The Heritage Quest: Seven Communities Oral History Project
The Eastside Union School District has a rich and interesting history dating back to 1907. Many of the original students, teachers, and administrators of the district remained in the Eastside area with their families, allowing us a wonderful opportunity to hear from them personally in the form of oral histories. In 1982, the Office of the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools published a book entitled The Heritage Quest: Seven Communities Oral History Project.
During this project, funded by BankAmerica Foundation, students researched and documented information about their communities. Student Reporters were Claire Cooper, Christy Derrick, Chris Johnson, Laura Martin, Erick Pfiefer, Melissa Reed, Sarah Rolfes, Lee Roy Smith, Glen Van Dam, Brian Walkington, Kellee Wolf, John Young, and Chris Zellers. The advisor was Charlotte Linehan, and the community advisor was Donna Redmayne. Documents linked below have been transcribed as they appeared in the original book as written by students.
The following interviews were conducted in 1981, prior to the construction of the current Tierra Bonita, Gifford C. Cole Middle School, Columbia Elementary, and Enterprise Elementary sites. At the time of the interviews, both Gifford C. Cole Middle School and Eastside Elementary School were located at 6742 East Avenue I, a site that has now been remodeled and houses only Eastside Elementary School.
Table of Contents:
Summary of the Eastside Area History
Interview With Linda Redding
Remembrances of Lena Bohanon
Interview With Robert W. Slocum
Profile of Kenneth C. Windbigler
Interview with Ralph E. Cissell
Remembrances of Elsie Sauter
Remembrances of Mrs. Eleanor Brooke Cheney
Interview with Stella Proctor
Remembrances of Roy John Simi
Interview with Bea Derrick
Interview with Gifford C. Cole
Remembrances of Mrs. Pat McMurrin
Interview with Gladys Webb
SUMMARY OF THE EASTSIDE AREA HISTORY
Researched and written in 1983 by by Student Reporters Claire Cooper, Christy Derrick, Chris Johnson, Laura Martin, Erick Pfiefer, Melissa Reed, Sarah Rolfes, Lee Roy Smith, Glen Van Dam, Brian Walkington, Kellee Wolf, John Young, and Chris Zellers. The year was 1907, when the residents of a small community east of Lancaster decided they should have a school of their own. So Mr. John DeMuth circulated a petition and got enough signatures to start the school. On January 7, 1908, the small community had their school. They decided to name the school Roosevelt, as Theodore Roosevelt was President at that time. The district included Antelope School District, part of which became Muroc School District, part of what was to become Redman District in 1911, part of what was to become Tierra Bonita District in 1918, and finally part of what was to become Wilsona district in later years. The district in 1908 encompassed 192,940 acres. Roosevelt School was first held in a small homestead house located two miles north of where Redman School later was located on 90th Street East, just south of Avenue E. The house was only ten by twelve feet and served 14 students. The first teacher at Roosevelt was Mrs. Walton and the first trustees were John DeMuth, E. C. Redman, and William Oliver. In 1910, Roosevelt School was held in what was called "The Old Story Place" which was located at approximately 100th Street East and Avenue J. Later they moved to a homestead shack located farther east and they held school there until around Christmas time of 1911. At that time, the school was moved to its first real schoolhouse on the corner of Avenue H and 70th Street East, where Mr. McLauchlin donated two acres of land. The school has been located there ever since. In 1911 Redman District was formed and its school was housed at 90th Street East and Avenue E. Once Redman School was in session, Roosevelt School was left with only three students. However Redman loaned Roosevelt enough pupils to hold school and the teacher, Mrs. Walton, picked the students up in her horse and buggy and took them to Roosevelt. By 1913, the school had sixteen students and by 1919 there were 44 students and two teachers. In 1918 Tierra Bonita District was formed, and the school was at the corner of Avenue J and 30th Street East, where the American Legion is currently located. Few changes were made until 1920 when an addition was put on the south side of the white, wood schoolhouse on the corner of 70th Street East and Avenue H. By 1924, there were 79 students, so three teachers were needed. To accommodate the third teacher, the basement was used as a classroom. In 1927 a new red brick schoolhouse was built where the Little League field currently is located. During the early 1930s the area had an earthquake and the red brick schoolhouse was condemned until a new tar roof could replace the heavy tile roof. The two schoolhouses then served the Eastside area until 1951. In 1946, four districts merged to become what is currently Eastside Union School District. There were Redman, Tierra Bonita, La Solana, and Roosevelt. Most of Antelope District became Muroc School District. On July 2, 1948, plans were accepted for a new school building, which also included the indoor corridors. Eastside was the last school in California to be approved to have these indoor corridors. On February 17, 1950, the first nine classrooms and administration unit were completed. These rooms include rooms 1 through 6 and 11 through 13. The second increment was completed July 1, 1953. This section of the school included rooms 7 through 10, the northern most kindergarten, the kitchen, and cafetorium. The third increment was finished on May 2, 1958 and included the four "A"; rooms, the three "B" rooms, the teachers' lounge, nurses' room, the southern most kindergarten unit. Two years later in 1960, the bus garages were built and in 1967 the final addition, the primary building, was finished. No further additions have been made in the last fourteen years. However, the office, administrative building, and teachers' lounge have been paneled and carpeted and carpeting has been put in the "A" building halls. We have also had a new lighting system installed along with many other improvements. The enrollment at Roosevelt in 1930 was large enough to hire a fifth teacher on a parttime basis. After a slight decline in enrollment in 1933, the school grew to 130 students by 1935. The enrollment for the 1980-81 school year is 513--quite a growth since 1907 when Mr. John DeMuth circulated the petition that started what today is known as Eastside Union School. Another important part of the Eastside area is the Roosevelt Community Church. The members met for the first time in April of 1932. They started a Sunday School under the American Sunday School Union. In just two years, in 1934, a Sunday morning church service was added. The minister who preached at these services was a retired minister living in Lancaster, Rev. M. D. Early. The first "fulltime" minister was hired in June 1935. Rev. J. W. German was hired at that time. The congregation during this time of hardship still donated an average of $6.00 per week in the church offering! The church now is an Interdenominational Community Church and has had a steady growth through the years. To this day it is supported entirely by offerings of local members and friends, with no denominational financial help. The church members met for about 14 years in the old white wood frame building, formerly used by the Roosevelt School for an auditorium. In 1945 the present church building was built, and in 1955 an educational wing was added for Sunday School rooms. The Roosevelt Community Church congregation has grown from an attendance of between 12 and 20 to over 300 each Sunday morning. We would like to give a special thanks to Eastside P.T.A., Jim Wilson, Roosevelt Community Church, and all the people who participated in our history, for helping us compile this summary.
Reprinted from : "Eastside Union School District." The Heritage Quest: Seven Communities Oral History Project. Office of the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, 1982, pp. 3-4.
INTERVIEW WITH LINDA REDDING by Laura Martin & Christy Derrick
Mrs. Redding's maiden name is Linda Rose. This interview was originally made January 20, 1978 by Michelle Carder and Lee Redding.
Q: How many years did you attend Eastside?
A: I attended nine years, from 1953 to 1962.
Q: Was there a kindergarten back then?
A: The kindergarten building was built that year I came.
Q: What were the styles of the clothes?
A: In sixth grade I wore stiff petticoats under my dresses that made the dress stand out. At that time we couldn't wear pants to school.
Q: Were you allowed to share your pets from home?
A: At one time we were, but several children got bit by hamsters and mice so the pets weren't allowed any more.
Q: Did you have hot lunches?
A: Yes, they had the same lunches you do now, except we didn't have hamburgers every Thursday. You could also bring your lunch and buy milk or ice cream.
Q: What playground activities did you have?
A: We had four square, tetherball, and hopscotch. They were the big things in the lower grades and there were basketball, baseball, and jump rope for the higher grades.
Q: Were there any competitive sports?
A: In the eighth grade we had a boy's basketball team. They played against the other grammar schools, but I don't think we did very well.
Q: Were girls allowed to play competitive sports?
A: We didn't have a girls' team playing other teams. I don't think that the girls played with the boys in some type of sports such as basketball.
Q: What kind of transportation was there?
A: There were the school buses. They were the old type with the engines in the front. In about the 7th grade we got a new one like the ones you have now.
Q: How many buses were there?
A: I think all together there were nine. However the number ran from three to eleven.
Q: Were there any vaccinations necessary?
A: Yes, we had to have smallpox, polio, D.P.T., a tuberculosis test, and our eyes and ears were checked every so often by the school.
Q: Where did you graduate?
A: We had graduation ceremonies in the cafeteria. We wore caps and gowns. Afterwards we had refreshments in the home economics room.
Q: Did you have any school parties?
A: Yes, we had the same as you have now; Valentine's, Christmas, and Easter.
Q: Did the school have a Halloween Festival?
A: We sure did. It was as much fun then as it is now.
Q: Were you ever Miss Eastside?
A: Yes, I was Miss Eastside in 1965 and it was fun.
Q: Can you tell us any highlights that stand out?
A: When I first came they had just built the kindergarten building and I thought they built it just for me; also, when I got a library card it was a big day. And, of course, the school dances were a big thing, too. Graduation was very important for us.
Reprinted from : "Eastside Union School District." The Heritage Quest: Seven Communities Oral History Project. Office of the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, 1982, pp. 7-8.
REMEMBRANCES OF LENA BOHANON as told to Brian Walkington & Eric Pfiefer
Mrs. Lena Bohanon has been in the Eastside area from 1948 to 1971, at which time she moved to Rosamond. She used to teach fulltime at Eastside, but now she substitutes.
Some of the people in the Eastside area when she came were: Mrs. Herbert, Mrs. Sauter, Mr. Dufour (who is still teaching at Eastside), Mrs. Leeth and Mr. Spencer. When Mr. Leeth passed away, Mrs. Leeth and Mr. Spencer were married.
When Mrs. Bohanon came to teach at Eastside, in 1955, there were many combination classes because of the distribution of students, and the enrollment was lower than it is now. Mrs. Bohanon said that the kids had good behavior and there were very few discipline problems. Mrs. Bohanon first taught the second grade, in the same room as the current media center. Mr. Sweet was the superintendent and Mr. Lingle was the principal at that time.
Some of the community functions then were P.T.A. meetings, The Antelope Valley Fair, church functions, a school carnival, Christmas parties, graduation night, and school dances. The dances were held every three or four months. Most of the community functions were about the same as today. They used to have a conservation program at the school, which was discontinued. Mrs. Bohanon's class won first place for their conservation display.
There was only one church, Roosevelt, and one store. The store was on the northeast corner of Avenue H and 70th Street and was owned by Red Orr. Mr. Orr later sold the store to Ralph Roper, who owns it to this date.
Reprinted from : "Eastside Union School District." The Heritage Quest: Seven Communities Oral History Project. Office of the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, 1982, p. 9.
INTERVIEW WITH ROBERT W. SLOCUM By Claire Cooper & Kellee Wolf
Q: How long have you resided in the Eastside Area?
A: Since 1955 or 1956.
Q: What was the eastside area like when you first came?
A: There was a lot of wildlife, they had many jackrabbits, and often I went out and hunted for jackrabbits. The roads were in very poor condition. There were a lot more ranches then than there is now.
Q: What type of community functions did they have for the people in the are then?
A: The had 4-H, FFA (Future Farmers of America), and in FAA I used to raise rabbits. Sometimes a group of people would gather together and hunt for jackrabbits, then they would go over to someone's house and have a barbecue.
Q: What are some of the things that you remember about the Eastside area while you lived here?
A: It was very peaceful.
Q: Did you go to Eastside school? If so, what years?
A: I went to Eastside from 1955 to 1956.
Q: How big was the school?
A: It was much smaller than it is now. There was also a school for [handicapped] students next to Eastside.
Q: Did you graduate from eighth grade at Eastside?
A: Yes, I did graduate from 8th grade at Eastside.
Q: How many students were in your graduating class?
A: When I graduated from Eastside in 1956, there were approximately 80 students in my class.
Q: Did you have any field trips?
A: Yes, the graduating eighth graders went to Catalina Island.
Q: What do you remember most about the school when you were here?
A: The school was nice and clean. There was also a lot of discipline.
Q: Is there anything else you could add to this interview that might be of interest in our history?
A: On my first day of school, there were a few kids that tried to "depants" me but I put up a good fight with one of them and I won. Later we became pretty good friends. I would also like to see a teacher that I used to know called Miss Granola. She used to say that she wished she could see me smile, just once.
Reprinted from : "Eastside Union School District." The Heritage Quest: Seven Communities Oral History Project. Office of the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, 1982, pp. 10-11.
PROFILE OF KENNETH C. WINDBIGLER by Lee Roy Smith & John Young
Mr. Windbigler was on the school board at Redman School, located at 90th Street East and Avenue E. When the Redman, Tierra Bonita, and Roosevelt Schools merged into one school, he was elected to be on the new school district's board. Then they had a meeting and named it Eastside Union School District. A couple of the board members at the time were Gifford Cole and Robert Jones. All the time Mr. Windbigler was on the board, he was the president. Mr. Windbigler liked being on the board because it gave him an opportunity to run the school the way he wanted it run. One of the hardest decisions he had to make as a board member was deciding whether or not the teachers could spank the students.
In the beginning they had four buses; one at Redman, one at Tierra Bonita, and two at the new Eastside School. In the second year of the newly formed Eastside Union School District, they bought some property at 70th Street East and Avenue H. Later they built two houses and a bus garage on this property. In these two houses, they housed the school teachers for Eastside School. For a garage, they got an old barn and later made it into a shop. Mr. Darling was in charge of the garage for many years. Then they built the garage where it is at the present time, behind the school.
Reprinted from : "Eastside Union School District." The Heritage Quest: Seven Communities Oral History Project. Office of the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, 1982, p. 11.
INTERVIEW WITH RALPH E. CISSELL by Lee Roy Smith & John Young
Q: What is your full name?
A: Ralph E. Cissell
Q: And how long have you been in the Eastside area?
A: I have lived here since 1918.
Q: What was the eastside area like when you first came here?
A: It was pretty barren. We lived on 70th Street East and Avenue G, and then there was another place about a half mile on down the road and a place across the street from that. Also there was another place just north of Avenue I. A miner from the gold rush days in Alaska lived there. We had a horse and buggy the first two years we were here and it took us four to five hours to go to Lancaster and home again. The first paved road on the Eastside was built from Lancaster on Avenue J to 70th Street East, and 70th Street to Avenue H, where the store is. Across from the school's baseball diamond there was this big tin barn they used to store hay in. After they built this road, they built a real narrow-gauge railroad track and they used to haul the rock out in it to pave the road. They built from 50th Street to Avenue H, then they built to where Redman School was located which was at 90th Street East and Avenue E. When they paved the roads, everyone pitched in and helped. They donated horses and each rancher would donate so much time. For a long time 70th East was a dirt road and when we had rain, it seemed like Littlerock Creek would overflow and we would have a river out here.
Q: What type of community activities or functions did they used to have?
A: There is a tin building that used to be a machine shop east of 70th Street. East on Avenue H, and on Saturday nights they would clear out the center and have a dance. Then there was also the box social at the school where all the women prepared a nice meal for two people. The men bid on these lunches (they didn't know who brought which lunch) and the person with the highest bid would sit and eat lunch with the woman who prepared it. The men used to bid $4.00 for one if they really wanted to eat with somebody. That was a lot of money then.
Q: Did you go to school at Roosevelt?
A: Yes, I did. I started in 1918. We had eight grades in two classrooms, four grades to each classroom. There were approximately 35 to 40 students then. I remember that I didn't like school when I first started. My mother walked me down to school (we lived a mile north at the time) and I would walk home by myself but I didn't like that, so she had to come down and walk me back. Later they built the brick school building where the Little League field is now. In 1933 we had an earthquake and the brick school was condemned until a new roof could be put on; then they used the old white school and the brick school. When I graduated we had approximately 16 students in the graduating class.
Q: Were there any stores in the Eastside area when you came here?
A: One. It was built right up against the service station on the northwest corner of Avenue H and 70th Street East. Later the settlers started a new store which was on the southeast corner, across from where the store is now. Then when it burned down, they moved across the street.
Q: Were there any churches in the Eastside area then?
A: No, the church was held in the old white school.
Reprinted from : "Eastside Union School District." The Heritage Quest: Seven Communities Oral History Project. Office of the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, 1982, pp. 12-13.
REMEMBRANCES OF ELSIE SAUTER as told to Chris Johnston & Chris Zeller
In 1937, Mrs. Demers recommended me for librarian at the county library a Redman School. I worked two hours on Tuesday and two hours on Thursday for two years. New books were brought by bus to the school and others were returned In 1939 the Redman School Board asked me to take the teacher's examination so that I could teach in the eighth grade at Redman school. At that time, thr county did not want to hire anyone out of state or any woman that was married. The school board explained to them that there was no social life for a teacher because they were so far from Lancaster and teachers didn't make enough money to buy a car. They said that since I was married I would be happier teaching at Redman than a single teacher. The board of supervisors told me that if I would stay in this area and did not enter the city to teach, that I would be considered for the teaching position at Redman. I had to take two days of written examinations at Riverside. They covered fourteen subjects. I had never taken manual training or college chemistry, so I ordered books from the county library and studied. I took the test with 179 other people and only 60 passed and I was one of them. Then I went to an oral interview with the board of supervisors. Each supervisor asked questions on their favorite subject. I passed the oral interview also. I kept my promise; I taught for 34 years and didn't leave the area or go to the city to teach.
I taught from 1939 to 1941, and the closest phone was 2-1/2 miles from school. If a child was hurt, we were required to take all the children with us when we went for help. We had to evacuate the school every week. This was in case of war. Our school had a red tile roof and would be a target. We chose a sage bush and tied ribbon or ric-rac to it so we'd know which one was ours and each time we had an evacuation we went to our sage bush. When airplanes from Edwards went over our school, we all went to look until they were out of sight. This didn't happen very often. In the spring of 1941, the Antelope School was preparing to unify with Redman School and they didn't want the school to be called Redman, so the name was changed to La Solana. They thought La Solana meant the sunny place, but it really meant the windy place. I think the reason Eastside got that name was because Westside had just unified and called their district Westside. So when Redman, Tierra Bonita, La Solana, Antelope, and Roosevelt decided to unify, none of the schools wanted the others' name; therefore, they settled on Eastside for the new district's name.
I've had all eight grades at one time, but there would be only one or two students in some of the grades. I'd put the child that was strong in math in a higher math book, or if he did poorly in math, I'd put him in the math book of the grade below. That way I didn't have quite as many groups, and discipline was easy in those days. You just put the children out on the playground when you weren't teaching, and they had their recess while you taught the other students in the class. I would just look out the window once in awhile and I had a student monitor outside.
There wasn't a cafeteria then, so we brought our own lunches. There was one family of three or four children who rode their donkey to school every morning because they didn't want to get ready real early in the morning to ride the bus. So I had to let them go out and change the water and take care of their donkey.
At Tierra Bonita there was no fence around the school grounds so we had to trust the students not to leave the grounds. Well, there was a farmer across the street who had a reservoir where everybody swam, and this was very tempting to the children. So he told the children that if they would never cross the street and come over during the school year, the last day of school we could have our picnic over there and he would have people there to watch the kids swimming and we did this every year.
At this time (1939-1941) 1 had 27 students in my class and it was first through eighth grade classes. The following year the enrollment went up about ten because Antelope School came over to our school. This is when Tierra Bonita changed its name to La Solana. I didn't teach while the school was La Solana. The trustees of the school at this time (during 1939-1942) were Mr. Lindamood (he was a deputy sheriff), Mr. Holt, and Mrs. McGowen.
While I was teaching second grade in the red brick building at Eastside School, they had an earthquake and the school was condemned, but not for teaching in it. At the time of this earthquake, the janitor and his wife lived upstairs in the school. After the earthquake, the janitor couldn't get his wife back upstairs, so the school board had the school tested to prove to her it was safe, but it couldn't be okayed. So they moved somewhere else; however, we kept having school there.
I remember that when I went to college I was taught what were the very modern methods at that time. It was to be a lot of different things in the room at one time, such as art and science, etcetera. And we tried to do this at Redman, but we had this supervisor at the time who supervised all the schools in the county, except the Lancaster School. He was about 65 years old and believed in strict discipline, but he insisted we teach the new modern way of teaching, because he wanted to be sure the county approved of him. However, he wanted order. That meant no chalk or papers on the floor and everything had to b in excellent order. But still he wanted us to teach using the modern method, so that if someone came up from the county offices to visit us, we would have all these different areas going in the classroom. I taught all these different areas faithfully. Right after he'd leave I'd have the room full of art, science and all the things he wanted, then we got busy on the conservative things, such as reading, writing, and arithmetic, just before he came to visit. Then the discipline would suit him. So, when he came to visit, we'd have all these different areas, so he thought I was a real good teacher. He was a really charming person. He came to our school one day and he wrote his name on the board and every time he came to see us, he told us how important it was to write properly. He told us to slant our letters and place our paper and that everything should be neat and exact when you write, because people would judge you by the way you write. But the children couldn't read his name on the chalkboard. His name was W. C. Cagney. He would write "C. Cag" and then a crooked line. So, he explained to the children that when you are in elementary school, you have to write very neatly. When you are in high school and college, you have to write neat enough for your teachers to be able to read your papers. But the older you get, the more important you get, the worse your signature can get, because everybody already knows it.
After that I stayed home for a few years, then the war came and the men were drafted. The women were working at airplane plants and making good money. So they came to me and begged me to come back and teach at Tierra Bonita. It was in the middle of the year, and the teacher who was there was going to follow her husband while he trained to be an officer. We had two teachers at Tierra Bonita then, and we had about 37 to 40 students each. It was the oldest school building in use in the county then. That building is now the American Legion Hall on 49th Street East and Avenue J. When schools are not used anymore, they are sold to some organization who would really use it. The Redman School was sold to the Joshua Tree Grange.
One of the jobs that the teachers always hated the most was giving the kids cod-liver oil. They wanted to make sure that the kids had protection against colds and things like that, so the school had this horrible tasting cod-liver oil. All parents had to do was sign a note, and the teacher had to make sure the student took his cod-liver oil each day. Some of the students could hardly get it down, but I don't even think the teachers would have taken it. We really did have sympathy for the students taking that horrible tasting stuff. We even had to boil and boil the spoons to get them clean, and they still smelled like cod-liver oil everyday.
During the war, they had released time for religious services. The children who took this would go downstairs for two hours and have Bible study. The old white school building was also used for Sunday School. People didn't have the money then for gas to go all the way to Lancaster to the churches, so we had the Sunday School in the schoolhouse. Then the Sunday School got a little money ahead, so they had a pastor to come out on Sunday mornings and preach the one service. Later, we got our own pastor and we were there for several years before we built Roosevelt Church.
Another interesting thing back then was that each supervisor (art supervisor, sciences supervisor, etcetera) had to visit each classroom in Los Angeles County at least once a year. Well, since we were so far away, we weren't very high on their priority list, so we could expect them in May or June, at the very last minute. We'd have all our best work displayed, just like we do at open house now, only more so. Everything we could pin up we did, and we had our own notebooks out to show what wonderful students we had. This one time, I took the children out to recess, knowing that the supervisors would drive in any minute from Los Angeles. Well, while we were outside, our oil stove blew up and the soot went all over our books, all over our art, and all over everything in the room. Well, I was hired as a janitor too. Each teacher had to take care of their own room, and the two restrooms, as they couldn't find any men to do janitor work. So, we got paid $1.00 a day to be a janitor. I hadn't thought to ask my husband to get on the roof of the school and look at the flue, or ask the school board to look at the flue, because it had always worked. But some leaves or something had gotten down in it and it sure blew all over everything. I remember it was a very cold day, but we opened the doors and windows because it smelled so bad in there. Then we tried to sweep it up, but it wouldn't sweep up. It wouldn't wipe up and all we had were dust cloths and brooms. When the supervisors came, they were very understanding and very nice, but they didn't help us clean it up.
I had a wonderful school board at Tierra Bonita, too. That was Mr. Provenzano, who was a farmer for years. In fact, the first year I taught at Tierra Bonita I had two Provenzano boys, two Ryckebosch boys and Moss boys. Mrs. Moss is president of the "Retired Teacher" now.
It is really wonderful being a teacher because I see people everyday that I have taught and many of them have grown up and become community leaders.
Reprinted from : "Eastside Union School District." The Heritage Quest: Seven Communities Oral History Project. Office of the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, 1982, pp. 14-16.
REMEMBRANCES OF MRS. ELEANOR BROOKE CHENEY by Melissa Reed & Brian Walkington
Mrs. Eleanor Brooke Cheney came to the Antelope Valley from the Apple Valley with her brother. When she first came there was lots of desert area and few ranches. Mrs. Cheney started teaching as soon as she came here, in 1910. They had a hard time getting the classes started because a law said that you had to have a minimum of five students to start a school, and they only had four. For awhile the kids couldn't go to school, but then Mrs. Walton came to teach and her daughter, Margaret, made the fifth student. At that time, all of the classes were unorganized and the eighth graders were expected to help the younger
Then Mrs. Cheney got married and didn't teach for fifteen years. When she started teaching again, there were 150 students. Some of the things that they did were math, handwriting, spelling, reading, and most of the same subjects as the schools have now. For art they had water coloring, painting, and made puppets. With the puppets they put on a play at the end of the year. At the Saturday night school dances, people played the piano and the drums. They didn't have a church building then, so on every Sunday all of the women and children would meet under a group of trees near 90th street. This was a great time to talk and meet everybody and worship. Most of the men didn't meet for church because they worked very hard in the fields all day.
In 1979 they had a reunion for all of the Roosevelt students in the American Legion Hall. People came from all over California. At the reunion they found out that there are thirty people living in the Antelope Valley that went to Roosevelt School. All of the people there honored Mrs. Cheney as being their old teacher.
Top: Mrs. Brooke Cheney and her class in front of Eastside School 1938 or 1930.
Reprinted from : "Eastside Union School District." The Heritage Quest: Seven Communities Oral History Project. Office of the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, 1982, p. 17.
INTERVIEW WITH STELLA PROCTOR by Sarah Rolfes & Kellee Wolf Stella
Stella Proctor has resided in the Eastside area since November 1941 or 40 years.
Q: Who were some of the residents on the Eastside when you first came here?
A: Some of the residents were George Rush, E. L. Cissell, and Carl Proctor, who is my father-in-law. He came to the valley in 1920. My husband went to Eastside School and Antelope Valley High School.
Q: What was the Eastside area like when you first came?
A: Well, to be honest, it looked better than it does now, because there were more alfalfa fields. The Eastside was green and pretty, where now so much of the land has gone back to desert.
Q: Were there any stores on the Eastside then?
A: Roosevelt Store, which is now Roper's Meat Market, used to be across the street from where it is now on H and 70th Street East. There was also Evan's Oil Company, Butler Oil at the time, that was on the southeast corner, and there was a refinery next to it where he brought all the crude oil in from Newhall. He then distributed that to a couple of service stations he had in Lancaster. My father-in-law, Carl Proctor, built the little house across the street from Eastside school.
Q: What kind of community functions did they have for the people when you first came to the Eastside?
A: The Grange was the largest on the Eastside. We used to have what we called "box socials." The Grange met in the old white school house, and we would all fix a dinner, like fried chicken with all the trimmings. Next we would put it in a box and wrap it real fancy, then the men would bid on the boxes. That's the way we made money for the Grange back then.
Q: What are some of the things you remember most about the Eastside area while you've lived here?
A: I can remember that we did a lot of work. Back in those days I worked out in the field and drove the tractor, hauled bales, and everything else. I lived with my uncle before I was married and I remember they used horses to level the ground. I used to walk with my uncle and read transit to level the ground. You have to walk a certain distance, then you look through the eye of the transit to level the ground, and I used to carry the stick for him to level the ground. I also remember that we used to call George Rush the "Mayor of Roosevelt" because he was a real likable person. If he stopped in to visit, you felt like you had an honored guest that day.
The property we have now on Avenue H and 50th Street East we bought from H. L. Gordon and he homesteaded this property. There used to be a river that ran just east of our house, and so whenever we have a heavy rainfall and it floods, we get all the flood waters from the Littlerock Dam. The water just naturally follows that lowland when it runs over the dam. When the flood waters come down, it sounds just like a jet roaring and it always comes in the middle of the night it seems like. It is very frightening because you don't know which way the waters will go. We have been very fortunate because the waters have never gotten around our house. However, we had the 160 acres completely covered in 1969. The waters covered everything but the house.
Another thing I'd like to tell you is that, in 1956, I raised the money to put the Eastside Union School sign up that is on the front of the school now. I was "Ways and Means" for the Eastside P.T.A. for 18 years. One year I decided we were going to put the name on the front of the school, so we did! I'm really proud of that!
Reprinted from : "Eastside Union School District." The Heritage Quest: Seven Communities Oral History Project. Office of the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, 1982, pp. 18-19.
INTERVIEW WITH BEA DERRICK by Claire Cooper & Laura Martin
Q: How long have you resided in the Eastside area?
A: Since the summer of 1940, on June 10. I came to work for the Ryckebosches, who live in the Eastside. I was their housekeeper, as they had a big turkey ranch and I was scared of turkeys.
Q: What was the Eastside area like when you first came? Were there any stores?
A: When I first came here 70th Street was the only paved street. There was a market, a feed store, service station, and a library in the school. The church was Roosevelt, and the services were held in the school building before the church was built.
Q: What type of community functions did they have for people in the area then?
A: They had the school, Grange, Scouts, Little League, P.T.A., and 4-H.
Q: What are some of the things you remember most about the Eastside area when you came here?
A: All of the community functions were held in the school building. During the war, they used the service station as a lookout station. They would watch for planes, and if they saw anything they couldn't identify, they would call into a place and make sure the plane wasn't an enemy plane. Of course, they didn't see any enemy planes, as far as they knew.
Q: Did you go to the Eastside school? Where was the school located then?
A: No, I didn't go to Eastside. The Redman School District was over on 90th Street East. For a long time the Redman kids went to their own school, but when Roosevelt school was unified they came to Roosevelt.
Q: How big was the old school?
A: It was about as big as one of our school rooms now. The building was built white and made of wood. They also had a basement and restrooms. This school when they began to unify the districts. Redman and Tierra Bonita students came here. But at Eastside they didn't have a multi-purpose room, so when they had assemblies, the bus would take the students back to Eastside.
Q: How many classes? How many students?
A: There used to he the same number of classes. There were about 800 students, but now the number has dropped down to approximately 535.
Q: Do you remember any of the teacher's or principal's names?
A: Yes, Mr. Sweet was the principal, and the year after that Mr. Lingle came and he became vice principal, and under him was Mr. Gastineau. Mr. Lingle later became superintendent.
Q: Did they have hot lunches like they do now?
A: Yes, and they cost 25cents.
Q: Did they have playground equipment?
A: Yes, they had playground equipment pretty much the same as it is now.
Q: What do you remember about the school when you first came here?
A: One year they started the P.T.A., and P.T.A. was a big thing. It was really important and they did lots of things for the community.
Q: Anything else you could add to this interview that might be of interest to us?
A: One morning a friend went out onto her porch and saw a rope lying there on the ground. She said to herself, "Why did he leave that rope lying there?" So she bent down to pick it up and found out it was a rattlesnake. When we started ranching, we didn't have tractors. They mowed the hay down with horses. They had a rake and they put horses in front and then they raked the hay with it. Finally we got a tractor and they used that.
Reprinted from : "Eastside Union School District." The Heritage Quest: Seven Communities Oral History Project. Office of the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, 1982, pp. 21-22.
INTERVIEW WITH GIFFORD C. COLE by John Young & Glen Van Dam
Q: How long have you resided in the Eastside area?
A: I first came here in 1930. But I left for eight years. I have lived here for a total of 43 years.
Q: What was the Eastside area like when you first came?
A: It wasn't a great deal different than it is now. There is actually less hay and alfalfa farming now than there used to be.
Q: Were there many stores?
A: Just Roosevelt store, which was on the southwest corner of 70th Street and Avenue H.
Q: Were there many churches?
A: Just Roosevelt Church was here at that time. Generally the Eastside hasn't changed much. In the early days, I remember Paul Darling telling us about the times they would cut the hay and put it in our wagons loose. That was before they had bailers. We hauled the hay into Lancaster and put it into box cars to take it to Los Angeles to the dairies.
Q: What type of community functions did they have for people in the area then?
A: We had the Eastside Farmers Organization, also the Grange. A lot of younger people belonged to the Grange then.
Q: Did they have 4-H then?
A: They had 4-H, but I don't remember when that started. I think it started after this school was built, about 1951 or 1952. They also had Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts here at this school in those days. We also put a youth building in and a lot of community activities took place over there in those days.
Q: What were some of the things you remember most about the Eastside area while you have lived here?
A: We didn't have very many community activities out in this area in the early days. Most everybody went to town to groups they belonged to in there. The Grange was about the only activity we had on the Eastside. We had our Eastside Farmers meetings, but we didn't have any activities. Everybody went to town Saturday night. That was when everybody did their shopping. In those days there were about 3,400 people in Lancaster, and you knew almost everybody you saw. So everybody went to town Saturday night to meet their friends and talk over farming.
Q: Where was the school located back then?
A: The original school was on the corner in a little white building. It had two classrooms. It started out as one room, but then they added on. Then in the early '30s they built the red brick building that was where the Little League diamond is now. They had four classrooms. I went on the board at that time and we used both the white and the brick buildings. That was after we had unionized. In 1946 the Roosevelt area schools were unionized. It took in Tierra Bonita and La Solana, Redman, and Roosevelt Schools, and we united the schools so we could have a better school. We wanted a teacher for each grade. We had enough students in the area at that time, so that's when we unionized.
Q: What was the school's name?
Q: How big was the school?
A: In 1965 there were 756 students. That was when there was a population explosion. After we first unionized we had somewhere around 200 students.
Q: How many classes were there then?
A: In the brick building and the white buildings, I believe we had six classes. Then just before we moved into this school building, we had seven classes, as we used the basement as a classroom, also. Soon after we unionized, and before this building was built, we also had classrooms in Redman and the Tierra Bonita schools. We bused our students back and forth, as we didn't have room in our own school.
Q: What do you remember most about the school when you first came?
A: Well, the school board, administration, and teachers have always had good relations. I went on the board in 1944 and the teachers have received a raise in salary every year since I've been here. When I first started on the school board, we were paying about $3,000 a year starting salary for teachers.
Q: What are some of the changes you have seen in the school?
A: Well, the studies or curriculum have improved. We have better methods of teaching, more equipment to teach with, and much better facilities and school buildings. I might add that the state mandates that we follow certain laws and codes. Your board makes the policies for this school and controls a lot of the activities. But a lot of the things we have to go by are controlled by the state; they tell us what we have to do. When I first came to the school board we had a code book that was about one inch thick; now it is about six or seven inches thick. They have added that many more laws to govern our schools.
Q: Can you tell us some of the most interesting things you remember about this school?
A: Well, I can remember when we started to build this school. At that time we borrowed money from the State of California to build the school because we couldn't get enough bond money. We then paid that off over the years. But we made many trips to Sacramento, to the State Building Department, to get our building started. We have an inside corridor, and the architect who designed this school had designed a couple of schools in the San Joaquin Valley. The reason they designed the building this way is to get cross ventilation. That is why we have the center windows in the rooms. But they weren't used very much, as the halls would get noisy. This last year we put in a new lighting system that has saved us 50 percent on our light bill in this main building. The reason we wanted this inside corridor was so the students wouldn't have to go outside in the bad weather. The new school design then was like the schools in town where you have to go outside to get from one class to another. So we got this building approved, and it is the last school building with inside corridors that the state approved.
Q: Is there anything you would like to add to our history?
A: Eastside school was built in four different increments. The first building built was in 1950 and included nine classrooms (rooms 1-6 and 11-13) and the administration unit. The second increment was in 1953 when we added four classrooms (rooms 7-10), one kindergarten unit and a multi-use room, which includes the kitchen and cafetorium. The third increment was completed in 1958 and included the four "A" classrooms, the three "B"classrooms, another kindergarten unit, and the teachers' lounge, and the nurses' room. In 1967, the current plant was completed with the completion of the primary building.
Q: Was the primary building originally built as the junior high building?
A: We had talked about putting the junior high in there; but the primary building was the first building we had carpeted, so we thought it would be better to put little kids in there.
Q: Did you have a family here in Lancaster before you came here?
A: Yes, my father and another fellow bought 160 acres. It was undeveloped, but it did have a well--just no houses. We lived in a couple of shacks the first year before we got a house built. We had a little patch of hay when we came here. I think we got $75.00 a ton for that. In 1945, my brother and I bought the partner out. The partner then was superintendent for a construction crew. So I went to work for him for about five years. I was living then in Pomona, and that's where I met Mrs. Cole. We had four children and they all attended Eastside school.
Reprinted from : "Eastside Union School District." The Heritage Quest: Seven Communities Oral History Project. Office of the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, 1982, pp. 23-25.
REMEMBRANCES OF MRS. PAT McMURRIN by Eric Pfiefer & Chris Ehlers
Eastside Union School District was formed from five school districts: Antelope, La Solana, Tierra Bonita, Roosevelt, and Redman.
Antelope was on the premises of Edwards Air Force Base, and it was moved several times. They would move it to where most of the kids lived. Antelope School had no more than nine students attending at one time. The teacher lived with the family with the most children, and they had the school on their property. Once there was a family feud about where the school should be. One family had the school on their property, but there was another family with more children that thought they should have the school. They wanted the school on their property because the teacher lived with that family. That means that the kids would get more help. The family with the most kids decided they should have the school on their property. So during the night, about 2:00 in the morning, they hitched up the team of horses and moved the school to their property. The feud was resolved after some threats were made.
Redman School was built at 90th and E. Redman School is now the Grange Hall. It had two rooms and two teachers.
Tierra Bonita is located at 40th and J. It was a one-room schoolhouse. The capacity of the school was about 24 people. Nick Provenzano had a large ranch on the east end of town, and he was on the school board. The county office notified him that they would have to close down Tierra Bonita. They couldn't afford to have a school for only two or three children, as they couldn't afford to hire a teacher for so few children. The family living there thought maybe they could drum up some more kids to live in the area and go to the school. The county said that four children wasn't enough; they had to have a minimum of nine children to be able to hire a teacher. Mr. Provenzano had a brother who lived in Los Angeles, and he made a deal with his brother. The deal was that Mr. Provenzano's brother would let his kids go to Tierra Bonita, so they could keep the school open. The children would live with Mr. Provenzano and his family.
Later, after Eastside Union School District was formed, Mr. Provenzano had four children going to Eastside. Also some of the Provenzano's grandchildren went Eastside, but none are going right now.
Mrs. Sauter was the teaching principal at the time at Tierra Bonita. She first started working at Redman, but Tierra Bonita needed a teacher and a principal, so she went over to Tierra Bonita.
They used to bus students from Tierra Bonita to the little white school house, Roosevelt, on 70th and Avenue H, because they had hot lunches. La Solana was one of the oldest schools in our particular area. It was a very small school and they did away with it. It was one room located at 100th and Avenue D or E, maybe even B.
The buses started picking up the kids in the early '30s. A man by the name of Paul Darling, who still lives in our area, was the bus driver. He had an old Model A bus. The bus didn't have any sides, but it had a roof, and was partly wooden. It was like an old truck with seats, a roof, and sides. Mr. Darling worked for the school for a number of years, until he retired. He is about 90 years old and he still stops by the school occasionally.
In 1946, three districts joined together forming a union. The districts were Tierra Bonita, Redman and Roosevelt.
When Edwards Air Force base put their land boundaries up, Antelope was on Edwards' side so it was no longer in our area. The students who went to Antelope had to go to Redman.
All of the schools were sold or given away. The Redman School is now used for a Grange Hall. It must be a community building for everyone. Tierra Bonita was sold to the American Legion for a fair price. The reason Roosevelt was picked for the school is because geographically it was the center of all the schools.
This is the area where most of the kids could best be served, even though we cover an area of 200 square miles within our school district. There are more students concentrated within this area, and this is why this particular site was chosen. Plus, they were looking ahead at the plans for mobile home parks to be built.
When Mrs. McMurrin first came to work at Eastside, the school was served by a Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools nurse and she had been working here about four years before Mrs. McMurrin came.
The school was a little white building at 70th and H, and the teachers lived in a school bungalow that was across the street from the school. When Mrs. McMurrin first started working here we had three teachers in the "teacheridges."
The first add-on to the school was an old brick building they used to call "the old brick building" and it was two floors tall. They added the cafeteria, and then they built the "A" rooms, then the kindergarten, and the last to be built was the "B" rooms or the primary building. These last buildings were built in 1969.
Eastside School first had a library in 1956. Mrs. Schroder was the librarian and it was in a little closet. There was a reservior on the corner of 40th and the kids from Tierra Bonita would go swimming in it for P.E.
Reprinted from : "Eastside Union School District." The Heritage Quest: Seven Communities Oral History Project. Office of the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, 1982, pp. 26-27.
INTERVIEW WITH GLADYS WEBB by Chris Johnston & Chris Zellers
Q: How long have you resided in the Eastside area?
A: Since 1915.
Q Who were some of the old timers in the Eastside area when you first came?
A: Many of the old timers here were of English decent. Seemed like the English people came over here to settle this area. They thought the area would be a good source of paper from the Joshua trees, so they came and homesteaded the land. Down on the 65th and H was a homestead that was owned by the Fletchers, and the road wasn't paved along here at that time. It was real dirty when the hot spring days came. We had to walk home from school and we just wished that there was a nice stream of water running along there. Oh, how nice it would have been because our feet were so dusty and dirty. The boys would take off their shoes, of course, and go barefoot and kick up the dust. Mrs. Fletcher sometimes would ask us in to have a glass of lemonade, which was very special to us. She had no children, but she loved the youngsters.
Q: What was the Eastside area like when you first came?
A: Well, coming east from Lancaster there were just two spots of green. One was about three and one-half miles from the Sierra Madre Ranch, and the next place was where my family bought. The ranch was a homestead that was owned by an early timer and his name was Reed, and I think the original homesteader there was Bowers.
Q: How long did it take you to get from Lancaster to your place, which is about eight miles?
A: Well, we had a horse and buggy, you know. My mother used to say that we can hitch up the horse to the cart, which we rode in, and get to Sunday school before the people got up in town. We always got to Sunday school in time. So, I think a good horse could walk five miles an hour. I think it took us a little over an hour to drive into town. However, we only went to town once a week at the most.
Q: Were there many stores?
A: Oh, yes. There was a store on the corner of Sierra Highway. They have changed all the names of those streets, now. Then across the street from that store was the drug store. They had other things there before I came, but those are the two stores that I remember. There were just two little churches. One was the First Baptist Church that had been built on what is now Lancaster Boulevard. They were built by donated labor about two years before we came; that would be in 1913. I think there were seven members to start out with. The main activities were around our church and the school. The farmers had to repair most all of the equipment they had. They weren't using tractors here; they were using all horses. My dad and my husband used to load up the big wagon with bales of hay. They would get up early in the morning, about 2:00 a.m. and then catch the horses and fasten them onto the hay load that was already loaded from the day before. Then they would go into the depot where there would be a big freight car. They would have to load the hay into the freight car that would ship the hay to Los Angeles. That also was the way part of our family brought their belongings into Lancaster. I could remember the time when the buildings were different. I had lived in Pasadena when I was only six years old and when I first came to the church here one morning, I looked around and said, "Where is the church?" I was used to a pipe organ and long big pews and carpets on the floor. It was really different here. I will never forget how the sun and bare desert looked the first time I looked out of the train. I came up on the train by myself. I had stayed with my grandmother in Pasadena, and she took me over to Los Angeles to the depot and my mom asked a lady if I could be in her car on the train. As it happened, I knew the woman and her family. They worked in the grocery store, which was also a hardware store. They had everything in the store.
Q: Were there many churches?
A: The churches that I talked about were in Lancaster, but in 1917, we used to meet in a school house in the afternoon on Sundays, and all of the neighbors came to the Sunday School. Then one year we started having a pastor come out and give a sermon after Sunday School. I remember one time when we were having Sunday School and the building just started shaking and all the people were saying, "Earthquake, earthquake!" There was one gentleman who was very bowlegged. He was the first person up and down the steps (we had six or eight steps down the front porch) and seeing him with his bowlegs going down the steps was really funny to me as a child.
Q: What kind of community functions did they have for the people?
A: I think they had Saturday night dances and they had lots of fun.
Q: What are some things that you remember most about the Eastside area when you came here?
A: I mainly remember going to school on the eastside and then, of course, my children went to school here, and then their children went to school here at Eastside. But I think the biggest change was in the farming methods and new people moving into the community. I can remember distinctly when World War I and II were announced and all the trucks and soldiers going right by our place all night long from out at Edwards. They used to call that Muroc, of course, before it was even Edwards.
Q: Did you go to Eastside School? If so, what years?
A: Well, let's see. I came to Eastside first when I was in the second grade, and that was in March 1915. I think there were about 17 pupils in a one-room schoolhouse, and we had all grades. I can remember distinctly a circle of chairs and some boys were sitting there. Anyway, we were going to have numbers. That's what they called arithmetic first, you know. I was terrified because that was always my weak spot in my education. I was never sure of myself. Well, next, Mrs. Pitman, who was the teacher, said that we'd have some reading and she wanted to know whether I could read. So I read and the boys couldn't keep up with me because I was an excellent reader. Well, the teacher said that these boys were all she had in the third grade and she didn't have any second graders, so I might as well go into the third grade because I was doing better than the boys were. Well, that was kind of rough on me because I wasn't prepared really, but I went in to the third grade. Then my parents moved to the other side of Lancaster, over on Division, and then I went to Lancaster Grammar School. That was lots of fun because it was a big school. Where Roosevelt had just one room, there were several rooms in Lancaster School. I came back the next spring to Roosevelt, in 1916 and 1917.
Q: Do you remember any of the teachers or principals at the school?
A: Yes, Katherine Pitman was my first teacher in 1915, and I believe that she was the second teacher that Roosevelt ever had. I also believe the first teacher at Roosevelt was named Smith.
Q: What time did school start and get out?
A: Well, it started at 9:00 a.m. and we had to walk to school or find our own transportation. There weren't any school buses. The first school bus, I believe, was the one I drove. It was a little Chevy touring car in 1927. Anyone who was over 2-1/2 miles from Roosevelt could be picked up, so I went down Avenue H and turned to the right and went up to the Botter place and I picked up two children there.
Q: Before school buses, what kinds of transportation did you have?
A: We had to walk or find our own transportation. We had a barn over the school where we could tie our horses. Then at noon, the big boys would take the horses to Mr. Rushe's and water them across the street. I never did like riding horseback, so I preferred walking. We just had to get up early enough to get to school on time.
Q: What did you do at recess, and what time did you leave school?
A: We left about 3:00 p.m. We had afternoon recess. When we went out for recess we made up our own games and had lots of fun doing that. We used to shoot marbles with the boys, and played football with the boys, until the teacher told us that girls had no business playing football with the boys. So she put a stop to that fun.
Q: What kind of lunches did you have? Did you bring your own lunches or did they have hot lunches?
A: We packed our own lunch. I had a little bucket that I always sat on after I took out my sandwich and looked over the pavilion. It was a little shop that had seats. I could stand up on the lard bucket I used for a lunchbox and see what the other kids were doing. I had a lot of footprints on that lard bucket. I remember one little boy who was a ward of some people; they were taking care of him, and he was helping himself to some of our lunches. Our teacher was pretty smart. She asked some of the boys who could have taken the lunches if they didn't have enough lunch and what did they like to eat. The boys said they liked bananas, but they didn't have any bananas in their lunches. Well, it so happened that was the kind of bait the teacher used. She then put a banana in one of the student's lunch bucket. When it was missing she smelled the boy's breath and she could smell the banana on the guilty boy's breath. She told him if he needed some food, she'd be glad to give him some food; but she didn't want him helping himself to other people's food. Well, the boy stopped. He had learned his lesson.
Q: What kind of subjects did they teach?
A: We had math, spelling, penmanship, art, music, civics, agriculture, and English. I told my teacher once, years after I was grown, that she never taught me any English, because when I got to high school and started taking French, I found out there were participles, and all sorts of things. It was so interesting. Then she said, "Oh, yes, I taught you English, that was one of my favorite subjects." But it didn't happen to be one of mine, you see. Sometimes we blame things on the teacher that's just our own fault.
Q: Was there any science?
A: No, we weren't into science. But we did have a librarian. Back in this corner of the big room was a bookcase. I thought they were there to read, so I used to go over and read them. Well, a woman named Mrs. Rose Bolin was made county librarian by the school and she came once a week and brought different books. She'd ask me if I had read this book or that book, but most of the books I had already read. The library was a wonderful, wonderful thing for us. As much as we wanted to learn and read we could. You know, it was a real opportunity.
Q: Did you graduate from eighth grade at Eastside?
A: Yes, and we had programs that were handwritten. One of the seventh graders and I wrote them out. She was considered a great penman and she wrote with her left hand. The graduation program had all the members of the school taking a part in the program. The little first and second graders had a part, and there were just two of us graduating from the eighth grade. The year before, there was just one person who graduated. The year after I graduated, I believe there were ten or twelve. The community had grown, lots of new people had come into the community, and so our school was getting much larger.
Q: What do you remember most about the school when you were here?
A: I think the programs were good, like graduation time and Christmas time. We always had Christmas programs. That gave us all a chance to get up and show off. It was fun.
Q: What do you think is the biggest difference between the school when you went and now?
A: Well, that's hard to say. I saw a lot of difference when my grandchildren were going to school. I think you have so many opportunities with radio and television to keep in contact with all of the events going on, and to be aware of what is happening in the world. We were more isolated and really didn't know what was going on. Your opportunities are unlimited as far as travel; we were limited to the very small area that we were in.
Q: Did you have textbooks for each subject?
A: Yes, textbooks, not workbooks. I remember having paper handed out to us to do penmanship on, and I remember the big old black pencils that were given out at the beginning of the year. Also, the first of the year, after Christmas vacation, we were given another big pencil. And of course we were told not to go to the pencil sharpener and grind and grind the pencil all the way down. That was the only pencil we were going to have unless we bought one ourselves.
Q: What are some of the things you remember about your classroom and teacher?
A: I remember the teacher would have us sit in a circle when I was in the lower grades. When I was in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, if we were called on to read we had to stand up by our desk and face the rest of the class. Also, we were always told to sit up straight, and there wasn't any of this sitting on the floor business.
Q: Can you tell us any more interesting things or times you can remember about Eastside?
A: I think one of the most interesting times that I had wasn't in the classroom; it was out back by the barn where they stored all the petrified yucca that they burned inside the stove. Some of us decided to build a yucca house. We laid out the perimeter for the house just like you would if you were going to build a real house, and we took the pieces of wood and staked them up and made our house. We had a living room, dining room, kitchen and lots of little places, then we drew a fancy picture on the yucca.
Reprinted from : "Eastside Union School District." The Heritage Quest: Seven Communities Oral History Project. Office of the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, 1982, pp. 28-32.