Tag Archives: Harold Paregien

Issue 373 – Six Freebies for You

Logo -- The Paregien Journal -- 2018--01--18 -- 800 X 195 pix X 400 dpi

The Paregien Journal  —  Issue 373  —  Feb. 24, 2018  —  Published Occasionally

Six Freebies for You

Free--002--round, red button

I have a number of free documents posted on my Google Drive storage account in a public folder.They are all in the popular PDF format, and all you have to do to read them is to go to the link below.

In addition, you may download any or all of them to your own PC’s hard drive . . . or upload them to your own cloud storage. One big advantage of a cloud account – such as Apple – iCloud; Google – Drive; Microsoft Outlook – OneDrive; etc. – is this: then you will be able to access that material through your PC, your tablet, your laptop, your smartphone, and so forth.

Here are the items I’ve posted there so far:

  1. Evelyn Cauthen Paregien Spradling: Her Story  (1922-2011)

Article cover -- 1975 Photo of Evelyn Paregien Spradling

This is my personal tribute to my mother. I completed this 179 page document and released it on the 7th anniversary of her death – Feb. 23, 2011. This is a remarkable story of her growing up in south-central Oklahoma during the Great Depression, the daughter of dirt-poor sharecroppers, getting married and moving to California where life became a whole lot easier and better. I worked hard to let her love, faith and integrity clearly show. 

This essay really amounts to a book, since it is 180 pages long. It contains well over 300 photos and documents, mainly from her total of 30+ years in Oklahoma and 52 years in Ventura County, California. Many of the stories and photos relate, specifically to towns in which we lived: Santa Paula, Fillmore, Piru and Newhall (in Los Angeles County).

  1. An Open Letter to Christian Friends  (May 18, 1972)

Book cover -- 02 - Open Letter -- May 18, 1972

This document will be of special interest to who grew up in (or are still in) religious groups which grew out of the “Restoration Movement” which started in the United States in about 1804 and rapidly grew. It was a recognition that followers of Christ by those days had divided into warring factions, and an effort to unite those Believers by using the Bible (not denominational creeds and disciples) as the standard for work and worship.

I wrote this letter to a few dozen friends way back on May 18, 1972 to explain why Peggy and I were changing from one Christian segment to another. Then in 2018 I rediscovered the letter and added an explanatory preface and a list of resources. It may also be of historical interest to those who study . . . or have to deal with . . . divisions within Christianity.

One of the factors in our leaving the group we’d been part of for our whole lives was their theological position regarding the use of instrumental music in worship. They were a’gin it. That is, they favored a cappella (voices only) in worship. There are other churches who advocate the same thing, though maybe not was loudly as we did. But that is only a part of the equation, as you will read.

  1. The Day Jesus Died (eBook in 2013)

1968-001 Cover of The Day Jesus Died

This book was published as a hardback in Austin, Texas in 1970. Back then I was a minister, first with the University Church of Christ in Las Cruces, New Mexico and then with the Mayfair Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was a collection of my sermons and magazine articles. It went out of print, but in 2012 or so I started revising many of the chapters. So, as with the more than a dozen other eBooks of mine, you may find them and buy them by simply Googling “books by Stan Paregien.” This PDF copy, however, is free.

  1. Oklahoma Almanac of Facts & Humor: Part 1

Cover--Part 1 -- Oklahoma Almanac--2013 --- Nigh 1773w x 2400 x 95dpi

Published: May 21, 2013. Category: Nonfiction. Foreword by the Honorable George Nye, former Governor of Oklahoma. This eBook is Part 1 of 2 containing facts about the state of Oklahoma. Part 1 covers Achille to Nowata. It is not your grandpa’s boring history book. The author starts by telling the unique stories of 148 towns, including those which are a county seat in one of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. He includes photos, prominent people and humorous stories. Part 1 covers such towns as Ada, Atoka, Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Chandler, Claremore, Clinton, Del City, Durant, Eufaula, Elk City, Erick, Lawton, McAlester, Midwest City, Moore, and Norman.

  1. Manatee County, Florida: Facts, Folks and Photos

 

Master Cover -- Manatee County, FL -- Stan Paregien 01 1,900 X 2,561 X 600 dpi

This eBook is a combination of one part travel guide for the beaches and other attractions in Manatee County, one part who’s who of today’s leaders and yesterday’s heroes and heroines, one part family photo album, and one part a history book containing over 450 photos and 470 biographical sketches. It is written in a conversational style with touches of wit, wisdom, mystery and spice. There’s all kinds of factual information about our beautiful beaches and our vibrant history. But you’ll want to spent a lot of time in Chapter 3. There you’ll see photos and biographical sketches of hundreds of Manatee County people. Learn why the heck we do things like we do them (Hint: “Because that’s how grandma and grandpa used to do it.”) You’ll meet some of our wonderful pioneer families, a great many solid citizens, plus a lot of folks who work doggoned hard to make this County an even better place to live or to visit.

  1. A List of Stan Paregien’s eBooks

This lists the 16 eBooks by Stan Paregien which are available at various retailers online. Also a brief bio.

Here’s the magic link for any or all of the above:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1AYwU8g8IZo9v4nwXIBnDaXrpqmd6InRI

PLEASE NOTE:  The link above is subject to being changed at any time without notice.

Happy reading, my friends.

— Stan Paregien

Logo---The End---Zia--with-blue---- 500w x 400dpi--- 2018--01--17

Issue 330 – Stacy’s 45th Birthday

The Paregien Journal  —  Issue 330  —  April 20, 2016  — Stan Paregien, Sr.

Well, well, well. It finally happened. Our youngest child has turned, . . . gulp, . . . 45 years of age. Where, oh where, did all the years go? Peggy and I sometimes look back to when we were dating, 1961-1962, and recall how we thought both sets of our parents were pretty ancient people. They were not much older than 45. Now our own daughter is 45 . . . and Peggy and I are . . . , well, just a wee bit older than that ourselves.

It is time to wish our dear daughter, Stacy Evelyn Paregien Magness, a very happy birthday. We love you very much, sweetie. 

Poem 439   A Poem for All Adopted Children   -  by Stan Paregien Sr - Copyrighted April 6, 2016

And now, . . . a few “blasts from the past.”

1973-090--A   Piru, CA  --  Stan and Peggy Paregien with son Gene and daughter Stacy at Harold Paregien's house

Peggy & Stan Paregien with children Stacy and Gene (ak Stan Jr.) at the Harold & Evelyn Paregien home on the Edwards Ranch, just 1 mile west of Piru, Calif., in 1983.

1974--014--StanParegien--poem--PortraitOfMyDaughter

1974--054  Stacy Paregien- -LakeTexhoma - near Durant, OK

1975-006  --  CouncilBluffs, IA  --  Stan Paregien Family - Peggy, Gene, Stacy

The Stan Paregien family in 1975 in Council Bluffs, Iowa

1977-002--A  Stroud, OK -- Stan Paregien Family -- Peggy, Gene and Stacy

1977-042  LakeCharles, LA - Stacy Paregien and Gene playing in a rain storm - by Stan Paregien

1977-054  -  Stroud, OK  -  Stacy Paregien on Shag

Stacy and her horse “Shag” in Stroud, Oklahoma

1978--059--A   Ventura,  CA --  School photo of  Stacy Paregien

1979--026  Stroud, OK -- Stacy Paregien's  8th Birthday in April

1979--031--A  -  -StroudOK---Gene and Stacy Paregien drag a Christmas tree up from our neighbor's pasture

Oh, hey, did I mention that the aggressively spreading Red Cedar tree is not only a great nuisance to farmers and ranchers . . . but it is a major cause of allergy problems in Oklahoma. But there we were with that doggone big tree in the middle of our living room for at least two weeks prior to Christmas. It also dried out very fast, despite a watering hole under the base, so it became a ball of fire just waiting to happen. Guess we were just dumb, ignorant . . . and happy way back then.

1980--011  ---  Stroud, OK  --  Stacy Paregien

Ain’t she just plum cute?

1980--016  --  Stroud, OK  --  Stacy Paregien's horse

1980--021   Stacy Paregien's birthday --  with Gene

1980--030--H  Stroud, OK  --  Stacy Paregien on a raft

1980--054--OK--Lake Tenkiller--Stacy Paregien diving into a pool

1981--033--A  Stroud, OK  Stan Paregien, Stacy and Gene - cowboys on the farm

1981--047--B  --  Stroud, OK  --  Peggy Paregien -Stacy - Gene - Stan

1982--029  -- Stroud, OK  --  Stacy Paregien's birthday party

That is their cousin, Connie King (now Williams), at the far right. Daughter of Bill and Paula King. 

1982--044  --  Stroud, OK  -- Stacy Paregien -- horse Dolly

 

1983--055  --  Stroud, OK  --  Stan Paregien baptizing daughter Stacy on Dec 25th at the Church of Christ

 

1983--063 -- Stroud, OK -  Stacy Peggy on her 12th birthday - April 20

1983--080 -- Stroud, OK  -  Stacy Paregien with Kathy Lynnh Beckmann on Stacy's horse

 

1984--042--StroudOK--StacyParegien--on-Paula

1984--059--OK--Stroud--Stacy Paregien -- fall

1985--047--LaverneOK--StacyParegien--rattlesnake

1985--088--OK--Stroud--Stacy Paregien -- 14th birthday -- April 20

1985--098--OK--Stroud--Peggy and Stan Paregien Sr with Stan Jr and Stacy--April

1985--099--OK--Stroud--Stacy Paregien

1986--007--LaverneOK--StacyParegien-Bucky--xmas--1

Oops. That label, above, should have read “1986.”

1986--046--LaverneOK---JohnErickson-BradLoffswold-StacyParegien

Since then, good ol’ John has added some 60 books to his “Hank the Cowdog” series and countless CDs of “Hank the Cowdog’s Favorite Songs” (most of which feature John’s singing voice and musical expertise, plus his songwriting skills). Quite a home-grown success. He lives on his ranch outside of Perryton, Texas.

1987--001--D--Xmas--Stan-Stacy-Peg---LaverneOK--1

1987--015--StacyParegien--GaryCreed--LavernOK

1987--017-- Stacy Paregien -- Sr Photo -- Snyder, TX

1987--042--SD--MtRushmore--BelindaBond-StacyParegien-Stan-----byPP

1987--055-- Laverne, OK  Stacy Paregien with her mom, Peggy

1987--062-- Laverne, OK   -  Stan and Peggy Paregien with Stacy

1987--063-- Laverne, OK   -  Stacy Paregien in Sept

1988--012-- Snyder, TX  --  Stacy Paregien and date on  Halloween

Stacy Paregien with DeWayne Clinkenbeard in about 1988 in Snyder, TX

1988--018--StacyParegien--SnyderTX

1988--020--F  --  San Diego, CA  --  WWA Convention  --actor Iron Eyes Cody with Stacy Paregien

Stacy Paregien with movie actor Iron Eyes Cody at the Western Writers of America conference in the summer of 1988 in San Diego, Calif.

1988--040--SnyderTX--StacyParegien-DuaneClinkenbeard--Halloween

1989-006--D--SnyderTX--StacyParegien---May

1989-006--E--SnyderTX--StacyParegien---StanSr-Peg--StanJr

Here is what a group of female, Oklahoma domestic engineers can accomplish:

1989-008--xmas-EdmondOK

1989-0181989-031  --  Snyder, TX  --  Stacy Paregien -- sch photo - senior year

1989-053B--StacyParegien-graduation--SnyderTX

1989-056--StacyParegien-graduation--SnyderTX

1989-142--TX--Snyder-- Stacy Paregien - Dwain Clinkenbeard - prom

1990--0003--Wedding--John Magness - Stacy Paregien - Snyder, Texas

1990--0021--SnyderTX--PeggyParegien--Stacy--19thBirthday--April20

1991--006--LongviewTX--StacyMagness-John-Dylan--Nov7

1994--011-John-Stacy-Dylan--xmas--1

1995--005--TX--Kilgore--Stacy-Dylan-Christal-JohnMagness

Stacy & John Magness with their growing family: Dylan and little sister Christal. Kilgore, Texas – 1995

1998--057 -- Beckville, TX - Stacy Paregien Magness

1999-040-- John Magness - Stacy - Dylan - Christal

1999-081-- Edmond, OK -- xmas -- Paregien - Magness families

1999-138

2014--09--11   02  Bastrop, TX  --  Christal and Stacy Magness -- by Peggy Paregien

2014--09--11   04  Bastrop, TX  --  Christal Magness - Stacy Magness - Peggy Paregien

2015--12--10   2696    Snook, Texas  --  Family of John and Stacy P Magness

2015--12--10   2698    Snook, Texas  --  John and Stacy Magness with Dylan and Christal _edited-1

2040  --  2015--09--24  Snook, TX - Stacy Paregien Magness and hubby John - 25th Anniv

We are so proud of you, Stacy. You will always have a special place in our hearts.

— Love, Mom and Dad

End.

__________

NEXT TIME:  “Music: Merle Haggard & More.” That issue on April 25th will contain my personal essay on the life and career of country music star Merle Haggard (who died just recently). Lots of photos and probably lots of tidbits of information about him that you never knew. Also, some information about the resurgence of “house concerts” across the country. And a handful of songs with guitar chords for your use or to pass along to others. It is a good ‘un.

 

 

Issue 316 – St. Francis Dam in Story & Song

The Paregien Digest  –  Issue 316  –  December 5, 2015

 Stan Paregien, Editor

The 1928  St. Francis Dam Disaster:

The Story & A Song

by Stan Paregien Sr.

Copyrighted 2015

 

The St. Francis Dam was built between 1924 and 1926 in the San Francisquito Canyon up in the Sierra Pelona Mountains about 10 miles north of what today is Santa Clarita, California (the site is about 40 north of downtown Los Angeles). It was built both as an additional source of water for Los Angeles and as a way to control occasional flooding downstream in the Santa Clara Valley. The dam itself was a gravity dam made of concrete in was a curved fashion.

1928--43   St Francis Dam - William Mulholland

William Mulholland was both the General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the “Chief Engineer” (though he had no engineering degree; he taught himself by reading engineering and geology books). He was directly responsible for the construction and maintenance of the dam.

1928--31   Modern map St_Francis_Dam_area_terrain_relief_1_svg

The modern map, above, shows the historic location of the St. Francis Dam in the center of the map.  [“St Francis Dam area terrain relief 1” by Kbh3rd – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons ]

It was Mulholland himself who chose the site for the dam, and that was the moment the disaster began. That area was known to be unstable. The original plan for the dam was for it to be 175 feet high with a capacity of 30,000 acres of water. In 1925, after the first concrete had been poured, Mr. Mulholland approved a change to a height of 185 feet and a reservoir capacity of 38,000. All this with very little structural change.

1928--32   St Francis Dam nearing capacity - failed on Mar 12, 1928

The dam was completed on May 4, 1926 and steadily filled the reservoir behind it. Some cracks and leaks were noted into 1927, but they were considered normal and in some cases attempts were made to seal them. But in the spring of 1928, heavy rains pushed the dam toward its capacity . . . and, significantly, it began to really leak. Lots of leaks.

Staff and concerned citizens finally demanded that Mulholland come up and inspect the dam himself. He did so on March 11, 1928. He declared it was safe and such leaks were normal and that crews would fix them in the coming days. All was well. 

It just over 24 hours later, at exactly 11:57 p.m. on March 12th,  when the mountainside on the left end of the dam collapsed and brought down the dam. A wall of water—estimated at 12.4 billion gallons and at least 120 feet high–roared down the canyon at 18 mph, carrying, most of the structure of dam far down into the canyon below. When the flood entered the Santa Clara Valley, it careened to the right and followed the Santa Clara River bed west toward the Pacific ocean at a height of about 55 feet and a  speed of 12 mph. It was 54 miles from the dam to the mouth of the Pacific Ocean.

1928--34   St Francis Dam - map to Ventura

Many small communities and larger towns lay in the path of the raging wall of water. There were no warning systems in place. It wiped out the village of Castaic Junction, where Highway 126 and present-day Interstate 5 intersect.

Some five miles downstream the deluge hit the spot where my father worked and where we lived in the mid-1950s. My father, Harold Paregien, was a farm laborer in the walnut orchards for the farming division of the Newhall Land and Farming Company. We lived in an old farm house which someone told us had survived the flood, but I have no verification of that.

The house stood at the eastern end of “the flats” which ran a mile or so to the west. The house was about a hundred yards or so east of the Los Angeles County and Ventura County line, and on the south side of the railroad track (between the track and a 25 foot bluff overlooking the normally placid Santa Clara River).

About a half-mile west of our house, the mountains on each side crowded the riverbed. In the attached photo, below, please note a “notch” in the low mountain ridge about 1/2 of the way from the left side. Highway 126 ran through there and many called that notch  “The Blue Cut.” That ridge of the mountain formed a natural bottleneck for the flood and backed up the murky flood waters to a considerable depth. Simultaneously, it created a gigantic whirlpool before shooting out the pass like a high pressure fire hose. It was there in the west flats in Ventura County that a terrible loss of life took place. It normally would have been deserted, with our farm house to the east and another farm house perched high on the hill (notch) just to the northwest on Highway 126. The farmer who lived there worked for the orange orchard division of Newhall Land and Farming Company.

1928--30   St Francis Dam break --  Flood - Santa Clara Valley - west of LA-Ventura County Line on Hwy 126

The Southern California Edison electric company had rented a spot of Newhall Land & Farming Company’s land or a temporary tent city set up on the far west flats. Some 150 men were building a new electric line project through the valley. They were sleeping when, with only a few shouts of warning, the awful wall of water—estimated at 20 feet high–engulfed them. Most survived, but 84 died horrible deaths. The rumor was that the company’s cash box containing hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars, was buried somewhere downstream.

1928--41   St Francis Dam - site of Edison Construction Crew at 'Blue Cut'

1928--42   St Francis Dam - Farmer Joe Gotardi searching for wife and 5 kids

When it reached the orange orchards a mile or so down on the south side of the river bed, Newhall Land & Farming Company executives believed the wave of water was at least 60 feet high to reach up as far as it did. The flood continued west on past tiny Piru and doing major damage to the community of Bardsdale and the town of Fillmore (the latter being where I graduated from high school in 1959).

At about 1:30 a.m. on what by then was March 13, 1928, the lonely telephone operator on duty at the Santa Paula switchboard received an urgent call. It was from an area manager telling her that the St. Francis Dam had collapsed and a deadly wall of water was rushing her way down the Santa Clara Valley. That local operator, Louise Gipe, notified the police and then called the on-duty telephone operator in Saticoy, just to the west of Santa Paula, alerting them to the immediate danger. Both operators called and awoke as many residents as they could, especially in the lower areas nearer the river.

There in Santa Paula, two motorcycle officers for the California Highway Patrol, got the warning. They roared down to the areas near the river, knocked on doors and yelled the message to evacuate toward higher ground right then. Those brave men, officers Thornton Edwards and Stanley Baker, were able to alert scores and scores of sleeping residents to the danger and those folks passed the message on to many of their neighbors. Thus, the officers effectually saved hundreds of people from certain death. In recognition of their bravery, a statue was erected 2003 in Santa Paula in honor of them and to their memory.

1928--39   St Francis Dam - Santa Paula memorial to motorcycle offiers

Photo by Stan Paregien Sr.

The flood waters ravaged Santa Paula and parts of Ventura before dumping many bodies and tons of mangled houses and trees into the ocean. The inland tsunami reached the Pacific Ocean at about 5:30 a.m. on the morning of March 13, 1928. It had taken 5 1/2 hours for the leading edge of the massive, raging wall of water to travel from the dam site to the Pacific Ocean 54 miles away. The wall spewed into the ocean near the tiny community of Montalvo an awful cocktail that was two miles wide and full of human and animal remains, mangled metal, splintered wood, sewage, asbestos products, insecticides, solvents, oil and gasoline, and much, much more.

1928--38   St Francis Dam - map by Ventura, Calif Star -- I think

Early estimates of the deaths from the flood were widely inaccurate. Over time the best guesses were that somewhere between 400 and 600 people died. That truth was hard to come by since there were a number of undocumented farm workers who died in the flood. There were people who went missing and whose bodies were never recovered. There were scores of relief agencies, such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, and military groups recovering bodies along the 54 mile path of destruction. There were scores of funeral homes assisting in trying to identify and document a large number of badly damaged bodies. And bodies from the flood were found as far south as the coast of northern Mexico. Making the number of deaths even more fluid is the fact that periodically additional victims were  found in the ruble, not just for years but for decades. The last flood victim discovered was in 1994, buried in the sand and mud along the Santa Clara River.

However, a graduate student named Ann Stansell in 2014 concluded her investigation and documentation of the known flood victims. The student at California State University (Northridge) wrote her master’s thesis on the subject and spent nearly three years searching death certificates, newspapers, funeral home records, family documents, etc., to catalog those who died.

Ms. Stansell’s investigation concluded that the authorities actually recovered 306 bodies, but only 240 of them were ever identified. There were another 125 people who went missing and were never found. Of those 125 missing people, family members made death claims on only 79 of those. So the proven dead (306) and the still missing (125) totals up to 431 people.

In addition, Ms. Stansell tabulated in a spreadsheet format the available date on 306 victims. That includes their name, age, town of residence, location at the time of the flood, nearest relative, and which funeral home handled each body. In many cases, she also provides a photo of the victim (often with other members of the family). All of this, of course, helps to make these large death numbers more real and manageable.

Some of her may be found online at the web site for the Santa Clarita (Calif.) Historical Society at:  http://www.scvhistory.com/scvhistory/ – annstansell_damvictims022214.htm .

The loss of life was horrific and heart-wrenching. But don’t forget the physical damages. Train tracks and train bridges, highway bridges and paved roads were destroyed. Powerline poles, transformer boxes and transmission lines were knocked down. Irrigation and farm equipment were completely ruined. Whole dairies and small businesses and hundreds upon hundreds of individual homes were washed away or mangled beyond recognition.  Horses, cattle, pets of all descriptions were killed or injured. Cars and school buses and commercial trucks were buried in muck. Large parts of groves of walnut trees, orange trees and lemon trees simply vanished. Church buildings, retail stores, mom and pop restaurants, warehouses, bars and barbershops either smashed to small pieces, swept off their foundations or so badly water-logged they were not only immediately unusable but ultimately unfixable. It was a 54 mile long crisis of an unbelievable magnitude of misery. The figure for property damages, even in 1928 dollars, must have been in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  

Let’s see how that played out for one company, the huge Newhall Land & Farming Company based in Newhall (now Santa Clarita), Calif. This is just a summary of the various farm lands that the flood ruined. The flood destroyed 1,000 acres of alfalfa. It destroyed 600 acres of dry land farming. It ruined 400 acres where an orange orchard once grew. It destroyed 80 acres where a pecan tree orchard was located. That totals a whopping 2,080 acres of farm land taken out of production, much of it permanently.

1928--35   St Francis Dam - Wm Mulholland and Van Norman inspect failure

Several investigations took place right after the flood, as there was great public concern about whether the construction of the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River—a project hundreds of times larger than the St. Francis—was another dangerous thing. In the end, even after modern studies, the main culprit seems to have been Mulholland’s misjudgment about the location of the dam and the stability of the earth beneath and adjacent to the dam. The official coroner’s inquiry was a judgement not only against William Mulholland but against the system itself as they concluded: “The construction of a municipal dam should never be left to the sole judgment of one man, no matter how eminent.”

Some people were so angry they posted signs in their yards which read, “Kill Mulholland.” To his credit, William Mulholland accepted the blame for the disaster. Part of his testimony was this: “Don’t blame anyone else, you just fasten it on me. If there was an error in human judgment, I was the human, and I won’t try to fasten it on anyone else. On an occasion like this, I envy the dead.”

Although Mulholland was demonized by the public in general, his career was not over. He did lose his job with the city of Los Angeles, where his right-hand man, Harvey Van Norman became the Chief Engineer. Mulholland  kept a fairly low profile, but he was able to work as a consultant on many other engineering projects—including the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River.

In 1995, an geological engineering professor at the University of Missouri (at Rolla) wrote his analysis of what went wrong with the St. Francis Dam.

First of all, Dr. J. David Rogers concluded that, yes indeed, Mulholland chose the wrong spot for a dam. Dr. Rogers said that the problem, contrary to the earliest investigations, was with the eastern abutment (mountain) where the concrete dam was anchored rather than the western abutment. The problem with that eastern anchor is that it was made up of a rock formation called “Pelona schist.” It was an unstable and somewhat porous , spongy material. So as the dam was filled, that rock actually absorbed water and weakened, much like some composite flooring commonly found in manufactured homes will upon contact with water become a mushy sawdust with little or no strength to support anything.  

Second, Dr. Rogers said that Mulholland also made a fatal mistake when he arbitrarily raised the height of the dam by 10 feet without modifying the base of the dam from the original blueprints. That put way too much pressure on the abutment and on the dam itself.

Third, Mulholland did not include in the blueprints for the St. Francis Dam any sufficient provisions to counteract the factor called “hydraulic uplift.” This phenomenon, commonly known by professional engineers of the 1910s and later, actually results in the force of the water behind a dam “lifting” it slightly and tilting it forward (or downstream). The only place Mulholland did that was in the very center of the dam where he installed ten uplift relief walls at the base. That one section was the only part of the dam left standing, standing like a gravestone or a monument to human arrogance and/or ignorance.

So Dr. Rogers concluded that those three mistakes, together, made a failure of the structure almost inevitable.  And in 2004, a study by Donald C. Jackson (an Associate Professor of History at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania) and by Norris Hundley Jr. (Professor of American History at the University of California at Los Angeles) pointed to Mulholland’s lack of appreciation for the devastating effect of hydraulic uplift. They concluded, “William Mulholland understood the great privilege that had been afforded him to build the St. Francis Dam where and how he chose. Because of this privilege—and the decisions that he made—William Mulholland bears responsibility for the St. Francis Dam disaster.”

1928--40   St Francis Dam - Newhall, Ruiz Cemetery -- Wm S Hart

The failure of the St. Francis Dam still stands as the 2nd most deadly disaster in the entire history of California, only outranked by the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. There is one big distinction, however. The 1928 dam break is still number one in terms of a man-made disaster. And that event eventually resulted in revising and tightening laws related to building dams, and it resulted in establishing strict educational requirements and certifications for those who want to hold themselves out to the public as engineers.

 

Resources

 

Blasotti, Tony. “St. Francis Dam disaster: a receipe for failure, tragedy and heroism.“ Article found on the online version of the Ventura County Star newspaper, dated March , 2006. Found at:

 http://www.vcstar.com/news/2008/mar/12/the-st-francis-dam-disaster-80th-anniversary-a/

 

B-Westerns.Com

Has a nice bio of police officer Thornton Edwards and a couple of photos from his work in the movies.  http://www.b-westerns.com/villan71.htm

 

Dam Disaster.Com

http://www.sespe.com/damdisaster/shop.html

 

Evans, Diane (an engineer). “Deadly Flooding in the San Francisquito”.

http://civil-engineering.suite101.com/article.cfm/deadly_flooding_in_the_san_francisquito_canyon

 

Master, Shannon. “St. Francis Dam disaster: Mulholland’s Tragic Mistake.” March 22, 2009. The Signal (newspaper), Santa Clarita, Calif.     http://www.the-signal.com/news/archive/10939/

 

Newhall, A.M and George A. Newhall, Jr. “Report on St. Francis Dam Flood For The Newhall Land & Farming Company.”  March 24, 1928.

http://www.scvhistory.com/scvhistory/nlf-stfrancis.htm

Nichols, John. Images of America: St. Francis Dam Disaster. Chicago, IL: Arcadia Publishing, 2002.  [He is a resident of Santa Paula, Ca]

 

Norris, Michele. “The St. Francis Dam Disaster, The Second-worst Disaster in California History.” NPR Radio Broadcast on March 12, 2003. She interviews the daughter of the dam’s  Chief Engineer (Wm. Mulholland) and a woman who was 13 when her parents and  brother were lost in the flood and she was swept 9 miles downstream before being rescued. About 10 minutes long.    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1190341

Rock, Frank. Video interview with a resident of the area who has studied the flood for many years. This is a very well done video. About 30 minutes long.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7744662880949006284#

 

Rogers, J. David. “Lessons Learned from the St. Francis Dam Disaster.” Geo-Strata. March/April, 2006. [Found online at:    http://web.mst.edu/~rogersda/st_francis_dam/lessons_learned_from_the_st_francis_dam_failure(geostrata_mar-apr_2006).pdf

 

Rogers, J. David and Kevin James. “Mapping the St. Francis Dam Outburst Flood With GIS.” PowerPoint presentation with 29 slides.  [ Found online at: http://web.mst.edu/~rogersda/st_francis_dam/ ]

 

“St. Francis Dam.”  Wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Francis_Dam

 

St. Francis Dam Disaster (YouTube)

 

Ventura County Star. This newspaper which serves the entire county has produced a fantastic video experience of the flood. Be sure to watch this video at :   http://web.vcstar.com/video/08/damflyover0308/damflyover0308.html

 

Wilkman, Jon. “The St. Francis Dam Disaster” 

[ Found online at: http://www.wilkman.com/SFD/SFD%204.htm  ]

 

 

The St. Francis Dam Disaster Blues

aka  Sweetie Pie Blues

     

                               by Stan Paregien Sr

 

Copyrighted Jan. 27, 2010 by Stan Paregien Sr. All rights reserved. Play similar to “Blues Stay Away From Me” ( Recorded by The Delmore Brothers. Words and music by Alton Delmore, Rabon Delmore, Henry Glover & Wayne Raney.) Watch and listen to Stan singing his song at www.youtube.com/watch?v=q65NBvP7hmg ]

 1953--048   Sweetie Pie -- Fillmore, CA

 [D]   We called him Sweetie Pie just as long as I recall.

[G]   Yes, we called him Sweetie Pie as long as I re-  [D]  call.

Never heard nobody   [A7]  say Sweetie Pie’s real name.

It was plain ol’ Sweetie Pie, that’s   [D]  all.

 

Now as a kid I was told Sweetie Pie’s sad tale.

[G]   Yes, most everybody knew ’bout his sad  [D] tale.

His parents were killed   [A7]  in that flood of 1928,

When the St. Francis Dam did   [D]   fail.

 

Mr. Mulholland built a dam across a big canyon,

[G]   Some five miles northeast of Saugus   [D]  town.

He built it to send water   [A7]  to Los Angeles,

But on March 12th that dam crashed on   [D]  down.

 

CHORUS:

         Oh, Mr. Mulholland, you done Sweetie Pie wrong.

         [G]  Yes, Mr. Mulholland, you done every body   [D] wrong.

         You killed 431 people and   [A7] that’s why we grieve

         Through the words of this little ol’   [D]  song.

 

Oh Mr. Mulholland, you were the engineering man.

[G]  Yes, Mr. Mulholland, you were the engineering  [D] man.

But you chose the   [A7]  wrong danged location;

That’s when the St. Francis Dam disaster be-  [D]  gan.

 

 

That 12-story wall of water swept everything away.

[G] Yes, that giant wall of water swept everything a- [D] way.

The raging current buried hundreds   [A7]  there in the mud,

And others were washed  into the Pacific that   [D]  day.

 

 REPEAT CHORUS

 

Well, Sweetie Pie searched for his parents so dear.

[G]  Yes, searched from Piru to Fillmore for those so    [D]  dear.

He lived in that riverbed    [A7]  and looked and looked,

Never findin’ a trace of ’em year after   [D]   year.

 

I once saw ol’ Sweetie Pie near the river so still.

[G]   Yes, along that Santa Clara River so small and  [D]  still.

I was kinda scared of the  [A7]  strange actin’ old man,

But he just ignored me and walked up the   [D]  hill.

 

REPEAT CHORUS

 

Hey, Sweetie Pie, listen up wherever you may be.

[G]  Hundreds of other families still share your  [D] pain.

And we think about those  [A7]  500 innocent victims

Of the St. Francis flood each time we hear it  [D]  rain.

 

 

Now there’s just one more thing before I say goodbye,

[G]   Yes, there’s just one more thing before I up and [D]   scram.

Don’t ever buy yourself a house    [A7]  that is downstream

From any ol’ damned government    [D]  dam.

 

[Close the song by whistling the chorus.]

 

Song written and copyrighted at Edmond, Oklahoma on Jan. 27, 2010.

All rights are reserved.

 

 

END.

This entire manuscript, from the essay to the song above, is copyrighted by Stan Paregien Sr. All rights are reserved. However, permission to perform or recite the song is hereby given for personal or non-profit use. Any commercial use of the song or the essay requires the express written permission of the author. Contact him at paregien@gmail.com 

________________________________________________

 

 

 

Issue 307 – Marco Rubio — Part 1 of His Life

Issue 307 –   Oct. 10, 2015    –   The Paregien Journal    –    Stan Paregien Sr., Editor

One of the ascending stars in the Republican Party is Marco Rubio. He is currently the junior U.S. Senator from my adopted home state of Florida. And he is one of several people campaigning to win the Republican nomination to become their candidate for the 2016 presidential race.

What follows is a profile of Senator Rubio which I gleaned from his book titled An American Son: A Memoir (New York City: Sentinel, 2012).

Part I of this profile examines Senator Rubio’s rather modest family roots. While not born in a log cabin like Abe Lincoln, he does come from a line of folks who as Cubans had personal goals, dreams and ambitions only to wind up losing those and even losing their beloved country to Castro’s communism. It also shows how new generations of immigrants often become successful because of the examples of their parents and grandparents who taught them by example not to give up when faced with adversity, poverty and overwhelming odds. It is a story well worth a few minutes of your time.

*   *  *  *  *

Marco Rubio, AN AMERICAN SON -- book cover, front

Marco Rubio, AN AMERICAN SON -- book cover, back

Part 1

Rubio’s ancestors were hard working men and women in Cuba. His great-grandparents – Carlos Pérez and Ramona García —  had emigrated from Spain to Cuba, where they bought land and began farming near the village of Jicotea. Carlos did quite well as a farmer but, unlike many of his neighbors, he refused to sell his land at fire-sale prices to wealthy businessmen who operated with the blessing of the American military.

Ramona was the matriarch of the family, and it was a large one. She had three children by a previous relationship and an additional fourteen children by this last relationship, but only married Mr. Pérez when he was on his death bed.

His maternal grandfather, Mr. Pedro Victor García was born on January 31, 1899 in the dirt-poor province of Villa Clara. That was the year that the Spanish occupation forces left the country for good, only to be replaced by American military leaders.

In 1900, the political leaders in the United States decided to annex Cuba. However, the Cubans were allowed to vote on the issue. And, against the prospect of American-generated prosperity for the island, Cubans voted against annexation and in favor of independence.

Marco Rubio’s father, Pedro Victor García, came down with polio as a child. The disease left him with a crippled leg which ruled out most farm work. It was a blessing, though, in that his parents kept him in school. He would be the only one of the 17 children to get a decent education and to have any real hope of getting a fairly good job.

Mr. Garcia loved to read and to learn everything he could about his world. He became a great believer in the future of the republic of Cuba. And he was a firm advocate of intellectual freedom and self-reliance. So much so that when his father died, he declined to change his last name (his mother’s name) to that of his father even though it meant he would not receive any of the man’s estate. Late in his life he would pass those high virtues on to his grandson, Marco Rubio.

Pedro Victor García was plucky enough to apply for a job with the railroad and lucky enough to get a job as a telegraph operator. Then he began working his way up the career ladder.

Along the way, he traveled on business to the town of Cabaiguán. There he met, fell in love with and married Dominga Rodríguez. She had grown up in an environment of grinding poverty and she had only finished the 6th grade. Still, they were married in 1920 when he was 21 and she was almost 17. They had children and made a nice living that afforded a large house staffed with servants and nannies.

However, late in 1924, their world was turned upside down. Pedro Victor García suffered not only humiliation about a significant financial loss when he was demoted at work (in favor of a man with better political connections) and, ultimately, was fired. Their situation put them into a crisis mode as he, with his severe physical disability, simply could not find a good job. So he walked all over the city to accept part-time, occasional work doing menial jobs. That in itself was a challenge, since he could not walk without a cane and often became unbalanced and fell and hurt himself.

By 1930, Pedro Victor García and his family had been forced out of their fine home. They settled into a one-room house in a poor section of town. Still, their family dignity kept them from acting like victims and from looking like their often dirty and dejected neighbors. And somehow, Mr. García scraped together enough money to keep his large family fed and clothed.

Then one day he was hired to work in a tobacco mill. No, it was not a manufacturing job. He simply read interesting and inspiring articles and stories to the scores of workers who worked at tables hand-rolling cigars and cigarettes. The company’s idea was that such exposure would lessen the drudgery of such tedious work, thus resulting in a lower turnover of employees. The work was easy for Pedro and he enjoyed learning the material and making it as entertaining as possible, but it did not pay much at all.

Slowly, though, his own dreams for his career and for the members of his family began to fade in the face of stark reality. His children had to find jobs of their own at very young ages. That included Marco Rubio’s own mother. The entire family, hoping for better job opportunities, left Cabaiguán in 1940 and moved to the capital city of Havana.

There in Havana, Pedro Victor García and his family moved into a small apartment in a low-income government housing project. Each building had several apartments, but they were so austere they had to share a bathroom in the common areas.

Mario Rubio’s mother, Oriales García, went to work as a cashier at a small retail store. She gave every cent she made to her own mother who handled the family’s money and paid their bills.

PATERNAL GRANDPARENTS

Meanwhile, Marco Rubio’s paternal grandparents were having their own struggles. Antonio Rubio’s parents both died when he was only 14. He lived with relatives for a time, then ran away to Havana where he would tackle life on its unforgiving terms. Eventually, he met and married Eloisa Reina there in Havana. They, then, were the paternal grandparents of Marco Rubio.

Antonio and Eloisa (Reina) Rubio had their first child in 1920 when he was about 35 and she was about 28 years of age. That child died at birth, but they had seven other children including Marco’s father, Mario Rubio (born Oct. 29, 1926). Antonio and Eloisa ran a small catering business, even though she suffered from bouts of tuberculosis many periods of her life. She would cook breakfast and lunch meals for workers at a big cigar factory and Antonio would deliver the meals to them.

Their successful enterprise enabled them to live in a large, comfortable house. But their own world turned upside down then that cigar factory closed. Antonio Rubio and his family had no choice but to give up their business and home and to move in with relatives. From that day forward, Antonio’s ambitions and dreams were tempered with the cold reality that he would have to become a lowly-paid street vendor. He didn’t like it but he had to feed his family, so that is what he did.

Marco’s father, only eight years old at the time, had to quit school and go to work. He had not yet learned to read and write, but he was bright and learned those skills entirely on his own.

Then in 1935, Antonio Rubio’s beloved wife died of pneumonia (years before the invention of life-saving penicillin). She was only 42, and son Mario was only nine. That left Marco’s paternal grandfather with the sole responsibility for seven children between the ages of 16 and 4. He began to put more time into his work selling on the streets and largely leaving his children to care for themselves. It was not unusual at all for the entire family to go to bed with hunger gnawing at their stomachs. Eventually, Antonio Rubio moved in with another woman and, though they never married, they had one child together.

Young Mario went to work as a security guard in a nearby cafeteria and would continue to support himself for the next 70 years. At age 14 he began living out on his own. And at age 19, his father Antonio died from pneumonia, so he learned to be a survivor.  He was allowed to sleep on wooden crates in a storage area at the cafeteria, as did a few other young men.

One day Mario Rubio struck up a conversion with a co-worker, cashier Oriales García. They began dating and she told friends he was really handsome, that he looked like the American actor Tyrone Power. They married on April 28, 1949 and lived in a small apartment. Mario was 22 and Oriales was 18. Their first child, Mario Victor Rubio, was born in 1950.

Mario dreamed of starting his own radio and TV repair shop or of even becoming a singer and entertainer. Oriales had a dream of becoming an actress. Those dreams—like the dreams held for a time by their respective parents and grandparents—faded rapidly as the economic realities of raising a family began to dominate their lives. Plus, Mario injured a leg by stepping into a hole during a baseball game. The damage was so bad that he would forever walk with a distinct limp.

1957: FROM CUBA TO MIAMI

One of Oriales (García) Rubio’s sisters emigrated to the United States. That woman saw opportunity everywhere and began urging them to move there, too. So on May 27, 1956, Mario and Oriales (García) Rubio and son Mario Victor Rubio—along with Oriales’ parents — Pedro V.  and Dominga (Rodríguez) — García arrived in New York City. The harsh winter there proved too much, and the next year they all moved to Miami, Florida.

In Miami, the elder Mario and his wife Oriales both went to work in a factory where aluminum lawn chairs were assembled. Soon he was also training on the side to work as a bar boy (a bartender’s assistant). Then he was hired by the Roney Plaza Hotel in beautiful Miami Beach. But he was still dreaming of opening his own small business. In fact, he opened several such ventures on the side and they all failed.

By 1959, Mario Rubio had become a bar tender and was making a decent wage. But he regularly worked from early evening until about 2 a.m. or so. And that year he and Oriales had their second child, a daughter they named Barbara Rubio. And the patriarch of the relocated clan, Pedro V. García, returned  to the old country by himself. In March of 1961, with Fidel Castro ruling Cuba and moving steadily toward Communism, Oriales Rubio returned to Cuba and convinced her ailing father to return to Miami with her. And he did so. But he would never again see his native country nor would he ever again see his brothers and sisters.

In April of 1961, some Cubans-in-exile — urged on and supported by the Central Intelligence Committee of the United States — attacked Castro’s forces at the Bay of Pigs. They were soundly defeated and it was an embarrassment for the John F. Kennedy administration.

In 1962, the United States levied an all-out economic embargo against Cuba. It was in October of 1962 that the leaders of Russia and the United States were engaged in a “stare down” called “the Cuban missile crisis.” Russia blinked and took their missiles back home.

1964 was the year that Mario Rubio took his young family out to Los Angeles, where he thought he and his wife might be able to do better, financially. This was in the middle of America’s cultural revolution and racial rioting. So they returned to Miami and in 1966 bought their very first house. Oriales’ parents, Pedro and Dominga García took up residence in a nearby apartment. That very next year, Dominga had a heart attack and died.

It was on May 28, 1971 that Mario and Oriales welcomed a completely unplanned blessing to their home: a baby boy they named Marco _____ Rubio. And, lo and behold, in 1972 they added a baby girl, Veronica Rubio. Another celebration came when, in 1975, Mario and Oriales Rubio proudly became citizens of these United States of America.

The Catholic Church was destined to become an important factor in the life of young Marco Rubio. As a child, his mother and he attended Mass each Saturday evening just down the street at St. Raymond Catholic Church.

Marco was nearing his 5th birthday when the manager of the hotel where his father worked up and offered him a job managing an apartment complex near the airport. His boss said he would get a free apartment, the same wages, and would also be able to earn extra money by working at the hotel as a bar tender on the weekends. Mario Rubio jumped at the chance, and the family moved to the apartment.

And then disaster hit, again. The owners of the apartment complex sold it and Mario was without a job and the family was without a home. Soon his father found another job as an apartment manager, this  time in Hialeah. The family moved into a house nearby. Marco started school at Kensington Park Elementary.

A few months later, a large management company took over the apartments in Hialeah and, again, the elder Mario Rubio was without a job. Dispirited and desperate, again, he began working with a relative who painted houses. The hotels were not hiring. Tourism in Miami was in a downward spiral, partly because of the widespread media coverage of the area’s increase in crime – particularly murders and drug usage and sales.

1979:  VIVA LAS VEGAS

So one day early in May of 1979, Mario and Oriales Rubio loaded up their two youngest children and their meager belongings and moved to the bright lights of Las Vegas. That’s when Mario, now 52 years old, ran into the twin evils of iron-clad unionism and age discrimination. The hotels were booming and hiring, but only at entry level positions and wages. The union bosses made sure outsiders were at the bottom of the lists and that the better jobs were filled by younger union members moving up. Mario had been a head bartender for over 20 years, but now he had to settle for a job at a casino hotel as a bartender’s assistant at much less than he had been making.

They lived in a working class neighborhood at 3104 East Lava Avenue on the north side of Las Vegas. Their first friends were a family who were Mormons and who invited them to their church’s social activities and worship services. Soon the traditionally Catholic Rubio family, minus the skeptical Mario, were regulars at the Mormon Church. And soon Marco, his sister Veronica and his mother Oriales were official baptized members of the Mormon Church.

Marco wrote of those days, “All in all, the Mormon Church provided the sound moral structure my mother had wanted for us, and a circle of friends from stable, God-fearing families. When we left the church a few years later, mostly at my instigation, we did so with gratitude for its considerable contribution to our happiness in those years” (p. 40).

Marco and his younger sister Veronica attended C.C. Ronnow Elementary School near their house. The racial makeup of the school was much more diverse than they had experienced back in Miami. Instead of mostly Cuban-Americans, here the students were white, a few Hispanics and many black students (bused from a neighborhood several miles from there).

During his Las Vegas days, Marco took advantage of many opportunities to interact with and to learn from his grandfather, Pedro Victor García (whom they called Papá). The old man spent many hours a day sitting on their small front porch, particular after meals, when he would light up a Cuban cigar and read a newspaper or a book. And he was free with his praise of the United States and of such men as Harry Truman and Franklin D. Roosevelt. And he graciously invited Marco to ask him questions on any topic.

In his 2012 book, An American Son: A Memoir, Marco wrote lovingly about how his maternal grandfather, Pedro Victor García, had such a great influence on his own life:

“Papá seemed to know something about almost everything, or everything that interested me anyway. He was a gifted storyteller, the talent he had learned as a cigar factory lector [back in Cuba – sp]. His accounts were exciting and forceful, rich in imagery and telling anecdotes. They held me spellbound.

“My interest in politics began around the time we moved to Vegas, and by 1980 politics was a preoccupation second only to football. Two events had captured my attention that year: Senator Edward Kennedy’s challenge to President Carter for the Democratic presidential nomination and the Iran hostage crisis. I was a Kennedy supporter. With rapt attention I watched the Democratic convention in New York, and was crushed by the outcome of what seemed an excruciatingly slow delegate count that gave the nomination to President Carter. I was inspired by Senator Kennedy’s concession speech.

“My grandfather didn’t admire either of them. Ronald Reagan was his man. He despised President Carter because of the Iran hostage crisis, a humiliation Papá seemed to feel personally. America must be a strong country, he constantly preached, or the world would succumb to darkness, and a strong country requires a strong leader. He thought the  world didn’t respect or fear Carter. He was weak, he said, and other countries preyed on his weakness. That’s why the Soviets had invaded Afghanistan and the Iranians had seized our embassy. He blamed the failed attempt to rescue the hostages on cuts to defense spending Carter had made. Ronald Reagan would restore our strength, he assured me. He would confront communism. Our allies would follow him and our enemies would respect him.

“When Reagan was elected and Iran released our hostages on his inauguration,  Papá made certain to point out to me that it confirmed everything he had been telling me. Reagan had barely been sworn into office, and our enemies were already capitulating to him. Reagan’s election and my grandfather’s allegiance to him were defining influences on me politically. I’ve been a Republican ever since. More than just help me develop a political identity, my grandfather instilled in me the importance of strong leadership and conviction. He urged me to study and learn but, more important, to do something useful with the knowledge I acquired.

“I wrote a paper in the fifth grade praising President Reagan for restoring the U.S. military after it had been demoralized and allowed to decay in the years before his presidency. I recently found it in a red suitcase that had belonged to my grandfather, and still contains some of his possessions.

“Papá was an unwavering supporter of President Reagan for the remainder of his life. He loved Reagan’s anti-Soviet and prodemocracy rhetoric, and he staunchly defended the more controversial Reagan policies. I particularly remember his outspoken support for Reagan’s development of the MX missile, and support for the Contras in Nicaragua and the government of El Salvador.

“My grandfather’s talks weren’t always about history or current events. Neither were they scrupulously objective. He wasn’t an admirer of our new church [The Mormon Church – sp]. He was never a religious man, although I know he believed in God, and openly acknowledged Him. But I never saw him attend any religious service except on the single occasion when he agreed to accompany us to Sunday services at the Mormon Church. After we can home and ate lunch, he went to smoke his cigar on the porch and I followed him. I asked him what he had thought of the services, and he told me he would never go back because he hadn’t seen a single African American in attendance. He wasn’t entirely accurate. There was a biracial family in the congregation at the time. But the argument didn’t impress my grandfather, and true to his word, he kept his distance from our church.

“He could be quite sharp in his criticism of people, even people close to him, of whose behavior he disapproved. He frequently found fault with some of my Miami cousins who he believed lacked direction and ambition. When the Culinary Workers Union staged a strike at my father’s place of employment, which my father, as a member of the union, was obliged to join, he told my father he hoped Reagan would fire them all as he did the striking air traffic controllers.

“For reasons he never shared with me, Papá didn’t like my friends, the Thiriots. When they called the house and asked for me, he would hang up the phone. When they came to the door, he would tell them I wasn’t at home. Some of my behavior frustrated him. He couldn’t abide my passion for football and resented my refusal to play baseball. He loved Tommy Lasorda and the LA Dodgers and was hurt when I wouldn’t agree to watch their games with him.

“He had odd quirks. He liked to call my sister by an invented nickname that scrambled the letters of her name, ‘Canirove’ [for Veronica – sp]. He constantly drummed his knuckles on a table or the arm of a chair in a specific and unvarying rhythmic pattern, a tick I now possess. He claimed to be part Chinese, which he was not. He boasted he was directly related to José Martí [a Cuban intellectual who championed independence from Spain – sp], whom he slightly resembled, but who is not, according to any known records, one of our ancestors. In his last years, he insisted he was born an American citizen around the turn of the century in Tampa, Florida, where Martí had lived in exile for a time. We kept an old Universal weight-lifting machine that I used to train for football in the rec room in our house that also served as his bedroom. He frequently complained that the contraption wasted electricity. When I explained that it didn’t use electricity, he ignored me.

“My father [ Mario Rubio – sp ] like to tease my grandfather about little things, his quirks and some of his opinions. Most of it was good-natured kidding, and it didn’t anger my grandfather. It might have annoyed him a little at times, but he never showed it. ‘Okay, Mario. Whatever you say, Mario,’ was usually the only response he would give. My mother, on the other hand, would get angry at my father. She thought his teasing was disrespectful, and would scold him for it.

“My father probably shared my grandfather’s political views, but he rarely discussed politics with my grandfather or with me when I was young, or with anyone as far as I know. He was consumed by the business of making a living and raising his children, and showed little interest in much else. He shared the family’s antipathy to communism and visceral dislike for talk about redistributing wealth. Like my grandfather, he believed such schemes led only to entrenching the power of the regime at the expense of the powerless, who lost jobs and opportunities because their employers had fled the [Cuban – sp] regime that had confiscated their property.

“My father and grandfather were different in many respects. They had different personalities, and neither was given to effusive expressions of affection. But they loved each other. My grandfather admired how committed my father was to our family, how hard he worked to give us a decent home, now carefully he protected us. To my father, the young refugee from an unhappy home, my grandfather and grandmother were his first experience with two loving parents since his mother had died.

“My grandfather was my mentor and my closest boyhood friend. I learned at his feet, relied on his counsel and craved his respect. I still do.” He constantly urged me to study hard and go to college. He wanted Veronica and me to live accomplished lives when we grew up. He wanted us to have not jobs, but distinguished careers that would give our lives purpose and the social status he had always wanted for himself. He would scold me for performing poorly in school, but he never let me believe I was incapable of being successful. He knew I could be, and he helped me prepare for it. His dreams for us were his legacy.

“He taught me many things, but none more important than the conviction that I must not waste the opportunities my parents had sacrificed to give us and our country made available to us. I’ve always believed, even when I was an inattentive and undisciplined student, that the time would arrive for me to become serious and do something important with my life, and I would be ready for it. I believe it because Papá taught me to believe it. And that, more than the wealth of knowledge he shared with me, more than the epics of history he evoked so powerfully for me, more than his opinions and his eccentricities, has made all the difference in the world to me.”

[ The long quote, above, was taken from Marco Rubio’s book An American Son: A Memoir (New York City: Sentinel, 2012), pp. 44-47. This copyrighted material is used here under the “Fair Use” clause which permits use for non-commercial purposes not likely to have an adverse financial effect on the copyright owner. ]

A - Bar -- The Paregien Journal -- brite blue, white and maroon -- created by Stan Paregien 2015--06--20

Muslim Logic -- posted on the internet in 2015

2015--09--16 '60s Folk Music Show at Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa

Aging -- generations -- Cartoon, THE FAMILY CIRCUS by Bil Keane - 2015-09-27

Aging -- music -- Denis the Menace cartoon - your frisbees play music

Aging -- perfect hearing aide for men - 2015

Aging -- women -- crazy old lady in my mirror

img20150930_17121334

Me and My Red Ryder BB Gun

1952--005--B--StanParegien-BBgun--FillmoreCA

Red Ryder BB gun by Daisy

Ah, yes, those were the days. I sure do wish I had my trusty Daisy BB gun back, again. It was a “Red Ryder” model, named in honor of the fictional cowboy character who first appeared in comic books, then on radio (with little Bobby Blake, later known as off-beat actor Robert Blake, playing “Little Beaver”), and finally on the Silver Screen (i.e., black and white movies). And BB gun had a genuine wood stock, not one of those hollow plastic things. I can hear right now the soft, rattling sound those brass-looking, small BBs as I tipped their round carton up and poured them in the storage tube running right beneath the barrel.  

1941 -- Red Ryder comic book with Little Beaver -- April, 1941

Red-Ryder -- artist Fred Harman

The Red Ryder character was the creation of two men:  Stephen Slesinger (a publisher) and Fred Harman (a talented artist and illustrator). The comic strip began late in 1938, reached a maximum syndication exposure of 750 newspapers, and then quietly died in 1964. It was also a radio program for several years.

In the some 35 Red Ryder movies, the hero was played by a variety of actors. In 1940, it was diminutive Don Barry who played in a 12-episode serial called “The Adventures of Red Ryder” (Tommy Cook played his sidekick, Little Beaver). After that series, Don Barry was nicknamed Don “Red” Barry and it stuck.

Red Ryder -- Don Barry as RR and Bobby Blake as LB

Then came the memorable films made by Bill “Wild Bill” Elliott and handsome Allen “Rocky” Lane, with Bobby Blake playing Little Beaver in all those films. The final four Red Ryder films were done in color and starred actor Jim Bannon with Don Kay Reynolds as his young friend Little Beaver. Two different TV pilots were filmed, one starring Jim Bannon and the other starring Allen Lane, but no one optioned them.

Now, . . . you do know what will happen . . . for sure . . . , if you give a kid a BB gun, don’t you? You certainly know if you have watched any of the annual showings of “A Christmas Story” (1983). He will shoot himself in the eye, that’s what will happen. That sorta wierd film has a sold cult-like core of fans who could never get enough of adult actor Darren McGaven (“the father”), Melinda Dillon (“the mother”) and  child actor Peter Billingsley (“Ralphie, the son with the BB gun”).  

1983  --  A Christmas Story

Well, it is time for an overdue confession. And it has to do with me pulling the trigger on my trusty Red Ryder BB gun and, . . . sure ’nuff, shooting my cousin in the eye (or at least the edge of it). Sad, but true.

That dastardly deed took place in about 1950. My parents (Harold and Evelyn Paregien) and my sister, Roberta, and I lived in an old farm house right on the south side of Highway 126 (about 3 miles west of Santa Paula, Calif.). My dad was a farm hand on the Todd Estate. He irrigated the orange trees, pruned them, fertilized them and lit “smudge pots” around them in the winter to try to keep them from freezing.

So it was that we lived next to 75 or more acres of Valencia orange trees and right next to a “barranca” (or very small creek; there was a highway bridge over it less than a hundred yards from our house). And that orchard and the barranca were wonderful places for kids to play. And to get into trouble.

“The kids,” in this case would be my sister and myself and assorted (or maybe a sordid) bunch of friends and cousins. The cousin who lived closest to us, and who even today is more like a brother to me, was Jerry Russell Paregien. Neither Jerry nor I ever heard our middle names used unless we were in some kind of trouble with an adult.

Now, . . . we kids had this little game we would play. Well, one of many games we played. This one involved throwing oranges at one another. The only rule was that you were supposed to be at least 15 feet away and you couldn’t hit the other person above the waist. This game obviously ignored the orchard owner’s number one rule: don’t pick my oranges. Let’s just say we thinned the crop so the remaining ones would get more nourishment. And, given the fact that all parties involved were running and jumping and squatting down to keep from getting hurt, sometimes there were . . . uh . . . accidents. Nothing too serious and the bruises usually where the sun does not usually shine.

Game #2 was, well . . . a bit more dangerous. So my sister and others of our young friends and cousins were not allowed to play “big guy stuff.” That usually meant that Jerry and I would square off in cold and calculated duels in the sun. Sometimes in the frequent coastal morning fog. It was just Jerry and his rusty, . . . er, I mean trusty BB gun and me and my superior weaponry, my cherished Red Ryder BB gun. 

The rule was similar to that of Game #1, except that here we understood we needed a greater distance between us. Still no shooting above the waist. It was a great bloodless sport, chasing and dodging one another in and among the orange trees. Sometimes we even yelled words which we had heard our fathers use on occasion. In those days we wore denim jeans (mine were of the Levi denomination). So, when by luck or by accidental skill, one of us actually shot the other guy there was only a sharp sting that lasted a couple of minutes. I don’t remember anything more permanent, like a bruise or such. 

Usually.

Usually did not apply to the day I pert near kilt my cousin Jerry. That’s how future generations would tell the awful story. This is my own acount of the incident (easy for me to say) and I’m sticking with it. 

I guess Jerry had spent the night with us there on the Todd Estate. My mother probably served us a bowl of The Breakfast of Champions, then out the door we ran with our legally purchased firearms. We usually carried at least two extra rolls of BBs. One cannot afford to be caught with one’s Roy Rogers underwear around one’s ankles in the middle of a firefight. 

Usually (that word, again), we would run deeply into the orange orchard for our diehard duels of destiny. Not this time. Instead, we went a couple of hundred yards south of our house, along the barranca. That was prime hunting territory for sparrows, bluejays and red-winged blackbirds. Sometimes for big game, like ground squirrels or one of Bugs Bunny’s little cousins. But today, . . . today we were after much bigger and much more dangerous game: each other.

Jerry lost the coin toss and made his way across the barranca to the other bank, near the edge of another orange orchard owned by some other farmer. There we stood, glaring at each other like tribal gladiators. I yelled out something like, “Let the games b-e-g-i-n !” And that got the battle into high gear. Seems like that’s kinda how John Wayne did it, too.

My merciless, mercinary cousin lifted his cannon, . . . er, I mean, . . . BB gun and fired a round in my direction. It zipped past me into a bush at my side. I responded with a quick cock of my gun’s lever and shot at him from the hip — just like Palladin or Steve McQueen would have done. Only they always hit something, even with the first shot. Neither Jerry nor I had that kind of professional skill, but we were working on it.

You see, dear reader, a sophisticated BB gun shooter will expect to fire a few rounds without hitting the target. One has to adjust for windage and for the fact that the arch of the BB would rapidly descend after 35 yards or so. Then there was the fact that, in this particular case, the target in question absolutely refused to stand still and play fair. Of course, that applied to both of us.

Right there in the middle of this blazing battle, I put my left index finger up in the air to test for windage. And, there being no windage, I lifted my BB gun a smidge higher than usual (yikes, that word, again). And I stood tall and brave as I carefully sighted in my adversary. Then, with my steady right index finger, I squeezed off a shot. I could see it easily traverse the barranca and head like a meteor toward cousin Jerry. As usual, I figured to hit him on or about his front pants pocket or on his skinny thigh. This, however, was not one of those “usual” days.

Instead, that sorry sucker of a BB followed an elongated trajectory that caused it to smack right into the corner of Jerry’s left eye. He dropped his own weapon and yelled like he had been shot. Well, duh. He had. And he didn’t stop there. He hadn’t lost his mind entirely, because he did pick up his own BB gun. And then he lit out for our house like a dog scalded with turpentine. And he was yelling and crying, then crying and yelling. Maybe even using some of those few choice adult words we knew.

Meanwhile, I had little time to savor my extraordinary victory. Fact is, I took off running like crazy, too. I was hoping I could catch him at the bridge, tackle him and shut him up. Maybe threaten him or, as a last resort, bribe him. Anything that would keep my tail from an agitated momma whoopin’. Alas, neighbors, that was not to be. That little varmit, . . . er, I mean . . . my dear cousin had put his hiney in overdrive. He crossed that bridge like he was competing at a track meet and easily beat me to the house.

By the time I emerged from our orange orchard and approached the house, I could hear Jerry’s wailing account of this little incident as something akin to attempt manslaughter. I knew that could not be true. Heck, he wasn’t even a man yet. Or me, either. 

When I had to stand before the Judge (my mother), I wept and wailed and pleaded my case. She was not impressed. So I threw myself on the mercy of the court. The Judge was fresh out of mercy on that day. First, she made me apologize to my own goofy, hairy-legged cousin for what was clearly an accident or–what else do lawyers say?–an act of God. Second, she gave me a lickin’ to remember and I did not just go on tickin’.

That was the very last time we ever played that doggone game.

To tell you the awful truth, though, I recently thought about challenging ol’ Jerry to a rematch. We would each have to go out and buy one of those gol-darned plastic BB guns. But I betcha I could raise blisters on his bony behind, this time.

Oh, hey, hold the cellphone. I forgot a couple of things.

Jerry Russell Paregien spent twenty-five years as an officer with the California Highway Patrol. That means each and every one of those 25 years he had to re-qualify on both his pistol and his rifle. And, how the heck could I forget this: he actually taught marksmanship at the headquarters of the CHP in Sacramento. In recent years, he even wrote two eBooks–available on Amazon.com– on certain pistols. And right now my eyesight–thanks to cataracts–is just not like it never was. 

Okay, that’s it. Negatory on that BB gun rematch idea.

I wonder though. Does anyone know whether Jerry is any good at checkers?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Stan’s writings on this web/blog site are all copyrighted. They may shared with your friends, but any commercial use is specifically excluded without Stan’s written permission.

END.

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 265 – A Tribute to Harold Paregien

Issue 265     —    The Paregien Journal    —    December 5, 2012
A Tribute to Harold Paregien
by Stan Paregien, Sr.
My father, Harold Paregien, was born on December 5, 1912. So today, December 5th, marks the 100th anniversary of his birth. And in honor of this hard-working, family-loving and unassuming man I have written a short book in tribute to him which I have simply titled, “Harold Paregien.” The 61 pages contain the story of his life, both in text and with loads of photographs.
Though he was born in Oklahoma and lived there until his mid-twenties, he spent most of his adult life within a 25 mile radius of Fillmore, Calif. He farmed on the Todd Estate (west of Santa Paula), the Newhall Ranch (right at the Los Angeles County and Ventura County line on Highway 126), between Piru and I-5. And he worked for the several years for the Samuel Edwards Ranch 1 mile west of Piru. Our family consisted of dad, my mom Evelyn, and my sister Roberta (now Roberta Fournier).
My short book (mostly photos) on my father, Harold Paregien, is now available online at no charge. So you may either read it online or download the PDF file to your own computer to keep and/or to distribute to others. You’ll find this book and some other items I’ve written at: