Monthly Archives: May 2014

Issue 282 – Herb Jeffries, Cowboy Movie Star

Issue 282   —    The Paregien Journal  —  May 29, 2014

Herb Jeffries, Cowboy Movie Star

and Singer

by Stan Paregien

Copyrighted May 29, 2014

Official U.S. Census records from 1920 show actor and singer Herb Jeffries was born Umberto Alejandro Balentino on Sept. 24, 1914 in Detroit, Mich. His father was one Mr. Howard Jeffrey. Jeffries died at the age of 100 (or nearly so) on May 25, 2014 in a hospital in Los Angeles. The cause of death was listed as heart failure.

Jeffries often described his mother as “100% white and Irish.” However, the father he never knew he described as part Sicilian, part Irish, part French, part Italian and part Ethiopian (African), accounting for his being able to pass as a black man and, sometimes, as a white man. He was black enough (sometimes aided by dark makeup) to be hired by some of the best black bands and orchestras. He sometimes privately joked he was only “3/8’s black.”

He said that he chose to be identified as a black man, largely because a white man would not have been hired to play with the big-name black bands and orchestras of the day. Reverse discrimination, don’t you know? Ironically, on each of his four or five marriage certificates he listed his race as “Caucasian.” All of his wives were white women.

The charismatic Jeffries started out his career using the name “Herb Jeffrey,” the last name being that of his father. He moved to Chicago as a teenager and began by singing for Earl “Fatha” Hines and his orchestra. That was from 1931 to 1934. From there it was on to Los Angeles .

Then, blessed with a handsome face, a tall (6′ 2″) and muscular physique, and a robust baritone voice, Jeffries became the star of four Westerns movies between 1937 and 1939. He was a lover of the Old West stories and the popular white cowboy stars such as Tom Mix, Buck Jones and William S. Hart. It was his dream to create cowboy movies for black people, so he sought out someone to produce them.

He found a white man named Jed Buell, an independent producer of B-movies (the ones which received second billing at theaters). Jeffries saw Buell’s unusual movie, “The Terror of Tiny Town,” a Western spoof with a cast made up entirely of “height challenged” actors (little people). So he found Buell and made a deal.

For those low-budget films, Buell had Jeffries apply dark makeup to cover up his light complexion. That was to insure he would be accepted by black audiences, as the black cowboy films were only distributed to black movie theaters.

Jeffries, Herb - as black singing cowboy in 1930s

In those Westerns, Herb Jeffries (listed as Jeffrey) played a cowboy named “Bob Blake” and rode a horse named “Stardusk.” He was flanked by a singing group called “The Four Tones” and his comical pard was a black actor named Mantan Moreland. Jeffries was billed as “The Bronze Buckeroo” in the films named “Harlem Rides the Range (1939),” “The Bronze Buckaroo,” “Two-Gun Man from Harlem” and “Harlem on the Prairie.” That last film was actually a musical. Those films are now available on a DVD titled, “Treasures of Black Cinema.”

Or you may view some not-such-good-quality copies on YouTube such as:

Jeffries, Herb - movie poster 'Harlem Rides the Range'

(1) Harlem Rides the Range – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lQFxvcr31Y’

Jeffries, Herb - movie poster, 'Two-Gun Man from Harlem'

(2) Two-Gun Man from Harlem – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4D96gvWk6lE

Jeffries, Herb - movie poster, 'The Bronze Buckaroo'

(3) The Bronze Buckeroo” (1939) – pretty good vocal quality with fair visuals.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvPlB-j0mOc

Later in his life, Herb Jeffries is quoted was having said: “The word ‘black’ means ‘a void,’ so I have never seen a black man. The word ‘white’ means ‘lack of pigment,’ so I have never seen a white man either. There’s only one race: the human race.”

Jeffries quickly moved on to establish a solid career as a jazz and pop singer, mainly with black bands both in the United States and in France. He worked for famed black band leader Duke Ellington for ten years. In 1941 he had a big hit with the song, “Flamingo.” It became Herb Jeffries’ signature song, and eventually it sold over 14 million copies and gave him a steady stream of income.

He sometimes told interviewers, “Most people come to this world by stork. I came by Flamingo, and Duke Ellington delivered me.”

Other Jeffries hits included “You, You Darlin’,” “In My Solitude,” “When I Write My Song,” “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good,” and “There Shall Be No Night.”

It should be noted that this man’s stage name until 1941 was Herb Jeffrey, after his father Howard Jeffrey. Then a clerical error listed the singer on the smash hit “Flamingo” as “Herb Jeffries.” Rather than fight to get it corrected, Umberto Balentino (aka Herb Jeffrey) just went with the flow and adopted “Jeffries” as his new last name.

The actor and singer took a career detour when he served in the military during World War II. After that, he had hit songs with “Basin Street Blues” and with “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano.”

You may watch a nice film on YouTube of Jeffries singing several songs, including “Basin Street Blues,” “Baby, Come on Home,” “Night,” and “Solitude” at this location: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHaCKPTIl90.

Try this little experiment: show the above clip to a few folks and ask them what they think his nationality is. I think most would be hard pressed to identify him as black.

Jeffries moved to France in the late 1940s and remained there several years, appearing in many different clubs and actually owning at least two of them. He returned to the United States in the 1950s.

Album cover for 'Jamaica' - Herb Jeffries - 1957

Jeffries liked diversity as a singer and performing. So he wrote a series of calypso songs which was produced by RKO as a record album titled, “Jamaica.”

Jeffries, Herb - movie poster, 'Calypso Joe'

And he was in a romantic musical film, “Calypso Joe,” with Angie Dickinson in 1957. He and his band were given credits as “Herb Jeffries and his Calypsomaniacs.”

In 1996 he played himself in “The Cherokee Kid,” a Western spoof. He also made brief appearances on such TV shows as “Hawaii Five-O,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” and “The Virginian.”

Herb Jeffries often told interviewers he didn’t believe age should be a factor in one’s career or personal life. He backed that up by marrying a series of five beautiful white women. His second wife was a well-known stripper with the stage name of Tempest Storm. And his last wife/significant other, Savannah Shippen, was a mere 45 years his junior. He was still touring and singing up to his early 90’s.

Jeffries, Herb - 1995 CD cover, 'The Bronze Buckeroo Rides Again'

He returned to his early cowboy roots in 1995 when he released his Western CD, “The Bronze Buckaroo (Rides Again)” on the Warner Western label. He also recorded a duet in which he and folksinger and cowboy singer Michael Martin Murphy sang a catchy little song called, “Payday Blues.”

Jeffries was honored in 1997 by his induction into the Hall of Fame of the Western Music Association. And in 2001 he was inducted into the “Walk of Western Stars” at Newhall, California.

In the spring of 2004, Herb Jeffries attended the annual “Wrangler Awards” ceremony at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. He himself was inducted into the “Western Performers Hall of Fame” that night. And Peggy and I were there to see him receive it and to meet him.

2004-028

Stan & Peggy Paregien with singer/movie star Herb Jeffries in 2004

2004-029

Herb Jeffries, left, in 2004 as he was inducted into the “Western Performers Hall of Fame” in Oklahoma City. At right is Buck Taylor who played “Newly” on the TV Western series, “Gunsmoke.” Taylor is the son of the later Western comic and actor Dub “Cannonball” Taylor. [Photo by Stan Paregien]

2004--Sept 24 - Herb Jeffries, 93, and wife Savannah, with star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

At the age of 93, Herb Jeffries attended the formal celebration of the installation of his own “star” on the famous Hollywood Walk of Stars on a stretch of several blocks of sidewalks in Hollywood, Calif.

For several years, he and mate Savannah lived in Wichita, Kansas. Carl Brewer, the mayor of Wichita, issued a proclamation making September 13, 2012 as “Herb Jeffries Day” in that city. The local city/county museum celebrated his long career by hosting several events. He died at the West Hills Hospital & Medical Center in San Fernando, California, near his last home which was in Woodland Hills, California. He was the last surviving member of The Duke Ellington Orchestra.

Herb Jeffries was the Alpha and the Omega of black singing cowboy movie stars. He was fiercely proud of the fact that he was “the very first black singing cowboy on the face of this earth.” He probably would have also expressed deep satisfaction that he was also the very last of the early-day black singing cowboy movie stars. It is unlikely we will see a man quite like him again.

___________________

Sources:

“A Colored Life: The Herb Jeffries Story.” A promotional clip by AMS Pictures Original Programming on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkMSZJKmrek

Barnes, Mike. “Herb Jeffries, Pioneering Black Singing Cowboy of the Movies, Dies at 100.” The Hollywood Reporter (online version). May 25, 2014.

“Herb Jeffries’s Biography.” Internet Movie Data Base: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0420370/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm.

“Herb Jeffries, in Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia.

Herndon, Jessica. “African-American cowboy crooner Herb Jeffries dies.” Chron, the online version of the Houston Chronicle. May 26, 2014.

Jeffries, Herb. “Colored Life: The Herb Jeffries Story.” 52 min. DVD.

http://www.amazon.com/Colored-Life-Herb-Jeffries-Story/dp/B001EBBYM2

Released in 2007.

Jeffries, Herb. “Flamingo” with Duke Ellington in 1941. A film clip found at:

Jeffries, Herb. “Flamingo” performed on a tropical set. Undated. YouTube:

Jeffries, Herb. “I’m A Happy Cowboy.” Recording from 1938 posted on YouTube:

Jeffries, Herb and Michael Martin Murphey. “Payday Blues” recording posted on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV_9jqZw1_c

Stedman, Alex. “Herb Jeffries, Star of Black Cowboy Films, Dies at 100.” Variety (online version), May 26, 2014.

“Wichitans remember cowboy actor, singer Herb Jeffries.” Staff report at Kansas.com, the online version of The Wichita (Kansas) Eagle. May 27, 2014.

Yardley, William. Herb Jeffries, “‘Bronze Buckaroo’ of Song and Screen, Dies at 100 (or So).” The New York Times (online version), May 26, 2014.

Issue 281 – Photos from 1959, Part 04

Issue 281    —    The Paregien Journal    —    May 10, 2014

Photos from 1959 (Part 4)

by Stan Paregien Sr.

 This is the final installment of “1959–Photos from 55 Years Ago.”

I hope you will enjoy this last ride through the memories of my youth.

That Vintage Year of 1959
a poem by Stan Paregien

I woke up on that New Years Day in 1959
At our farm house surrounded by trees.
And I’m sure, in sunny Piru, California then
My mom’s garden was filled with bees.

2010--2317--B  PiruCA---EdwardsRanch-looking--at-our-house----SP

I took this photo (looking north) in 2010 of where my parents lived on the Samuel Edwards Ranch in Piru, Calif., for over 20 years. The house and garage, now green, were white until some time after my parents moved into Fillmore in the 1970s. And there were several large shade trees around it. This was, indeed, a quiet and relaxing place to live. The huge orchard of orange trees which once stood to the front of our house (south) is now complete gone.

There was an assumed and so very natural
Feeling of love and safety in that place.
There were no protestors or demonstrators
Violating your valued personal space.

My sister, Roberta, and I were awfully lucky
To have friends and relatives nearby
Who were quick to hug us when we hurt
And to share happiness with a high-five.

1959-092--EvelynParegien-cafeteriaStaff

Our mother, Evelyn, was a cafeteria manager
At Piru and Fillmore elementary schools.
Both by personality and her own drive,
She excelled using her God-given tools.

1960-070--B  Harold Paregien-on-tractor--PiruCA

In 1959 our father, Harold, had barely begun
His farm labor work on Samuel Edwards Ranch.
He was kind of a moody man with simple tastes
Who irrigated and trimmed many an orange branch.

On January 3rd Alaska became our 49th state
And ol’ Clint debuted with “Rawhide” on Jan. 9.
And he was supported by Sheb Wooley playing
Cowhand Pete Nolan, a role he did just fine.

My pal Shorty Williams and I took our girlfriends
To the Santa Paula Drive-In but it was so foggy
We couldn’t see the movie screen; but we stayed
And necked so long and hard it made us groggy.

Then came that awful snowy February 3rd day in
Iowa when three singers died at the same time.
Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and “The Big Bopper”
Died in a plane crash, killed in their very prime.

Life, we learned, does go on and by February 9th
“Charlie Brown” by The Coasters peaked at #2.
And I took a girl named Judy to a Hawaiian dance,
Where across the floor we kinda, sorta flew.

1959--317  Fillmore, CA - Gloria Casas            1957-075   Piru, CA -- Elaine Campbell

Gloria Casas           –        Elaine Campbell

In the spring our chorus performed one week night,
And afterwards Gloria Casas and I had a date.
We drove around and at a stop light in Santa Paula
Faced my ex, Elaine, as preordained by fate.

Way down yonder in Cuba on February 16th
Fidel Castro christened himself the Big Dog.
Meanwhile, the new “Barbie Doll” came out
And sold 800 million like rolling off a log.

1959--318  Fillmore, CA -  Charles Mozley

My civics teacher, Charles Mozley, was funny
And had one brown eye and the other one blue.
He often said, “I can stand anything at all but
Pain and temptation,” and that leaves little new.

Well, our little church was without a preacher man,
So I filled in when a real sub could not be found.
And by mid-spring I was actually looking to go off
To some ministerial school when fall came ’round.

Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon confirmed
What we teenagers knew: “Some Like It Hot.”
And boxer Floyd Patterson won his big title by
Beating champion Brian London slicker’n snot.

Several of us ditched school to go down in the
Piru Creek to watch Tony Curtis put on an act,
For he was filming the movie “The Defiant Ones,”
But we got caught playing hooky and that is a fact.

1959 was the 75th anniversary of Fillmore town,
So the “old-time look” themed our yearbook,
And in 1900s-type clothes many of us met for
Photos at Barnsdall’s every cranny and nook.

The very first Grammy Awards came out May 4,
With Perry Como and Ella Fitzgerald on top.
Bob Zimmerman up in Minnesota graduated in ’59,
But you know him as Bob Dylan with a hairy mop.

On May 8th, I took Judy to the Festival Coronation,
Where Nancy Brooks was named the Queen.
We left that ceremony in favor of Kenny’s Grove,
After all, I was a typical boy and only seventeen.

Next came my initiation into the Letterman’s Club,
An honor that all young men strived to achieve.
However, our inductors tortured us and beat us,
And dumped us into a pool for fun, don’t you see?

Our “Senior Ditch Day” took us by bus to L.A.,
To Knott’s Berry Farm and the new Disneyland.
We guys did not venture onto many fast rides,
But we chased the girls around to beat the band.

1959--314  Anaheim, CA - Disneyland -- Fillmore Class of 59 'Ditch Day'

SENIOR DITCH DAY: Sue Vest, Linda Burke, Mary Shipley, Judy Greer, Diana Hunter, Janet McDowell, Patsy Campbell,  Martha White, Glenda Gregory, Susie Warring, and Mary Ann Steppler. As of May 1, 2014, I am aware of the deaths of Mary Shipley Real, Judy Greer Segler, Diana Hunter and Susie Warring Pennington.

1959-033 StanParegien-hunting - Copy

On the morning of our graduation, I borrowed my parents’ 1957 Pontiac and drove to Fillmore and picked up my buddy Orbie Ingersoll. He took his .22 rifle and I took my Remington pump .22 rifle and we went big game hunting. Well, sorta. All we shot was this hawk (I think) and a few more unlucky assorted birds. After we cooked the hawk and ate it, we both agreed that it really wasn’t bad. It tasted like, well, . . . the taste was sorta between that of a California Condor and a Bald Eagle.

Okay, okay. Lighten up. It is a joke.  

On June 11th we all graduated from ol’ FUHS,

And I took Judy to the all-night party time.

That was a big turning point in our young lives
And to leave all that behind seemed like a crime.

The next day Judy and I met Garland and Barbara,

Shorty and Roberta, Duane and Paula at the sea.

We never got in the water but blistered in the sun
And accomplished our simple mission successfully.

That evening my family left for Tulsa, Oklahoma,
Via the Grand Canyon and old cowtown Fort Worth.
We also stopped at Madill to visit “Paregiens 5 & 10,”
Owned by Arbun and Mable, cousins of dad by birth.

1959-040 EvelynParegien-Harold--GrandCanyon

It took us many years of begging, but my father finally gave in and drove us by the beautiful Grand Canyon on our trip east.

1959-041 RobertaParegien-Stan GrandCanyon

Roberta and Stan at the Grand Canyon in the summer of 1959

1959-283--RobertaParegien--Stan---NewMexico

Siblings Roberta & Stan Paregien in 1959, entering New Mexico

1959-095--SidneyCauthenFamily

1959-093--DianaCauthen-Melvin-Paul-Reggie

1959-042--E--B-58HustlerBomber

My maternal uncle, Sidney Cauthen, worked at Convair in Fort Worth, Texas as an electrician. He and several other men were working on one of these “B-58 Hustler” bombers when something caused it to instantly catch fire. Two or three men died at the scene, while two or three other men–including my uncle–were badly burned and sent to the hospital.

1959-042--F--SidneyCauthen--hospital

1959-042--M--Paregien-Cauthen FtWorth

Fort Worth, TX: Seating are Stan Paregien and his sister Robert. Standing, l to r, are Harold and Evelyn Paregien with her parents Vada (Walters) and John Cauthen.

1959-049 StanParegien-Harold-JohnCauthen

Fort Worth, TX: Stan Paregien and his father, Harold, with Harold’s father-in-law (Stan’s maternal grandfather) John Cauthen

1959-046 VadaCauthen-John-FtWorth

 Vada (Walters) and John Cauthen at the home of their injured son, Sidney Cauthen, in Fort Worth, Texas in the summer of 1959.

1959-155 JohnCauthen-RobertaParegien

Roberta Paregien with our maternal grandfather, John Whitehead Cauthen, as we were leaving Texas and just crossed the Red River into Oklahoma (near Thackerville).

1959-150 ParegienStore-MadillOK

“Paregien’s 5 & 10 Cent Store” on the southwest side of the town square in Madill, Oklahoma. It was owned and run by Arbun and Mable Paregien, with help from his sisters Opal and Ivy Paregien. That is myself and my sister Roberta at the far left.

In Tulsa my cousin Sonny and I went out to the

Bells Amusement Park to kick around the place.
Instead, I met Pasty Bell–daughter of the owner–
And spent my time admiring her lovely face.

1959-154 Paregien-Cauthen TulsaOK

Tulsa, OK: Opal (Cauthen) Radtke with Diana Cauthen; Harold and Evelyn Paregien with Rhonda Cauthen on her lap; John and Vada (Walters) Cauthen, and Johnnie and Ethel Cauthen — parents of the children, Diana and Rhonda.

However, at my grandparent’s church on June 21,
I met a cutie named Janice who was real sweet.
She and I in time became sweethearts and then,
Back to old friends who sometimes email or Tweet.

Along about June 22nd came those great Coasters
With “Along Came Jones” peaking at Number 9.
Earl K. Long, Governor of Louisiana was declared nuts,
But he promptly kicked the hospital folk’s butts.

1959-017 Group-VenturaBeach

Early in the summer Shorty, Mike, Anne, Janet and I
All frolicked in the surf and on the Rincon beach.
It was a time of good-natured, mostly carefree fun
And we savored it like a sweet Georgia peach.

On July 14, I bought my first car–a 1955 Mercury
Which had a standard shift and that’s about all.
Still, I polished and shined that ebony baby often
‘Cause in it I was traveling wide and having a ball.

1959-047--StanParegien- 55Mercury - Copy

Then there was the time sometime in good ol’ summer of 1959

When Shorty Williams, Mike Amey and I went up Sespe Creek.

We soon shed all of our clothes (except at photo time) on the bank,

With no absolutely no one around to sneak a little peek.

1959-020 StanParegien-SespeCreek

Stan Paregien–weighing in at a trim 155 pounds, at Sespe Creek north of Fillmore, Calif., in 1959.

1959-019 StanParegien SespeCreek

Stan Paregien

1959-021 FerrellWilliams-SespeCreek

Ferrill “Shorty” Williams

I remember dating a local girl, Janice, a few times
That summer before I went off to preacher school.
She had her hair cut short and was cute as a bug,
And we went to the Drive-In movies as a rule.

On Sept. 15, there was an very odd turn of events when
I took Judy and her little kid brother to the movie show.
It was a long night because the kid, not Judy, sat in my lap
And Judy just sat smiling at me with the kid in tow.

Hawaii became the 50th state of the good ol’ USA,
But we were focused on the new “Bonanza” TV show.
Meanwhile, Dr. Leakey found the oldest human skull,
And it even looked like a couple of guys I know.

Late in September, off to the Amarillo Bible Work;
I went in my sparkling black ’55 Mercury car.
It was quite an adventure, getting there and back,
‘Cause I had never by myself ever driven that far.

1959-051--B--AmarilloBibleSch

I stayed in a boarding house on the near north side,
Run by the H.C. Chandler family.
They were awful good Christian folks who provided
Food and fellowship to guys like me.

1960-020--F2   HL Gipson and Stan Paregien -- ABTW---ImperialsCarClub

Herbert L. Gipson & Stan Paregien in 1960            

1960--079--TX--Amarillo--GB Shelburne Jr -- Portrait

G.B. Shelburne Jr. (portrait)

There at the Amarillo Bible School I studied Bible
Under Herbert Gipson and G.B. Shelburne , Jr.
They were dedicated, learned men of the Word
So it was a pleasure to learn more and more.

1959-256--Hi-D-Ho-DriveIn---AmarilloTX

1959-254--SagebrushInn--AmarilloTX

After our evening Bible classes, maybe a dozen young men and women would reassemble at the Sagebrush Inn Cafe for refreshments. Often, we would start singing gospel songs because we were actually all pretty good singers. And it was not unusual for the other customers to applaud this spontaneous singing.

1959-286--TwigsDriveIn---AmarilloTX--burned-down-2010

I used to hang out at Twigg’s Drive In on the near north side of Amarillo. 

That is when I came under the siren spell of Carolyn,
A Texan with a pretty face and a warm smile.
We dated frequently, but not exclusively, back then
But there was no talk of walking down the aisle.

I quietly celebrated my 18th birthday in Amarillo,
And Janice wrote she was going steady with a guy.
So I turned all of my interest toward this Carolyn,
Only for her to say, “Before I’ll go steady, I’ll die.”

Life in 1959 was not all roses and California sunshine,
‘Cause deejay Alan Freed took payola and was gigged.
Then brainy Charles Van Doren confessed his sins,
That “21,” the TV quiz show, was dishonestly rigged.

Also, on Nov. 6th, my mother’s brother Sidney Cauthen
Died in Fort Worth from his burns on May 14.
He was an electrician on the B-58 Hustler Bomber
When it caught fire and he had nearly died at the scene.

There was this quite awkward moment at the ABW
Thanksgiving Seminar when I was double-booked.
The understanding was that I would take Carolyn,
But Janice from Tulsa showed up and I was hooked.

The Everly Brothers recorded on December 15th
“Let It Be Me,” another song destined to be a hit.
Still, just singing that romantic song to a pretty girl
Never did really help us score, we have to admit.

I spent Christmas vacation at the Tulsa house of my
Grandparents, John and Vada Cauthen, in Oklahoma.
And, sure enough, I dated Janice all during Christmas time,
So the vintage year of 1959 ended with a pleasant aroma.

1959 had been the most exciting, perplexing, challenging
Period in this ol’ country boy’s sheltered young life.
Little did I know, of course, that the next fifty-plus years
Would be similarly filled with peace, joy and some strife.

Fact is, though, that for each of us there is a rhythm
In life to which we must adjust so we can do our best.
And here’s hoping for all of you–and also for aging me–
We will pass with flying colors each and every test.

[COPYRIGHT NOTICE: This poem, Stan Paregien’s
368th, was completed on May 8, 2014. It is copyrighted
and all rights reserved. Permission is hereby given to copy
without altering any of the text–but not for monetary gain,
subject to inclusion of this copyright notice in its entirety.
Any commercial use requires written permission from
Stan Paregien at 1127 48th Avenue East, Bradenton, FL 34203.]

Other photos from 1959

1959-271--RoyGrover-RonGolson-PiruCA

 Roy Grover and Ron Golson, original members of the Piru Mafia. That was a little joke I used about all of us guys who grew up in the Piru area. Interestingly, folks, today in Los Angeles there really is a gang known as “The Piru Mafia.” Where and how it started I have no idea, except these two gentle souls had nothing to do with it.

1959-281--ALL--TimAllen--CubScout----VenturaCA

Peggy (Allen) Paregien’s brother, Tim Allen in Ventura, Calif.

1959-278--ALL--TimAllen--dog--Blondie---VenturaCA

Tim Allen and dog

1959-273--ALL--TimAllen--VenturaCA

Tim Allen

1959-276--ALL--PeggyAllen--Tim--VenturaCA

Peggy Allen (Paregien) in 1959 with her little brother Tim in Ventura.

1959-279--ALL--WoodyAllenFamily---VenturaCA

 Charlotte (Allen) Gardner & son Terry; Paula Allen; child Tim Allen; W.W. (“Woody”) Allen & wife Pauline (Meador) and Peggy Allen in 1959 in Ventura, Calif.

1959-277--ALL--MelodyMenQuartet

“The Melody Men Quartet” in Ventura, Calif., in 1959. Left to right: W.W. (“Woody”) Allen, Archie Luper (founder of the “Looper’s” restaurants and motels), Richard (“Dick”) Hood (groceryman in Fillmore and Ventura; long-time elder in Ventura), and Tom Harris, who preached for the Church of Christ in Camarillo, Calif. 

1959-158 RalphDowney-Celestine  PiruCA

Ralph and Celestine Downey are shown in the home of Harold & Evelyn Paregien in Piru, California in 1959. Ralph at that time was a salesman for the Pontiac dealership in nearby Fillmore and was the preacher for the local congregation of the Church of Christ. He baptized me, my sister Roberta and (a few years later) our father, Harold. He had a booming bass voice. And in combination with soprano Irene Horn, they could make the church rafters shake.

1959-146 StanParegien-RogerParegien--PiruCA

These “cool dudes” were me and my cousin Roger Paregien in 1959 at my parents’ house in Piru. He and his brothers Danny and Bobby graduated from high school in Bakersfield, and all were involved in the high school wrestling programs. They were the sons of Bueford and Theada (Clifford) Paregien.

1959-145 RobertaParegien-Mickey

This is my sister Roberta Paregien and our dog “Mickey” on the steps of the house one mile west of Piru, California–surrounded by about 300 acres of orange trees.

1959-098--HarrySnell-Opal  PiruCA

This photo shows my mother’s sister, Opal (Cauthen), with her husband Harry Snell. They were on vacation in 1959 and visited the Paregiens at the ranch west of Piru. At the time they lived on the near-northwest side of Tulsa. A few years later they moved to a large acreage west of Jay, Oklahoma. Eventually they moved into the town of Jay, where she died and he followed a few years later.

1959-048 RobertaParegien-friend

That ol’ Rincon beach near Ventura, California was where a lot of folks spent considerable time. In this photo Roberta Paregien and classmate/friend Marla Brewer are building a . . . a, uh . . . well, maybe a castle. Or something. I have been corrected about my earlier statement that Bill DeJarnette (our former neighbor on the Samuel Edwards Ranch) had served as the Chief of Police in Fillmore. Not so, according to my sister. It was Marla Brewer’s brother, Bill Brewer. Well, heck, at my age I consider it a triumph and “close enough to correct” to have gotten the first name right.

1959-016 StanParegien-JimEdwards

Jim “Tank” Edwards takes Stan Paregien for a ride on his shoulders. Photo taken at Rincon beach near Ventura, Calif., sometime in 1959.

That’s the end of my diverse collection of photos from that vintage year of 1959. I hope you have enjoyed the ride.

By the way, if you have photos about the Fillmore, California “Class of 1959 and would like to share them, I’d sure like to see them.

Best wishes to one and all,

–Stan Paregien

P.S. Be sure to see the previous three installments of 1959 photos.

Issue 280 – Photos from 1959, Part 03

Issue 280    —    The Paregien Journal    —    May 10, 2014

Photos from 1959 (Part 3)

by Stan Paregien Sr.

Alright, my friends, here is another group of photos from that vintage year of 1959. This time it is specifically about the Class of 1959 at Fillmore (California) Union High School and the events surrounding our graduation on a beautiful, clear night out on the football field. That was followed by an “all night party” and breakfast.

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Three people come to my mind who are not on the official list, above, but were and are an integral part of our experiences together at FUHS. First, there was Daryl Muth of Piru. He quit school to join the Air Force and later got his GED. He has lived in Ojai for many years. Then there was Elaine Campbell, also of Piru. She dropped out of school and eventually became a law enforcement officer. Elaine lives in the desert community of Pear Blossom. And then there was Joyce Decker, and I don’t know the details of her life except she dropped out (as I recall). There are probably a few others, but my “recaller” is frayed at this point.

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That’s all I have for our official graduation from dear ol’ Fillmore High School in Fillmore, California. As with all such groups, we scattered to the wind. Some went on to college, others went into the military and still others went directly into the work force. Today, several of our classmates have died. Most of us have retired from the work force or are nearing that point. Others have serious health issues. This is an opportunity for those of us who remain to reflect once more on what a wonderful time and place it was to be young in Fillmore in 1959.

–Stan Paregien

Issue 279 – Photos from 1959, Part 02

Issue 279    —    The Paregien Journal    —    May 7, 2014

Photos from 1959 (Part 2)

by Stan Paregien Sr.

Here are some more photos from the Class of 1959 at Fillmore Union High School in Fillmore, California. Even after 55 years, these photos bring back a flood of memories for me . . . and mostly good ones. Hope you enjoy them.

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FUHS Faculty Members

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1959-010 FillmoreSrs  BardsdaleCA - Copy

Above: Orbie Ingersoll pushing Linda Burke and Ferrell (“Shorty”) Williams pushing Janet McDowell at Bardsdale School late one night. Photo by Stan Paregien

1959-092--EvelynParegien-cafeteriaStaff

1959-073--LetterwomensClub

1959-120--Hi-Y-Club---FillmoreCA

1959-121 Hi-Y-Officers--StanParegien

1959-126 PepClub-StanParegien

1959-127 IndustrialArts-StanP

1959-123 FUHS Chorus - StanParegien

1959-134--A  BASKETBALL  -- FillmoreCA - 1959 Yearbook

1959-134--B--BASKETBALL-- FillmoreCA--1959Yearbook

1959-134--C--BASKETBALL-- FillmoreCA--1959Yearbook

1959-134--D--BASKETBALL-- FillmoreCA--1959Yearbook

1959-134--E--BASKETBALL-- FillmoreCA--1959Yearbook

1959-134--G--BASKETBALL-- FillmoreCA--1959Yearbook

1959-134--H--BASKETBALL-- FillmoreCA--1959Yearbook

1959-135 SeniorPlay-StanP

1959-136--C--TRACK

1959-136--D--TRACK

1959-137--A--BASEBALL

1959-137--B--BASEBALL

1959-138--A--TENNIS--TooliePalmer

1959-191 FUHS-HouseOfRep

1959-193 FUHS-CafeteriaAssistants

1959-192 FUHS-OfficeAssistants

1959-194 FUHS-Custodians 1959-195 FUHS-CafeteriaStaff

1959-196 FUHS-PiTheta 1959-197 FUHS-CalifScholarshipFed

1959-198 FUHS-ArtClub 1959-199 FUHS-ThetaAlpha

1959-200 FUHS-TriHi-Y-01 1959-201 FUHS-TriHi-Y-02

1959-202---FUHS-Band--FillmoreCA 1959-203---FUHS-Band--FillmoreCA

1959-206 FUHS-Majorettes 1959-207 FUHS-CommercialClub-01

1959-208 FUHS-CommercialClub-02 1959-209 FUHS-SpanishClub-02

1959-210 FUHS-SpanishClub-01 1959-211 FUHS-ScienceClub

1959-212--A--FUHS-NewsFlashes 1959-212--B--FUHS-NewsFlashes

1959-214 FUHS-FFA-01 1959-215 FUHS-FFA-02

1959-216 FUHS-GirlsLeague-01 1959-217 FUHS-GirlsLeague-02

1959-218 FUHS-AssemblyCommittee 1959-220 FUHS-Printers

1959-221 FUHS-Projectionists 1959-222 FUHS-FutureNurses

1959-223 FUHS-FutureNurses-02 1959-229 FUHS-VarsityCheerleaders

1959-230 FUHS-SongLeaders 1959-247 FUHS-GirlsAthleticAssn-01

1959-251--A FUHS-plan-Stardust-01 1959-251--C--- FUHS-plan-Stardust

1959-251--F--- FUHS-play-Stardust 1959-257 FUHS-ScienceClub-01

1959-261 FUHS-CalifScholarFoundation 1959-262 FUHS-SafeDrivers

1959-268--PoliceChiefEarlHume--FillmoreCA 1959-284--CULTURE-----1959FordEdsel

On May 6, 2014, I received my official notice that the Class of 1959 will have tables reserved for the annual Fillmore Alumni Banquet on June 14, 2014 at the Veteran’s Memorial Building in Fillmore, Calif. It was mailed by class members Bob Morris and Glenda DeJarnette.

That’s all for today, my friends. I’ll post many more photos from 1959 another time. In fact, the next batch will be the graduation photos for each member of our class.

— Stan

Issue 278 – Mandolin Orchestra and More

Issue 278    —    The Paregien Journal    —    May 1, 2014

Mandolin Orchestra and More

by Stan Paregien Sr.

When was the last time you went to a concert featuring a “Mandolin Orchestra?”

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Peggy and I had never been to one, either, until recently. That’s when we drove to nearby Sarasota to watch the “Sarasota Mandolin Orchestra” perform. They were great. The audience at the main library numbered about 200 people.

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 The orchestra had five or so “standard” mandolins, plus an “alto” mandolin and a “bass” mandolin. They also had three guitars in the group.

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A few months ago the Central Church of Christ in Sarasota, where we are members, was in negotiations with Florida Power & Light and a private solar energy company. We agreed to have the private company install a mass of solar panels on the west side of the roof of our building. That private company, managed by some strong Christian folk, asked if we would like to have the solar panels (blue, above) installed so as to display a Christian cross on the roof. Our leaders thought that was a terrific idea and thanked them for the suggestion. What you see, above, is the result — a Christian witness to anyone flying nearby. We are anticipating the panels will reduce our monthly electric bill by about $250.

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2014 -- 0402--A  Sarasota, FL - Lido Beach - map

2014 -- 0402--C  Sarasota, FL - Lido Beach 2014 -- 0402--D  Sarasota, FL - Lido Beach

2014 -- 0403  Sarasota, FL - Lido Beach by Stan Paregien

2014 -- 0404 Sarasota, FL - Lido Beach by Stan Paregien

2014 -- 0405 Sarasota, FL - Lido Beach - sail boat - by Peggy Paregien

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2014 -- 0418   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - Moore's Stone Crab Restaurant - by Stan Paregien 2014 -- 0419   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - Moore's Stone Crab Restaurant - by Stan Paregien

2014 -- 0420   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - Moore's Stone Crab Restaurant - by Stan Paregien 2014 -- 0421   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - Moore's Stone Crab Restaurant - by Stan Paregien

2014 -- 0422   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - fishing dock - by Stan Paregien 2014 -- 0423   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - fishing dock - by Stan Paregien

2014 -- 0424   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - fishing dock - by Stan Paregien 2014 -- 0425   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - fishing dock - by Stan Paregien

2014 -- 0426   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - house - by Stan Paregien 2014 -- 0427   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - house - by Stan Paregien

2014 -- 0428   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - tree with yellow buds - by Stan Paregien

This tree early in the spring put on yellow flowers. (Longboat Key)

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Easter Sunday – April 20, 2014

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Peggy and I went out to eat on Easter Sunday. We went to Cody’s Roadhouse in Bradenton with Kent and Marilyn Abel and Kent’s sister, Kit Humphry (all residents here at our MHP). Kent and Marilyn were celebrating their 41st anniversary. Our congratulations to them! 

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Kent with our waiter, Daniel                                                            This osprey was nesting on the top of a nearby light post.

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Poem 366--B  Those Unlovely Lovebugs - by Stan Paregien -- 2014--04--29  Graphic 2

2014 --0586   Sarasota, FL - Hispanic roofer wearing sombrero  --  April 22 - by Peggy Paregien

It is not everyday you see a roofer wearing a full-sized, color sombrero. But that is exactly what Peggy saw and caught on her Iphone down at Millie’s Restaurant in Sarasota the other day.

Friends, I must go. Duty calls.

Well, the sea siren calls. It is another sunny day in Paradise and supposed to get up to 88 degrees. So we and our two guests from the North Country are heading for the beach.

See ya,

Stan