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Remember When: 1968

by Rick Blane

The “Summer of Love” had ended, and the opening of school was delayed a week so we could help with the prune harvest. Did you go out and pick? Maybe the kids who lived on farms did, but I sure didn’t, and I didn’t go to San Francisco or wear flowers in my hair either. But we all enjoyed the late start to classes.

What was the year like for you? For me, it was lots of fun. I went to all the football games. My girl friend was a cheerleader, so I always yelled as loud as I could. I still see her now and then. She married a lawyer. We beat Monty that year in the Big Game as the rivalry between the two schools became pretty intense. Remember the heavy fog that game? You could hardly see a thing. I remember lots of us going to Shakey’s near Coddingtown for pizza after the games. Johnny and Red’s on Summerfield was Viking turf, so we didn’t go there.

Mr. Vine said school spirit was disappearing, but the rallies always had a good turnout. The Big Game rally and the Car Caravan filled the front of the school. And there was a big turnout to vote for Homecoming Queen. Who won? I don’t remember.

But I remember the Competition Rally before the basketball game with Montgomery. Remember that skit about pirates and Norsemen? One of the pirates was asked about his “buccan-ears.” His answer caused him to be suspended for a few days. The administration didn’t like his choice of words, good pun that it was. Not good for students to hear they thought, but we’d heard worse and maybe said worse.

Do you remember who sang “Dock of the Bay” at the beginning of the rallies? He was really good, as good as Otis Redding, I thought. Wasn’t he voted most talented or something?

The campus was closed, but we could walk off at noon to eat, couldn’t we? We had lots of choices. On Mendocino, you could get a burger and fries at Sandy’s or Roger’s. For 15 cents you could buy a Poor Boy sandwich at the Poor House across from SRJC. Out in Montgomery Village, there was the High Q and the Pick-Up (open until 2 in the morning on weekends). Sambo’s and Foster’s Freeze and Eat ‘n Run were popular, and lots of the girls who shopped downtown on Saturday liked to go to Mac’s Deli.

We did a lot of driving, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Did we call it “cruising” or was it “tooling?” Of course, gasoline was cheap then, about 30 cents a gallon. Remember scraping together a dollar or so in coins from everyone in the car? That dollar bought enough gas to drive up and down Fourth Street and around the courthouse until it was time to go home.

In 1968 you could buy a ’67 Pontiac GTO with a floor shift for $3000 from Ralph Vesper Used Cars. For the same $3000 you could buy a ’62 Corvette from Veale Volkswagen’s used lot. If you had $2000, a ’61 Porsche could be yours from Bishop-Hansel Ford. Who could afford those prices then? Think what those cars are worth today. In 1968, we’d probably settle for the ’60 Rambler American two-door for $395 at Zumwalt’s--and made payments.

We dressed well. Guys wore sweaters, cardigans or v-neck pullovers and sometimes neckties. We bought our clothes at Brothers Four or Rosenberg’s or Archie Kash. Levi’s we always found at Paolini’s on Wilson Street.

The girls shopped for clothes at the Fashion downtown or at the Village Shop or Lewis in the Village. Of course, Coddingtown had big names stores like Roos-Atkins, the Emporium and Joseph Magnin.

Lots of girls, including my steady, made most of their clothes, even prom dresses. They found the material at places like Doyel’s or the Fabritique or the Yardage Shop.

We did have a dress code. The girls said Mrs. Parker walked around with a ruler and if she suspected the dress was too short she made use of that marker. Some girls were sent home to change.  That happened to my girl. She wore this paisley dress that she made. Boy, was she humiliated. Funny how you can remember some things. The Santa Rosan asked about dress length, “Where is the point of distraction? Four inches below the knee?” The administration never answered that question.

Guys could wear t-shirts, but they had to have a pocket! Did you sew one on your shirt?

And hair styles! Girls liked to pile it up in what they called “ratting.” And they wore wiglets or the pastiche when they had their hair done at places like House of Charles or Clara’s House of Beauty for the big dances.

Great dances that year had great attendance. It started with the Welcome Dance. That must have been city-wide because I remember Ursuline and Cardinal Newman were there. Ursuline was a really old school, but Newman was not.

Do you remember the Christmas Dance? The “Third Foundation” played, all guitars and keyboard. We rocked! That dance was sponsored by the Girls’ League. I never knew what they did, but they put on a good party. The Turnabout was fun too. We guys appreciated being treated by our girls. Did you go out to dinner? We did. To the Hilltopper.

Did you go to the concerts at the Fairgrounds or the Vets? I went to hear the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The place was packed! Moby Grape played there too.

Class of 1968 Yearbook

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