REMINDER: Only 409 days until Taft's Diamond Jubilee -- The Taft Oildorado, Inc. celebrating Taft's 100th birthday, October 15 to the 24th, 2010.  The year 2010 will also be the 100th anniversary of the Lakeview Gusher.

REMINDER: Only 409 days until Taft's Diamond Jubilee -- The Taft Oildorado, Inc. celebrating Taft's 100th birthday, October 15 to the 24th, 2010.  The year 2010 will also be the 100th anniversary of the Lakeview Gusher.
Taft Union High School History (Continued)
   The information below has been taken from a book called "A History of Early Taft, California" by Larry Peahl and Pete Gianopulos.  
    A member of the Taft Union High School class of 1952 and Taft Junior College in 1954, Mary (Peaslee) Covin became a national champion figure skater.  She began skating while in high school in the open roller skating rink, which at that time was located on Finley Drive, east of Sixth Street.  Covin was actively involved in California and National skating competition for 10 years between 1951 and in 1961, winning many Southwest Pacific Regional and National titles in Wichita, Kansas and Portland, Oregon, to name a few.  In 1962 Marie was awarded a Gold Medal in figure skating obtained after passing ten proficiency tests -- the highest proficiency award that can be obtained in figure skating through a proficiency program.  She was the first California girl to receive this award.                                    

Reader's Responses

From Daniel Richard, Class of 1974, from Bethpage, Tenn.
    Dang Pete!
    You look great.  You're only a few weeks older than I am and you look better than I do.  Must be all that good Greek food. 
    I made moussaka with eggplant from my garden and a cream sauce finished with aged Monterey Jack, along with some other stuff.  One of our 'neighbors' just culled his herd and we got a yearling sheep in a trade for a gallon of homemade rum.  It came out of the still at 180 proof, so that should last him a week or two.  That sheep will last us until Christmas.  Thanks for the tip on aging that cheese...better than Parmesan.
    Hope all is well.

From Pete Magee, Class of 1955, from St. Paul, Minnesota
    Dear Pete-
    I've really enjoyed the Taft High History series.  I was captain and linebacker for the Bobcats in 1954, and from time to time we'd have a controlled scrimmage with the varsity.  I was willing to tackle anyone, including Archie Schmitt.  The only problem was that I wasn't able. I remember bouncing off his iron legs like I was a rubber ball.  Even when I corralled his ankles, he'd just shake me loose. He was an exception to the rule my dad taught me, that "If you hit'em low, they'll go down, no matter how big they are."
    Pete Magee

From Charles Welby, Class of 1944, from Raleigh, North Carolina
    Hi, Pete,
    I appreciated the latest Taft Newsletter as it does keep one in touch with things in Taft.  It is also nice to have the "modern" journalistic mechanisms so that one can read the "News" when being far from "home."  This acknowledgement is sent from the middle of the Baltic Sea where I am "cruising down the river" headed for Stockholm for a quick visit in the famed city. Two teenage granddaughters are keeping me out of trouble, I think.   No oil in the granite around Helsinki, for sure. 
    Charles Welby

From Ron Wagner, Class of 1955, from Bakersfield, CA
    Pete,  My wife and I enjoy reading your weekly newsletter.  It brings back many fond memories of Taft.  Thanks for doing this for all to enjoy.
    My father Clark F. Wagner was a businessman in Taft, and a graduate of TUHS in 1936.  He owned two service stations on Kern Street at different times. . . . Richfield and 76 Union.  Later he owned Clark's Tire Shop at 6th and Center Streets.  This was originally the old Firestone Bldg.  (I think by the old Hippodrome Theater.)  A bit of trivia . . .  I sold the tire shop about 2000.  The family salvaged the old safe and some office furniture which Clark purchased from the Peacock Dairy.

From Steve Barber from Class of 1964
    Pete:    So many memories are prompted by the Newsletter.  Thank you so much.  Here’s a personal one   When our family moved into our house on East Lucard in 1950, my dad planted an orange tree in the back yard.  The year Taft JC went to the Orange bowl you wrote about in the current newsletter, the tree brought forth its first orange.  Only one orange showed up all year.  That little tree never bore fruit again.   Steve Barber

From Milt Stark, Class of 1950, from Anaheim Hills, CVA
    Hi Pete,
    You never cease to amaze me with the good stuff you come up with for your newsletter.  I especially enjoyed the sports history bit in your latest.  I can't find these paragraphs in my copy of A History of Early Taft, California.  The history in my copy ends in 1949 with two paragraphs devoted to the 1950's.  Have you and Larry published another edition?  If so, I'd really like to get my hands on a copy.  I have a personal interest because I was a member of both teams featured in your latest newsletter - the 1958 Taft Merchants softball team and the 1955 Taft College Cougar football team.  I didn't know that Les Haney was a Taft High classmate of yours.  What a guy!  He is one of the all-time great fast pitch softball pitchers.  I actually had the great honor of conducting his induction ceremonies into the International Softball Congress Hall of Fame (located in Kimberly, Wisconsin) in 1972 in Kerman, California.  When I played with him, I was a young, wet-behind-the-ears catcher.  Veteran catchers Charlie Morris and Jack Lynch were also on the team, and they did most of the catching; however, I did get to catch Les in some games that weren't real important and in some games that were already won before I broke into the lineup.  He taught me much about the pitching-catching thing and about the game in general.  I'm sure your readers would enjoy more Taft sports history.  God bless you and the work you are doing.  
    Milt Stark, TUHS Class of '50