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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Ready?


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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the neighborhood

 
 
Though we may identify Uni’s location as West Los Angeles, the campus sits in a neighborhood known as Sawtelle. Samuel Dórame has put together a fascinating website on Sawtelle’s history from 1897 to 1950. Click on Sawtelle History at the top of the page for links to scores of pages featuring historic and contemporary photos, documents, etc. The chronological list includes a page on 1924 and the construction of Uni High, first called Sawtelle High School and quickly renamed Warren G. Harding High School. A terrific site for browsing.

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migration

With coronavirus restrictions in place and more time on our hands (and, apparently, no 55-year reunion!), we’ve begun the slow migration of the Class of ’65 from a conventional website (one that requires a webmaster) to this WordPress site, which can be managed more easily.

When, years ago, we launched the original site at unihi65.com, our ’65 classmate Stan Lieberson stepped up and offered to be webmaster. In all the years since, he has added, moved, and deleted content on demand, without complaint and without charge. The class of ’65 owes him a huge debt of gratitude. Thanks, Stan.

In the meanwhile, as we migrate and expand class information, we invite you visit the old site and browse the new one. We appreciate it when you click that little Like box at the bottom on posts and your comments on any page, post, or image are welcome. We gratefully accept updates, photos, and other musings by email at unihi65 AT gmail.com.

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strengthening generosity

In the Uni Hi Warriors & Wildcats Report, 1965 classmate Lance Robbins made front-page news for his generous targeted donation to the Uni Hi Education Foundation:

The purpose of the Uni Hi Education Foundation is to raise funds to support University High School beyond what is provided by the Los Angeles Unified School District. The newest example is the creation of the WARRIORS AND WILDCATS STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING CENTER, made possible by The Lance Robbins Family, including Uni alumni Lance Robbins ‘65 and brother Stephen Robbins ‘62.

The new facility will replace and expand the current weight-training room in the South Gym with world-class equipment from top-flight manufacturers including Life Fitness, Hammer, Rogue and ViPR Pro.

Each item will be specially identified and painted in Uni’s royal blue and persimmon colors and the weight-training area will be expanded into an indoor/outdoor complex with video instruction capabilities. Veteran Uni coach Ryan Ritcheske will supervise instruction and use of the Center, with an emphasis on promoting safe strength and conditioning through state-of-the-art resiliency and performance training techniques. In addition, a new Sports Medicine program is being planned to begin in the fall semester.

Lance Robbins explained his family’s gift as a legacy of his Uni experience. “My time at Uni shaped my view of the world and set me on my life’s path, and my football coach, Duane LaRue was a big part of that.

“I learned a lot about diversity and how to interact with my peers. I learned to work hard, to deal with pain and never quit. To this day those lessons give me strength during trying times, both physically and mentally. I have lifted weights since I was 13 years old and have continued it all the way through to today. I credit it for a great many things, but I also suffered injury from the exercises I was taught because we didn’t know any better then. We do now. I owe a lot to the community of University High School and I want to pass that forward to today’s families.”

Lance was honored as a member of the All-City football team as a strong and undersized lineman, and then played at UCLA, from which he graduated in 1969. After graduating, he earned a Juris Doctor degree at the University of California’s Boalt Hall, practiced real estate law and then started what is now a nationally-recognized real estate development company specializing in recycling inner-city historic buildings into art, music and residential centers nationwide.

His belief in mentorship and life transformation led to volunteer addiction counseling for 13 years, endowing the first academic chair at Berkeley’s Law School addressing destructive drug policies and supporting social and medical research in the potential of cannabis treatment. The strength, determination and inclusiveness learned at Uni drives him to this day. He continues to welcome inquiries and opportunities to mentor at his Web site Urbansmartgrowthllc.com for those seeking a way forward.

The Robbins Family’s major gift was added to by the UHEF to complete the indoor/outdoor aspects of the facility. The total cost of the new equipment, installation and complementary technology infrastructure will surpass $80,000.

The installation is already underway and will continue through the summer. The new Warriors and Wildcats Strength and Conditioning Center will be in use by Uni’s sports teams this fall.

Well done, Lance!

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where we are, maybe

A number of people have expressed curiosity about where the class of ’65 has ended up. This is, at best, an extremely rough estimate of numbers of classmates per state. It’s based on the latest information we have, much of which isn’t very recent at all, and includes both the Artesians and the Peleans.

While we don’t ever share details about classmates, we do try to keep the list as updated as possible. If you’ve moved or changed your contact information, we’d love to hear from you. Send a note to unihi65 AT gmail.com (close up the spaces and insert @ where it belongs).

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making changes

We’re in the process of making a few changes to this site. For example, we’ve just added a Before Uni page with some elementary school photos. Over time, the goal is to phase out the labor-intensive class website and move the content to this site, which is much easier to update and maintain. It will take time, so please check back and leave comments if you have questions or suggestions. (Photo: about 1956, Warner Avenue School pals)

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