Sunday, December 16, 2012

Towns in the County, 1888: San Diego History Pt. III

Below are descriptions of some of the cities in San Diego County from T.S. Van Dyke's The City and County of San Diego (1888). Keep in mind that most of them were barely towns and that San Diego County was much larger then. Imperial County and most of Riverside County came from San Diego County.

"A few miles farther up the shore is La Jolla Park."

"Just around the opening of Soledad Valley upon the sea lies the handsome seaside town of Del Mar, with some 300 inhabitants."

"Carlsbad, a new watering-place with a mineral spring whose waters are attracting much attention. A few miles north of Carlsbad is Oceanside, a fast growing seaside town of over a 1,000 people."

Northeast of Temecula, 25 miles from the coast, is the Laguna Rancho, which contains 5,000 acres and surrounds the county's largest lake.
"By this lake is the thriving town of Elsinore with nearly a 1,000 people, with Wildomar near by well on the road to overtake it."

Friday, December 14, 2012

What to do During a Lull; or San Diego History, Pt. II

"The real estate offices were deserted; the hotels had more waiters than guests; empty stores and vacant houses became numerous on all sides." This is Mr. Van Dykes' observation after the 1873 financial crash, but it sounds eerily similar to our country's recent experiences.

National City's population dropped to a couple dozen people and San Diego's, to 2,500.

Mr. Van Dyke eloquently follows the above sentence with the following observations: "Day after day and year after year the bright sun shone upon quiet streets and store-keepers staring out of the door at an almost unbroken vacancy. Many a man in San Diego during those long years that followed sat and looked at nothing long enough to have made a fine lawyer, doctor, engineer, or a fine literary scholar if he had only substituted a book for the empty door-way."

From The City and County of San Diego by T.S. Van Dyke, 1888

San Diego History, Pt. I

In 1845, "the city lands, to the extent of 47,000 acres, were surveyed and mapped and granted to [the local government] by the Government of Mexico. This grant afterwards confirmed and patented by the United States, and hence the magnificent proportions of the present city limits." From the book, The City and County of San Diego by T.S. Van Dyke, 1888.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

17th Century Misbehavior....

Here are some excerpts from Ye Kingdome of Accawmacke or the Eastern Shore of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century by Jennings Cropper Wise, which remind us once again that our ancestors were not wiser, kinder, or more Godly than us...but it doesn't hurt for us to continue our attempts at perfecting our human condition: "...the Rev. Mr. Treakle...[was accused of] improper relations with Lady Scarborough and combining with her to poison [her husband]..." (p. 101-102) "Upon the 2nd day of August, 1641, Goody Curtis was trying to milk her cow in the cowpen of the Widow Taylor, but the cow was not used to that pen and became restive. Goody lost her temper and cross words passed between her and Mrs. Taylor, who was looking on and no doubt making silly suggestions as women are wont at times to do. There upon the good ladies fell to calling each other bad names, ending in Mrs. Taylor smacking Mrs. Curtis's face, for which breach of the peace, the Court 'Ordered that the Widow Taylor shoall pay unto John Curtis or anie other for his use, one potte of milk per daye, at the cowpen of the Widdowe [sic] Taylor until the last of September next, and pay all charges expended in this suite." (p. 44-45)

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Beauty of Rain

This quote made me think of Owen Wilson's character in the movie,"Midnight in Paris": “I am sure it is a great mistake always to know enough to go in when it rains: one may keep snug and dry by such knowledge, but one misses a world of loveliness. - Adeline Knapp

Every time I take a walk....

I make wonderful discoveries.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

On writers and writing...

I just finished reading (and looking at) a fun and inspiring book about writers, their libraries and reading history: Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books, edited by Leah Price. The book has photographs of their libraries and bookshelves, interviews (with great questions!) and their top ten list of books. There were some excellent quotes (see example below) and many of the books on their top ten lists, I had to add to my “must-read” list. “…the more sophisticated you are, the more annotated your mental life.”- Rebecca Goldstein, from her book Thirty-six Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction Some of the writers included are: Alison Bechdel, Junot Díaz, Claire Messud and Philip Pullman. My only criticism is the length. I would have loved to see more writers featured. I realized while reading it, that writers are really fascinating people. I already felt that way, but hadn’t articulated it for myself. I also enjoy reading the weekend column, Word Craft, in the Wall Street Journal. Written by different writers, it covers different aspects of writing. This week, Anna Quindlen writes about inspiration and her dislike of writing: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304432704577348020550966282.html The Financial Times features a short interview with an author each weekend.This week, it’s David Park: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/cdbfcfa8-83bb-11e1-82ca-00144feab49a.html#axzz1smauqRTX If you’re an avid reader, an aspiring writer, and/or someone who just appreciates intelligent conversation and references, you’ll enjoy the book and the two columns I’ve provided links for.

Dreadlocks on a beautiful young woman...

I’ve always had a penchant for them. They’re really quite architectural in nature. I have seen some incredibly interesting women (and men) sporting them over the years. Though not the right style for me, it is a style I like.

Friday, July 20, 2012

18th c. advice on reading in the toilet...

From a letter of the Earl of Chesterfield to his son, in 1747: I knew a gentleman, who was so good a manager of his time, that he would not even lose that small portion of it, which the calls of nature obliged him to pass in the necessary-house; but gradually went through all the Latin poets, in those moments. He bought, for example, a common edition of Horace, of which he tore off gradually a couple of pages, carried them to that necessary place, read them first, and then sent them down as a sacrifice to Cloacina: this was so much time fairly gained; and I recommend you follow his example. It is better than only doing what you cannot help doing at those moments; and it will make any book, which you shall read in that manner, very present in your mind. Really excellent advice, don’t you think?! :) (From Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books)

From the Dalai Lama...

"Every morning when I wake up, I dedicate myself to helping others to find peace of mind. Then, when I meet people, I think of them as long term friends; I don’t regard others as strangers."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

On being a twitterer...

“Because there’s someone there who twitters-twitters like a little bird…’A little bird told me’-was a saying of my youth. It’s very true, Kemp-these twitterers can tell one a lot if one just lets them-twitter!” From Agatha Christie’s, Sparkling Cyanide

Monday, February 27, 2012

Surfing in Cape Town, South Africa, 1924

"The people had short curved boards and came floating in on the waves...I made for the bathing pavilion, and when they said would I have a surf board, I said 'Yes, please.' Surfing looks perfectly easy. It isn't. I say no more. I got very angry and fairly hurled my plank from me. Nevertheless, I determined to return on the first possible opportunity and have another go. I would not be beaten. Quite by mistake I then got a good run on my board, and came out delirious with happiness. Surfing is like that. You are either vigorously cursing or else you are idiotically pleased with yourself." From Agatha Christie's The Man in the Brown Suit

Friday, January 27, 2012

Further adventures in yearbook research…

After I completed my column for the Carlsbad Patch on the Carlsbad History Room yearbook collection: http://carlsbad.patch.com/articles/for-the-love-of-yearbooks, my curiosity about the state of girls’ sports was so piqued that I headed over to Oceanside High School to look at their complete collection of yearbooks for the former Oceanside-Carlsbad Union High School. Aside from girls’ sports, what I found in the earlier yearbooks was interesting enough to warrant a second write-up. So this blog will cover more fun tidbits from the earlier yearbooks, and a second blog will go over girls’ sports as per this yearbook collection. The Oceanside-Carlsbad Union High School opened in 1906 with just twenty students in two grades, 9th and 10th. The first yearbook for the high school was published 1909. It gave a short history of the students’ activities and the school itself from 1906-1909. The yearbook was called The Nautilus and the cover included an inspirational saying: “Build thee more stately mansions, oh my soul”. It seems that the student body had consisted mainly of girls from its opening until this first publication. Five girls made up the first graduating class: Sibyl Spencer, Ramona Rieke, Marguerite Brannen, Enice Everett, and Edith Cotteral. They were active girls and serious scholars. During the 1906 and 1908-1909 school year, their basket ball [sic] team played against other schools: Santa Ana, Orange, Escondido, and Fallbrook. By 1909, they also had a new tennis court. Despite what our preconceived notions might be of the education available to girls in the early 20th c., there were no home economics classes until 1919. They did have a school library, which opened in 1907 and a student council. The student council consisted of the usual officers, as well as a “Mistress-at-arms”! Similar to our experience today, the incoming 1908-1909 freshman class was the largest: seven students, including two boys. Five girls made up the sophomore class. The junior class consisted of one boy and one girl…I hope they got along! The “Athletics” section of this first yearbook is contradictory, as were many aspects of progressive behavior in women in the past. Just as Elizabeth Blackwell who was the first female to graduate from medical school would not walk in her college’s graduation because it wasn’t “ladylike”, so these active and intelligent girls apologize: “The feminine element of the OCUHS is predominant, so if the discussion of girls’ basketball fills the space devoted to athletics in general, we hope our readers will not be disappointed.” I have tried to surmise who that apology was meant for: the three boys at the school, parents, or perhaps the general public? Regardless, the rest of the section contains their scores for the season, descriptions of the players, a general discussion of the benefits of athletics, and gratitude to those who supported the team. They won four out of seven games, and the county championship. Each player was described, e.g. "Sibyl Spencer-Small, quick, sly center" and "Enice Everett-A nifty guard with a swift arm". Ramona Rieke, who wrote the Athletics’ section, wrote a very inspirational and uplifting description of the game and its benefits (NBA/WNBA PR, take note!): “…basketball is one of the very best tests of the activity and alertness of the brain…. The real heart of its popularity is that the game is a most insistent shaper of character. Endurance, energy and patience are the secrets of successful playing. Good control of temper and the absence of selfishness and personal antagonism are necessary for a real player. But best of all is that beautiful friendliness, companionship and concentration of many minds on one thing in common, causing respect and love for one another, which is all so firmly established by team work.” By 1912, the yearbook had been re-titled, Green & White. Due to the fact that there were hardly any photos in these early yearbooks, there is a lot of information about coursework, examples of student writing, etc. In the 1912 yearbook, a student wrote about how the 10th graders studied the papers of Sir Roger de Coverly, each taking a character name to “make them more interesting”. Based on other essays in the yearbook, it is evident that Joseph Addison was revered. Another student wrote an essay about the history of African-Americans. The sophomore class motto was “That which we think we understand best, we find ourselves most ignorant of.” Good advice for all of us. This year also saw a new school built for about $16,000, after a $15,000 bond measure passed. The curriculum was still very general. This is understandable since there were only six graduating seniors in 1913. The ninth graders course load consisted of: Latin, Algebra, General Science, and English. In the senior write-ups of 1913, it was noted that Mary Machado and Ruth Bryan were three-year graduates, with the well-earned congratulations on their achievement. In one of these early yearbooks, the foreword suggests that teens consider attending high school for its excellent social aspects, but admonishes them not to even consider it if they aren’t willing to improve themselves through the challenging academics offered at the school. In an essay by Sedric Brown entitled “Ranches of California”, he suspects that the land would soon be in the hands of the “incoming tourist population”. He felt that the government should preserve the ranches, just as the do the Missions. One of the most fascinating aspects of reading documents from the past is to see if they were right or wrong about what has since come to pass… The years of WWI are reflected in the pages of the yearbooks with former students serving in the military, and there were many! There were several seniors who served and then returned to finish high school, as noted in the senior write-ups. At a time when it wasn’t a requirement, coming back to complete their high school education speaks highly of those young men. By 1925, Home Economics was relabeled Domestic Science. In 1927, it had become Domestic Art. The boys were not to be left out of advancing their own knowledge of domestic activities- the 1931 yearbook has a photo of the inaugural Boys’ Cookery Class. Another unusual class that only appeared to last a year was an Advanced Physiology Class for girls, apparently to learn about hygiene! The 1928 yearbook showed a photo of the three buses the school now had at their disposal. Prior to this, my understanding was that most students took the train and/or walked. By 1931, that number had increased to six and by 1932, seven. It was noted in the yearbook that some students had a round-trip of sixty miles. For those who participated in extracurricular activities, there were late buses that left the school at 5pm. Among the extracurricular offerings, the Stamp Club, Badminton Club, Homemaking Club, Future Secretaries, and Future Secretaries were new options in the 1950 yearbook. Senior superlatives made their debut in the 1945 yearbook. Watching the evolution of school culture and teen-aged students through their high school yearbooks in a “time-lapse” fashion affords us a unique “big picture” view, as with the changes in Home Economics classes and cheerleading (see next blog to learn more). The similarities and differences between high school students of today and those one hundred years ago, demonstrate that while teen-agers haven’t changed as much as we might think, the world around us does affect the sensibility of those who live in it.