They were the best of times. You see I am a native, I was born in Manhattan Beach! All of the days were perfect. My sister and I
walked to Grandview, casually strolled, actually, and were joined by our classmates and neighbors along the way. We went to the beach every day in the summer, not just to swim, but for all day. We played volleyball or
watched the surfers, and on cool days played chess up near the wall, and picked up soda bottles to redeem for hamburgers if we felt hungry. No one worried about us. No one had to, nothing bad ever happened. It was
a good and a simple time. Once I left something, (a sweater or lunch box) on the bus bench in front of the Liquor store at Marine and Manhattan Ave. My mother took me back the next day and it was still there, right
where I had "forgotten" it.
We came of age at Mira Costa. We learned our lessons both in school and at home. Some social graces were taught at the dinner tables of our friends, and we
laughed about the experiences at the weekend reunion. I remember the names of all of my friends even from Kindergarten. Their mothers ran off mimeographs with my mother for the PTA meetings. After school we walked
home to my house where my Mom had made cookies for us, or walked to my friends house for cake. Some days we even did both!
I have no recollection of time pressure. I only remember laying in the sun making scenes
of the passing clouds, sand boarding for hours, at the sand dunes near my house, never dreaming it would one day become a park! Once, when I was very young, I remember sitting in the front yard, waiting for my sister to come
home from school because I was so lonesome without her. My mother told me that "time goes faster when you get older" and boy was she right. The only "stress" I can remember was "wondering"
if the 5-10 cent store would have enough green and gold tissue paper to make really good pom-pom's for the drill team.
We all did well. We were expected to, at home and at school. That wasn't pressure.
There would be plenty of time pressure in the years to come.
At the reunion, I was awe wed by the number of my class graduates doing really good work. I served in Asia, my friend Eric in Africa. We didn't rebel;
we worked, and worked for the good of everyone. So many of my friends are in education. Bob, Judy, Mick, Derrick, Al, and the list is long. Giving back, doing their best, to pass on the heritage of a good and simple
time that allowed us to grow up and to grow together.
1965 . . . Our view from the classroom, looking out to our future, shows that our gaze was too short. I was confident that I would remain comfortably middle class and
well educated. With an engagement ring, and my (first) husband in basic training, I assumed the norm...children soon, staying at home, perhaps part-time work in a few years, and a 30-year mortgage.
We graduated before the
world was changed by technology. Money would be easy, love would be harder.
I am still very middle class, and well educated, but I never was /am prepared for the unending reinventing myself in careers, and the
unending hours of training and continuing education now required in all fields.
In 1965 we had support. We had the support mainly of our families to live with and provide for us during the college years. We were
not thrown out into the competitive world of adults and careers for a few more years or at least until after college. We still had time. We had time to mature, to learn, to live and love and laugh. We were
protected, and it was understood that we were not "finished" yet with our growing up and our learning.
We were again protected by the hippie/love movement when it was OK to be an artist, musician or live an
alternative lifestyle. We still had time and protection.
I like to think that somewhere in small towns in America, high school students still grow up the way that we did in 1965 at Mira Costa. But in the big
cities, the competitiveness has robbed us of our time to think and be creative, our time with our families, and in general being "time challenged" has been the one thing we could never have prepared for!
Class of '65
I think as a seventeen-year-old, I looked to the future not so much with dreams as with
expectations. It seems that I have always known that dreams were dreams and as much as I love them and will always have them with me, I have never held onto them too tightly.
I expected to marry a kind, patient, supremely intelligent man. I married the most intelligent man I ever dated. And after being married to me for 31 years and raising two
sons, he has learned a lot about kindness and patience. I did not expect to marry someone interested in local politics but I did.
He just left his job as Executive Director of the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce and
is doing some consulting.
I expected to have at least two children - bright, artistic, interested in everything. And, we
have two sons. Justin is 27. He lives in Brooklyn near some of his friends from Sonoma County and works for a performing arts center. He loves creating techno music and would
like nothing better than to get paid to do that. He did get a "Producer" credit on one CD a couple of years ago and a favorable review in "Options" magazine. They said it was good
music for "lesbian love-making". Not many copies were sold. Our younger son Joel is 22 and is the quintessential "blue collar" guy. He works for a sheet metal company and is happy.
I expected to be a teacher. I've always adored children. When I was 17, my sister was 2. On days when I was suffering from the slings and arrows of adolescence, she was my best
friend. She still is. She lives with her husband not far away in Petaluma. She is the English teacher.
When I was 17, wine was something the "Little Old Winemaker" talked about on TV or
materialized as the occasional bottle of Leibframilch my Mom brought home (in spite of the fun her family had making fun of the name!). Sonoma was part of that silly ad about
"S'NapaNoma Mendocino". Whereas, I expected to have a career using terms like "dangling participle" and "gerund," I use terms like "malo-lactic fermentation", "additional
hang time" and "on the lees". I am fortunate enough to work for nice people in an amazingly beautiful setting. Out of my window here at work, I look up at a
vineyard-studded mountain. I walk out the door and into a beautifully landscaped old California style courtyard. -- See the attached photo --
I welcome all my Mira Costa classmates to visit me here at Landmark Vineyards or call me if they need tourist information for visiting the wine country.
My philosophy is: sweep the failures under the rug and fill up a glass with Landmark Chardonnay and toast the successes - Salud!
Jeana Brandenburg Beck
Class of '65
My dreams: I wanted to be a doctor since I was about eight years old. I took every course in high school that I thought would get me there: chemistry, biology, physiology, trig,
calculus, etc. At the end of my Junior year I applied to and was accepted by UCLA - another dream. At the same time I applied to undergrad, I also sent for bulletins from
several medical schools. I was a very naive girl who thought I could do anything, and I probably could have, if I hadn't been born about 25 years too early. I remember crying for a
long time when I read the medical school bulletins: "230 students will be admitted each year, no more than 10 will be women" or "180 students will be admitted, no more than 5% women will be allowed".
"...Will be allowed . . . will be allowed!? So, I would have to be better than every man that applied and forget scholarships. Later I learned that women were hounded and scorned
throughout medical schools.
That dream was shattered and to top it off, no one seemed to think it was a big deal. "Why
do you want a man's job anyway"? Grrrrr! One of my sons recently dated a woman who was finishing med school on scholarship and half of her classmates were women. That pleases me no end.
But another dream of mine did come true. I have two wonderful, bright, kind, funny, accomplished sons: Ben and Matt ages 29 and 27. Ben is a music director and trained
opera tenor, (I cry when he sings) and Matt is a health care advisor working out of Washington, DC. (I cried when I heard him make a presentation in his professional
capacity at the hospital here in Prescott, Arizona where I now live). Yes, I'm one of those mothers.
When my husband Sid died in 1998, both sons literally dropped what they were doing and
rushed to me, helping their shell-shocked mom through the business of laying a loved one to rest. And, they continue to be there for me via the phone, visits and love.
I dreamed of someday having "nice kids". What I received was beyond my dreams. Actually, when I was 17 and even when I was pregnant, I couldn't imagine the passionate,
tom-boy, early women's libber could be a good mom, but I fell I love with the little monkeys the minute they were born.
The truth is I still feel like a 17 year-old inside, wondering if I can keep up the charade of
being an adult.
Linda Richardson Wheeler
Class of '65
If you would have told me upon my graduation from MCHS that I would now be
building affordable housing in the far eastern corner of Washington, DC and
pursuing an MA in theology, I would have dismissed you as an imbecile. When
I graduated from MCHS; my focus was on a career in the Navy. I had enlisted
on my 17th birthday so that I would have the longest longevity possible. (More longevity,
more pay.) Indeed, I did get an appointment to the Naval Academy the following year and attended "Canoe U" for a year before flunking out of English Literature. So much for my military career.
At age thirty I thought I would be married with children, and so I was. I married my sweetheart, Nancy Handley, and we had three daughters within a year (singleton followed
by twins). I was also finishing an MBA at USC part-time. When I was in Viet Nam I thought I wanted to go into multi-national business and, after I finished the MBA, I did. It
was a great ride until the part of the electronics production industry I was in collapsed and the dollar had risen so high on foreign exchange markets that
my products were no longer competitive.
Age forty? Didn't have a clue, but it certainly would never have included a divorce. Likewise age fifty. I couldn't think that far ahead at age 17 when I was sitting in Mr. Falcon's Spanish class.
I never thought that I would have opened my life to the Lord as much as I have. I never imagined that I would be so purposeful in discerning God's will for me and then doing it.
At seventeen, I thought that life was something you went out and did, sometimes more successfully than others. What I've learned is that my life is a journey that has traveled in
many directions, some happy, some not-so-happy, some educational, some inane; all not to be missed.
Class of '65
In 1964 I had what one could call a nice life. A nice life, indeed. I lived in Rio de Janeiro at Ipanema beach and it was like living in
heaven. My future wasn't really in my thoughts until I decided to take a test for the American Field Service scholarship program. So I did, and so it happened that not only did I pass, but also within that same year I
was to go to Manhattan Beach, California and live with the McCarroll's. That changed a quiet life, and, I thought at the time, a very predictable one.
We (152 girls and boys from all over Brazil ) boarded a 707
and flew directly to NYC, where, at AFS's Headquarters notice was given as to whom was going to what city. The California group was shown to a bus and then off to the coast - the much sought after WEST COAST. West
Virginia, Tenessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and finally Los Angeles where Mom and Dad McCarroll were at the bus terminal to pick up and meet their new son.
We drove down the San Diego
Freeway, the Beach Boys played on the radio and I was tired, very tired, but also excited by the new world I was going to. As school was only a few days away, we went to Catalina, Palm Springs and the area around the Beach
Cities. So impressed was I with the California way of life that plans were developing in my 17-year-old mind as quickly as I was breathing. Plans dealing with my future life in this wonderful country, that by the way,
was the home of my mother's family. Yes, I have relatives in the big Apple, whom I have seen occasionally during their trips to Brazil.
When school started I really got settled into what I thought would be my life from there
on. People were so nice to me; I was making so many friends every day that I was literally living in a dream. Writing every other day to my people in Brazil sort of kept me balanced. And, slowly I realized that I
was very lucky to be where I was, learning so much from my new family, my new friends and their families, my new school, (MIRA COSTA) and some of the nicest teachers I have ever had. But it was not to be forgotten, that even
though I was in fact accepted as one of them with so much love and affection, that I was still "Roberto from Brazil" with ties so strong with that reality that I had to be careful with myself. I could, and did
consider myself a Californian, but was after all, Brazilian, and very fond of being one. Still am!
That settled, my path was laid between my two Alma Maters: one in Brazil and the other in California.
The school year went by so swiftly I really never noticed it, but those months proved to be the most impressive in my life. Although I had something like this in mind, I didn't know at that time, that I would go back to
Brazil, go to college, get an MBA in administration or economics, and get a job in my family's business which was a sugar cane plantation. The family business didn't last and I, after going to school, landed a job trading
stocks on the Rio Stock Exchange.
Every few years I go back to Manhattan Beach, and my beloved McCarrolls. I am lucky, indeed, to have been there and accepted as a local.
Class of '65
During my high school days I dreamed that I would continue to play the game I loved forever (baseball) and that I would continue my education and become successful utilizing
my skills in mathematics. I also wanted to have a loving marital relationship very similar to my parents.
Reality -- initially, my educational goals got sidetracked while I spent four years in the Air
Force. The Air Force was probably the best thing that ever happened to me since I was able to fulfill one of my dreams by playing on the Air Force Baseball team in Europe for
three years. During that time I become a man that truly knew what I wanted to do upon returning to civilian life. My educational goals were fulfilled: graduating from Long Beach
State and UCLA Executive Management Program.
I have used my skills in mathematics at Northrop Grumman Corporation in El Segundo for
the past 26 years in the Business Management Organization. I have been married to two wonderful women and have two very beautiful and successful daughters and three
stepchildren. My wife of seven years has fulfilled my other dream of having a loving marital relationship. I have had a wonderful life since graduating
from Mira Costa and truly believe my dreams as a teenager have come true.
Class of '65.
I was sports editor, co-editor actually, with Jerry Striff, of La Vista circa '63-'64 Loved Mrs. Fordyce, hated Menne.
I majored in journalism that next fall at San Diego State, but changed to poli sci, then
English, then lost track of academics in a fog of parties and drink. Later, in '66, I dropped out and hitched around Europe, lost my student deferment, flunked my physical (god bless
football injuries!) and, after a brief stint at Chico State majoring in English and grass smoking, moved my act to Maui. There, some years later at the age of 24, I'd had it with
the endless summer and returned (contiguous) stateside. I later married, at age 26, and moved to the Sierra foothills to work for the US Forest Service in the Plumas National Forest.
We had a child in '74, decided to return to the beach, burned out on north San Diego County and in short order, moved to DeEtte Hunter's place in Bishop, California. DeEtte
had lost her husband, my dear friend Terry McGillan, in a tragic accident in Mammoth and used the insurance money to buy the McLaren house in Bishop. For seven mostly-happy
years Bishop was home. I worked a variety of jobs, mostly with kids, until I decided it was time to return to school. I entered Sonoma State in the fall of '84, earned a credential and
an M.A. in psychology, and started teaching in Novato, California, where I am currently in my 14th year.
There's obviously a whole lot between the lines here, but that's a sketch of 54 years on the
planet. Life has definitely taken many unexpected turns, most of them working out for the best, though it didn't seem so at the time.
I'm a grandfather now, recently separated from my wife of 28 years. I run, pedal, paddle my Kayak on local waterways, enjoy jazz and the great zins to be had around these parts.
I see my lifelong friends Scott Campbell and Brent Fox for annual backpacking in Sierras. We take mules up now. Our legs are shot and we have more disposable income these
days. I'm also in touch with DeEtte, Larry Mower and John Wilson, the only true journalist-writer in my circle. John, as you probably know, founded Easy Reader years ago
and won the Edgar (Allen Poe) award for his first novel Simple Justice that was published a few years ago. His fourth Justice novel came out this summer.
Class of '64