Readers Write Their Memories of History
By Tom Morrow
Many readers often write about history things. Retired KGTV newsman John Beatty noted I failed to mention “Studebaker” in my recent “Golden Age of Automobiles” column.
He’s right. I forgot to mention one of America’s first transportation companies. Studebaker built horse and oxen-drawn wagons during the Civil War, and many of the so-called “Prairie Schooners” for the great migration to settle the West.
John wrote: “By golly, Tom, you left out the Studebaker-Erskine, named after Erskine, the president of Studebaker during the late twenties. We had a 1929 four-door Studebaker-Erskine sedan. The folks turned it in as scrap metal during WWII since gas ration cards limited gasoline availability.”
Regarding my column of two weeks ago, a former Marine, who is a San Diego native, wrote about seeing the old wooden (plank) road just west of Yuma.
“Mr. Morrow, In early 1953 my wife and I drove from San Diego thru Yuma and up thru the mountains of Arizona to Flagstaff where we hit Highway 66 all the way to Oklahoma City. I was in the Marine Corps and transferred to duty in Oklahoma City. We observed the wooden road off to the right of the highway we were on and sort of knew it was an old wooden road even though we had never heard of it before. The parts of the road we observed appeared in pretty good condition except for missing sections,” wrote Donald Zumwalt.
But, Donald reminded me of another historic gem – the huge camouflage blanket covering the Consolidated Aircraft plant near Lindbergh Field where the B-24 bombers were built during World War II.
He wrote: “Have you ever heard of the camouflage net that was placed over parts of Lindbergh Field and the aircraft factories in 1942 shortly after World War II began? I was 10 years old and it basically covered parts of Lindbergh Field and probably most of the aircraft factories.
“Pacific Highway was covered and a building still standing (as of about a year ago) had only the top floor protruding thru the net. I went up West Palm Street, Laurel Street to around 1st or 2d Street and looked down to see what the sight was – it appeared to be farming land. I was only 10 years old and discovered the net while riding my bicycle. I’ve always wondered if anything has ever been published about the net and if anyone had pictures?” Donald concluded.
I’ve looked in a number of places (historic records, books, etc.), but haven’t been able to find a photo of the camouflage. Down through the years I’ve been told by readers about the net covering much of the eastern end of the airport and the Consolidated plant. I’ve even had men and women tell me about the covering when they worked building the B-24s during World War II.
It’s a fascinating footnote in San Diego history. If anyone out there has a photo of the camouflage, I’d love to have it for this column. (If possible, e-mail it in .jpg format. I wouldn’t want to take the chance of having any precious artifact photos lost in snail-mail). My East coast and Canadian senior citizen readers would enjoy reading and seeing more history about San Diego’s veil.
GROANER — One Sunday morning a young boy decided to surprise his grandmother with a cup of coffee. He’d never made coffee before, and watched eagerly as his grandma took her first sip. Grandma bravely smiled as she sipped her way through the worst cup of coffee she had ever tasted. She didn’t want to hurt her grandson’s feelings, so as she took the last sip, she thanked him for his effort.
Then glancing into the cup, she noticed three green plastic army guys at the bottom. She stared at them, then asked her grandson, “What are these green plastic army guys doing in my coffee cup?”
The boy, with a wide grin, said: “Oh, you know, Grandma, it’s just like on TV. ‘The best part of waking up is soldiers in your cup.'”
SCAG SEZ: “While an apple a day is supposed to keep the doctor away, it’s cheaper to see the doctor these days.” – Cecil Scaglione, Mature Life Features.