Montezuma Elementary Field Trip to Miramar Naval Air Station - 1956
Key to some of the people in the photo. (Drawn by Dennis Blackburn in 1956)

I was born in San Diego -- my family left California when I was five years old. Dad was a pilot in the Navy, so we went to Atlanta, Norfolk, Va., Monterey, Ca, and Corpus Christi, Tex. In 1955, we returned to San Diego -- to the house my parents had bought and we lived in about two months before leaving. The house was near College and El Cajon, behind 63rd St., and we could look out the front porch at night to see the Baton Twirler on the Campus Drive-In Theater. We called her the “Hubba-Hubba Girl” (a WWII term).

When we arrived back, the house -- which was rented -- was in need of work and painting, so we stayed one week at the motor motel at the northwest corner of College and El Cajon, behind the Aztec Drive-In. The motel was still there last time I looked.School started for me at Montezuma Elementary in Mr. Goldsmith’s 6th grade class. I talked like a southerner with a Texas drawl. I was teased a lot, but finally felt at ease. Shortly after school started, early one morning, we had a large earthquake that put everyone’s nerves on end. My first ever earthquake!

Many neighbor kids played touch football out front. I can remember Fred Aiken and Doug Helzer '63. One neighbor classmate -- Lee Phillips -- invited me and others from class to his birthday party. We saw The Best Things In Life Are free with Dan Duryea and Sheree North. I thought it was nice he invited me, as I was new to the area.

We had at least three field trips that I recall in 6th grade. Mr. Goldsmith had a horse that he kept stabled at location near Westgate Park in Mission Valley, so we all went horseback riding. One girl, -- Catharine Angelo -- had her horse start running away, so handlers had to gallop after her. Scared her to death!

Two local military trips were taken -- one to visit the Miramar NAS, and one to visit the aircraft carrier Shangri La (CV-38). We went across San Diego Bay on motor launch, then up the port gangplank to the hangar deck. Then we toured the carrier, and went up onto the flight deck of Shangri La. When the group was near the port side elevator, I turned and saw Denny Aiken standing at the rear of the flight deck “round down”. It was a dangerous place to be. There was no safety net and it dropped down rapidly. I walked back to see what he was doing, and the group saw us and yelled at us to get away from there and rejoin the group. Later in class, Mr. Goldsmith said the trip went well -- except for the two miscreant “Dennys” I remember Mr. Goldsmith -- a WWII Army GI -- telling about war one day in class, and he mentioned his best buddy who was in a foxhole with him, and was hit in the head and killed next to him. He couldn’t contain himself, and started sobbing in class. It was so quiet in there!

In addition to the three field trips, we had our 6th grade camp at Cuyamaca, where two people right away were sent home with poison ivy (poison oak?). We hiked until our legs ached. The boys and girls each had a separate barracks. On the first night, one of the boys on a top bunk rolled out of bed and hit the floor. He never did that again! Our (boys) sleep-in chaperon was a thin, balding cowboy type who had a record player and kept playing the same old yodeling cowboy song over and over and over again! When we went to the “mess hall” I remember we would turn over the milk cartons when they were empty. We called it “Killing the Cow”.

Mr. Goldsmith had a summer job selling encyclopedias door to door and he came twice to our house. While at Montezuma, a group of us students took dancing lessons (at a Shriner’s Hall?) at the northeast corner of College and University. I learned to “Foxtrot”. My usual partner was Judy Lyle, from Mr. Goldsmith’s class. She was very pleasant and friendly.

We finished a memorable 6th grade and went on to Horace Mann. -- Dennis Blackburn '62

I love the photo of the Montezuma class visit to Miramar.  My parents both worked at Miramar and my Dad arranged the field trip.  It was a very special day for me. I really enjoy your weekly emails and your newsletters.  It’s wonderful to hear old, familiar names and to read about what everyone is up to. Please keep it up --
Kathie Cochran Lee Howard ‘62  

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