Through Any Given Door

1.76 Larry’s Diary, May 1951

1951 • Larry’s diary (age 17)
May 1  Sick from eating cherries, missed day of school, Mom and Claudia also sick. Packed uniform in suitcase.
May 2  Polished horn and shined bell with lacquer polish. Modesto Junior College and Acapella Choir sang. Gooslink accompanied. Paid 75 cents for ditch day
May 3  Hitchhiked to Stockton. Stood in rain for 1 hour. Took Streamliner into Berkeley. Saw matinee “Our Town”. Had chest Xray taken.
May 4  State Music festival saw solos and bands, etc. Stayed at Y.M.C.A. Real stiff on grading this year
May 5  Saw Calaveras girls. Checked out at Y. Rode home on bus with Maudene M. and partway with Margaret W. Lost music
May 6  Now have 5 medals, 4 E and 1 S. Dad went to some breakfast so opened store at 11 till 2 alone. Went to 10 o’clock mass, new organist
May 7  Had dress rehearsal of Spring concert at 7 o’clock tonight. Played tennis till 6. Got horn all shined up. Got A in Senior Problems.
May 8  Spring Concert, Band Brass Choir, both solos. Don H. flubbed solo. Mom and Dad there. Studied for English test
May 9  Took senior English test fro 8:30 till noon. Placed 5th in class. 82% score of 61. Played night tennis
May 10  Tuolumne County Orchestra practice on stage. No Brass Choir. Made 9 mistakes in English essay and letter of application. Fair opened
May 11  Band marched for kiddies parade. Tuolumne Grammar School band also marched. Went to fair and carnival. Saw motorcycle and went on tilt-a-whirl
May 12  Band won trophy in Days of Gold Parade. Rode around with Don G, Alan C, and Ray G till 4:00 A.M. Turned in adds.
May 13  Saw show Lemon Drop Kid with Bob Hope. Don Grant went too. Fair closed up. Got 13 silver dollars at fair. Missed rodeo
May 14  Passed out Wildcats. Commish meeting talked about lights, letters, trails and bus trip. Passed in all school music. Music club meeting. Jazz program.
May 15  Commish made campaign speeches in assembly, brought Wildcat books up to date and copied them in ink. Cleaned up room
May 16  Sold 4 subscriptions for the Green & Gold for $22. Assembly, played Pomp and Circumstance for 1st time. Got $24.40 in adds for Wildcat
May 17  Somebody stole $24 out of my gym locker 6th period. $22 G&G and $2 band. Dad gave me driving lesson
May 18  Voted for Don Hamilton as most valuable band student. Had school elections. Bob Foster new president.
May 19  Went to San Jose with Joe D and took English A exam. Vote 500 word essay and grammar. Saw light opera “The Merry Widow” at the Curran Theatre. I lost watch at restroom in San Francisco. No horn
May 20  Saw Cyrano De Bergerac in San Francisco. Long nose. Good. Played pool in new place. Drove home by one o’clock
May 21  8th graders took test and tour. Passed Joe D’s amendment to constitution in Com. meeting. Balcom bawled us out for too many adds
May 22  Went to Tuolumne and saw fights. Balcom gave me A’s for last years English. G&G auctioned off pictures. Got 2 letters from Marines
May 23  Senior Banquet held at Twain Harte. Ate for 2 hours and danced for 3. Didn’t miss a dance or a girl, about 100 there. Voted for most valuable chorus student
May 24  Was elected most valuable Music Student. Presented silver cup and trophy with my name engraved on it.
May 25  Took Pat Kristenson to Prom. Dreamers Holiday theme. Frank Acker drove. Good time. Home by 2:20. Got cap and gown for $2.50 rental. Brought home uniform 
May 26  Shriners gave band concert and parade, went with G. Hess, J. Drabkin and Bob Stegmon. Put out last issue of Wildcat #16. Seniors issued pictures 
May 27  Dwain McvDonald took me around town on a driving lesson, drove from his house alone all around country and down to Frosty shop and through town
May 28 Commish. meeting noon, nothing done. Passed out last issue of Wildcat. Sr. issue, my picture in it, 8 pages. Played tennis 2 hrs. Missed music club meeting
May 29  Showed Tom Sappington how Wildcat “books” work. Had picture taken in uniform – cup – ribbons – instruments – cap and gown. Senior tea held, tea and cookies
May 30  Went on picnic at Parrots Ferry with Music Club. Ate and rested. Hagemeyer called up music teacher at Sutter Creek about horn. Let me know.
May 31  Tom Treto got Gibbons and Athletic awards. Saw show So Proudly We Hail, medical war movie. Kids have measles


In elementary school Larry usually received Bs, but one time when he got a couple of Cs Dad said that was not acceptable and refused to sign his report card. Mom signed it for Larry but my brother was impressed that Dad insisted on him getting better grades. As long as his grades were As or Bs, they were satisfied. In high school they didn’t pay as much attention. They generally weren’t interested in the school activities of the children and did not attend many events. My brother was involved in music, sports, and the school newspaper. He was on the track team hurdles, ran the 440, 880, and the mile, and played basketball. He was an average team member. He often played concert solos and only one time did both parents come to a performance. As Dad was a member of the Elks Club, on occasion he saw Larry perform there. Dad thought Larry should be spending his time doing something worthwhile, something more useful than playing the tuba. He also saw no need for him to go to college; he was needed at home to work in the store. That didn’t stop Larry. Max Hagemeyer, Larry’s mentor and music teacher, encouraged my brother to go to San Jose State, and he did, majoring in music.

to be continued …

© 2017. Catherine Sevenau.
All rights reserved.

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  1. Larry Clemens says:

    Most of my friends in high school were in music activities and after leaving high school in 1951 I never saw any of my friends again except for two or three who also attended San Jose State. I was surprised and sad that a few of my friends dropped out of college in their first year. There were only about 100 Sonora High seniors and I did see a few of them at the 50 year reunion in 2001, but even then there was little interaction so basically upon leaving Sonora my connection was severed. My diary is about a different life, that of a teenager about to leave home. I am sad that most of my classmates from Sonora are now dead.

  2. Susan Davidson Dalberg says:

    Odd. Larry never expresses anger, even when someone steals something from him. Was he that mellow with all you girls? For a teenager, he seems to lacking any ‘aren’t I wonderful?” statements in spite of all of his accomplishments. Did you enjoy having him as a brother then? Glad he went on to college!!

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