News from the September editions of the Lemon Grove Review when kids and seniors passed each other like ships in the night.
The Moppets' Continental March: The 14th Annual Kids' Day Parade, sponsored by Lemon Grove Kiwanis on Sept. 22, 1962 was a gigantic undertaking involving a lengthy parade route, marching bands, flags, prizes galore, Miss Lemon Grove and her court, thousands of moppets and the devotion of as many adults in a town that revolved around its young.
Similar parades took place throughout North America on Sept. 22 said Kiwanis president Jack Durham (of the invincible Durhams, linchpins of Big Lemon business, education and clubs even unto the third generation, for Jack's daughter, Lori Durham Bailey, has run The Food Factory on Broadway with husband, Bob Bailey, for some 40 years).
Costumed and on decorated bikes, trikes and wagons, some pulling fancy doll buggies, the youngsters gathered at Lincoln and Citronella behind the fire house for the moment of truth: prizes for best costume, funniest costume, most original costume and best decorated wheeled entry. But everyone got free tickets to the Grove Theatre on a first come, first served basis.
The kiddies marched north on Imperial, east on Broadway, south on Kempf and landed in the junior high playing field, where some 2,600 ice cream bars were distributed. The entire Kiwanis Club, firemen, Sheriff's deputies and parents--adults of all ages--flanked the marchers, while the "biggest crowd ever" applauded from the sidelines.
The Backstory: On May 8, 1945 the Children's Victory Parade in Lemon Grove echoed others held all over the world to mark VE Day (Victory in Europe) and the end of WW II. (Still to come in late August was VJ Day (Victory over Japan) following the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.)
But the Children's Victory Parade, involving little 'Grovians in regular clothes on undecorated bikes, many with parents in the military, gave rise to the Kiwanis-inspired Kids' Parade that remained a staple of local life into the 1970s.
We should bring back this event, dear readers. Who's game to go for it? Here's a possible parade route: Gather in Civic Center Park for judging and prizes, then proceed north on Main to salute The Big Lemon, east on Broadway, south on Kempf, west on Lincoln, North on Lemon Grove Avenue to land in the Main Street Promenade for music, ice cream bars and revelry.
Mrs. Winchester Gets Our Vote: Alice Winchester, a precinct inspector for 22 years, celebrated her 91st birthday on the job at GOP headquarters. 3245 Imperial near Broadway.
"I don't care who you vote for," said Mrs. Winchester. "It's when you don't vote that gets my dander up."
The Elusive Pool: For decades 'Grovians had yearned for their own swimming pool -- a cool topic that comes up to this very day. In 1962 the Lemon Grove Coordinating Council, helmed by Paul Reynolds (who doubled as the school district's business manager), voted to give $1,700 in surplus funds to the Lemon Grove Swimming Pool Association to further their goal of building a community pool "somewhere" in town.
The association had hoped for a pool in Lemon Grove Park on Washington Street, but couldn't raise the funds. The park was deeded to the county, which stipulated "recreational uses." That, of course, didn't rule out a pool. Park land was originally donated by the pioneer Denlinger family of Alton Drive. Mr. Denlinger held hay rides for local moppets well into his 80s.
Suzie Putnam Dives for Gold: Suzie Putnam, 8, youngest daughter of Rear Admiral Dwight Putnam and Mrs. Rosemary Putnam, Crane Street, became the state diving champion in her division when she won a gold medal in the annual Amateur Athletic Union Dive Meet at San Fernando.
Coached by Ray Acton and Bill Yeakle, Suzie had just started third grade at Mt. Vernon Elementary when she won. Today, Mrs. Putnam thrives in her historic Crane Street Tudor Revival home -- and Suzie thrives with her family in Red Bluff, CA and is still a great swimmer.
The Goat Man Passes: Albert John Roberts ran the Acme Goat Farm at his home, 8551 Broadway near Sweetwater, from 1925 - 1945. He had planned to close the farm earlier, but milk rationing during WW II prompted him to continue so that Lemon Grove kiddies would have goat's milk to drink.
Born in England in 1869, Mr. Roberts emigrated with his family to Rhode Island in 1876. Later he taught art in public schools in Providence, RI and became involved with theosophy. An asthma sufferer, he moved to Lemon Grove in his 40s for the dry climate.
He spent his final 15 years painting seascapes in oils. When he died at 93 on Sept. 4, 1962 in San Diego Convalescent Hospital, he left a body of work that is -- somewhere. The Lemon Grove Historical Society would like to know. Painting en plein air, has been a local tradition since the 19th century. You can see such works in "The Art of Lemon Grove" on display in the Lemon Grove Library until the end of this month, as well as in November when the Society sponsored a solo show of work by noted 'Grove landscape painter, Ed Roxburgh.
Mr. Roberts was memorialized by the San Diego Theosophical Society, with cremation handled by Conrad Mortuary. Another fascinating 'Grovian gone. Wish we had known him.
Collegiate Gridlock: Lines formed outside Grossmont Junior College, one of the biggest and most impacted in California. More than 2,000 students waited in line for a spot. Ultimately the fall semester started with 2,700 enrolled.
The college bond issue had raged through the long, hot summer of 1962. Lemon Grove PTA mainstay, Lillian Collette, Bonita Street, chaired Boosters for Building Grossmont College with characteristic efficiency. She marshaled some 60 women to walk door-to-door to answer questions about the $7.5 college bond issue slated for the November ballot.
Said Mrs. Collette. "We can't raise our children for college, then leave them dangling. I just know people will vote for this [bond]."
René and Lillian Collette, who have been Parsonage Museum docents into 2013, are typical of the positive, youth-centered thinking that made possible so much progress in our town in the post WW II period.
Seniors Collide, Tragedy Ensues: Juan Bonilla, 68, a North Avenue resident, was crossing Broadway at Olive at dusk on Sept. 8 when he was hit by a car driven by John May, 76, a Broadway resident.
Mr. May said he couldn't stop in time. Mr. Bonilla, a native of Guadalajara, died at the scene and was later memorialized at St. John of the Cross. He left his mother, Mary Bonilla, a brother, six sons, eight daughters, 47 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
The Bonillas settled in Lemon Grove early in the 20th century and reside here today in the old Olive Street neighborhood, active in sports, education and business.
And so it went in late September when Baby Boomers, Lucky Few, Good Warriors, Hard Timers and New Worlders--all those generations from 1871 to 1964-- lived side by side in the best climate on earth.
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. Ofield was awarded first place in 2013 and second place in 2012 in non-daily column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists.