High Desert Memories - A Hometown Journal Commemorating Ridgecrest California
Burroughs High School
About midway during the evening the call went out for the Class of '56 to move to another building to have a group photo taken for posterity. It took a while to get this unruly group to settle down and pay attention to the needs of the photographer. After a couple of false trys here is the result. Not too bad for a bunch of 68 year old folks doyathink???
And so ends another event in the annals of Burroughs High School history. The Burroughs High School 60th anniversary celebration and the 50th Reunion of the Class of 1956.
In my personal opinion the decision to have both of these events together was a very fortunate happenstance. For my part it was one of the most enjoyable weekends in a long long time. My personal health problems notwithstanding I found it to be a very rewarding and uplifting experience. I hope my classmates and the hundreds of others who attended the 60th thought so too.
Revisiting Ridgecrest and the Indian Wells Valley every 15 to 20 years as I do is a shocking experience. This time was even more so as I hadn't known of all the changes or at least I didn't have the perspective of the changes. The release of the property on the west side of China Lake Blvd by the Navy has provided a growth boom in Ridgecrest I hadn't expected. The growth of the residences outside of the confines of Ridgecrest was also surprising. The college, the loss of several landmarks I was used to and the spread of Ridgecrest proper is amazing.
Revisiting the site of the old home place was both saddening and uplifting. Saddening because the only thing left of the place is a couple of trees I remember my Mother and I planting and a couple of old fence posts and some strands of wire. They never bought the property but rather homesteaded it in association with some mining claims. Therefore when they left and quit doing assessment work they lost all claim to the land and anything that stood on it. Kind of seems a shame that after 44 years of effort to make a home and keep it running that the BLM felt it necessary to level the place.
Currently, Anthony (My son) and I have done some talking about returning for a week or so this year to further explore and experience the many sites on the desert which remain. This visit will also allow me to expand the scope of coverage in this website. My health allowing I expect we will return in November this year to do our exploring. We are North westrners now and are unaccustomed to the heat of summer in the desert. I look forward to seeing many of you again. Until then I will continue to expand and maintain this website.
The Class of 1956 after 50 Years
These are the trees BLM allowed to live but as you can see the rest of the place was removed and either buried, burned or thrown in the dump.
On the right from about where the van is parked toward the camera is where the house used to lie. They did a very good job of erasing what was left.
This is the view we lived with every day. It is the principle reason that the claims we had staked so we could homestead here were called "Valley View Claims".
The visit was uplifting because of all the memories it triggered for me of my youth and the happy times my family had in the place and on the property. The emerging of more and more as I sit and think about it and see the pictures my son and I took on the day we visited it. These are good memories and I shall treasure them forever.
Standing from left to right - Chuck Hackwith, Bob (Tex) whitson, Jack Joyce, Phil Barra, Ivan Weightman, Ted Wilde, Al Simmons, Jim Lloyd, Bernard Graham, Pete Spooner, Jim DeVous, Doug Cowan, Robbie Carr, Dennis Feeney, Trevis Rorie, Bob Walker and Tom Zurn. Sitting from left to right - Jackie Dwinell Pappas, Davidena Fischer Grenfell, Pat Jones, Darlene Lynn Mulliner, Patricia McMillan Clayton, Tena Cowan Miller, Leonie Kinnikin Neuman, Judy Parker Myers, Jackie Henderson McPheeters, Baraba Doyle Mouser, Diane Deem Heyden and Norma Ives Griffin.