Issue 276 – Photos from 1959, Part 01

Issue 276    —    The Paregien Journal    —    April 27, 2014

Photos from 1959 (Part 1)

by Stan Paregien Sr.

Oh, boy, where did all the years go? In about eight weeks it will have been 55 years since I graduated with the Class of 1959 at Fillmore Union High School in Fillmore, California. So I’m going to take a few blog posts to reflect on that great year of 1959.

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The above photo is of me and my sister, Roberta (Class of 1961). I’m wearing my “Senior Sweater,” but I only got a couple of years of wear out of it because in the fall of 1961 a thief broke into my car and stole it and everything else. The photo was taken at the Samuel Edwards Ranch (now part of the large Limoneria corporation) located 1 mile due west of Piru, California. The orange orchards were snuggled up against the mountain on the north side of the Santa Clara Valley.

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Ah, yes, those “white bucks” made popular by singer/movie star Pat Boone and others.

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This was our dear, sweet momma — Mrs. Harold (Evelyn Cauthen) Paregien. She was a couple of inches taller than my father and an inch or so shorter than I, so she was about 5′ 10″ in her prime. However, in her 70s she began to experience severe curvature of the spine. At her death in 2011 she was probably only about 4′ 7″. Though she was in constant pain, and that bent over position eventually made it hard for her to breath, she seldom complained. She was a strong, loving Christian woman and we all miss her terribly.

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This is a view from up on Goodenough Road, looking west across Sespe Creek to the mountain. Mighty beautiful area.

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A bunch of us in the Class of 1959, plus several other adventurous types, ditched school one day to go to Piru. The occasion was the filming of some scenes for a movie starring Tony Curtis and Sidney Portier. It is a black-and-white film titled, “The Defiant Ones.” Look for it on late, late night TV once in a while. There was no such thing as “security” on that movie set, so we walked right up and visited with Tony Curtis. Sidney Portier was not working that day. One of us asked Mr. Curtis, “Who has the female lead in your movie?” And Tony smiled and said, “Oh, we don’t have a female lead. Tony and I fall in love.” Back then, that was a joke.

Alas, FUHS’s truant officer was alive and well. Though he didn’t actually physically catch us, he knew who we were and the jig was up.

Another time that year, a high-profile murder trial was going on at the Court House in Ventura. It was gory and sensational. The prosecutors claimed an older woman hired someone to kill her daughter-in-law. So, since we were fans of “Perry Mason,” Ferrill Williams, Mike Amey and I went to the “Duncan trial.” I don’t remember if she was convicted and punished or not. But I know we three were discovered, convicted and punished with detention time.

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You see, friends and neighbors, it is not easy being sexy Seniors and on the cutting edge of being “cool.”

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The above photo is of my father’s sister, Mrs. Eupel (Paregien) Higgenbotham and her husband John. He managed an orange and lemon farm on the north side of Highway 126, some 7 miles or so east of Santa Paula. 

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I am so stylishly dressed because this was “Letterman Club” initiation day at dear ol’ Fillmore H.S. The existing members of the Lettermen Club probably would be locked up in jail if that did today what they did to us back then. I get teary-eyed just thinking about it. Well, sorta.

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The above photo is of a wonderful group of thugs . . . , er, I mean . . . upstanding (see, they are, too) young men. The leaders of tomorrow. The cream of the crop. The elite. The . . . , oh heck, you get the idea. There was a lot of talent and brain-power in this group, contrary to the old “jock” stereotype.

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The above photo is of my sister, Roberta, and her date Carroll Beard. He was the older brother of my best friend (and the best man in my wedding), Duane Beard. Duane and Carroll had an awfully good-looking sister named Ruth. Duane died in Oklahoma a few years back.

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Gee, look at that. I could actually grow a few chin whiskers back in 1959. Today, of course, I have a full beard, and one that is far more salt than pepper in color. Times they do change.

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Hey, it looks like Don Ho is back and about to sing “Tiny Bubbles.” Or not. After my weekly Saturday night bath, I was mite near clean. But clean or not I was ready to rock and roll . . . to the music of Hawaii. 

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The photo above was taken at the wedding of Garrold Muth and Janice Ballenger, in Fillmore. The women, left to right, are Barbara Wallace, Linda Yount, Patsy DeJarnette (one of her brothers, Bill — otherwise known as “Rat” — later became the Police Chief in Fillmore), Sue Ballenger and Janice. On the right side are Anthony Rice, Ferrill (“Shorty”) Williams, Stan Paregien and Mike Amey.

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The photo above shows me with the lovely Judy Goodenough, younger sister of my fellow Class of 1959 member Don Goodenough. We dated off and on for a year or more. This photo was taken at my parent’s home on the Edwards Ranch near Piru, Calif.

That’s about it for now, friends and neighbors.

More later.

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