Some GREAT Stories

Here are some personal memories sent in by some of our graduates.
If you are interested in sending in anything in please submit articles
[email protected]

Black and White

"Black and White Poem"
(Under age 40? You might not understand)

You could hardly see for all the snow, 
Spread the rabbit ears as far as they go; 
Pull a chair up to the TV set, 
"Good Night, David. Good Night, Chet." 

Depending on the channel you tuned, 
You got Rob and Laura - or Ward and June; 
It felt so good. It felt so right, 
Life looked better in black and white. 

I Love Lucy, The Real McCoys, 
Dennis the Menace, the Cleaver boys; 
Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, 
Superman, Jimmy and Lois Lane. 

Father Knows Best, Patty Duke, 
Rin Tin Tin and Lassie too; 
Donna Reed on Thursday night! -- 
Life looked better in black and white. 

I wanna go back to black and white, 
Everything always turned out right; 
Simple people, simple lives... 
Good guys always won the fights. 

Now nothing is the way it seems, 
In living color on the TV screen; 
Too many murders, too many fights, 
I wanna go back to black and white. 

In God they trusted; alone in bed they slept, 
A promise made was a promise kept; 
They never cussed or broke their vows, 
They'd never make the network now . 

But if I could, I'd rather be, 
In a TV town in '53; 
It felt so good. It felt so right, 
Life looked better in black and white. 

I'd trade all the channels on the satellite, 
If I could just turn back the clock tonight; 
To when everybody knew wrong from right, 
Life was better in black and white! 

Submitted by Barbara Pixley '52
Submitted 11/11/2003


Article From the Huntington Park Signal

Anyone truly from Huntington Park is familiar with the Daily Signal. This
came from the Huntington Park Daily Signal
April 7, 1982.

What lies between the years and now
You cannot take away
But skip ahead, be always young,
For in your heart you know
That time is nothing--let it go!!!

Look to this day--
For it's not where you've been
And what you've done Or said...
All piled high to see.
This is a starting point,
A place of beginning again.
It's where you go
And what you do today,
For as you hum a tune,
Say a word, lift a hand
Make a wish, forget yourself,
Reaching up from where you stand,
Only then will you touch a star.

Written by
The late Alberta Dredla
HPHS Home Economics Teacher

I found this in my Mom and Dad's Bible along with some
 other things they saved. I thought I'd share it with y'all.

Submitted by
Susan (Via) Caldwell
[email protected]
HPHS '72
Submitted 4/15/2003



Sharing Memories of the Fabulous 50's

Once viewed as a decade that was placid and "silent", the 1950'a are now seen more as an era bursting with creativity in art, music and science. In fact, sociologist. have called the 1950's a unique time in American history and those of us born in the 1930's have been called "The Good Times Cohort". A cohort is a generational group and "Good Times" has been used to describe us because our numbers were small and opportunities great.

The older I get tile more I appreciate those families, teachers and others who made our world back then possible. If the generation before us has been deemed "the greatest generation", then perhaps ours could be called "the luckiest generation".

Parents who had survived The Great Depression, worked hard, raised their families and made their American dream come true.

Of course, the world was not a perfect place then-but looking back we back did enjoy a time of comparative innocence that today's young people can only imagine.

A friend recently read an article about a high school teacher who showed her class several Ozzie and Harriet TV videos. They were assigned to write an essay about what they had seen. To her surprise the overwhelming responses read-in effect: "What a different time it was then" and "I wish
I could have lived then".

While Ozzie and Harriet did not perfectly personify the fifties, one must admit the distance between the world of Ozzie Nelson and Ozzie Osbourne is quite a gap!

When surveyed, many Americans have called the 1950 's the best of times. Quite possible the best of places to have been in "those best of times" was a middle class American suburb. It would have been a place very much like the town where I grew up: Huntington Park, California.

Author John Updike describing his hometown wrote: "We leave that home but the having and the leaving we remember forever."

So here we are at the 50th reunion of the class of 1952--and the room is truly filled with remembering. 50 years of golden friendships and memories. And a good looking group too-might I add! We did live in the "best of places in the best of times".. When I returned in 1961 to HP as a teacher: I discovered that it was called by some as the "country club school"--and teachers asked to come to HP--not because it was the wealthiest area in the district-but because the students tended to come from supported and caring families. It truly was a community.

Tonight lets' jog a few of those memories:

Do you remember?:

Movies at the Warners, California and Lyric Double features, Saturday matinees with a lot of serials Cheering as our teams beat South Gate and Bell "Sweep South Gate off the field with Spartan skill and Spartan might!''

When the Amboy Dukes was the raciest book around-but by the time it got around to you-all the "good sections" had been torn out!

The Mock Convention--We "nominated" Ike When telephone numbers had prefixes: Kimball, LaFayette, Jefferson, Ludlow... Howdy Day, Cotton Day, Sadie Hawkins... Riding the Red Cars to the Pike and the 'J' car to L.A.

Cheer for the "Orange and Grey"!

The Freshman girl's "glamorous" bathing suits

The latest pop tunes played on the quad at lunchtime (When lyrics were worth repeating)

Girls wearing their boyfriends letterman sweaters

Hi-y, Y-Teens, Job's Daughters and DeMolay

KnitTogs, Winemans, Treasure Isle, Heafield's Florist and Raff's jewelry store

The day you got your Senior sweater

When coffee shops had small juke boxes at the table

The Christmas parade on Pacific Blvd.

When male teachers wore jackets and women teachers wore dresses.

The Senior Tea-girls in hats and gloves.

And so much more...............

If any of this has brought a smile to your face then you too remember:

What is was like to be a teen Perhaps the best that's ever been.

Memories of those days gone by of our teenage years at HP High.

Of poodle skirts and petticoats Mile high cones and cherry cokes.

The E1 Recuerdo and Spartan Shield Senior Field Day on Reeder Field.

Our Senior sweaters: bright jade green The niftiest ones we'd ever seen.

A Chubby with french fries at the Clock and how about-meet me at Stockton Rock?

Where did they go? Those days were swell. The Shadow knows ...but he won't tell.

We've traveled long roads both near and far and 50 years later, Here We Are!

(And if you can remember back that far maybe you're older than you say you are!)

May I propose a toast:


Here's to the Class of '52

And the golden memories we've shared with you...

50 years of friendships and memories..

Barbara Pixley
Program Chairman

Submitted by Barbara Pixley '52
[email protected]
Submittted 1/2/2003


Our Neighbors

When the Scriptures say to love our neighbor
Do they mean just the one next door
Or do they include some unknown soul
On a far and distant shore

Our neighbor may be an earthly king
Or a native of an impoverished nation
Rich or poor, handsome or plain
We still have the same obligation

God loves all of His children
In spite of what they do
So it only follows that if we love Him
We will love His children too

We need not approve of what they think
And certainly not what they do
But Christ said to love and pray for them
And we should follow through

It is easy to love those neighbors
Who love us back in return
But those who are our enemies
Should be our greatest concern

God loved us when we were unlovely
And we must do the same
We too must love the unlovely
And pray for them in Jesus name

With unsaved love and joyful hearts
We help our sisters and brothers
But we will find the road to happiness
By helping and loving others

Jess Johnson
Submitted  8/7/2002


My first Oldsmobile

In 1951 my Dad got a brand new Oldsmobile 98 4 door sedan. Light blue on the
bottom with a medium blue roof. I was just 12 going on 13 and was going to Gage Jr. High School in Huntington Park, Calif. We lived on the corner, just across the street from the school. This was the only Oldsmobile in the neighborhood and it got a lot of attention. 

We had a trailer in Huntington Beach. Actually, the place was two miles long and ran south of the pier. I only mention this because I learned to drive on Beach Blvd. and Goldenwest. These were the two streets that ran next to Knott’s Berry Farm. 

I would first just steer and then I got behind the wheel. That is when I new there was a rocket under the hood. You would just touch ever so lightly and the car took off. My Dad was kind of a fast driver and when he would floor it to impress me or just passing a car, it was awesome!! We had owned a Chrysler New Yorker prior to this and the difference was extreme. It felt like you were going 3 times as fast in the Oldsmobile. The styling was really nice and it handled good. At least that was the opinion of a 13 year old with no experience.

That started my interests in Oldsmobile’s. 

My Mom took me and my girl friend Mary to the Motorama at the Pan Pacific in L.A. in 1953. We looked at the other cars, but I kept coming back to the Oldsmobile display. I was in heaven.

I was able to buy a car in 1956 from money I made at the YMCA Camp in the summer and cashed a $500.00 insurance policy in. I knew I could not afford an Olds, but a Chevy from ’49 to ’51 would be great. Unfortunately, $600.00 would not make it happen. My Dad was really close with Guy Mootheart who owned the Chrysler-Plymouth dealer in Compton, Ca. So I ended up with a 1953 Plymouth Cranbrook 4 door sedan, light green in color. I put duals on it, but I was really embarrassed to be seen in it. 

I graduated from Huntington Park High School in January 1958. We had winter and summer classes in those days. 

About a month later I rear ended a Buick in the rain. The guy got out, looked at this car and left. The front of my car was destroyed. 

My Dad actually felt bad for me. A rare happening. He offered to help me pay for a new car, but I had to pay him interest. Oh by the way, he was executive Vice-President of Ingersoll-Rand. We lived in an apartment in a middle class neighborhood, but we could have lived anywhere. 

The first place I looked for a car was at J.M. Taylor Oldsmobile in South Gate. They had a super clean and low mileage 88 Holiday Coupe. I was dating the owner’s daughter and I am sure that helped get me a good deal. My Dad paid for the car,
and I paid him $8.25 per week. I even had to have a ledger that he would sign each week.

I practically lived in this car. Boy was I proud. Then I put dual exhausts on it, and the world was good.

I had been working for a Jewelry Manufacture and three days a week I would drive a route to deliver the finished items. 

I had just had the car tuned and it really gained a lot of power. I was traveling on Compton Avenue crossing 102nd Street, when a lady ran the red light. I was ejected out of the car and across 2 lanes of traffic. 

A week later (after I got out of the hospital), I saw my car; it was struck so hard that the transmission tunnel had gone up into the instrument panel. 

The lady had insurance, so I went out looking for another car. Little did I know that this year car was so popular, that no one had them on their used car lots? I must have gone to at least a dozen Olds dealerships. I was going to try more dealers, Kaiser Bros in Los Angeles. They had nothing. But as I was leaving, a guy came up and said there was a blue and white 88 on the second for. It was really dusty. The car had apparently had been traded in, and got lost. This dealership was right down town in an old three story building and was really disgusting except for the new car show room.

The car was a little edgy, but the price was right. Besides it was the only one that could be found. And it was a Super 88 Holiday Coupe.

It was never the sharp, well running car that I had before, but it was a 1954.

Fast forward. I went to work for J.M. Taylor Oldsmobile in 1959 and worked in the body shop as a gopher and learned to write estimates. At the same time I bought a 1957 Olds Super 88 Holiday Sedan and then a 1962 Olds F-85 Cutlass. I was hired as the body shop manager at Hardin Oldsmobile in Anaheim at 25 years old. 

Two weeks after I arrived in Sept. 1964, they a had new 1964 Olds 98 Holiday Coupe sitting in the body shop with the right rear sagging. I had no idea who it belonged to until I was advised that it had been repaired, but was listed as an internal repair job, and I had not seen any repair order or paperwork on it. 

I asked how much they wanted for it. They said they just wanted to get rid of it. I knew what it needed to complete and look really nice. They sold it to me for what they had in it. As soon as the car was mine, I came in the next Saturday and heated the opposite spring to make it level and walla I have a 2500 mile car. . 

The car had belonged to a Senator from Colorado and had been rear ended in the Santa Ana Canyon. His insurance company put him in a new car and sent him home. 

After buying a 1965, 1967, 1969 (all 88’s) I started buying 98’s in 1970 and ’74. Then Cadillac’s.

Story not over. I own the Auto Appraisal Bureau and specialize in car values from 1946 thru 1975. In doing an appraisal in 1995 with my Manager. I saw an ad for a 1954 Olds.

Super 88 for $10K. I called the guy immediately and found he lived in the desert (Hesperia). I drove out that Saturday and found the car. This guy lived in an estate. The car was setting over a pool of oil. I drove the car and could not keep it on the
road. He took $5K.

The car was finally totally restored on the third Saturday of September 1999. Sunday my wife and I we went to a brunch. In coming home, I dropped her off at home and went to the post office. Half way there, yep you got it, a lady ran a stop sign and put me in the hospital. The car suffered $21K in damages. Thank god for Hagerty Classic Insurance.

Why do I still own 1954 Oldsmobile’s? Because, you know something exciting is going to happen.

Submitted by Jim Maxey Winter '58
[email protected]
Submitted 1/22/2003


The earthquake of '33

Picture of the HPHS shortly after the earthquake of '33
Submitted by Virginia (Flournoy) Mihem '39
Submitted 8/4/2002


Depression times at HP

This was written by Ida Mae (Bonnie) Buell Scully of class of ' 31 
  [email protected]

My husband was class of 32 and was Marvin Scully. He played banjo and was in many of the stage offerings we had at school in those days.

Our class had the distinction of being one of the first to graduate into the great depression. For me, that meant no college, the greatest disappointment of my life. I graduated 4th highest in my class and had prepared for college, but had to go to work instead.

Marvin and I watched our high school burn in 1933. What a sad night.

During my 4 years at Huntington Park, it was a Union High School and only became part of the L.A. school system in 31 or 32. That really ruined the school and it was never the same after that. We had to wear uniforms, middies and skirts, etc. A cotton dress day was enjoyed maybe once a month - I  am not sure now, about that.

Story submitted 7/6/2002


Baseball at LA Wrigley Field in the '50's

This was written by Brian Stromsoe class of '57
[email protected]

My grandfather used to take me to Wrigley Field all the time - not in Chicago, but down around 47th and
San Pedro in Los Angeles where the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League played.

That Wrigley Field was a smaller version of the Chicago Wrigley Field and the Angels were a farm team for the Cubs -  so I got to see the players coming or going to Chicago.  Same story for the Hollywood Stars who played at Gilmore Field (now gobbled up by the Farmers Market).  And there were the Sacramento Solons, Oakland Oaks, Portland Beavers, San Francisco Seals (where Joe DiMaggio started), Seattle Rainiers, and San Diego Padres (where the mighty Luke Easter played).  Hot Dogs for a dime, cokes for a nickel, a bag of peanuts, and entry for a quarter. Good entertainment for a buck. If you were broke there were knotholes in the fences for kids to look through, hence the term "knothole gang."  Of course, Wrigley Field was bricks and ivy.

Max West who used to play first base for the Angels later owned a sporting goods store in Alhambra. And of course, I first saw Chuck Connors - not as a TV star - but as the Hollywood Star's first baseman.

Story submitted 7/6/2002

True story of the '33 Earthquake at HPHS


I remember when the old High School burned down.  It was during (And a few minutes after) the Long Beach earthquake. 

I was attending grade school in Maywood,  and we had just sat down to dinner.  My father, who had been in the 1906 San Francisco quake, ushered the family out the back door.  I, being the last one out of the breakfast nook, and impatient, did a to-the-rear-march and sprinted out the front door.  Presently, I heard my Dad's melodious voice shouting, "Ted, where the heck ARE you?"  I shouted  back, and his next shout was just two words, "LOOK UP!"  I did, and raced around to join the rest of them . . .I'll never forget those wildly swaying power lines that I saw over my head.

Over at the High School someone had left a large jar of metallic sodium, totally submersed in oil, of course, sitting on a shelf above a sink in the chemistry laboratory. They’re being no way that a large jar could remain on a shelf in a quake of that magnitude; it did what large jars on shelves in earthquakes have done for centuries. It fell into the sink.

Now, it doesn't take much H2O to cause a chemical reaction, especially with sodium.  H2O + Na reacts to form sodium hydroxide plus free hydrogen. The experiment, if conducted in an oxygen free environment, is reasonably safe, but the heat of reaction is higher than the kindling point of Hydrogen.

Well, we got a new High School out of it . . .all except that darn, fireproof, red brick, ugly old Manual arts building.  I wonder if it's still there?

Name withheld by request
Story submitted 7/6/2002


Fletchers Arch

I don't even know if Fletcher's Arch is still there or not.  It was on the south side of the auditorium and what it was was just a 10' chain-link gate.  There was no fence and I don't think there had ever been, just the gate.  It was called Fletcher Arch after Joe Fletcher who, co-incidentally,  was also never there.  At some point, some enterprising student had gotten a hold of the graduation list and incorporated the name Joe Fletcher, resulting in the principal standing on the stage at graduation repeatedly calling Joe Fletcher who, of course, never materialized.  It took the principal a bit to realize that the students were snickering and he had been had.  Or so goes the legend. As I recall the Fletcher graduation occurred in the late 50's.

Submitted by JoAne Robbins '65
Submitted 5/2/2002


More of the FABULOUS 50's

 I used to deliver auto parts (from Haase Auto Parts on Randolph west of Miles) to Cal Worthington's on Slauson west of Miles. He used to have honky tonk western band stand stuff on Sunday afternoons. And next door to him was a bowling alley for 25 cents a game and shoe rentals at 10 or 15 cents. The bowling alley on Pacific was still using human pin setters around 1953 as I was a paper boy for the Huntington Park Signal (nickel a copy). I had the route on Seville from Randolph to Slauson, Johnnie Whitmore had the route north of Slauson / Rita and made $25 / month while I had to scrape by on $20 / month. Spent my money on the way home (home=west of Alameda & south of Florence) by stopping at the comic book stand at Florence & Pacific (10 cents each; I had several hundred, and Johnnie Whitmore had three times what I had). Then it was a pit stop at Rancher Bills where 30 cents got you a burger, fries, and coke - a paper boys delight. I'm really surprised today that we ran straight exhaust then. Jungle Jim (somebody) had a garage on Santa Fe south of Florence and I took y 1950 Olds in for various things (Lasalle stick shift, 3 Stromberg carbs) including dual mufflers but with cut offs which could be opened to bypass the mufflers thus allowing you to sound like a jet engine - surprised more of us weren't in court more often. The police got someone with loud pipes every now and then, and off to Jungle Jim's they would go and he would insert a baffle in the sytem to quiet things down so you could pass muster, and then you removed the baffles a day later and sounded like a truck again. Seems to me there was an underpass somewhere on Florence where people walked under the street. Smelled bad and I would imagine it would be a bad place to be today at midnight - I assume it was closed up long ago. After WWII my mom used to take us to the original Carls hot dog stand at Central & Florence (1946ish?), then we ate at a second one on Alameda south of Florence, and then when I got my wheels (circa 1955), I ventured to the one on Pacific south of Florence where we were undeniably unkind to the hapless manager resulting in the Sheriff's patrolling every now and then. A predecessor was right - greatest chili dogs and sloppy burgers. When they franchised, the originals disappeared. My sister (Judy) dated a Terry ?McQueen? who attended South Gate HS and later became a SG cop/detective. He was a member of the "Rockers" car club along with other HPHS people on my block (Whitsett) Bob Schlitz, Larry Dolan his cousin, Marcus ?Stathus? and various others. My sisters friends were one or two years behind and included Dixie O'Neil, Glenda Mead, and a host of others I was unaware of at the time, probably because I knew them all when they were 10 years old and they grew up when I wasn't looking.

Got to go, old age calls.

Submitted by Brian Stromsoe '57
Submitted 5/272/2005


Renewing old friendships


My name is Jim Rhea.

I attended HPHS in '38, '39, and '40. MY family then moved to Long Beach and of course I along with them, and graduated Jordan High School in Long Beach in 1941. I met a fellow in our Freshman year at HPHS, Harold Dudley, and we were life-long friends for over 70 years.  I'm sure many of you knew Harold during his 4 years at HP.  He graduated later from the Naval Academy and flew fighters off Aircraft Carriers during WWII. During the last few years before his death he took great interest and pride in the HPHS Alumni Association.

After WWII, and College and Marriage I spent 29 years with the Dow Chemical Company and after 6 transfers during that period my family and I couldn't take one more so we retired.  I became a Management Consultant and later a Teacher and  writer,  publishing articles on Personnel Management, Sales and Marketing Management and Sales Supervision. I'm currently writing a Newsletter for our Homeowners Association and am halfway thru a novel.

I discovered the Association thru  Dud's son, Greg, and I have him to thank for hooking me up with old friends thru e-mails. And my sincere thanks to Barbara Raymond for her assistance. The Association is fortunate to have her as President.

I enjoyed talking with Tom Burger about friends we both knew, and I met Loise ( Preston ) LaBorde thru her posted e-mail address. What pleasant memories!  I learned we both lived in Maywood while attending  HPHS; Later, we both lived in San Bernardino at the same time, and also in West Covina , and our kids attended the same elementary School.

This could not have happened had she and I not posted our e-mail address in the graduating class section.  Frankly, I am a bit surprised more Alums don't list their their e-mail address--you are missing great fun and joyous memories. You do meet HP Grads in the strangest places.

During WWII I was attached to the 2nd Marine Division. I  was in a replacement Battalion shipped to   New Zealand prior to Combat. There were six of us replacements heading for tents when a young guy wandered over and said:  "Anyone here from California ?" I said:  "yes, I am".

And we began talking. Yep, Wally Donaghu was a HPHS Graduate, class of '40 as I recall, a great guy.  We enjoyed talking about friends we both knew. You will find his name and photo in the Yearbook if you have one (and I don't, darn it).

Friends I would like to find?  The Jones Brothers, one a class of 41, the younger, 43 or 44  I  think.  Dud and I shared a Basketball court with them.  Gene and Audry Rock--tremendous HPHS basketball players;  Art Bones--football and wrestling as I recall; and any others who attended HPHS thru those years,  especially anyone who attended many of the HP dances or hurried across the street for a quick hamburger and coke at the Malt Shop during lunch period.

Classes I enjoyed?  Gym of course, Basketball and swimming; Chemistry, and I offer a belated apology to the young girl whose dress I ruined while attempting a Chemistry experiment.

Life is short, guys, maybe it is time to get re-acquainted with old friends who attended HPHS--I promise you will enjoy it. Memories of those School days will come alive again.


Jim Rhea

Submitted 12/22/2007


June Hasty was a much revered PE teacher at Huntington Park   High School in the late forties, fifties and early sixties. She was a “pillar” along with Howard Ploessel and Hank Springer. These teachers provided much inspiration to many student's

During my senior year, I was editor of the Spartan Shield (weekly newspaper printed in the school’s print shop. Every Friday afternoon Miss Hasty would supply me with her “red penciled” copy of the paper.

She had such a skill with language and attention to detail. She assured me that she did this for me as a gesture of friendship and care and not of criticism. She would compliment me profusely about each weekly edition.

Once I said to her, “Well, I don’t think it was so great this week.” I went on to tell her why.

Once I had finished, she looked me right in the eyes and said, “If someone gives you a compliment, do not refuse it even if you do not agree.  To suggest that the compliment is not appropriate or worthy is an insult to the intelligence of the giver.”  

She suggested that if I didn’t agree with the words from the compliment bearer, that I should just say, “Thank you,” and remain silent. This message would apply to any kind of gift that someone might give to me.

There have been numerous times in my life when I have heard Miss Hasty whispering in my ear, “Just say Thank You.”  

This is a “life-lesson” that I have passed on to my own children.

Miss Hasty was a wonderful woman, teacher, leader, and mentor.

I went on to college and became a teacher also.

I hope that there is at least one student out there somewhere who learned a lesson from me that went beyond the classroom.

June Hasty’s memory is personified HPHS Alumni Association Motto.

"If I have seen a little farther than others, it's  because I stood  on the shoulders of giants."
Sir Isaac Newton said, 

The world is a better place because Miss June Hasty was here.

Barbara Willis Raymond, HP 1957
Huntington Beach , CA

Submitted by
Barbara Willis Raymond, '57
Submitted 12/22/2007


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