Through Any Given Door

1.72 Larry’s Diary, Mar 1951

1951 • Larry’s diary (age 17)
Mar 1  Played checkers at Dipper with Dwain McDonald. Got new music at Brass Choir rehearsal. Got one with bass solo throughout. Also Tuolumne County Orchestra
Mar 2  Went to Stockton and saw “Our Town”. Most of cast went down. Had turkey at Finney’s.

cousin Pat Conway

Mar 3  Pat Conway came up for week-end. 4 yrs in Navy, slept with me. People up looking at the store. Saw show Steel Helmet about Korea War
Mar 4  Dropped Pat C. off at Modesto to hitchhike to San Diego, over 500 miles. Stayed overnight at Uncle Charlie and Aunt Velma’s. Learned dice game
Mar 5  Made rounds of shops, got master record, flute music for Juanita. Got 2nd new mouthpiece. Got theory books. No Tuolumne County Band. Didn’t unload car.
Mar 6  Had play practice in Balcom’s room. Got adds. Took first aid test on P.E. Paid $1.65 for ski club trip. Music club meeting.
Mar 7  Jr-Sr game, Seniors won both. No dance. Called off. Roller skates at game. Played checkers till 12
Mar 8  Went skiing 2nd time got home at 8 o’clock. D. Pastorini hurt leg. Stayed up till 4 A.M. typing music notes. Bad time in P.E.
Mar 9  Senior boy and girl scouts put on play “Cry of the Banshee” rotten play. High School Orchestra played. I sight read “Sleeping Beauty”
Mar 10  Went to barn dance given by Juniors. Jake drove me out and back. Took over records for awhile. Not many there. Mom counting money
Mar 11  Saw show Our Very Own about adoption of girl. Kept store open by myself. Fire this morning below Grammar school
Mar 12  Little room at school caught fire today but didn’t spread. Got sick this afternoon and vomited on upstairs bathroom floor. I cleaned it up. Commissioners spent over $500

Larry, senior picture

Mar 13  (Carleen’s 16th birthday) Was sick with the flu. Stayed home in bed all day. Got Senior wallet size pictures yesterday. Dawson had fire in icebox.
Mar 14  Saw Bret Harte-Sonora baseball game, we were ahead. Special edition of Wildcat handed out because of Easter. $14.00 in adds.
Mar 15  Decorated Youth Hut for party tomorrow with Carleen, Shirley D. Dwain McD, Phyllis and Mom. Only half hour at Tuolumne County Orchestra. Volpette got front 3 teeth knocked out in baseball game, got hit with bat

Carleen 1951

Mar 16  Had Carleen’s birthday party at Hut. 85 invited, full house. I helped clean up.
Mar 17  Practiced horn and sax for a few hours at store. Took in 20 cents after 6 o’clock tonight, took in $20 last night. Reading Earth Abides till 1:15
Mar 18  1st day of Easter Vacation. No school for a whole week. Bought ice cream pie, ate more in 1 hr than in three months. Hamilton came in store in army uniform
Mar 19  Saw show Aba Daba Honeymoon Debbie Reynolds. Copied and transcribed music, practiced till one at store. Fixed lights.
Mar 20  Dad sick in bed. I opened up Ben Franklin store for him as he is now managing that as well as our store. I worked there all day then closed up at 6 p.m. Sent letters back to Fathom and Jamestown Stamps. Bought tamales for lunch
Mar 21  Went to bed early, 8 o’clock. Took many Easter cards to other store. Lost top on shoe. Finished Earth Abides book
Mar 22  No Tuolumne County Orchestra practice because of vacation. Practiced instruments for few hours. Eldora C. is staying here overnight with Carleen. Busy day at store
Mar 23  Bought copy of Colliers and Pageant and pint of ice cream. Practiced instruments at store. Cott told me someone requested a record for me on KROG
Mar 24  Worked from 9 to 9. Got haircut and shine. Rode around with Lester and girls for about half-hour. Alan and Mick came in and we went around, played pool. Saw Miller, Grant, Hesse, Fraser.
Mar 25  Band marched for Easter Parade, hot. Played horn. Went to 8 o’clock mass. Church was packed. Saw At War With Army Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin
Mar 26  Went to Angels Camp and saw All About Eve. Missed out on another music club meeting. No officer there. Galen talked about kicking them out.
Mar 27  Had pictures taken for Green & Gold, Ski Club, Lettermans Club, Sr. Class Play. Brought Wildcat books up to date with Parle
Mar 28  Had track pictures taken for Green & Gold. 1st day of inter-class meet, placed 4th in pole vault. All seniors in meet. Only missed out on 880
Mar 29  Placed 1st in 180 yrd. low hurdles, 25 sec. Placed 4th in mile. Caught Carleen stealing 4 of my silver dollars. Balcom kicked me out of play.
Mar 30  Won both tennis matches and baseball game from Manteca. Had ventriloquist in assembly. Wrote music notes for Green & Gold. Watched Joe in tennis
Mar 31  Mom and Dad asked me about Waters and Ross horn deal.

Green & Gold Ski Club 1951 year book

Green & Gold Wildcat, 1951 year book


Things were bad at work and Dad was close to losing the store. The local paper ran an article about him taking a job at Ben Franklin’s up the street.

Mar 15, 1951 • Article in Union Democrat
Carl Clemens, local merchant and member of City Council, has taken over the operation of Ben Franklin. His wife will continue the managing of Clemens’ Record & Gift Shop opened in 1947. Mr. Clemens came to Sonora in 1943 to operate the Sprouse Reitz.

Our parents’ business and personal lives were in turmoil, but life went on for the kids. Carleen celebrated her sixteenth birthday and the next day this appeared in the local paper:

 Mar 17, 1951 • Article in Union Democrat
Approximately 85 teenage friends gathered at the Sonora Youth Hut last Friday evening to help Carleen Clemens celebrate her sixteenth birthday. A grand time was had by all at the party which was in the St. Patrick’s motif, and delicious refreshment were enjoyed.

Carleen organized and planned the event. Dad did not attend but Mom was there, doing the jitterbug with anyone who’d dance with her, further mortifying my sister.

to be continued…

© 2017. Catherine Sevenau.
All rights reserved.

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  1. Susan Davidson Dalberg says:

    I’m trying to remember when I was in high school–(ten years after Larry: I graduated in 62). don’t remember having lockers. No backpacks then, just tons of books under an arm. Poor memories that long ago!! Anybody else?

  2. Jim Chatfield says:

    Larry was quite a helper for the whole family. That was a lot of responsibilities for a young man but he sure went at it well. I admire his get up and go.

  3. Susan Davidson Dalberg says:

    Was wondering before if he ever found the person stealing his money!! Good old siblings:)

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