Alas, Poor Yorick: Demolition experts John Quinn and Gerald White discovered a skull and bones under the late Dr. Frederick White's home, 8028 Lincoln, across from the Lemon Grove School District offices -- and the drama was on.
"We felt the chill of death, like in 'Hamlet,' so called the sheriff," said Quinn, whose demo skills were evidently matched by theatrical flair.
The sheriff tracked down Doc White's son, Chester, in Escondido, for the lowdown on the domestic boneyard. Chester said "Old Bony" had been around the house for as long as he could remember and he often played with him/her during grade school days. Hallowe'en was prime time for skull display, especially as the eye sockets were stuffed with yellowed newspaper dated Dec. 27, 1900.
But the bones were benign--part of a skeleton that Doc White obtained for study about 1879 from his alma mater, the University of Louisville Medical School. "Old Bony" made the trip west to Lemon Grove, where the good doctor was the only game in town between 1900 and 1930. With the aid of his wife Fannie, he birthed babies, set broken bones (including those of your mule, so legend has it) and dealt with childhood ailments.
According to the town's famous pediatric optometrist, Dr. Amorita Treganza, whose half sisters had been tended by Doc White, he "doctored all manner of human distress whether mental or physical."
Not since Hamlet pondered the skull of Yorick in the Elsinore graveyard had there been so much excitement on Lincoln Street.
Cast of Thousands: Some 8,000 people greeted famed movie actor Ward Bond as he led the entourage flanking U.S. Senator Bill Knowland into the rodeo grounds at St. John of the Cross Church on one of the biggest pit stops of the season for the Knowland for Governor campaign.
A flood of handbills distributed throughout town urged the peasantry to turn out for the "Knowland Circus-Rodeo" and receive free ice cream and balloons while meeting Bond, Knowland, State Assembly candidate Bill Shearer and Congressman James Utt, and enjoying clown acts, accordion and banjo music, and pony rides.
Apparently this gambit worked, though Knowland lost to Pat Brown, Sr. 40 per cent to 59 per cent.
Fear and Loathing: William Shearer's large ads in the Review accused his opponent, Assemblyman Sheridan Hegland, of threatening local teachers if they didn't support his campaign, stealing your property taxes to build schools in other counties, and sponsoring AB 3903 to raise those taxes from $1.01 per $100 of assessed valuation to $1.20 per $100.
"I fear this man," declared Shearer. "I loathe what he stands for -- mercilessly fleecing the public of its hard-earned money."
"Nonsense," shot back Hegland. "I reject such melodrama."
A who's who of local gentry lined up behind Shearer (Sonka, Marder, Decker, Chamber of Commerce), but the big guns went for Hegland (Hazard, Marston, Scott and most east county editors). Shearer, founder of the American Independent Party and publisher of The California Statesman, lost to Hegland 43 per cent to 56 per cent.
Board of Stupidvisors: Famed 'Grovian Dr. Frank Gigliotti and Admiral William Standley, joint heads of Morality in Government, hurled charges at senatorial candidate Clair Engle, declaring him "a spoiled child [who] cursed those who might block his selfish path; proved his immaturity by slandering those who disagreed and showed disrespect for those in positions of established authority."
They accused Engle of cursing school teachers, terming one "The Lady from Hell" in a Saturday Evening Post article. In the same article, Engle allegedly termed "a devoted welfare worker 'Mrs. God Almighty'" and the "Board of Stupidvisors" no better than a bunch of "saloon habitués."
Not content with these bon mots, Engle apparently attacked a certain ethnic group with "all you need to win votes is a blanket and a jug of wine."
Yet Engle won and served in the state senate until 1964 when he died. Was he really an insensitive Drama King? We couldn't locate that Saturday Evening Post article, but did learn that he was a lawyer, district attorney and former congressman.
We did locate a Mar. 12, 1955 Post article by Paul F. Healy headlined "Wildcat in Washington" that profiled Engle as follows:
[He] is called "Congressman Fireball" in Congress…because he is usually trailed by a billowing cloud of cigar smoke as he walks through the White House corridors, and that he is also a figurative ball of fire when pushing legislation in committee sessions or in cloakrooms. Engle's effectiveness is provided in the last four Congresses [when] he piloted 39 of the public bills through the House and the got 23 enacted into law.
The Show Must Go On: Fabled boîte and haunt of the politically connected, Michael's Steak House, 7828 Broadway, was under new management. Determined to cut a swathe that Sherman would have envied, the new hosts featured Don Howard's talent show on Sundays with prizes; Robbie Krafts modeling fashions from local stores on Fridays at noon; and Chef Sacchetti, formerly of the Cincinnati Hilton's Terrace Plaza, cooking and carving prime rib in full view of diners.
Pint-Size Diva: Pammie McAllaster, 4, pulled the winning ticket in the Lemon Grove merchants' jackpot drawing, then wept when the winner wasn't her mommy. Clarice Bennett didn't expect to win because "I'm not lucky." Nevertheless, she won $100 in scrip at local stores, or 10 per cent of the weekly jackpot.
Noting Pammie's grief, Bennett bought her new lace socks at Rella's Shoes (39 cents) and "chicken a la basket with french fries" (79 cents) at Jack-in-the-Box. The latter then sported a jester type head in a cap with a Pinocchio size schnozzola (see photo).
Presumably, our diva went home happy.
Hamming It Up: With the harvest season in full swing, no pig was safe.
"We offer the finest eastern corn-fed pork--buy two dinners and get a free one-lb. pork butt," offered Hayloft Barbecue, 8323 Imperial (today, Lemon Grove Avenue).
Knight's Market, 1505 Skyline, provided free delivery if you bought 10 pounds of fresh picnic ham at 39 cents a pound.
Gordon's Market, Broadway and Olive, advertised a whole, tenderized ham for 55 cents a pound; butt portion at 49 cents a pound; shank portion at 39 cents a pound; and center cut slices at 98 cents a pound. But if you brought in your coupon for Wilson' Corn King Bacon you paid 49 cents a pound (instead of 57 cents) and got half off a dozen large eggs (25 cents).
Big Baby Boo-Boo: The Review printed the following: "A baby boy named Anthony Wade was born Oct. 9 at Paradise Valley Hospital to Mr. and Mrs. Areola Hughes, Glencoe Drive, Lemon Grove. He weighed only three pounds, eight ounces."
This disclaimer ran a week later: "The Hughes baby is named Wade Hughes and he weighed eight pounds, three ounces. Anthony is nobody's baby and we do not know how we confused this information. We apologize for any inconvenience. We are sending the Hughes family a gift certificate to Lemon Grove Department Store."
For the record, five 'Grove babies were born the same week, all weighing eight pounds and some change.
Wisdom of the Ages: The Review continued its decades-long record of running the best fillers in journalism, to wit:
Few people get into trouble in church.
You may wool-gather only when not gainfully employed.
Do not discuss your ailments in the waiting room, but wait until the doctor is in to ensure a good result.
Politicians may have pull but only dentists have the real thing.
And so it went 55 years ago when all the world was a stage in the little town with the biggest lemon on earth.