Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - August F. Gawehn

This obituary is from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette on Oct. 21, 1929, page 8.  August Gawehn was the husband of Zilla (Richter) Gawehn.  Zilla was Lydia (Richter) Elsner's sister.

Pneumonia Ends Career of Former Merchant Tailor
August F. Gawehn, 77, formerly a merchant tailor, but for the last 11 years an employee of the G. E. company, died at 9:05 o'clock Sunday evening at his home, 1309 Sheridan court.  Death was due to pneumonia from which he suffered for four days.  Surviving are the widow, Mrs. Zella Gawehn; two daughters, Miss Betty Gawehn and Miss Luella Gawehn, and a son, Erich J. Gawehn at home, and a second son, George R. Gawehn of this city.  The body was removed to the Klachn & Son's funeral home.

Friday, February 17, 2012

University High School - Class of 1939

Darrell Elsner
Warrior Staff, Glee Club

My grandfather, Darrell Elsner, graduated from University High School on Wednesday, June 21, 1939.  There were 339 graduates in the Summer Class of 1939.  The class name was "Midshipmen" and the class colors were blue and gold.

Commencement Program
                                  EIGHT O'CLOCK P.M.

University High School (commonly known as "Uni") was built in 1924 and was originally named Warren G. Harding High School, after President Warren G. Harding. The name was changed to University High in 1929 when the school became the official teacher-training high school for the Southern Campus of the University of California (known as UCLA).

It is located on a historic 24-acre site in West Los Angeles that is designated as a California State Historical Site due to the discovery of the remains of a Native American village and a freshwater spring on the campus that was used by Native Americans in the area for thousands of years.

Because the campus had formerly been a Native American village, the name "Warriors" was originally selected as the school theme, the yearbook the "Chieftain" and the Indian Chief as the school symbol. The school colors were blue and persimmon and the student newspaper was the "Warrior". However, near the end of the 1997-1998 school year, students voted on a new school mascot. Students chose "Wildcats" as the mascot. The student newspaper is now the "Wildcat", the yearbook is "Paw Prints", and the school colors did not change.

"They set up the Warrior"
The "Warrior" newspaper was a weekly publication that won many awards.  According to the 1939 Chieftain, page 56: "The latest are two first-class honor ratings received from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the National Scholastic Press Association; others date back several semesters - one is an All-Southern California second-place rating from the University of Southern California."  With the print shop instructor supervising the "run" of the finished papers; Darrell was one of six boys that were part of the mechanical staff which put on the finishing touches.

Glee Club
Darrell is on the back row in the middle
1939 was the first year the boys and girls Glee Clubs were combined into one club.

The original campus housed about 600 students in grades 7-10, 30 teachers, and 3 buildings.  The first senior class of 32 students, the "Pioneers", graduated in 1926.  Construction of a state-of-the-art theater/gymnasium complex was started in 1930 and completed in 1932.  The auditorium and A buildings survived the 1936 Long Beach earthquake, but other buildings suffered considerable damage.  A tent city was erected to house classes during the repairs.  In 1938, the East gym, tennis courts, ROTC parade grounds (now softball and baseball fields) were completed.  By 1939, Uni had become a 3-year high school with a population of 1,700 students.  A three-story classroom building was added to the campus in 1957.

In 1971, the Sylmar earthquake caused irreparable damage to the Auditorium, Gym, Cafeteria, and Industrial Arts buildings.  The Auditorium had to be demolished and plans were drawn to build a smaller theater and arts complex with additional cafeteria space in 1980.  Renovations began in 1989 for modernization of the school, including handicap access, asbestos removal, and modernization of the existing chemistry labs, classrooms, and library.  Renovations were completed in 1994.

The school, which has been able to maintain much of its original architecture, is one of the few Los Angles schools with buildings constructed before World War II.  Its brick facades, wide hallways, and "unique east coast look" make the school an attractive place to film.  Uni has been noted in the press as being one of the more popular schools for filming, even compared to other local schools with similar structure and appearance.  In 2003 and 2004 alone, 38 movies, TV shows, and commercials were filmed at University High.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Eagle Rock High School - Class of Summer 1939

Velma Carver
Guard, 4H Club, World Friendship

  My grandmother, Velma Elaine (Carver) Elsner, graduated from  Eagle Rock High School in the Class of Summer '39.

  Eagle Rock is a neighborhood in northeastern Los Angeles, California.  Eagle Rock was incorporated as a city in 1911, and was annexed into the City of Los Angeles in 1923.

  Eagle Rock High School (ERHS) first opened its doors on September 12, 1927.  The school colors are green and grey, the mascot is the Eagle, the school newspaper is the 'Eagle's Scream', and the yearbook is called the 'Totem'.

    As I began looking through my grandmother's yearbook, I started to notice some things that were different about it.  The outside cover is a plain green cloth cover.  Usually the cover of a yearbook has a title or emblem on it.  But I didn't really think about it too much.

  Then I noticed that the pages inside the seam have little holes like spiral paper. And in the middle of the yearbook, there is a page that says "The End".  But it isn't the end, there is another section!  The first half of the book is for the Class Winter '38 and the second half is for Class Winter '39.

  When I looked at the book from the side, I could see that there are definitely two sections.  The top section is a little more discolored than the bottom section. Also, the paper is not lined up exactly the same in the two sections.

  And then it dawned on me! Remember when I told you in a previous post that my grandparents met in Trade School in a bookbinding class?  Well, I thought maybe Velma had used her skills to combine two yearbooks into one. 

  I searched the internet for an ERHS yearbook from the 1930's so I could compare it with Velma's yearbook.  I found the one above which is from Eagle Rock High School Winter '39.  As you can see, it has a grey cover and is spiral bound.  The website said that this yearbook has Winter '39 in front and Summer '39 in the back. 

  So she took the original covers off the yearbooks from Winter '38 and Winter '39 and bound them together to make her own unique yearbook. 

  The Winter '38 part of Velma's yearbook has the graduating class portraits, group pictures of the classes, Student Government, Activities, Junior High, and Athletics.  I found these pictures of my grandmother:

This is Velma's B11 class picture.
She is in bottom photo, sixth row, second person.

Self-Government Committee. 
Velma Carver is seated in the first row on the right.
"The commissioner of Self Government and his staff work in conjunction with the Boys' and Girls' Advisory Councils. The duty of this committee is to make students cognizant of State and School laws that affect them and report violations of these rules. This covers hall conduct, cafeteria regulations, leaving the campus without permission, and throwing or running on the grounds. A record is kept of offenses and as an individual's lapses accumulate, they are turned over to the Advisory Councils."

  The second part of Velma's yearbook has the graduating class portraits for Winter '39, then group pictures of each of the classes, Student Government, Junior High, Athletics, and then the Summer '39 graduating class portraits.  I found my grandmother in these photos:

Self-Government Committee.
Velma is in the fourth row on the right.
  "Cooperating with the Advisory Councils the Self Government Committee, through its guards, tries to maintain the standards of conduct established by Senate regulations."

Class of Summer '39. 
This is just one page.  There were 199 graduates.
  Her yearbook was signed by many classmates, friends, and teachers wishing her a future of success and happiness.  Some of them mention the Eagle Rock float she was on, a sewing class, and a cooking class.  Here are a few of my favorites:

"Best Wishes to a swell girl who was almost Rose Queen."

"Lots of Luck to a keen kid.  We have had lots of good times "Queenie"."

"Velma Carver, No more one handed anything and you'll be all right - jitterbug"

"To a swell girl" 

"Velma Dear,  I certainly have had a swell time in foods with you and I'm afraid I'm going to miss you when I leave.  Now be a good girl and don't do anything I wouldn't do - Always will remember "Food" class."

And my favorite:
"From Miss Clark you'll get a snappy answer
Of just who Velma might be
Because she's the genius who thinks she can
Cook without a recipe!"

  Ha!  Mom has told me a few stories of how bad her mother's cooking was!  And I wonder what it was she tried to do one handed?!  How funny!  At least she was good at bookbinding!