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Hart High Class of 1968 to reunite

Posted: June 28, 2008 9:34 p.m.
Updated: August 30, 2008 5:02 a.m.

This is a blatant attempt to coerce folks to spend some money for a good cause — themselves.

Yes, this is a commercial, of sorts, and once done reading it I hope you can join our little group.
So here goes ...

In 1968 you could buy a brand new Chevrolet in Newhall at Carrol Chevrolet on the corner of Lyons Avenue and San Fernando Road. You couldn’t buy any other make of new vehicle unless you went to the San Fernando Valley.

Creekside was just that — a dirt path along a Santa Clara River tributary. It was real close to the carrot-processing “plant.”

You could walk from there and only have to cross one street all the way to the high school — the only high school at the time —  William S. Hart Senior High School.

The Newhall Land and Farming Company was a farming and ranching firm that really produced crops and cattle, a few sheep and even had horses.

It was owned by the Newhall family. Imagine that! In 1968 the only homes that Newhall Land had built were for its own employees.

Bermite was still making explosives, not yet being recognized as a toxic waste site, and also in Saugus there was Thatcher Glass Co. and Century Records. Hey, the Saugus Café was there then and now, along with the RIB Café.

It was also the place you could catch a train — as a paid passenger going anyplace in these United States. You can still go to that station, but it’s located in Newhall now, and trains run by it, they don’t stop.

In June 1968 we were a small community of around 6,000 folks, 12,000 cows, five elementary schools, two junior high schools and one senior high school. Canyon High School was under construction and would open in the fall.

There was a stoplight at Lyons and San Fernando Road, another at Castaic Junction, (where highways 99 and 126 met), one at Soledad and Bouquet canyon roads, another at Sierra Highway and Soledad, and one at San Fernando Road and Sierra Highway near Eternal Valley cemetery.

There was one bowling alley on Lyons, the American Movie Theater in Newhall, the Mustang Drive-in on Soledad, and two drive-throughs: the Hi-Chic between Newhall and Saugus and the A & W on San Fernando Road.

Orchard shopping center was the only place to shop in in the whole valley; you could walk there from the only high school and not cross a street at all. Valencia didn’t exist ... well, maybe the golf course.

Just a few short years ago — well, maybe a few more years and a few more years ... how ‘bout  “TWO SCORE” years? (That is 40 years, for you recent high school grads) — that was our valley.

Yes, it was “the sticks” and “Hicksville.” Most of us couldn’t wait to leave. Many of us did leave and haven’t returned yet.

Why should we return to such a place? No place to go, and nothing to do, the Hart Class of 1968 has had enough of that to last for the rest of our lives.

But things have changed just a little in the past 40 years. Traffic, malls, five other high schools, Newhall Land growing houses and not cows — it isn’t the same old place. It done growed up on us!
Most of us would be lost just driving to Saugus from our old high school.

Forty years is a significant milestone. Longer than 39 and not 50 ... Just about everything has changed in the SCV, including the name because we just called it “Newhall-Saugus.”

As a group of us from the Hart Class of 1968 started talking about a reunion this year, we thought maybe we could get together to plan things at one of the “TIP’s” restaurants. Guess what? Those are all gone.

Then we found out we have a much greater variety of places to meet and plan. We decided to use the Internet and e-mail. Works a lot better and you don’t have to drive in the SCV until the weekend of the celebration.

It used to be so nice to cruise around our little valley. Darn near scares our socks off now, except for Donna.

We’ve decided on a party date: Oct. 18, 2008. If you want you can meet us the night before and then go to the football game against Canyon High, the No. 2 high school in the valley.

To do all this you’ll need to go to the site listed below and do what it says. Make sure you have your computer speakers on and turned up high when you click to go to the site (and make sure your pace-maker functions if you can prior to clicking on it).

So here it is, the Hart High School Class of 1968 40th reunion Web site:

By the way, all graduates of Wm. S. Hart Senior High School are invited. Just fill out the form on the Web site and send it with your check. Money knows no year or age; we take it all.

Thanks. See y’all at the party!

Darryl Manzer is a member of the Hart High School Class of 1968 40th Reunion Committee. Hart’s 1968 class was the last group of graduates to be drawn from all areas of the Santa Clarita Valley. Manzer now lives in Virginia.


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