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1972: Mr. Icee in a Changing World

News from the January 6, 1972 edition of the Lemon Grove Review.

A look back at Lemon Grove 41 years ago.

Mr. Icee Comes to Town:  The Jackson family, Kempf Street, took advantage of overnight temperatures in the mid-30s to repair to the Cuyamacas in search of snow.  They brought home a truckload and the Jackson kids, Donna, Diana and Don, sculpted "Mr. Icee" on the front lawn.

The thermometer dropped to 37 overnight and Mr. Icee stood tall.  But in the 56-degree heat wave at noon the next day, he was losing his cool.   Jackson père, who gets the Oscar for Most Devoted Dad, summoned help from anyone who had chanced to pick up snow anywhere.  A couple of good sports delivered snow in burlap bags.  Joe Chucka arrived in his snow-covered pickup truck and swept off the roof and hood so that Mr. Icee could live to fight another day.

To what lengths would 'Grovians not go, we hear you cry, to disguise their flawless climate as the Siberian tundra?    (See photo)

Hizzoner's Forecast:  Judge Byron F. Lindsley of San Diego Superior Court was an early defender of world climate and ecology.  The unusually chilly winter of 1971 - 72 and mounting air pollution prompted his scathing comment, "Man is the most perversely destructive parasite nature has produced."

Hizzoner even penned this poem--and the old pro, Max Goodwin, editor of the Review, sensing a hot item, ran Lindsley's "ecological musings" as an op-ed piece:

The planet Earth is very old

Mankind is very young

Because of Man the Earth grows cold

Man's song of life is sung.

But the Jackson Three, oblivious to their role as parasites junior-grade, continued to sing of Frosty the Snowman and yearn for glacial temps.   

Wireless:   Lemon Grove was once festooned with overhead power lines, but, in January, 1972 SDG&E spent $75,000 to underground the wires on Main and Imperial Avenues between North Avenue and Broadway.  Today, this job would cost millions.

The Review was enchanted by the new project and devoted half a page to a photo montage accompanied by this adorably empurpled prose:

Lines, which now thread carelessly through gently swaying palm trees from poles that angrily tear the air, will be no more soon.  Gone, gone, but not forgotten, the old poles, if still good, will live on in someone else's town, or maybe ours.

SDG&E continued the work into April 1972 in various communities.  The project marked the first phase of a county-wide effort that continues into the present.  Today, the City of San Diego spends some $54 million annually to underground utility wires.  (See photos)

Heap Big Trailer:  Native Americans are weary of seeing their tribal names used for everything from sports teams to recreational vehicles even though the rampant commercialization of ethnic identity can be a way, however misguided, of showing regard for America's diverse heritage. 

In 1972 at College Grove Shopping Center, Winnebago Industries, founded in 1958 in Winnebago County, Iowa, trotted out its latest motor home, the "Minnie Winnie."  Laura Bolieu, Miss Lemon Grove of 1972, was on hand to help show off some 100 models of recreational vehicles.  (See photo)

Despite its name, Minnie Winnie was longer (at 19.5 feet) than the company's "heap big trailer," the standard Winnebago.  With names like Chief Black Hawk, Brave, Warrior and Chieftain, the Winnebago company had become famous.  "Winnebago" is still used generically to mean "motor home" just as "Kleenex" is used to mean "tissues."

Winnebago is another name for the Ho-Chunk Nation with reservations in Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin.  Today, the tribes derive substantial income from gambling casinos.

But Winnebago Industries, after 50 years in which their flagship product became a household word, folded its tent in 2008, a casualty of a weak economy, rising gas prices, declining consumer confidence and retail sales that had plummeted by double digits.  Their 400,000th unit had just rolled off the assembly line when 270 people lost their jobs.

Between 2009 and 2012, Winnebago fought back and today manufactures "towables," a line of petite travel trailers, which the Ho-Chunk Nation might term "waza cek" or "something new" in the Haci language (which we cite here sans the diacritical marks). 

Filicide Gets the Job:  In one of the strangest stories of 1972, Archie V. Connett, who had murdered his three children on Dec. 23, 1952 in San Jose by bashing their heads against a wall, was appointed Corrections Counselor at San Diego Honors Camp Work Furlough Center.

Connett's children were ages 4, 2 and 4 months.  He also tried to kill his wife, Wynona, and was about to commit suicide when police arrived.

The former high school teacher pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but was convicted of second degree murder.  He served at San Quentin and the California Medical Facility at Vacaville, where he received years of therapy.  He was paroled in 1969 but was not freed.

The filicide became a counselor to inmates, a teacher at San Diego State College (now SDSU), a frequent lecturer at judicial symposia, a researcher at Western Behavioral Science Institute, La Jolla, and president of Ex-Offender Resources, Inc.  He held degrees from Stanford and the University of Colorado.  We haven't located an obituary for him.

And so it went as 1972 dawned in the Big Lemon.  The Review continued its quest to cover the life and times of its town--in which regard, we like this wrap-up from Hardison's TeleSpanish, a weekly feature of the paper:

Vamos a sacar en claro todo (We are going to clarify everything).

Helen Ofield January 08, 2013 at 11:46 PM
We received a welcome message from a Mr. or Ms. Creece at Winnebago Industries, pointing out some errors in this column. Apparently, in 2008 Winnebago didn't go out of business; it was only their Charles City, Iowa plant that shut down. The good news is that Winnebago seems to be thriving today. M/M Creece says that Winnebago didn't manufacture the Chief Black Hawk model, yet our research constantly turns up Winnebago as the home of this model. The photo we included of the 1972 Miss Lemon Grove standing by a motor home featured the El Dorado by Honorbuilt Industries (we neglected to point this out). M/M Creece said that Winnebago Industries in Forest City, Iowa is named for Winnebago County and the Winnebago River. As we said in our column, Winnebago (a.k.a. Ho-Chunk) is the name of an Indian tribe. Of course, the county and river are named after the tribe.

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