on campus

Long before Uni High was Uni High, indigenous Tongva people occupied the area in a village known as Kuruvungna (“a place where we are in the sun”). At the heart of the village were lush, productive fresh water springs. The springs and evidence of the village were rediscovered in 1925, when University High School was under construction. The area was cleaned up, but later fell into disrepair. In the 1990s, spurred on by Tongva descendant Annie Behrens, the Gabrielino-Tongva Springs Foundation was established to restore and preserve the site and educate the public about its history and culture.

Located behind gates on the Uni campus near what is now the lower Barrington parking lot, the site is a California State Historical Landmark and can be visited on the first Saturday of each month from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Learn more at the Kuruvungna Sacred Springs page on the Santa Monica Conservancy website, find additional details and photos at the Gabrielino-Tongva Springs Foundation, and read a recent story by Denise Hamilton.

. . . . .
Thanks to Jeff Kirshbaum for the link!

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“My diseases are an asthma and a dropsy, and what is less curable, seventy-five.” Samuel Johnson, in a letter to William Gerard Hamilton, 1784

The class of ’65 has attained, or is moving inexorably toward, the milestone of age 75. As you’ve no doubt noted, nearly 15 percent of us won’t be joining in this celebration, which only makes our own birthdays more poignant. While few have arrived at this point without a number of complaints, most seem to express surprise — at having so few complaints, at still feeling 18 or 34 or whatever, and at seeing ourselves at 75 so very differently than we saw our grandparents. However long we last, we can all hope for a sense of humor that lasts one breath longer.

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gifts of the season

May your heart be full, your gifts many, your health good, your life long.
Best wishes to — and from — the Class of ’65.
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wonderful Westwood Village

This terrific historical tour of Westwood Village has been circulating on social media, but in case you’ve missed it, you can find it online courtesy of the UCLA Newsroom.

. . . . .
thanks to Andy Asher and Mitch Blumenfeld for the heads up

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Catching up with… Marc Wanamaker

We happened to notice that our Uni ’65 classmate Marc Wanamaker has a new podcast project underway, so we talked to him to learn more.

A Hollywood kid, born and raised among stars of both big and small screens (like many Uni High kids), Wanamaker discovered his true calling, as historian and witness, when he founded Bison Archives in 1971. In the five decades since, he has accumulated a collection of some 300,000 images; worked as a professional research historian on the subjects of motion pictures, television, and California and Southern California history; written or collaborated on about 30 books on those subjects; and served as a consultant on numerous motion pictures and television programs.

In 2012, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Margaret Herrick Library acquired more than 70,000 of Bison’s prints, transparencies, and negatives of motion picture production, biography, and subject photographs (that’s 88 linear feet!). Marc continues to identify, digitize, and preserve the remaining materials with the hope of finding a safe and permanent home for the balance of his one-of-a-kind collection.

With a particular passion for the lesser-known stories of the industry, Wanamaker was involved with the production of “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché,” a documentary narrated by Jodie Foster about the pioneering female director and studio owner.

With Wanamaker’s industry knowledge and resources, it’s hardly surprising that Christopher Ewing turned to Marc when he wanted to add Hollywood history to the offerings on his Poverty Row Studios podcast channel. The premier episode, “The History of Hollywood,” is now available online and will soon be followed by episodes on the Lincoln Motion Picture Company, early female action stars of the silent film era, and early Hollywood aviation, as well as a video series.

Follow the links for further details or contact Marc Wanamaker at Bison Archives.

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Still here…

It’s a little embarrassing, from the perspective of the spring equinox, to see that our most recent post was back in December. This is just to let you know that we’re still here, figuring (hoping?) that no news is good news, marking our progress with vaccinations and hoped-for visits with friends and grandchildren.

We’re a fortunate bunch, for many reasons, and I think most of us were astonished to find ourselves listed in a most vulnerable category early in the pandemic for no more reason than the accident of being post-war baby boomers. Is the local senior center really meant for us?

If our generation is meant to redefine old/ancient/elderly/senior citizen (who, me?), the first step is to survive. Please take care of yourselves. Say hello. Click Like. Send news.

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Happy Everything

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As we plunge into the holiday season of this quite remarkable year, Thanksgiving incites me to reflection and appreciation.

Fifty-five years after high school graduation, I am grateful to be breathing and in possession of most, or at least many, of my faculties.

And speaking of faculties, warmest gratitude to the Uni High teachers who urged or badgered or coaxed us toward graduation. Though at the time they all seemed old, in retrospect it’s easy to see that some of them were hardly older than our siblings, yet somehow they filled our hungry brains and left many of us feeling that a good education was worth pursuing into college or beyond.

I am so thankful for the friendships that date to high school, junior high, and even elementary school, and for the technology that allows us to see and speak with each other in this time of isolation. It is quite a remarkable thing to witness one another’s lives over so many decades.

To the classmates who send along the occasional email, text, photo, comment, or Facebook post, thank you. Your words and pictures offer cheer and connection and relief from the swirling rant of politics and pandemic.

The challenges of navigating a masked and distanced holiday season will be numerous and unprecedented for most of us. Please stay safe and healthy. Be grateful. Send news.

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summer reflection…

Maybe it was a good thing we didn’t plan a 55-year reunion. We probably would have had to cancel it anyway. If people are eager to get together, they do. A couple hundred of us wish each other happy birthday and share bits of news on Facebook. Old friends gather in whatever way they can — in person or on Zoom, at homes or parks or, alas, at online funerals.

Too many of us are lost forever, each name pulling us up short as we recall the bright face of an 18-year-old. Of the original 900 or so in two classes, nearly 115 are gone that we know of, and with imperfect tracking of students and graduates, that number is likely somewhat higher.

As we discovered when we contacted people in the runup to previous reunions, a lot of our classmates don’t care or would rather forget their high school years. Many of those who do care have connections that go back even further — to elementary school or junior high. Those early friendships are profound and, at this point, very, very long. We have seen each other at our most awkward and our most beautiful. We have celebrated triumphs and grieved losses. We have made families and careers and many of us have retired. We have disagreed and made up and rediscovered old friends.

Who knows if we’ll have another reunion. In 2025, 60 years from our Uni graduation, those of us still standing will be well on our way to 80 years old. And even if we feel 20 or 40 in our hearts, who knows if we’ll have the inclination or stamina to organize another reunion and be seen one more time.

But that’s still a ways off. In the meanwhile, stay healthy and stay alive, okay? Contact an old friend and say hello.

Look around this site — there are lots of wonderful photos. Leave a Comment. If you’re on WordPress, click Like at the bottom of this post.

And vote — if not for yourself, for your grandchildren.

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more on Uni’s neighborhood

Here’s another take on the Uni-adjacent West L.A. neighborhood, officially designated as “Sawtelle Japantown” by the Los Angeles City Council in 2015. “Redefining Community: the evolution of Sawtelle Japantown” is a short documentary created by GameTrain Learning in the Minecraft-like machinima style. Using animation, historical photographs, archival video footage, and audio narration, the film introduces the history of Japanese Americans in the area before and after World War II.

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