Cougars’ Tales

Issue Number 3                  -                  Late Summer 1999

Camden High School’s Electronic Newspaper

Editor Tom Rose, Class of ’74

Post Office Box 881 Los Gatos CA 95031


Camden Web Site:



Cougars' Eye View of the 1999 All Year Reunion. 1

New Construction at11 Winchester Drive In Site. 12

No Longer With Us. 22

Camden’s First Principal Passes On. 23

Heard Around The Quad. 28

Mystery Photo. 72

Cougar’s Tales Premiere Issue. 74



Cougars' Eye View of the 1999 All Year Reunion

Special to Cougars’ Tales by Ken Rush - Class of 1972

The 1999 "All Year reunion" has come and gone and is now just another part of the rich history that is Camden High School. The day began for some of us at 9:00 A.M. at the old campus. As the morning moved on, more and more volunteers arrived for what we hoped would be the biggest reunion yet and we were not disappointed!

67 Carmen Winters-Rous and her husband, 64 Bill Rous were the first on the scene and were immediately joined by 66 Bill Shepard. The Trio were then joined by this writer and at 9:30 what was once our old P.E. field began its transformation into the 1999 reunion.

The two Bills, being mechanically able, drew the task of erecting the first of three tents that would grace the fields of Camden for the day.

Alums in the Sun

72 Ken Rush being unable (or unwilling) to do physical work set to the task of building a computer center equipped to scan yearbooks and print picture nametags for the Camdenites as they arrived. This is where we hit the first snag of the day. After the computers were all set up, scanner attached, and power applied, the computer issued its first of several warnings for the day, "No Keyboard attached, press any key to continue." The keyboard was still safely sitting on Ken's kitchen table, right next to the food and drinks that also missed the reunion. Undaunted, a quick call to Ken's Dad produced a keyboard and the set-up continued.

Before long, 66 John Wiley, 66 Judy Rush, and the entire host of Camden volunteers arrived and the 1999 reunion was beginning to take shape. Carmen and Bill busily staffed the registration table and T-shirt sales. John dug right in and started fine tuning the nametag printing and scanning operation. But due to an error in scheduling our DJ, Richard Campbell was unable to do the music this year, so he set-up a music station that Ken Rush took charge of. And as is his nature, Ken treated the Camdenites to a barrage of 60's music ranging from the Animals to Zeppelin.

Former Teacher Dennis Craig

The nametags were an instant hit and many thanks have to go out to all the helpers we had pre-scanning photos and preparing "yes" lists for people that said they were coming. John worked above and beyond the call of duty trying to tweak the nametags so they would be "just right" and his efforts showed by the many smiles on the faces of those that we could supply with nametags, before we simply ran out of time and had to say "Next Year." ...Did anyone see 80 Denise Brown walking around the reunion with her 1980 nametag looking somewhat different than her Grad picture? If you did, that was my wife Melody (A 1974 Grad of Fairfield High) pretending to be a Camdenite and seeing if she could bluff any members of 1980 into believing she really was Denise.

We had a strong showing of Graduates, with the unofficial count being close to 225 people, 125 of which were Camdenites. A large group photo was taken using the old gym as a background and will be posted on the Camden High Websites once it is developed. The weather was great and people mingled, reminisced and shared the common bond of belonging to Camden High School.

Like all good things the Camden High Reunion had to come to an end and by about 5:00 all the tents, tables, and computers were being packed up and loaded back into the cars they came in. Many friendships were rekindled, many memories were dusted off and brought back to the forefront of our minds, and all and all, it was a very good day.

If for any reason you were unable to make it this year, fear not, C2K (Camden 2000) has already been scheduled for next year, July 29th 2000 and the ever busy Camden volunteers are planning a bigger, better and even more fun event than the two previous "All year reunions."

An undertaking of this size can not be done by one or two people and I would like to take this space to thank all those that put so much time and effort into this years event. We had volunteers from at least 4 states, many of them that could not make the reunion, but wanted to be a part of it. We thank you and appreciate your hard work.

There were over 200 people at the reunion and each of them have their own views and memories of the events, these are mine and THANK YOU for allowing me to share them with you!..See you next year at C2K!


New Construction at

Winchester Drive In Site

The long dormant  “passion pit” of Campbell is arising from the ashes to become a research and development park.   Where once stood the huge screens of the Winchester Drive In, drivers on highway 17 near the San Tomas overpass can now see the first of four tilt-up concrete structures being built. Much discussion and controversy was involved in deciding the properties fate. Eventually the City of Campbell’s financial needs and the limited access to the property determined the course to be taken.


First of four new structures – Note the Pruneyard building in the background


Originally located on Winchester Boulevard in the 1950’s, the drive in was relocated in 1967 to make way for San Tomas Expressway (Bullwhip Griffin and The Russians Are Coming were the featured movies opening night at the newly expanded twin screen theater.) In 1971 a third screen was added.  These were the glory years for drive ins in the area.  Born primarily to serve blue-collar workers who didn’t want to have to “clean-up” to go out and parents with young children, the acceptance of casual attire and the end of the baby boom spelled doom for most of these theaters starting in the seventies.  At one time this area featured the El Rancho, San Jose, Bayshore, Capitol, Moonlight (in Santa Clara), and Tropicana Twin Vue, along with the Winchester. By 1981 the Winchester was closed leaving the Capital as the area's only drive in.  Syufy of San Francisco, owners of the Century chain of theaters as well as the Capital, were the owners of the Winchester before its demise.


The City of Campbell purchased the land in 1994 for 3.8 million dollars.  This was the cash-strapped city’s largest piece of undeveloped property.  Campbell sent hundreds of requests out to developers hoping to get a wide range of possibilities for the site.  The varied responses included a youth and adult sports club, restaurant and retail shops, a 350 seat Imax theater (there is now one located at The Tech museum in San Jose), a BMX bicycle and skateboard park, subdivision homes, a golf course, a casino, and a master campus serving elementary through high school for Valley Christian school. A problem faced by every proposal was access to the site.  Westchester Drive, off of McGlincy, is the only access.  A narrow street lined with small industrial businesses, Westchester would not allow the high traffic flow many of the proposals would have created.  The choice was narrowed down to three; individual commercial buildings, the Christian school, or the recreational sports facility. A city council vote of four to one in January 1997 decided the matter. The sale of the property for eight million provided Campbell with over four million in profit as well as future tax revenue from the site.


Cougar’s Tales interviewed Kenneth Neumeister of Huettig-Schromm, the architect of the project.  According to Neumeister seventeen of the twenty-four acres will be developed as primarily office space for software firms over the next few years.  “I guess you would call it a ‘high-tech’ look” is how Neumeister described the architecture. The Palo Alto development company is the same that designed and built the Los Gatos Business Park on Winchester twenty years ago. Neumeister recounted the one-year battle by local citizens in an attempt to preserve the area as open space, not unlike what occurred when Camden’s grounds were being developed. This action eventually led to the California Supreme Court, which decided in Campbell’s favor.  In order to quell community complaints over the commercial development, a four-acre community park was added to the plans and is now being designed. Possibilities for the park include botanical gardens, a wildlife theme or an orchard look, as homage to the original land use.  Some space may be set-aside for community gardening usage and Neumeister is hoping in the future to add a second access to the property by converting Christage Lane, now a cul-de-sac, into a throughway.   



No Longer With Us

Camden’s First Principal Passes On


Dean Chamberlin, Camden’s first principal, died July 30 at age 83 in Santa Clara of heart failure.  Mr. Chamberlin was first hired as a teacher in 1939 at the age of 24 to instruct English classes in the then new building at Campbell High at Winchester Road and Campbell Avenue.


Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor he enlisted in the Army and served as a forward air controller in the invasion of the Philippines.  His unit landed in Japan within days of the 1945 surrender.  Later he served as an air-defense radar operator during the Korean War. An educator for 43 years in the area, he was also a four–term mayor of Campbell and served continuously on the city council from 1968 till 1985.  Warren Roberts (’58) from the open list remembers Mr. Chamberlin as a “tough cookie who got results.”  Referred to by students at the time as “Big Red” due to his red hair and status on campus.




Heard Around The Quad 

Items From Camden High’s Open Mailing List


Memorabilia Competition

Competition is beginning already for the best memorabilia display at next year’s all-year-reunion.  Each class will have a chance to display their nostalgic items in hopes of winning a prize.  The class of 74’s huge trove of articles amassed by Scott Rose over the years is being challenged by the class of 79’s impressive set of lockers, original bricks from the school and the piece de résistance – the twenty foot long Camden sign. 


Yearbooks Via Web Advancing

The web site that will enable anyone to peruse Camden yearbooks from 1956 to 1980 has taken its first small steps.  Yearbooks on the web is advancing thanks to the hard work of Loretta Reese (’80). See the beginnings of this project at  


Radio’s Stern Talks Of Syndicate of Sound

Ken Rush (‘72) was listening to the Howard Stern show August seventeenth as Stern interviewed a man from Billboard, the music industry organization.  Stern asked whether the man had ever had a hit tune and he responded in the positive. Turns out it was Bob Gonzales, bass player for the 60’s rock band Syndicate of Sound which featured several Camden members and recorded the top ten single Hey Little Girl.  Stern's cohorts even attempted to hum a few bars.


Cougar Seeks Same

Cougar’s Tales is seeking……..well, Cougar’ Tales.  Yes, we are looking for old issues of the school paper, partly in order to feature glimpses at past years issues here on the web-based paper, and also we hope to eventually have the complete collection available on the Internet.  So far we have received copies the very first three issues from Beth Rocha and Fall of 1970 through spring of 1973 from Jackie (Johnson) Clark.  


Looking For ’73 Reunion Staff

Jackie Clark (’73) is seeking the organizers of the twenty-year ’73 class reunion.  Contact the editor for further information. 


Cougar’s Tales Scoops Merc

Cougar’s Tales scooped the vaunted San Jose Mercury News on the Cybill Shepard visit to the Winchester Mystery House story.  This really big story made it to press in Camden’s own paper on July third (issue 2), the Merc didn’t pick it up until the fourteenth in Leigh Weimer’s column (gee, I didn’t know he was a reader……)


Former Girls Dean Provides Memorabilia

Jeannene Lathrop, Camden’s former coach and girls dean, has made a donation of memorabilia for the display at the Camden Activities Center.  An additional display case is being prepared in order to exhibit the girl's sports trophies as well as other items.  Interesting items of your own you would be willing to loan to the exhibit? If so, contact the editor. 


Camden T’s Reorder

Camden High T-shirts sold out at the all-year-reunion in July but orders are still being taken.  Besides being fashionably attired, it’s a good way to meet other former Camden students and tell them about


November 22, 1963 Remembered

Members of Camden’s open mailing list (a free e-mail service available to all) have been remembering that dark day of November 22, 1963.  The date of President Kennedy’s assassination is a touchstone for most of the baby boomers, and many Camdenites have strong memories of the moment they first heard the news. A future article in Cougar’s Tales will focus on this moment in time. If you have thoughts you would like to share about this historical moment please contact the editor. 


Camden Display Does Its Job

Former head varsity cheerleader Jeannie Kaneko (’74) accompanied her daughter to Camden for a volleyball competition. This was her first visit to Camden since graduating, and she was surprised to see the memorabilia display and to learn of the web site.


Senior Locker Prank Remembered

Mike Andrews (’72) remembered the senior prank of the changed locker combinations:


Apparently several days before graduation a number of members of the class of ’72 nefariously changed most of the school’s locker combinations using tools engineered in metal shop (our parents tax dollars at work...)  Mike explained how teams of three opened the locker, removed the lock and reset it and bolted it back in. These “commando” teams took three hours to complete this stunt.  Many complaints ensued as the lower classes, still concerned with studies, had to carry all their books for the balance of the year.  Rumors have it that having a friend on the prankster's team meant your locker would be spared this treatment.  According to Mike, Principal Crawford even joked at commencement that the graduates could find their diplomas in their lockers.


Date Set For 2000 Reunion

Mark your calendars for next summer’s all-year-reunion – Saturday July 29, 2000 at the old Camden field. This third annual event promises to be bigger and better.


Class of ’69 Reunion

69ers (no comments please) are meeting September twenty-fourth for their 30’th reunion.  The event will be held at 6:00 PM at the Beverly Heritage Hotel on Barber Lane in MilpitasAn evening of dinner and dancing all for only $55 per person.  Contact the editor for further info.


Mystery Photo

Here’s a little piece of local trivia – this photo was taken recently within a half mile of Camden. For those who can’t make out the writing it reads “CASEY RD”.  Do you recognize it?  The first reader to contact the editor with the correct answer as to its exact location wins a Camden High t-shirt.  For the rest of you, the trivia behind this road and a picture exposing the location will appear in the next issue.  



Cougar’s Tales Premiere Issue

Thanks goes out to Beth Rocha (’58) for providing Cougar’s Tales with copies of the first three issues of the school paper.  Freshmen and sophomores produced the first two years of Cougar’s Tales as they were the only classes at this new school.  With very little to no experience these kids created this out of nothing. After three years at the helm of the paper, these students were a confident and headstrong lot according to Rocha, not something the administration was comfortable with.  Only upper classmen would produce the paper from then on. Lovingly stored these past 33 years, we feature the front page of this four-page issue from September 19, 1955.




Due to last minute problems adapting Cougar’s Tales to an on-line format, captions to photos accompanying the article “The History of the Camden Namesake” were inadvertently left off.  These captions provide much additional information. We recommend re-visiting issue two to get the entire story on this fascinating piece of local history.  Thanks again to S. Head for this interesting article.



That’s it for this issue, see you in a couple of months.  Any complaints, flames, general hate mail or suggestions, email the Editor at  Thanks to Ric Bretschneider('74) and, of course, to John Wiley{'66) who made all this possible. 


Cougar’s Tales is always looking for stories having to do with Camden High or the Cambrian Park area. If interested, please contact the editor.