STHOSE OF US WHO WILL BE GATHERING AT THE MISSION HILL MIDDLE SCHOOL GYM (and for those who wish that they could be there) for Coach Milo Badger's Memorial Service (Sunday, November 26 at l PM), will find,I am certain, these memories as written by Gino Campioni to be very special. Also
Len Klempnauer adds some interesting interesting facts about Coach Badger and the Mission Hill Gym:
Memories.....................! I remember a lot about Mission Hill Jr. High. Sam P. Reed, of course, who put on a model aircraft building club after school. I was very keen on that. There was Ronny Arana, who became very expert on model planes, including designing his own digital proportional radio control system. Unfortunately, Ron was killed at a young age in a motorcycle accident. His brother Jerry was also a keen model plane builder.
I remember Mr. John Evans, and his math class. He put a prohibition on girls' wearing bracelets made of stolen Buick hood ornaments to class, as they made a loud bang when they put their arm down on the desk. I remember Mr. Evans saying, "Class dismissed. Everyone pass out quietly." (snickers from the class)
Mr. Ross and Mr. Knotts, who taught woodworking and metal shop. I did make a small bookcase and a little table, which now are with my stepsons, I presume. (unless they needed firewood) I was always termed a "wood butcher" for my ineptitude at wood working.
I remember that there was an aircraft engine in the metal shop. I think it was a Pratt & Whitney Wasp from a bomber. It sat undisturbed on a test stand for a long time, but one day they got it running. A roar and a plume of smoke, and the thing came to life. Its sound could be heard for half a mile. I think it was anchored down pretty well, or it would have gone right through the roof.
Miss Hunkin may have been the librarian, and may also have been the cool gal who played basketball with us.
Mr. Miguel who taught science and photography. A totally unflappable fellow, even when experiments with hydrogen would produce startling explosions.
Miss Van, of course, my favorite. Such a serene lady. Her hair went silver grey when she was 19.
Of course you will remember Miss Dablich. Music and rhythm. Her vocalise consisted of scales, not the usual do re mi, but lu lu lu lu. Miss Dablich in the long blue dress.
Miss Young, Miss Wells, Miss Wilkinson, and others. Those were the days, eh?
The last time I saw Coach Badger was at a Dad's Club Tournament a few years ago. We spent about 20 minutes discussing the old days, and the subject of the Mission Hill gym came up. He said that my Mission Hill Class of 1950-51* -- we were ninth graders -- were supposed to have been the first class to use the gym, but construction delays postponed the opening until the next year. So, I guess the Class of 1951-52 was indeed the first class to use it. I also recall that a major storm wreaked havoc on the floor because of poor construction sometime thereafter and it was closed a long while for repairs, but I can't recall the year.
Contrary to what someone implied at Sunday's services for Coach Badger, the Mission Hill gym was supposed to open the same year as the "new" Branciforte Jr. High School. B-40 opened in the spring of 1951. In 2001, the B-40 Class of 1951 re-enacted the march they made from the old Branciforte Jr. High to the new school. The Sentinel covered it, and their story is in the paper's on-line archives at:
Branciforte Jr. High's web site has a lot of photos of the event. It's at:
There were so many speakers at yesterday's services that I'm sure some of us who wanted to say just a few words bowed out because of the time the others has taken. I had considered mentioning this little anecdote about Coach Badger:
As you may remember, Coach batted left-handed and he used to power line drives from home plate at the far corner on King Street directly up against the east wing of Mission Hill. So I asked him, "Coach, were you intentionally trying to break some classroom windows?" He gave me his answer and made me promise never to reveal it. So I won't. But he did recall putting a ball through the window of Miss Wells' classroom on the second floor, momentarily scaring her.
Three members of the '51 class, later Santa Cruz High Class of '54, attended the services (Nov. 26, 2006): Jun Lee, Al Mitchell and myself. You were there representing Mission Hill '52 (SCHS '55) and Dave Herman representing '50 (SCHS '53). Were there others from either of those two classes? Both Al and Dave became Mission Hill teachers.
I can remember also some 35 to 40 years ago that there was a citizens' effort to have the gym named Badger Gym, just like the "new" SCHS gym is named Fehliman Gym in honor of C.E. "Doc" Fehliman, the long-time teacher and founder of the SCHS Alumni Association. But the school board rejected the Badger proposal. What a shame!
I wonder how many people at Sunday's services knew, until someone mentioned it, that junior high then consisted of the seventh, eighth and ninth grades . . . and that Mission Hill at one time also included an elementary school, one K-6 classroom each, as did B-40 Jr. High when it was in the "old" building at Branciforte Avenue and Water Street.
Finally, I wouldn't exactly call what we had in the main building a "gym." It contained a locker room, showers and Coach Badger's office as I recall. I think the first shower I ever had was at Mission Hill because most of the old homes then had only bath tubs. Can you remember the anti-fungus mat we had to step on before entering and upon leaving the showers?
Len Klempnauer, Capitola