Through Any Given Door

1.66 Larry’s Diary, Sep 1950

1950 • Larry’s diary (age 16)
Sep 1  Worked on stamps and coins. Treated Joe Drabkin to lemonade. City suing his father for wall crumbling. C.O.P. football players arrived for practice.
Sep 2  Put nickels in collection. Saw Mr. Hagemeyer first time since school let out. Hung up pennants. Tuolumne County got 2nd at Fair
Sep 3  Cleaned up room it needed it. Stayed open by myself all day. Heat wave finally broke a little. Saw show Jackie Robinson Story
Sep 4  Copied Wildcat book. Bought trick coin for $3.00 from salesman. No T.C.B. tonight. Dad rested all day
Sep 5  Big fires threaten Long Barn, Twain Harte and Pinecrest, worst in 30 years. Showed Pressey and sisters trick. Fouled it up.
Sep 6  Went to San Francisco with dad, stayed at Golden Gate Hotel. Got Van Doren and Decca. Saw show Fancy Pants Bob Hope with Dad.
Sep 7  Got 5 or 6 more solos and a book. Also got pads for horn. Dad got arch supports. Got some stamps (U.P.O.)
Sep 8  Went to the show for an hour and then went to Sierra Longhouse play “The Willow and I”. Sat with Don Hamilton. Registered at school, got levis
Sep 9  Got two new sweaters for school one same but different color. Phoned Hagemeyer but he was sick. Washed high windows in store
Sep 10  Mom fixed a great big turkey dinner. Tacked up stamp maps on wall. Heard Horace Heidt program. Winner was the violin player “Bumble-Bee Boogie”
Sep 11  First day as a senior at high school. Taking Geometry, US History, Band, Senior Problems, Music Theory, and English. Made a speech (short) in assembly. 1st commissioner meeting

Sonora Union High School

Sep 12  Got my gym locker and a tennis locker both on top rows. Saw Annie Get Your Gun. Got Geography book. Took horn and case back to school
Sep 13  Hagemeyer back to school. First lesson in music theory. Nominated for tem. Wildcat tamer. Jake won. Voted for plastic coat on cards in last commissioner meeting
Sep 14  I am Business Manager for yearbook and on student council. Got my Green and Gold Pledge $2.00 and Student body card $2.00. Band played first time
Sep 15  Discovered a fire in Red Campbell’s car. George Hesse, Gabe, and Larry L. helped put it out. Yell leaders assembly. Seniors won. Deer season opened
Sep 16  Fought with Betty. Bought quart of ice cream for supper. Took desk apart to be refinished at school if I have time during 7ths
Sep 17  Painted my whole room with Kem-Tone. Also painted my dresser white, took everything out of my room to clean it up and paint
Sep 18  Went to Stockton with George Hesse and Duane Jacobsen in Dad’s car and saw Spike Jones Orchestra. Then saw The Furies and home at 4:00 in morn
Sep 19  Saw show Cinderella Walt Disney. Bought S.U.H.S. gym trunks. Am scraping paint off windows. Elected Band officers.
Sep 20  Asked around town for white shoes. Band tryouts, didn’t play
Sep 21  Wrote a story on my job as Commissioner of Publications for the Wildcat. Turned in ads. Got Wildcat football schedule. Saw senior cards.

Sonora Union High School Commissioners
Standing: R. Durham, B. Woodford, R. Foster, L. Cover, L. Clemens, Mr. R. Atkinson
Seated: P. Nickley, R.M. Eskew, M. McNally, D.E. Hamilton, G. Momyer, L. Heron, M. Richardson

Sep 22  Went to Sutter Creek with Pat Hughes and sister, Vern McDonald, Tersich and wife, 1st football game of season tie. 0-0 B game. Sonora 58 Amador 0
Sep 23  Wildcat of new term printed. Different leading. Daylight Saving time goes into effect.
Sep 24  Saw show Winchester ’73. Sat with Ima part time, played a little canasta. Went to late mass. Dad now wearing arch supports
Sep 25  Dad’s birthday. Handed out 1st issue of Wildcat with Frank Long and Ken. Watched Majorettes tryout. Diane head. Carried horn home from T.C.B. but it wasn’t held
Sep 26  Tried out my voice for Mrs. Cassina for boys’ sextette. Commissioner meeting discussed.
Sep 27  Sang with boys sextette for 1st time. Worked Geometry till 5:00 with Parli (chemistry and geometry teacher)
Sep 28  Straightened up band room for Hagemeyer during theory class. Helped Claudia with flute for first time, taught her scales. Breakfast at Gem Cafe
Sep 29  Got band sweater from Baers, 3 stripes, name, wildcat heads, pin, block S. Rode around with Joe Drabkin after game. (also our mother’s birthday)
Sep 30  Stayed open till 9:00 by myself. Typed controls which finally came in. Saw George Hesse. Mom sick again, called Dr. Boice.


On September 29, 1950, our mother turned thirty-five. She’d been married half her life and had five children. The day after her birthday, struggling against everything she knew, she once again tried to end it all. Dad was forty-five, Larry a senior in high school, Carleen a sophomore, Betty was in the sixth grade, Claudia was in fourth, and I had turned two. Mom was back in the hospital, then five days later, home again.

She was interested in the world around her when her own didn’t overwhelm her. She loved visiting museums, had a passion for historical buildings and cemeteries and local sights. If she couldn’t get anyone to go with her, she dragged Claudia along. Three or four times a year she took Larry to the Community Concert series, or Carleen if there was someone else to watch the girls. There was nothing like that in Sonora so they traveled to Manteca, Oakdale, and Stockton for the concert and to Tracy to see the Russian Cossack dancers. They saw the Horace Heidt Amateur Traveling Show, heard Rubinstein play the piano, and listened to Spike Jones. Those were the times that she was most like herself.

to be continued …

© 2017. Catherine Sevenau.
All rights reserved.

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  1. Larry Clemens says:

    I probably did not want to admit, even in my private diary, that my mother was suicidal.
    She was unhappy in her marriage and wanted out. She made some poor decisions.

  2. Your brother was quite a role model with all his ambition and responsibilities.

  3. I imagine it was hard for Larry to admit even to the privacy of his diary that his mom attempted suicide. A pretty scary thing for any family. Not much was done for people with depression. Even today there is a stigma attached.

  4. Susan Davidson Dalberg says:

    Larry seems to have kept his cool about the episodes—or didn’t feel like airing family “laundry”. Hospitalization for depression seemed to be the “in” thing to do back then. Sad for all you guys!

  5. Janet Sasaki says:

    He was so industrious, love reading every detail, reminds me so much of my life in the ’50s. Even the family photos look like mine! Interesting that our mother was always threatening suicide too! Never did! But was never happy! She really didn’t like having 4 children.

  6. Susie Price says:

    Wow. Your brother did a lot. Strange no mention of your mother going to the hospital on the 29th altho on the 30th he notes that she was sick again. Can’t believe how many shows people saw in those day — before TV. And to think that he painted his whole room in one day – Sept. 17. And he cleaned the whole room out AND painted his dresser white. Kids do not appear to do that kind of thing anymore. Too much time on-line or playing video games.

  7. Bill swindle says:

    Wow! You actually trampled the odds to become who you are!

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