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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Roberta and Stan at the Grand Canyon in the summer of 1959
Siblings Roberta & Stan Paregien in 1959, entering New Mexico
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.
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.
Fort Worth, TX: Stan Paregien and his father, Harold, with Harold’s father-in-law (Stan’s maternal grandfather) John Cauthen
Vada (Walters) and John Cauthen at the home of their injured son, Sidney Cauthen, in Fort Worth, Texas in the summer of 1959.
Roberta Paregien with our maternal grandfather, John Whitehead Cauthen, as we were leaving Texas and just crossed the Red River into Oklahoma (near Thackerville).
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Stan Paregien–weighing in at a trim 155 pounds, at Sespe Creek north of Fillmore, Calif., in 1959.
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.
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.
Herbert L. Gipson & Stan Paregien in 1960
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.
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.
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
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.
Peggy (Allen) Paregien’s brother, Tim Allen in Ventura, Calif.
Tim Allen and dog
Peggy Allen (Paregien) in 1959 with her little brother Tim in Ventura.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
P.S. Be sure to see the previous three installments of 1959 photos.