A look back at Lemon Grove, 49 years ago this week.
A Tale of Two Queens: Uneasy lies the head that wears a rhinestone tiara. Beauteous Mount Miguel High School cheerleader, Marilyn Stover, 17, was crowned Miss Lemon Grove Fairest of the Fair on Wednesday, May 15, 1963. That night the Lemon Grove Review rolled off the press with a two-column photograph of a beaming Stover holding her trophy aloft. But the reign of Queen Stover was doomed to be the shortest in the history of the pageant. She had—gasp!—faked her address.
Pageant applications closed on Monday, May 13, but no deadline was specified—5 p.m.? 10 p.m.? Midnight? Stover, in a last-minute decision, obtained an application and filed it on Tuesday morning. Apparently, nobody blinked at the late filing, or at the address—2785 Washington St., Lemon Grove—after all, who knew?
Her sister contestants, that's who.
Though Stover missed the Monday afternoon pageant rehearsal, when she showed up for the Wednesday morning run-through, the girls complained that she was actually a Spring Valley resident. But the pageant went on and Stover was crowned at noon, beating out 14 other (angry) contestants.
On Wednesday afternoon attorney Frank Armstrong, chair of the Kiwanis-sponsored pageant, learned the awful truth—the would-be queen was a virtual foreigner. He turned over the case to the Fairest of the Fair Committee in San Diego, which had charge of all county pageants. Thursday morning, May 16, Stover was stripped of crown and trophy, and the runner-up was crowned that evening.
The new queen was Grossmont College freshman Marcia Manu, 18, daughter of the Emil Manus, residents for 14 years at 6611 McArthur Drive, Lemon Grove. Manu, a science and technology major, who also studied ballet, oil painting, tennis and piano, planned to transfer to the Davis College (later, UC/Davis) veterinary program.
The old pro, Lemon Grove Review editor Max Goodwin, in a burst of purple prose, wrote, "Miss Stover's title, in a few brief hours, tilted in its infancy, tipped as truth saturated its mainspring, and tumbled like ash curls shrouding a dismantled crown de victoire." Wow. Wish we'd written that.
Не хватает заявителей: That's Russian for "not enough applicants." With enrollment in Russian language courses at an all-time low, Mount Miguel, Helix and Monte Vista high school said they'd have to cut the course—this at time when Russia was America's chief ideological and technological competitor. For whatever reason, students just weren't buying the borscht.
Mount Miguel principal Melvin Grant said, "There is a global need for readers, writers and interpreters of Russian. Communication is one of the avenues to peace. We can't set up money for the class if enrollment doesn't justify expense."
Russian language teacher Donald Evans said interest in the language should be peaking. His two ace students, Gail Miller, 17, Larwood Road, and Mark Haag, Spring Valley, had gotten the message.
Said Miller, "It's the most interesting language I could take and it's held my interest. I don't want to have to drop it now and pick it up later."
Said Haag, 16, a third-year Russian student, "I want to study original Russian novels and research Russian journals. A great many Russians are able to read our scientific papers."
Today, U.S. students rank Russian eighth on their list of favorite languages to study behind Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese and Chinese.
Lemon Grove—Home of the Pi-Tape: Two Lemon Grove engineers, Grant Hadley of Jet Tool and Leo Cochran of Cochran Tool, teamed up to manufacture and distribute the Pi-Tape, a spring-loaded steel ruler designed to measure the circumference of cogs, columns and wheels up to 40 feet around to an accuracy of 1/1,000 of an inch.
Cochran had worked with Norman Collins of Solar Turbines and Harold Phillips of Atlas Missile Guidance System to develop and make the Pi-Tape synonymous with engineering accuracy on a global scale.
The tool is manufactured today in Encinitas for use in aerospace, printing press rolls, oil pipelines, aircraft, auto and other industries.
Hadley and Cochran were at work in the glory days of the Gemini, Apollo and Saturn space programs, and were colleagues of George Cremer, the physicist who lived in the H. Lee House for 50 years. In those days of full employment in this county, Ryan, Solar, General Atomics, General Dynamics, Convair, Rohr and Rocketdyne were king.
Tykes Take on Toy Town: Some 80 pint-size competitors vied for eight weeks in the electric car racing contest at Floyd's Toy Town on Broadway. Ultimately, the two-foot trophies, only slightly smaller than their winners, were awarded to Larry Shaw, Pacific Street, Gary Frohn, Buena Vista Avenue, Benny Antell, Lincoln Street, and David Zaleckis, Baldwin Road, for driving their battery-operated cars to the finish line in record time. Thus was the human love affair with the automobile fired up at an early age and fueled for the long haul.
Guys in Drag: A regular feature of Crazy Daze, a forerunner to Old Time Days, was the appearance of "male merry madcap merchants" in women's garb. "Beauteous, bountiful businessman" Jerry Walter of Walter's Jewelry, Len Farness of Brumley's Shoes and Pat Hogan of Western Auto donned wigs, print house dresses and pumps, and cavorted before appreciative customers. The Lemon Grove Review said the "trio titilated, tingled and traumatized hardened bargain hunters." Those were the daze.