Camden High School’s
Editor Tom Rose, Class of 1974 - Post Office Box 881 Los
Gatos CA 95031
Email firstname.lastname@example.org -
Camden Web Site: www.camdenhigh.com
Issue available at http://www.cougarstales.com
Pruneyard Towers Promote Peace Once Again
the first time in over ten years the Pruneyard
Towers in Campbell have the
goodwill Peace on Earth statement up in lights.
First displayed in December 1972, the sign atop the eighteen-story
building was visible for miles. Then
general manager Joe Dabagian stated at the time that
the signs message was “symbolic of the peace effort” then focused on the
conflict in Southeast Asia. “When I came back from Nam that sign
had a deep meaning for me,” remembered Camden
alumni Rene Keim (’67.) Until 1990 the annual display
of the sign during the holiday season was a welcome sight for the motorists
passing on Highway 17. New owners of the
Pruneyard center deemed the sign unsafe for use in 1991,
apparently the years had taken their toll.
Current Pruneyard general manager Jill Collins says, “It literally fell
The sign that began its holiday tradition as a result of one
period of conflict in U.S.
history became renewed through another.
Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September, the Pruneyard offices began
receiving large amounts of phone calls requesting that the sign be
reinstated. In the past ten years the
Pruneyard has changed hands several time, current
owners, Chicago-based Equity Office Properties, decided to respond to the
requests. “Within a week of September
11, a decision was made to go ahead and have a new sign built,” stated
Collins. Sierra Design of Fresno,
creators of many signs in the San Jose
area, got the call and began work.
The display, measuring 28 feet wide and 15 feet tall, made
up of letters standing 5’6”, was lit with a special ceremony on November
twentieth. The occasion offered
performances by a local school’s choir and carolers as well as free
refreshments. Spectators were invited to hold candles and sing along and the entire
crowd cheered as the simple phrase once again lit up the sky; PEACE ON EARTH.
In 1948 David Lima decided it would be nice to put a
nativity display in front of his families funeral home
on Willow Street
in San Jose. Each year following he added to the
display. It soon become
a destination for many families during the yuletide season. By the 1960’s the display was covered the
long stretch in front of the Lima
buildings and parking lot. Lines of cars
driving slowly as they viewed the splendor caused traffic jam-ups and made it
difficult for the funeral homes patrons to attend services. In 1970 Lima
decided to donate the display to the City of San Jose who displayed it for the first time
that December on city property at what is now known as Cesar Chavez
Lima Family Christmas Display – Vintage
The nativity scene, that had been part of the original Lima display, caused some
problems for the city. After fifteen
years of display at the southern tip of the Plaza it was moved to St. Josephs
Catholic Church but thousands of complaints regarding the removal resulted in
its return to the Plaza. Some citizens
pointed out the irony of the Plaza display of the city’s newest piece of
taxpayer purchased art;
a $500,000 dollar statue of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, and the
ruling against religious displays.
Lima Family Christmas Display – Continued
Popularity of the Christmas in the Park display has grown
over the years with over a hundred thousand visitors claimed. Vendors selling food and souvenirs and
port-a-potties are an addition never anticipated by the Lima family back when their modest display
Christmas was celebrated in the San Jose area beginning with the
Missions. At that early time, pioneer
families dined on a holiday dinner of venison, grizzly bear or a goose rather
than turkey and the few gifts presented were usually homemade.
Modern San Jose
saw its streetlights lit for the first time Christmas Eve 1861.
In the 1920’s and 1930’s many private mansions on Alameda, Naglee
Park area and North First Street
area had large Christmas displays. Competitions
were held on the Alameda
and awards given. The Hart family of
Hart’s Department store (and the Hart kidnapping) won the “best” category for
Prior to WWII downtown departments stores including Hart’s
presented elaborate animated displays in their front windows. Hart’s covered the entire front of both the Santa Clara and Market Street sides
of the store and included a large interior display over the stairway to the
upper floor. These displays were rented
from companies that rotated them among major cities throughout the country.
According to Leonard McKay, local historian, these displays survived the
Depression, where a nickel street car ride to view the spectacle was a popular
outing, but faded out during WWII as the personnel to repair, store and erect
them was unavailable and many cities were blacked out so as to avoid becoming
A San Jose Mercury columnist was concerned about cultural
changes back in December of 1959. “The
piñata is giving way to the Christmas tree among Mexican-American families in
this area. Recent visitors to Mexico have
found brisk business in Christmas trees going on. Perhaps the piñata party will
someday only be attended by American children studying Spanish in school.”
Dick Barrett’s Mercury column of November 10, 1971 complained of
too-early Christmas décor by local stores - “Noticed a few nights ago that one
of our largest stores ushered Christmas in along with November, which seems a
bit premature when you consider that Thanksgiving used to be the kick-off.”
“The Giant Balloon Parade” was a tradition adored by scores
of Santa Clara Counties children. Begun in 1949 by
downtown merchants looking to attract Christmas shoppers, it was always the
most popular parade of the year.
Beginning at St. James Park and running down First Street to William, the procession
would circle around and return to St. James by Second Street. Local Boy Scouts had the
responsibility of guiding the huge balloons.
Although Santa Claus was always the kids’ favorite parade participant,
1952 saw the start of celebrities serving as parade Grand Marshall. “Making a special trip by air to participate”
was Kirby Grant, better known as televisions Sky King. The Mercury reported that he would be
“conducting a tour of the area” as well.
Back then, big stuff for sleepy San
featured balloon of that year’s mile long parade was an eighty-foot serpent and
attendance was estimated at 175,000. The
Cisco Kid (Duncan Renaldo) was the Grand Marshall of 1953, overseeing “The
Wonderland of Oz” balloon parade. In
1954, Cisco’s sidekick Poncho (Leo Carrillo) had the honors for the Snow White
themed parade. The Mercury reported,
“The muscular Steve Donovan, TV’s Western Marshall, would be appearing for
1955’s event which would be featuring 20,000 Leagues Under
the Sea with a sixty-foot balloon of the Nautilus submarine. In 1957, Mel Blanc, the voice of many cartoon
characters, including Warner Brothers Bugs Bunny and Tweetie
Bird, had the honors. The theme was
animal shaped balloons and one Scout, upon seeing his troops float
disappointedly lamented “Golly, pulling a goose!” Real royalty lead the parade in 1958 in the
form of Price Lightfoot of the Yukon Tribe of Northern California. Close friend of James Dean and star of the TV
show The Rebel, Nick Adams, was Grand Marshall for 1959. Parade theme was “Santa Goes International”
and Santa rode a seventy-foot dragon.
Sixty was a celeb free year but 1961 saw Tony Dow, older brother from
Leave it to Beaver. Local star of
Channel 11 Hocus Pocus led things in 1963, followed by TV star Buck Weaver in
1964. Buck returned in 1965 to join The Everly Brothers and Frontier Village
amusement parks Marshall Clyde. By 1972
the downtown merchants, besieged by malls such as Valley Fair, were down on
their fortunes and called an end to the giant balloons, the San Jose
Earthquakes served as Marshall.
High Auditorium To Be Renovated
all local high schools suffered the same fate as Camden High. The Campbell High School
buildings, after seismic renovations, continue to serve the community as the Campbell Community Center and even include a
skateboard park for local youths. Last
to be upgraded is the true jewel of the campus – the Spanish Colonial Revival
style auditorium, designed by William Weeks, now named the Heritage Theatre. Located at
the corner of Winchester Boulevard
and Campbell Avenue,
the site served the public for over forty years presenting school programs,
live theater, dance, opera, community events and even
headline entertainers. Originally
constructed during the Depression through President Franklin Roosevelt’s WPA
program, it opened in 1938. In 1982 the
auditorium was closed due to structural problems.
Construction is to begin in January 2002 to return this
theater to its focal point in the community.
“We’re going to make the Heritage Theatre a venue that captures its
place as a cultural and entertainment center in the West Valley
community,” says Ginger Shafer, project manager. With a cost of $8.5 million, a big part of
this restoration project has been fund raising.
The state has issued a $250,000 grant with the City of Campbell pledging $1 million as well as well
as $500,000 that was earned from the sale of the Winchester Drive-In site. A goal
of collecting four million dollars in donations has been set by the Friends of
the Heritage Theatre to complete this task.
Many businesses have made generous donations, the largest being a gift
of $250,000 from Kirkorian Enterprises with many
individuals donating as well. Over
331,000 private citizens have stepped up to bat so far but over $1.5 million is
still needed. For more information about the theatre and how to donate visit
the Friends of the Heritage Theatre website at http://www.heritagetheatre.org/.
Foundation Pres Plays Santa, Announces Scholarship
teacher and Camden Foundation President Will Finck announced an annual $500
scholarship to be awarded to students of Ida Price Middle School. Ida Price was the main feeder school to Camden High
Camden Foundation, founded in 2001, is dedicated to keeping the spirit of Camden alive by
activities and performing charitable acts in the local community.
One of these acts was a visit by Santa, played by Mr. Finck
himself, at the Sub Acute day care center and hospital in San Jose this holiday season.
Local educator and Foundation board member Gary Hubbs (’67)
will run the scholarship committee whose current goal is to establish criteria
for the cash award. Other committee
members are fellow Foundation board member Suzy Young Wolf (‘67) and Foundation
vice president Tom Rose (’74.)
Besides acts benefiting local children, The Camden
Foundation helps support Camden’s
annual all-year reunion held each summer as well as Cougars’ Tales. Please help support the Foundation’s efforts
by becoming a member. To download a
membership application visit the Foundation website at
http://www.camdenfoundation.org/. Membership fees are tax deductible.
Excerpts from the Camden High open mailing list. Interested in joining in? Go to camdenhigh.com to sign up.
Ida Price’s 7-11
“Does anyone remember the 7-11 that was just on the other
side of the baseball diamond at Ida Price?” asked Darrel Ray (’66.) Darrel had searched his memory bank to come
up with a place that hadn’t been discussed yet on the open list. Darrel remembered hanging out there while
attending the junior high, drinking sodas next to trees that weren’t much
taller than him back then. Jim Votano
(’71) recalled that “Meet ya’ behind the 7-11” was
the call to arms in his day. “Usually
the crowd was the only action,” he lamented.
Curto’s Auto Stereo
In the days when an 8-track stereo in your car was cool, Curto’s Auto Stereo on Bascom Avenue north of Dry Creek Road was the place to go. Jim Votano (’71) bought a precursor to the
eight track, the four-track stereo tape player there and later upgraded to an
eight-track. Darrel Ray (’66) remembered
watching them make the tapes as you waited.
Jim’s cousin drove out from the east side of San Jose to Curto’s,
auto stereo shops were a rare commodity at the time. Not expecting those “funny tapes to be around
long”, he had a 45 record player (with reverb) installed in his car instead.
Convenience Store on Wheels
A converted Greyhound bus converted to a roving 7-11 like
convenience store is a memory from the sixties of Dennis Davis’s (’68.) Dennis remembered it driving through his
neighborhood twice a week, “ In addition to being able
to buy food and household stuff you could buy a kite with string for a
Ice Cream Memories
Jean LaRay (year unknown) asked if
anyone remembered the Baskin Robbins near Camden. Tom Rose
(’74) recalled how his brothers and he were the very first customers on opening
day in the summer of 1963. He remembered
that the owner was a Highway Patrolman who sometimes parked his police
motorcycle behind the store. Steve Salvadore (’74) mentioned how he worked the store at Union and Foxworthy back in 1972 for $1.65 an hour. The business became a “Cool Creations” ice
cream parlor a few years ago and a Baskin Robbins has opened in the Camden Center
shopping center where Camden High once stood.
Open List Votes on Reunion Date
Faced with the tri-year reunion of classes ’64, ’65 and ’66
on August third of 2002 and the traditional last Saturday in July date for the
annual all-year reunion, Ken Rush held a vote to determine the all-year date. A total of 32 votes favoring a date of Saturday August third,
thirteen for Sunday August fourth, seven votes to keep the reunion on the last
Saturday of July and four allowing for either date as long as both reunions
were held on the same weekend.
The decided on date of Saturday August third will avoid a confrontation
with the Gilroy Garlic Festival regularly held the last weekend of July.
Pre-Air Bag Safety
A trunk full of blankets was the safety solution for Chuck Bonasera (year unknown) according to Mike Andrews
(’72.) He remembers hanging out at the
Jack in the Box restaurant, then on Union
Avenue, one night in the early seventies. Chuck insisted that Mike and friends should
take a ride down Dry Creek Roads windy section with him. Mike wondered what was going on when the trip
required a stop to unload old blankets and towels from the trunk to line the
dash and inside windows of the car.
Apparently Chuck had devised this system to keep his passengers from
being injured during their wild ride.
Back in Time to Camden?
“How about all of you, would you want to go back to your
days at Camden
if you could?” asked Cindy Santiago (year unknown.) Cindy Tompkins Sutton (’65) answered that if
she “knew then what I know now, I would definitely go back. I wouldn’t have been so shy or allowed anyone
to intimidate me.” Taking classes seriously
and going on to college were other items Cindy would have changed. Meg (Margaret) Mitchell (’63) allowed as she
sometimes thinks she would like to go back and be more outgoing to other
people. Ken Hicks (’63) offered that he
would be happy to go back for a visit as long as he could return to an
unchanged present. “I would have thrown
my shyness out the window and been more out going and vocal in student
government,” said Linda Lavoie
Lane (’66), adding, “Although I definitely
wouldn’t want to go through the growing pains of a teenager again.” Rick
Buzbee (’64) would like to “go back and make amends
to some folks and create friendships with some real people I ignored because
they were not so cool.” Gary Hubbs (’67)
admitted he would like to relive his Junior Prom. Pressed for details by fellow list members, Gary would only say that
he had an opportunity to “really know someone who turned out to be a pretty
impressive individual, but, because I was shy at the time, I lost that
chance.” John Wiley (’66) asked to trade
in what he refers to as the “wayback machine” on a
“memory magnifier.” John describes the
memory device as enabling him “to have total recall by either reliving or
witnessing from any vantage point the experiences of my choosing, while still
conscious that I’m ‘me’ in the present.
What I’d enjoy about this unit is the ability to put things in better
context by getting lost details.”
Dressed in his “bad-boy” clothes, Levi’s slung low, looking
tough while standing in line for lunch and getting “pantsed”
is a memory that has stuck in John Holt’s (’65) mind all these decades. It must have been memorable, since Meg
(Margaret) Mitchell (’63) remembered the incident well. John’s retelling of his embarrassing incident
led to other Camdenites coming forward with humiliating tales. Robert Fudge (’66) recalled running done Camden’s wet corridors
during a rainy winter day and making an unintentional and graceless slide “that
seemed to last forever.” He landed at
the feet of a girl he had long been lusting for. She was good enough not to laugh, but as
Robert puts it, “Needless to say, she didn’t become the mother of my
In August of 1962 my Mother and her new husband made the
decision to move from the beautiful snow-capped peaks of Lake
Tahoe to the quiet, orchard-filled environment of the Santa Clara Valley.
We moved into a very small house on Manda Drive,
just off Foxworthy.
So began the now almost 40-year stay in San Jose for me,
Gary Hubbs, 1967 graduate of Camden High School.
I attended Ida Price for one year before graduating to Camden where I was
involved in various sports (mostly cross-country and track), school politics
(senior class vice president), as well as many clubs and organizations.
I have a lot of fond memories of my years at Camden. School dances, summer teen club, Christmas
tree shopping with Coach Marotti when we did Driver's
Ed., and, of course, the influence of several special teachers, even though I
didn't realize it at the time.
When I graduated I traveled to West Palm Beach Florida
where I spent the summer playing baseball in an instructional league for the St. Louis Cardinals. I returned home to begin a long journey as a
college student, still taking classes whenever I can. When I started San Jose State
as a freshman in the fall of 1967, I had no idea what I was doing. But, former Camden friend Rick
Hardy (1966), took me under his wing, showed me the ropes, and soon I was well
on my way to becoming the first member of my family to attend college.
I decided to study science. I began a double major in Biology and Natural
Science with a double minor in Chemistry and Physical Science. It took me an extra year to Graduate.
In between starting college and graduating in 1972, I was
to undergo a major shift in ideas and thinking that would influence me for the
rest of my life.
I became a political activist and an environmentalist
before my first year of college came to an end.
I worked hard at trying to make people aware of the environmental waste
of war, on both natural and human resources.
The idea of becoming a teacher and a chance to influence
young minds became a driving force for me.
But, working in the classroom was not to happen for twenty more
years. Meanwhile, I graduated from college,
married my current and only wife in the fall of 1973, had three children,
worked as a lab technician in the bacteriology lab at Santa Clara Valley
Medical Center, then took a job helping my parents with a business they were
trying to get off the ground.
I decided to study electronics. I learned enough to get a job at Lockheed
Missiles and Space Company, and was hired in one of those secret blackhole programs.
My Manager found out I had a degree, so I was promoted to Systems Test
Engineer. The work was interesting, but
I am unable to discuss any of it because the program is still classified as
In 1989, I received a commendation from then President
Bush, for my work on national security issues.
I was pretty lucky.
I was working on just the right things to get a little recognition, and
I got to meet some pretty interesting people including the current Vice
President, Dick Cheney.
I managed to spend several years studying martial arts,
coaching local sports teams, leading cub scouts, starting two master's degrees
(Zoology and Software Engineering), backpacking all over the place, traveling,
and getting a teaching credential.
I am currently at Oak Grove High School in San Jose teaching Biology and Advanced
Science. My main focus is to get my
students to become independent thinkers, gain the skills they will need to meet
the challenges they will soon face, and understand that there are adults in
their lives that can be positive role models.
One of my favorite projects is to take my students on
trips to places they have never been before.
A favorite destination is Costa Rica.
We spend the school year collecting clothing, educational
supplies, and toys for an abandoned children's shelter in Costa Rica. Then, each February, I take from six to ten
students and all the things we have collected for the abandoned children down
to Costa Rica where we
personally deliver them to the kids in the shelter. My students have a great time visiting these
kids, and all of us feel like we are doing something important for other
My students and I also get to work with one of the
world's most endangered species of animal, the Leatherback Sea
The Leatherback Turtle is the world's largest reptile at
over 3 meters in length and weighing more than 1000 pounds. My students have been there for the nesting
activities, as well as the hatching of the baby turtles. We do the things you may have seen others
doing on television. We spend 5 days
helping the turtle hatchlings make it to the open ocean, and protecting them
from predators, in the hopes that our efforts may lead to the recovery of these
The trips to Costa Rica
are also a chance for the students to experience some of Costa Rica’s
rainforest, geologic features, and culture.
Future trips include a February and April 2002 trip to
Costa Rica, a cruise with my
seniors, a road trip around the western United States for the summer of 2002
with some sophomores, Junior and seniors, a European trip in the summer of
2003, and various shorter trips including a shuttle launch.
I am very glad I went into teaching later in my
life. I may have become burnt out by now
if I had started thirty years ago, but everyday I am thankful for the
opportunities I have to spend time with some of the best kids around. Right now I know I have made some very good
friends in my students, and I spend as much time with them as I can. They come over to my house and we "hang
out", we travel together, and they are a constant reminder of what is good
about our youth! I love my students!
Unknown - December
Pollak served as a Navy WAV from 1944 to 1946 as
Yeoman First Class. She attended University of California at Berkeley and graduated from San Jose State
College. Divorced with two young sons,
she began teaching at Camden
in 1963 as an English and Journalism instructor. She married fellow Camden teacher John Marks in 1973, becoming a
stepmother to his five sons. Mrs. Pollak
transferred to Branham in 1979 and retired from there in 1983. In retirement she enjoyed working on the
history docent newspaper she wrote for the Santa Cruz Museum. Mr. Marks died in 1984. Virginia Pollak died
of cancer December 18th. A memorial service will be held at her
former home in Aptos in January. Her son
Brian suggested that anyone wishing to make a donation should consider doing so
in her name to The Camden Foundation.
William Edward Yonge
25, 1941 – October
Yonge, a coach at Camden
during the 1960’s died of a stroke October 6 of this year, he was 59. Born in Oakland,
he married Julianne Busch in 1963. He
earned his Physical Education degree in 1964 and later completed studies for a
Masters Degree. His first year at Camden followed his
graduation in the fall of 1964. After
he was employed as Head Basketball coach at Central Oregon
Community College from
1978 to 1982 and as a physical education teacher and football coach at Cascade Middle School from 1982 to 1984. He moved to Bend, Montana
in 1986 where he taught physical education and Personal Finance. He retired as Athletic Director at Mountain View High School in 1999. Mr. Yonge’s interests included fishing,
hunting, travel, and spending time with his grandchildren. He was living in Billings, Montana
when he passed away. Survivors include
his wife, son, daughter and five grandchildren.
Frank L. Sarsfield
19, 1925 – December
into a farming family in Dalles, Oregon,
Frank Sarsfield became attracted to military life while studying history during
high school. He graduated from West Point, served two tours of duty in Korea and was
awarded the Purple Heart. After much moving around familiar to military life he
settled in Cambrian
Park with his family in
1969. Several of Mr. Sarsfield’s
children attended Camden
High School, where he
served as president of the Camden Booster Club.
Surprisingly, none of the Mr. Sarsfield’s 10 children entered the
military. Survivors include his wife Mary, children Cathy, Richard, David, Thomas, Steven, Robert, Bruce,
Linda, Mark and Susan.
biggest event, the annual all year event, will be held August third this
summer. Each summer the Camden
on Union Avenue
(the old Camden
practice fields) is the setting for this free event, open to all with a
connection to Camden High. For more information go to http://home.earthlink.net/~judybeki/Camdenfl.htm.
’66 and ’67 Tri Year Reunion
Camden’s first tri-year reunion bringing
together the Classes from 1965, 1966 and 1967 will take place at Lou’s Village
restaurant of San Jose this August third.
For further data go to http://home.earthlink.net/~judybeki/tri-union.htm.
of ’73 Thirty-Year Reunion
For Class of ’73 information
contact your fellow grads and reunion organizers
Jackie Clark (Johnson 73), at email@example.com
Michael Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
of ’77 Plan Twenty Fifth
Santa Cruz’s Cocoanut Grove will be the site
of the twenty-fifth reunion of the Class of 1977 on Saturday August third. The
website with complete info can be found at http://www.stanford.edu/~mares/.
<alumni> (’71) is looking for <alumni> (’72). Please
contact <alumni> with any information at <email address>.
Editors note: This Camdenite’s
friend was found.
Judy Clark Rarick
(’66) is hoping to reestablish contact with Greg Colla
(’66.) If you have information on Greg
please contact Judy at email@example.com.
Vickie Beatrez (’74) seeks Joe Schafer (’72) and Cindi Mietz. Contact Editor with
Anyone with contact
information for Val Vincer (’75) please
provide it to the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local Camdenites gathered once again this past October for
pizza, beer, and camaraderie. The event
was organized by Carmen Winters-Rous’ (’67).
Left to right:
Jeff Driskell (65), Carmen Rous, Gary Hubbs (67), Dennis
Byron (66), and wife Janis Hubbs
Dan Carpenter (78), Linda Lavoie Lane (66), Bill Rous and
Unknown, Dennis, Pat Madden (67)
3rd and later Rows:
Will Fink, Gary, Dennis Polyniak (65), and others.
Cougars’ Tales is interested in your Camden and Cambrian Park
story ideas; please contact the editor at email@example.com.
The editor is also looking for photographs of Camden High and early photos of
the Cambrian Park area. Especially sought after
are pictures of the burger joint across the street from Camden that closed in the mid-sixties and the
trampolines that operated at Cambrian
Plaza in the
sixties. Special thanks go out to Ric
Bretschneider (’74) for his help putting this issue on the web. Thanks to John Wiley (’66) for creating the Camden
web site and mailing list, and Ken Rush (’72) for running the Camden mailing list. All
articles and most photographs by Tom Rose
unless otherwise accredited.