students received 19 total awards at the
Palo Alto Science Show to Paly’s 12.

The best aspect of growing up in Palo Alto, however, my best memories are of the marvelous, true friendships I
made. We had a good time. You guys were fun!!


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