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1949: Comfort Zone

News from the February 24 issue of Lemon Grove Homeland News.

A look back Lemon Grove 64 years ago. 

The Lemon Grove Review competed with another weekly, also issued on Thursdays, the Lemon Grove Homeland News published by H.C. Reed and edited by Robert L. Curran. An annual subscription was $1 and the paper was headquartered at 3443 North Avenue in the same building with the Review

Above its banner, Homeland News ran the motto, "The paper that has helped build Lemon Grove since 1932."  This, even though half of its eight pages were devoted to La Mesa.  Below the banner was "Successor to Lemon Grove News and Lemon Grove-Encanto News-Beacon." 

The Lemon Grove Historical Society has just two editions. Does anybody have more to share? 

Unlike the Review, with its persistent, dog-with-a-bone approach to news gathering, Homeland News appeared to specialize in cozy chat, comfy recipes, foodie ads, the occasional news story (see below), and the ubiquitous Legal Notices, including this significant item: 

Lemon Grove Hardware is Born:  John E. Sanders declared, "I hereby certify that I am transacting business at 3340 Main Street, Lemon Grove, in the State of California, under a designation…to wit:  "Lemon Grove Hardware Company"…The statement was notarized on Feb. 11, 1949 by Vroman Dorman, notary, lawyer and father of the future first mayor of Lemon Grove, James Dorman.   

John and Elza Sanders ran the store, which had been built by Tony Sonka on the site of the old Kleinfeld house on Main Street (just north of Grove Pastry Shop) in 1945.  When John died in 1962, Elza carried on until 1966.  In 1939 they built an elegant, pale grey, Cape Cod style home on the corner of Main and Central, which became a landmark in the town.  Today, the new Lemon Grove Community Church stands on the site. 

The former hardware store still stands, home to a gift shop. 

Home Cooking on Trial:  The Lemon Grove School District took moms to task for neglecting fruits and vegetables in their children's diets.  In a three-day survey, pupils in grades three to six recorded what they ate and what they refused to eat at home. 

The district rated over half the diets "good"; one-fourth drew "fair"; while one-fifth got the dreaded "poor."  In other words, about half of 'Grove kiddies were undernourished according to the survey conducted by the Curriculum Committee of the Lemon Grove Teachers Club.  Milk and meat were abundant, but fruits and green and yellow vegetables were sparse. 

The district was alone in San Diego County in conducting the survey and also ran a poster and jingle contest in which children won coupons for healthy foods from local stores. 

Dear readers, six decades on, everything old is new again, for our school district is once more in the vanguard of the healthy lifestyle movement.   Nearly two years ago, in an effort to combat childhood obesity, local school breakfasts and lunches were overhauled to emphasize whole grains, fruits and protein.    

In January, 2012 the district received a $1 million grant from Kaiser Permanente for a three-year plan called HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) that makes available healthy food choices (including in vending machines) and exercise options to more people in underserved communities.  Anaheim, Long Beach, Ontario, West Ventura and East Riverside also received $1 million grants.  

There's more.  In 2011 our school district began partnering with UCSD to run a free dental clinic at Golden Avenue School and, now, at Lemon Grove Academy.  The clinic is funded through 2017 at $200,000 annually by a School Based Comprehensive Oral Health Services grant.   

We trust everyone knows about the Friday Farmer's Market outside Golden Avenue School from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. and the fresh fruit stand outside Lemon Grove Academy.   

Parties, Parties, All the Time:  The Forward Club (later, Lemon Grove Women's Club), in its popular 1912 clubhouse on Main Street, logged three to four parties a month in a social blow-out unmatched since the fall of Rome.   

Forty-Niner Daze Fiesta, billed as "a bang-up affair just oozing' with hot sauce," featured a chuck wagon, BBQ sandwiches, a radio-type quiz show, Art Chapelle and his accordion, Alex Barron and his All Western Quartet and swell prizes like Mrs. Barnum's (no relation to P.T. Barnum) Big Pot O' Baked Beans. 

The Reciprocity Tea drew 100 women from other women's clubs to nibble homemade cakes and cookies and hear the Girls' Schubert Club Choir of Grossmont High School. 

The Norwegian Dinner Dance featured the film "Wings Over Viking Land" and a fragrant buffet of fish balls, fish cakes, fish sticks, fish fritters, fish casserole and pickled herring catered by the good women of that darling Norwegian restaurant that once stood on the corner of Lincoln and Imperial (near where Aaron Lock & Key is today).  

The clubhouse hosted hosannas to marriage matched only by Henry VIII when the William Toomires tossed not one, but two, parties to celebrate their 11th wedding anniversary.  The first party was "pre-anniversary" (no gifts), while the second was the real deal (gifts).  Then the Toomires journeyed to La Jolla for party #3 hosted by Mildred Mitchell.  If these bacchanalia greeted their 11th anniversary, what did they do on their 50th? 

Drive, She Said:  Not to be outdone in the wedded bliss dept., Gerald and Edna Payette threw six parties to celebrate their engagement.  On the seventh day they rested presumably because they were driving to Yuma for the actual wedding.  Edna wore a royal blue suit accessorized with pearls and white orchids, while Gerald wore his navy uniform. 

"Yuma is where my parents met in July, 1922 when it was 107 in the shade," said Gerald.  "That's why they moved to Lemon Grove." 

Big, Big People:  Joe Eaton's Dodge Dealership, 8068 La Mesa Blvd., offered "The daring new Dodge built for today's bigger, taller, more active Americans" with the "gyro-matic [that] frees you from shifting." 

Elbow room, head room, leg room, a "get-away engine," a "smo-o-o-o-th ride" and "wide, wide seats for three passengers." 

The large ad urged to you "see with your own eyes" and fathom "When Army physical exams revealed that our wartime generation was far bigger, taller, Dodge started planning this great new car." 

Were they that big?  No question that successive generations have enlarged, tipping the scales at double and treble the weight of the Greatest Generation (see school story above).  But when the Lemon Grove Historical Society mounted "Lemon Grove in World War II" in the Parsonage Museum in 2003 and called for vintage uniforms, the board was stunned at the small, slim navy, army, and nursing uniforms that arrived on loan.  No way could any of us slip into those svelte numbers. 

A 1949 four-door Dodge Coronet with gyro-matic cost about $4,500.  Today, in mint condition as an antique car, it can run $60,000. 

J'accuse:  Classified ads included these gems: 

"WE KNOW the person that took the metal mustache cup and saucer from our show room floor.  If this person does not return same, we will prosecute.  No action will be taken if it is brought back.  TRADER'S MART, 316 El Cajon Blvd. H4-7095." 

"YOU TOOK our dog Lappy, white with big black spot on tail and rope on collar.  Give him back, no questions asked.  We love Lappy and can't live without him.  Call H4-7191."

Wisdom of the Ages:  The fillers were almost as good as the Review's.

 If you fear heights, do not stand on a ladder but remain standing at ground level while others do the work. 

If you become dizzy while square dancing, stop.

About this column:  Compiled by Helen Ofield, president of the Lemon Grove Historical Society, from newspapers archived at the H. Lee House Cultural Center.  Each week, we take a peek at the past with some news and advertising highlights from a randomly chosen edition of the Lemon Grove Review.  In 2012, Ofield was awarded second prize in non-daily reporting and writing by the Society of Professional Journalists for the column.

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