Thursday, November 23, 2006


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


Ivano Franco Comelli said...

Thanks Gino: Some teachers that I remember, Mrs. Evans, Mr.Hubbard, Miss Azbell, Mr. Couse (sp?). Mr.Couse married one of the teachers at MHJH but I don't remember her name. Miss Van was my Homeroom teacher and Spanish teacher I mention her in La Nostra Costa along with Sam Reed and Milo Badger.

As I recall we were assigned Homerooms alphbetically. So I belonged to the 7-ls, 8-1s, and finally the 9-1s. I was with the same group of kids throughout my MHJH School years. Because of this we won the intra-mural flag football championship every year. We happened to have fellow named Nathan Cheney on the team each year. What speed and his spin moves while carrying the ball were simply amazing. Coach Badger taught us the 22-quick Play. Two back into the two hole. My favorite play because I got to lead the way through for Nathan.
This was followed by a reverse in the backfield with Eldon Cuneo (QB) running right and then handing off to Nathan who ran left. He was unstoppable on that play. ivn0

ivano said...

Thought you all would like to know that Coach Badger's Memorial was a great success. The Old Gym was pretty well full of people. A lot of the "Old" Guard was there, but also many of the younger generation. The Coach's life was long and he touched many people. ivno

gino campioni said...

Thanks, Ivano, for the information about the memorial service for our Coach. I'm glad it went well, and that many attended. I wish I could have been there.

I remember well the layout of the gym, the locker room, the showers, etc. I don't remember there being any large indoor playing area. The basketball hoops were outdoors, just East of the shops, as I remember. Gino

ivano said...

Gino: As I recall the students who attended MHJHS during the school year 1951-52, were the first to use the new gym. Shortly after it opened a rain storm hit the Santa Cruz Area. The basketball floor at the north end of the building buckled (water seepage ??)due to poor construction. It took weeks before we could use the basketball courts, so we continued to use the outside courts as you describe.

Prior to that, the gym was located in the tower across from the Cafeteria. I remember some of the older boys opening the windows real wide as they were drying off so that the girls in Miss Wells class across the way could get a peek at their essentials. (I think Miss Wells caught on pretty quickly to that caper and had the Coach put a stop to it all.)ivno

Len Klempnauer said...

*It really surprised me that almost 50 years later, Coach Badger remembered which Mission Hill Class I was in. Maybe it was become my 9-5 homeroom won the intramural basketball championship. We went undefeated and then beat a ninth-grade all-star team "by a decisive margin," according to the 1951 Gold & White. Other members of the team were Hank Papa, Fred Biloudeau, George Dominichelli, Tony Oliveira, Jim Fitzpatrick, Bob Head, Don Johnson and team captain John Drew.

Robert Lemmon Jr said...

Let's make sure we have our directions correct. The south side of the gym is toward Walnut Ave. & the north side of the bldg is toward the King & Mission St. intersection. [Note that the sun rises over East Santa Cruz and follows a path up Walnut Ave before it sets; never checked Mission St. with a compass, but the path of the sun is close enuf for gvt work!]
I too remember the water leaking in around the double doors on the south side of the gym. Believe it was not only a failure of the seals around the door but also poorly-constructed rain gutters. As I recall, the warping occurred after a fairly heavy rainstorm.
Bob L Jr (MHJHS '54, SCHS '57)

LNC: Your probably right on the directions Bob. Never could get my directions straight in Santa Cruz. All I knew was that La Costa was North of Santa Cruz. ivn0

mike kuffel said...

"Since you had the audacity to name me in your book (Pages 323-24) as one of the Prime Suspects in the Crime of the Century, I suggest that the name 0f the gym should be:


Doctored Kerrick said...


Perhaps the gym should be named "Kinetics Gym" in memory of that time Kuffel played
BUMPER CARS with my 32 Ford and transformed kinetic energy into dented fenders.
Ouch! You wrote about it in your book!

Jerry Kerrick

LNC: I think that happened in High
School. However, given the numerous times Mike "bumped heads" with Milo, it would be an appropriate name. ivn0
Milo Badger,