Decades later: Lawton School Reunion…

After a fire (arson) destroyed much of Jefferson Grammar School on Irving Street in San Francisco’s Sunset District– just before I was about to graduate in the late 1950s– the kids were bused to Ulloa Elementary to complete the semester. As you might imagine, it was a difficult transition to go from the familiar to the unfamiliar but new friends were made.

(If you know the Sunset, you remember that the cross streets go in alphabetical order from Irving-to Wawona–therefore Ulloa was a zillion blocks from Irving, new territory for me, mostly residential.)

By then (before the school fire) my childhood friend, Lynn Kalajian McCloskey, had moved to a new house and attended Lawton Elementary. This was a good move because she was now closer to Lincoln High School and all the parents wanted their kids to go Lincoln. Eventually my parents did the same thing, moving two blocks from Lincoln to assure my acceptance there.

And many of the kids at Lawton went on to Lincoln, so I got to know them in high school.

I have to admit that Lynn and I are opposites. She’s very outgoing and I am not–which is why I can sit here for hours working on my blogs!

A couple of weeks ago Lawton Grammar School had a reunion and Lynn was there to cover the story. The teacher drove in from Sacramento….and former students flew in from Texas and other parts of the country…

Here’s a photo of the kids, now very much adults. The faces I see belong to former Lincoln High athletes, song girls, geniuses and highly motivated elected membersr of the school’s student body in the 1960s.

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Lawton School – Mr. James Healy’s 1960 6th Grade Class –
Back Row: Glenda Dubour, Janis Grimm, Carol Tomasello, Jeff Liss, Karen Tomasello, Berit Hovde, Maria Cresci, Gary Schaezlein, Bobby Cooper, Jim Minor, Mr. James Healy
Middle Row: Walt Scott, Diane Denhart, Tina Chriss, Marlane Drews
First Row: Jeff Gaynor, Lynn Kalajian, David Gabriel, Darlene Pels, Madeline Karonsky, Billy Wilde

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Photo: Reunion organizer David Gabriel gets the party going with a toast.

And here’s the Reunion story by Lynn Kalajian McCloskey

How many people think of having a sixth grade elementary school reunion? I’m sure it’s been done, but one must admit it is rare. On Friday evening, January 18, 2008, a group of classmates from Lawton Elementary School in San Francisco got together for a class reunion at the Beach Chalet Restaurant at Ocean Beach. We all grew up in the Sunset amidst the fog and “dunes.â€? So, the Beach Chalet was a perfect location for this event.

The group came together as a result of a classmate, David, researching, finding and contacting as many students as he could. During the research process, a number of emails went back and forth and one could feel the excitement brewing. The reunion was becoming a reality. People that I thought about over the years were coming back to life as were the fond memories I have of those wonderful days at Lawton in the Sunset District. Out of 36 students, 20 were able to attend. Sadly, one classmate, and a neighbor of mine in the Sunset, passed away in 2002 from brain cancer. Other students were unable to attend due to prior commitments or living out of the area. However, the organizer is living in Colorado and another classmate who attended, Bobby, lives in Texas. The rest of us live in the Bay Area. The biggest surprise of all was an email from David informing us that our teacher, Mr. Healy would be attending. I can honestly say that Mr. Healy was an amazing teacher, and I think all of his student would agree with me. As the day drew near, it was all I could think about. Finally, the day arrived. I went to work as usual, but couldn’t wait for the work day to end. It was a busy Friday, and the day flew by.

One never knows what traffic into the City will be like so we left in plenty of time. Driving from Marin to SF, I was telling my husband stories of the Lawton days that I hadn’t thought about in years. We arrived in the City about 45 minutes early so we drove around our old neighborhoods and reminisced.

At the designated hour, we arrived at the Beach Chalet. As I was getting out of the car, I mentioned to Larry that I was a little nervous. Would anyone remember me, what would I talk about……. I had seen some of my classmates at my 20th high school reunion. With those that went their different ways, it ended the day we were promoted to junior high some 48 years ago. The first person I saw was David and two other classmates, Bobby and Jeff, who I had not seen since our high school days. The nerves melted away as we greeted and hugged one another. One by one everyone arrived and the mood of the evening was electric. Photos were snapped, hugs were exchanged, laughter was filling the room and the smiles spread from ear to ear.

Continue reading “Decades later: Lawton School Reunion…”

Playing Catch-Up With LARRY KAPLAN…Lincoln H.S. Alum

Email Larry Kaplan: lkaplan@kaplanyacht.com

You may recall my “Conversations with Larry Kaplan”

We went to Lincoln High School in San Francisco together. He drove there; I walked.

Here’s Larry: larry.jpg and here’s me: junejpg.jpg

Coincidentally, we both attended San Jose State and even more coincidentally we lived in the same apartment building at 555 South 8th Street. Back then, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, lots of students lived off campus, renting rooms in these wonderful old Victorian houses.

Our apartment building was boring architecturally and the cop fraternity was next door so we had to be on our best behavior.

On weekends I drove home to San Francisco to see my folks in my 1966 Chevy Malibu, yellow with a black vinyl top.

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Larry rode his ten speed home to see his parents in the City–or packed his wheels into the trunk of my roommate Sue’s car and traveled with her.

Later, when I moved to the Coastside, I encountered Larry waxing his surfboard at El Granada Beach. While there, Larry doodled some sketches in the notebook I was carrying.

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At the time he wanted to make surfboards and the doodlings were actually the beginning of a business that would broaden into expert yacht repair and much more.

Here’s a photo of an early Kaplan surfboard–handmade at our 555 So. 8th Street apartment building in San Jose.

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Years passed, decades flew by–and I gave birth to my website called halfmoonbaymemories.com. I keep everything, so it was no surprise to find Larry Kaplan’s doodlings among all my stuff. I posted them, and one day, to my great surprise, Larry got in contact with me…which led to my posts called “Conversations with Larry Kaplan….”

I learned that he was the owner of the Thoroughbred called Vegas, a horse that really flies. If you don’t remember, here’s Vegas:

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Now it’s the Holidays, time to re-connect with old friends and what better place to meet than here at my website. It’s quiet here and we can talk.

Larry: The sailing shot

lk2.jpg is of me at the helm of a 57′ Swan ketch. I was hired to take her from Oahu to San Diego. There were three of us aboard. We had five sails up the entire way and we hauled ass…got to San Diego in 16 days.(that’s fast). Expect the photos in the morning, please. I am SO proud of you and books. Do I get to purchase one?

June: You mean my new “Princeton-by-the-Sea book? You can come to my booksigning at Bay Book in Half Moon Bay on Friday, December 14 at 7 pm. Tell me about WANDA.

Larry: The photo of WANDA depicts her as a yacht; a WHOLE yacht.

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The ones you recv’d with the Tug photos

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showed WANDA from her stern and I wanted you to see just how majestic she really is. She is due for complete restoration and those logistics are what are currently being bantered about. In the meantime, when I go to Petaloooooooooooma, I play with the Tugboat and I check on the wellbeing of WANDA.

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June: How did you and Wanda become acquainted?

Larry: I needed a place to park one of my client’s yachts for a year or so, and she is side tied to my friend’s Tugboat. Her name is WANDA; she is 90′ long and she was built in 1922. My clients are in Canada and I get to play with WANDA at will. I do. WANDA is my haven, I say, HAVEN away from home. There is a funny sign on WANDA’S stern about lemonade.

June: What else?

Larry: A dear friend of mine; we literally grew up together…he went to Lowellllll while you and I went to the right place; anyway, he bought a 65′ Tugboat that is sixty years old. He does not know boats. I do. His Tug is parked on the Petaluma River VERY near downtown Petaluma and the Riverfront re-construction effort that is re-vitalizing the entire downtown of Petalooooma.

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(Photo: The WANDA in full)

June: Well, Lar, you look like you’re aging well.

Larry: Getting old as gracefully and as fast as I can….(I DO need to trim my moustache…there. Perfect!)

Conversations: I Hear From LARRY KAPLAN (Lincoln H.S. Alum) Part IV: Conclusion (for now)

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Larry, It seems that I am meant to be here, right where I have been for more than 30 years. At one point there were opportunities (in the entertainment industry) in NY & LA and my parents were even going to move with me–but in the end neither came to be.

I do like where I am.
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I, too, have Hollywood stories. I’ll save those for another time….

Wanna see one of my horses F L Y I N G?
Larry
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Yes, I want to see the horse flying…..
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June,
Here’s VEGAS.
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VEGAS is his call name.
His registered Jockey Club name is: Shrewd Partner
He will be seven Feb. 2… actually.
As far as the Jockey Club is concerned, all horse’s birthdays are Jan 1.

VEGAS loves to jump. The green thing in the photo is five- feet- high. The wooden poles in the photo are nine- feet- long…each!

Vegas has his Winter really bitchen’ haircut…kind of looks like a paint job.
He is chestnut… the darker color you see. The lighter color is the haircut area.
The reason for the haircut in the Winter is so that he can cool off after training and wear one of two blankets to keep warm and still cool down. He is everybody’s favorite horse at Applecreek out of ninety horses, and he will be shown in the Spring.

He knows his name and is just like a big dog…except for the poop.

He is 16.1 hands tall.

He is a sweetheart, and, VERY happy.

Larry
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Hi June,
It’s 12:58 p.m. Sunday [February 4, 2007]
This just in: Our Trainer just called. VEGAS is coming home with ribbons. He wowed them, and took a first in the hunter-jumper class. He’s also bringing home ribbons in other classes, and that is all very far out. You do remember, “Far out”?
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Definition of “Far Out” from the Merriam-Webster onliine dictionary: “Marked by a considerable departure from the conventional or traditional…”

Conversations: I Hear From LARRY KAPLAN (Lincoln H.S. Alum) Part III

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Larry, I LIVED at 555-South 8th Street. Did we live in the same building? Two-story? Next door to the cop fraternity?

My original roommates were Gay Viguie & Sue Samuels. When I arrived they were about to graduate and I inherited the apt.

Yes, Bruce Orchid’s name is familiar..tell me more about him.

I’m curious: What do you want to do next? Do you have anything to do with Mavericks?

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June!

Gay and Sue were my GREAT friends!
Sue had a WHITE Plymouth Barracuda. I would sometimes ride my ten-speed bike to S.F. to see my folks on (some) holiday weekends. Sue was from the City…so, if she happened to be driving to the City the same weekend as I would be biking, she’d stop by my folk’s house on Sunday afternoon. I’d put my bike in her Barracuda, and she’d drive back to the apartment in San Jose.
What a trip!

[Ed. note: HE RODE HIS TEN SPEED FROM SAN JOSE TO SF! DID YOU GET THAT?]

Yup, the apartment was RIGHT next door to the cop frat house.
I had the apt on the ground floor in the very front…a three bedroom. There were four of us. I had my own bedroom and two guys shared another one. The room opposite mine was occupied by a guy named Tom Cameron, who left after a semester–then by a guy named Ed Coda.

This is a bit TOO weird!

I don’t have a thing to do with Mavericks…As far as surfing is concerned, we surfed all over, from Kelly’s Cove and Pedro Point to Steamer Lane….including El Granada, Half Moon Bay…all of it.

One of the most stupid things I did when I was 18 was to take a surfboard with me to Hawaii. What a hassle and for what? They had plenty of them there! Since then, I’ve had a board with me on all my sailboat and powerboat deliveries– where I knew I could expect waves.

A very dear friend of mine passed away a couple of months ago and he was building a schooner that was designed in 1929 by John Alden…a very famous naval architect. The boat is 65′ on deck and 80′ overall. The boat’s in steel and really gorgeous. I have hopes of completing her. I’m waiting for copies of the plans and other papers, etc. from his widow, also a dear friend. It will cost about $1.5 million to complete and I may have already raised the money. That’s what I’d like to dive into soon.

Beyond that I am anxious for Spring and Summer because I have always disliked Winter.

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Just thought of something: If you’d like to see what I’m talking about regarding the boat, visit: click here.

She is one of the few Aldens of the same size built in steel. Most were in wood…and built in 1929 or 1930. The one I want to complete is NEW!

Larry

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Larry, I am not in touch with Gay or Sue. After SJS, I moved to the Coastside. I love it. I love the ocean. That’s why I’m here.

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June,
I read all about you, your books and your being the Historian Emeritus of the Coast. I THINK we knew each other at Lincoln.

I am in touch with Bruce [Orchid]BOrchid1.jpg He lives on Orcas Island off the coast of the state of Washington and has since the seventies. He and his wife have a super restaurant (Christina’s) click here and it is well known for its excellence in every way.

Google it and you will be blown away. Really.

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Conversations: I Hear From LARRY KAPLAN (Lincoln H.S. Alum) Part II

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Larry,

I don’t recall your being a twin. You lived in the Sunset, didn’t you?

Your life sounds wonderful–and I’m happy that you’re doing exactly what you set out to do.

I went to San Jose State, too–but I think you used to surf El Granada Beach occasionally–and so did I–and I knew you at Lincoln. You told me you wanted to design surfboards and doodled in the notebook I was carrying (I’m a writer, you know, and that’s what writers used to do, carry paper. Now they carry laptops).

June
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Good morning, June

Remember Bruce Orchid at Lincoln? BOrchid.jpgHe and [my sister] Barbara dated. He was Pres and she was Vice Pres of the “Student Body.” I was “Director of Athletics” (which served to get me three lunch periods). I think we were a class ahead of you.

I consider most of what I do as “Art Projects”, and I am extremely visual in orientation.

Everything I do for my clients gets seen over and over again and it’s really important to me that it the work is appreciated. The artist in me values that appreciation more than the money received for the project. That’s true whether it’s a yacht I’ve just repaired or a piece of artwork I’ve just delivered.

Your site is fun for me to peruse, and it’s obvious that your passion for writing is abundant. I’m in contact with a few friends from Lincoln and i’ve mentioned your site.

When we went to Lincoln, we lived on 39th Avenue between Rivera and Santiago. Bruce Orchid and I would meet every morning at 39th and Rivera and walk up the hills to Lincoln…when we didn’t drive to school…I had a ’50 Ford Woody. It was blue and I usually parked it in front of school by the stop sign because the Woody didn’t have a reverse gear that worked very well and by parking at the stop sign, I was able to simply pull away in first gear, etc.

I paid $35 (thirty-five) for that Woody and sold it later for $250. Today, that car would be worth $45,000.00. I know because I look at them all the time. I want another one.

At Sanazay State, I lived at 555- South Eighth Street (a block from campus) and I was a ‘hasher” at a sorority. Pretty fun. Really fun. One of my roommates on Eighth Street was the head Ref at last year’s Super Bowl–Bill Leavy–great guy.

Well, that empties my brain.

Larry
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…Conversation to be continued….

Conversations: I Hear From LARRY KAPLAN (Lincoln H.S. Alum) Part I

Some posts back, I shared this artwork with you:

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And one day I received a big surprise in the email box:

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June,
I just happened upon the “What happened to Kaplan Surfboards” gizmo, and it blew my mind. Where, oh where, did you acquire my sketches for logos?

I graduated from San Jose State Univ. in 1969. You probably know I went to Lincoln H.S. I am three hundred years old now, and have played with the water my entire professional career…for money!

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Larry!
You sketched the logos in my notebook…probably at El Granada Beach (near where I still live with my husband). What are you doing now? Tell me what you mean about playing with the water professionally.

Do you remember me?

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June!!!
First things first:
YES. I do remember you. Only an idiot would not. Please feel free to read that to your husband…at least twice. Four times would be better…

Two:
Water and Professional. There’s the long story and there’s the short story. The short story is that I owned a yacht restoration company in San Diego for twenty years…yachts are just big surfboards, and I love the water.

I REALLY love the water. I pioneered some really important stuff on yachts in those days. I’ve delivered yachts all over the Pacific Coast and from Hawaii to California, etc., etc.

I am a silly and humorous person. If you re-read this e mail, you will hear laughter in the background. Listen with care…

I designed a very silly, and funny line of artwork and it sells all over the world. It’s made of fiberglass. It’s about Ducks. It’s called, “Art Ducko”, the height of ceiling art.

I continue to do custom fiberglass work and repair on boats and yachts…Yachts are boats that are for purposes of pleasure only and boats can be used for work etc., etc., etc.

I know yachts the way some people know cars.

Do you remember my twin sister, Barbara? BKaplan.jpg She’s a big deal at Stanford.

I have two English Cocker Spaniels and two Thoroughbred horses. One of the horses is Seattle Slew’s grandson.

How nice to know you are there…

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…Conversation To Be Continued….

The Shalimars, My Shalimars

Many posts ago I told you about going to Lincoln High School in San Francisco–and that we were encouraged to join service groups via the YMCA–ours was located at Stonestown near San Francisco State U. We called ourselves the Shalimars (a name that Lorrie Perry came up with, the same Lorrie who was doing local “pr” for the Beatles before they set foot in the USA.). Shalimar is also the name of a perfume.

As a “service group” we elected officers and raised money for charity. We got the money by washing cars and hosting Friday night dances at the “Y”. I’m sure I mentioned the dance music came from an old fashioned record player and the hot song was “Louie Louie”. Boy, I loved to dance to that song……

Well, here we are after winning an award for our good work.

Who’s Who: Back row, L-R: Sue Ann Sperry, Lynda Anderson, Jan Gunther, Helen Fouser
Front Row, L-R: Lynn Kalajian (we share the same birthday!), ME, Barbara Sawyer and Judy Howard.

Not all of the Shalimars were present.

Future “Superstar” Mike Holmgren at Herbert Hoover Jr. High School, early 1960s

I took these photos in the schoolyard at Herbert Hoover Junior High School in San Francisco in the early 1960s.

Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Mike Holmgren dribbles the ball. (He was always the tallest kid in the school as well as school president). Mike and I were in the same class, graduating from Lincoln High in the mid-1960s.

Below: Former Superbowl coach (Green Bay Packers) Mike Holmgren shooting a jump shot:

Girlfriends

My high school girlfriends get together — in the pre-dot. com boom years. Of course, I’m the one wearing black–but I like the overall composition of color, the pale blues and whites, the smiles.

L-R (last row) Candy Aggeler, Helen Fouser, Lynn Miller, Jan Gunther, Sue Sperry, Barbara Sawyer, Me, Janice Beckley
L-R (kneeling) Lynn Kalajian, Judy Howard, Lorrie Perry.

We were all members of “the Shalimars” a community service club encouraged by the YMCA, based near Stonestown Shopping Center in San Francisco. It was Lorrie Perry (later to become highly successfuly in the world of advertising) who came up with the name, Shalimars. Before I even knew who the “Beatles” were, and before they had set foot in America, Lorrie was making up promotional materials based on the campaign called “The Beatles Are Coming!”.

The Shalimars hosted dances at the YMCA (lots of “Louie Louie” every which way) charging a fee that we donated to our favorite charitiies, one of them a blind non-profit in the City. We also washed a lot of cars.

More commentary: Lyn Kalajian isn’t a doctor but could be one. Candy Aggeler is a famous artist who sells her unusual work to big stars like Elton John. Helen Fouser is an entrepreneur and very good pool player. Lynn Miller is an artist married to a restaurateur. Judy Howard has worked as a professional photographer. Barbara Sawyer is a mother and was Homecoming Queen. Jan Gunther, a teacher. Janice Beckley, a paralegal. Sue Sperry medical field, real estate.