Tel: (818) 347-9665 PST

Sunday, November 29, 2009


2009 The Year of Valley History
Santa's Helper - Show window of Mas Hair in North Hollywood - Photo for the Archive of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley by Gerald Fecht Nov. 2009
On my way home from the 2nd Annual "Walk It Off" tour of historic North Hollywood, I found myself on Vineland Avenue and near the endangered Idle Hour Cafe (the Barrel building). While photographing the barrel, I saw the high energy windows of "Mas Hair" store next door. After taking the above photograph, I asked Assistant Manager, Debbie Cisneros for permission to take the photograph of the wig rainbow parade

Mas Hair is located at 4850 Vineland Avenue in North Hollywood.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


2009 - The Year of Valley History
Light Standard at the entrance of the US Post Office in North Hollywood. Enhanced to emphasize the standard's design, this light pole photo features traditional lion's feet legs and acanthus leaves sacred to both the Greeks and Romans. Excavations of near Mount Vesuvius at the time of the American Revolution popularized all things Roman, including the idea of a Republic and classical Roman designs. Those designs continue to be part of American architecture to this day.

2009 has been a year of important successes for your Museum. Among the most important are the Musuem's Walking Tours being developed by Richard Hilton. Anyone who has had the opportunity to see Richard in action, leading one of the historic North Hollywood walking tours, can readily see the amount of time and effort he has contributed.
Richard has several goals for 2010, including: a new and exciting walking tour of historic Van Nuys, and the development of docents to increase the number of available tours. We'll be hearing from Richard Hilton also as The Museum's chairman for Conservation Matters.

Thanks Richard so very much for all that you have done to build The Museum.

If you are interested in becoming a walking tour docent for The Museum of the San Fernando Valley, give us a call at:
1 (818) 347-9665


2009 - The Year of Valley History
Richard Hilton (facing group at right) greets his "walkers" in historic North Hollywood
The 2nd Annual "Walk It Off" historic walking tour of North Hollywood was a big success today. With 26 folks joining us, Richard Hilton has proven that the San Fernando Valley is increasingly ready to support the adventure of historical discovery. Thanks to everyone who came out on a crisp morning to see the mountains and North Hollywood doing their best to show off.
And, that extra piece of pumpkin pie just disappeared!

Friday, November 27, 2009


Bet you, like me, have driven by the Big Barrel building on Vineland in North Hollywood for years. The Idle Hour Cafe, as the barrel was once called, is a major San Fernando Valley treasure, and an architectural landmark in Southern California. Thank goodness the Los Angeles Conservancy has taken a strong interest in the preservation, and possibly, restoration of the historic structure.
Your Museum Community , though stretched thin in our efforts to secure office and exhibition spaces, fully recognizes the importance of the immediate need for conservation of buildings like the Idle Hour Cafe. Sooooooooo, here's a call for volunteers to support the efforts of The Museum's newly forming Idle Hour Cafe Committee.

Interested? Call your Museum today. 1 (818) 347-9665. If you leave a message, tell us or spell for us, your name and leave your telephone number.

Looking forward to seeing you on tomorrow;s historic walking tour of the NoHo. We meet at 10 am at the Amelia Earhart statue in North Hollywood park - Magnolia and Tujunga.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


If we could give a special award for vision and personal courage, it would be to Melissa and Casey Hallenbeck for their determination to save and resurrect California's oldest historic diner in North Hollywood. Here Casey and Melissa are shown at a November 24th reception by the USC Credit Union honoring their plans.
To add some fun to the occasion, Gary Fredburg, Secretary of the Museum's Board of Directors, secured this vintage recording by Phil Everly called "Phil's Diner." The original Phil's Diner is seen in the background of the album cover. After finding the album, Gary had it autographed for Casey and Melissa by Phil Everly. The Grand Opening of Phil's Diner is scheduled for April 10th.

Note: Folks who join us this Saturday at 10 am at the Amelia Earhart statue in North Hollywood Park, we get to see where Phil's Diner will come to life in April.

A great Museum of history and culture is growing in the San Fernando Valley.


2009 - The Year of Valley History
Wooden Steamship frieze - US Post Office San Fernando California - Photo by Gerald Fecht for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley

When I was studying the handsome wooden friezes in the United States Post Office in San Fernando, the image that I thought was most symbolic of Michael Stevens was this panel of a ocean liner going "full steam ahead." Perfectly suited for his role as Vice President for Museum Development, Michael propels his Museum constantly forward. His high standards and demand for the Museum's progress are inspiring. Our December meeting of the Museum's Boards of Directors and Advisors, for example, will focus entirely on ways of raising money for our many projects while having fun in the process.
This is the perfect time of the year to offer our sincere thanks to Michael Stevens for his service to the Museum and to future generations living in the San Fernando Valley.

Join Michael Stevens and the increasing numbers of dedicated members of the Museum Community, by calling 1 (818) 347-9665.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


United States Eagle Relief Carving - US Post Office San Fernando California - Photo by Gerald Fecht for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley.

Always ready to lend a hand or good advice, Richard Bogy of Toluca Lake is pillar of the Museum Community. Working to preserve the Weddington House, protecting the Valley's most precious treasure - Campo de Cahuenga, boosting a fire station, working for the YMCA, or organizing a bus tour of historic Toluca Lake ---- Richard Bogy is the man of the hour.
Thanks Richard for all that you have done to bring about a great Museum of history and culture for our Valley.


2009 The Year of Valley History

Cornucopia Thanksgiving Ornament - Collection of Janne and Jerry Fecht

It is said that the Goddess Fortuna, who has a very fine temple ruin in the Roman Forum, is the protector of women, inspiration of writers, and embodiment of generosity. Lady Fortuna (luck be a lady tonight) enters the San Fernando Valley through her symbol, the abundant Cornucopia. This very ancient symbol stems from the horn of the she goat who gave protection the Father of the Gods, Zeus (Jupiter).
Considering good Fortune, how lucky The Museum of the San Fernando Valley is to have the brilliant support and leadership of Phyllis Hansen. Her bright ideas and inspirational followthrough has been a god-send. Thanks Phyllis, we are grateful.

If you would like to support your Museum, or offer artifacts for our Library or Archives, contact The Museum of the San Fernando Valley at 1 (818) 347-9665

Monday, November 23, 2009


2009 - The Year of Valley History
Carved Steam Engine Relief - US Post Office - San Fernando California - Photo by Gerald Fecht for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley

The entire San Fernando Valley, and places far beyond, owe Diane and Guy Weddington McCreary a large vote of thanks for their never-tiring efforts to save the historical treasures of our community. Their work to save the historic Lankershim Train Station from disappearing into a bureaucratic radar screen means that future generations may yet get to know the vital role railroads have played in our history. Secondly, the preservation and moving of the priceless Weddington House to a safe place in North Hollywood, will be directly a result of their efforts.
So, when we are thinking of our Valley, and those to we owe thanks, let's make sure to include the McCrearys. The Museum's 2nd Annual "Walk It Off" walking tour of historic North Hollywood will begin the Saturday after Thanksgiving at the Amerlia Earhart statue in North Hollywood Park - erected and preserved, in large measure, because of Guy Weddington McCreary and Diane McCreary.
For all that you have done and are doing, our Museum Community is grateful.


2009 The Year of Valley History
Child's Dream of a Home in the San Fernando Valley - Sun Valley Youth Arts Center.

My mom used to say when I felt low for some reason, "Just count your lucky stars!" My first piece of luck was growing up in the San Fernando Valley, surrounded by some of the most creative people in the world. The second is "how very lucky we all all to have the support and hard work of Rania Pallad, The Museum's Treasurer and Chair of our Ways and Means Committee. You will be amazed at all of the adventures that she has in store for 2010.
Rania would like to remind us all that it's the perfect time to make that all-important income tax deduction donation to The Museum.
The Museum of the San Fernando Valley
21031 Ventura Boulevard Suite 419
Woodland Hills, CA 91364

See great children's art in the North East Valley soon:
Sun Valley Youth Arts Center
8642 Sunland Boulevard
Sun Valley CA 91352
telephone: 1 (818) 252-4619

Sunday, November 22, 2009


2009 The Year of Valley History
Statue of Cesar Chavez - Memorial in San Fernando - Photo by Gerald Fecht for The Museum of the San Fernando Valley - November 2009
Sculpture of the Flag of the United Farm Workers - Photo by Gerald Fecht for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley - Nov. 2009
American Civil Rights Leader Cesar Chavez - Mural in San Fernando California
The San Fernando Valley’s oldest city, San Fernando, was the first city in the United States to erect a memorial to the great civil rights leader Cesar E. Chavez. Located at the corner of Wolfskill and Truman Streets, the memorial was designed by San Fernando Valley artist Ignacio Gomez.

César Estrada Chavez was born on March 31st, 1927. He died on April 23, 1993. From a common farm worker, Chavez rose to found, with Dolores Hueta, what would become the United Farm Workers Union. He achievements form one of the greatest civil rights victories of the 20th century.


2009 - The Year of Valley History

This poster is the kind of thing I would have stolen when I was a college boy. Now, I'll just have to contact the company and ask a pr person for a copy (not as much fun.)
A Museum, such as ours, that pays close attention to the past needs also to observe and collection artifacts that speak of the "spirit of the times." This Burger King poster, that makes fun and hitchhikes on the image of California's governor, is precisely the kind of thing that we should be observing and collecting for future generations.
Who says that being a part of The Museum Community isn't fun!

Interested in Popular Culture. Become part of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley today. Call 1 (818) 347-9665 and ask how you can get involved.

Friday, November 20, 2009


2009 - The Year of Valley History
Thanksgiving Ornament - Photo by Gerald Fecht for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley.
Human beings have celebrated "thanksgiving" festivals at harvest time as long as recorded history. The Pilgrims may very well have celebrated a day of Thanksgiving utilizing indigenous American foods. Only a minority of early European colonists practiced a formal religion or attended denominational services, so the religious aspect for the feast for most would likely to have been limited.
President Lincoln issued the first Federal proclamation of Thanksgiving at the onset of the Civil War on November 28th, 1861. At a time of even greater suffering Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official American day in 1863.

The Museum Community wishes all of us a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving. AND DON'T FORGET - The 2nd Annual "Walk It Off" walking tour of historic North Hollywood follows on Saturday at 10 am! So, have that extra piece of pie and join us.
The Museum of the San Fernando Valley 1 (818) 347-9665

Thursday, November 19, 2009


2009 The Year of Valley History
New Release - Yearbook of Our Lady of Corvallis High School in Studio City 1982 - Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Bronwyn Ralph Nov. 2009

The effort to discover and preserve the history of Our Lady of Corvallis High School has begun. Acting as the Chair of the project is the San Fernando Valley author Bronwyn Ralph. If you have yearbooks or other memorabilia from Corvallis to donate, contact Bronwyn through The Museum at 1 (818) 347-9665.


2009 - The Year of Valley History
Wooden frieze at the US Post Office, San Fernando. Stage coach in the San Fernando Valley - Photo by Gerald Fecht Nov. 2009 for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley.

At the onset of the American Civil War, stage coaches serviced travelers in and through the San Fernando Valley. From 1861 to 1874, the Butterfield Stage Line traversed the Valley. One of the major stage stops was at Lopez Station in the North Valley. It was a way station connecting to service in and out of Los Angeles.
Stagecoaches also served customers along what is now Ventura Boulevard. The route was roughly along what is now Riverside Drive from Los Angeles across the Los Angeles River at Campo de Cahuenga and along El Camino Real to Ventura County.

Do you part to preserve the history of the San Fernando Valley. Call 1-(818) 347-9665

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

CHARMING - A Book Review by Fred Berk for The Museum of the San Fernando Valley

Museum of the San Fernando Valley Book Review

CHARMING: Jewelry with a Message
By Phyllis Hansen
Brighton Collectibles, 2009

The Museum of the San Fernando Valley is proud to have as a talented member of its Board of Directors the author a dazzling new book on charms. Phyllis Hansen, the writer of the work, explains that the history of charms goes back to ancient and medieval times, but this book concentrates mostly on the past century. If all the colorful and unusual charms pictured here were assembled in one museum exhibit, they would bring in the crowds for a long time. But you may just want to imagine they are all displayed for real before your own eyes, as you look back and forth through this gift-type book.

Fred A. Berk, Librarian

Note: The art direction for Charming was done by Laguna Beach designer Lori McFadden. She is also the designer of the logos of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley.


Ventura County artist, David Schwartz was commissioned to do this year's poster for the Honor a Hero, Hire a Vet! exposition, sponsored by the Valley Economic Alliance.
Here Schwartz stands before one of his recent paintings from his American Icon series.


Close up of the Lady - Pacoima mural at Haley and Rincon Streets - Photo by Gerald Fecht for The Museum of the San Fernando Valley - November 2009
The Mural with backgrounds removed.
Because I am fascinated by creative expressions of art and spirituality in public places,graffiti holds a special interest for me. The Museum's Board member, Elizabeth Morin is quick to remind us that there is a big difference between the vandalism of tagging and graffiti art.
In Pacoima, near the corners of Haley Street and Rincon Avenue, I encountered this alley mural. I always feel that something mysterious makes me make the wrong turn and see something like this.
So that you might share the impact of this artistic expression, I have presented the mural as it stands in the alley, as well as focusing on the face of the Virgin and just the mural panel. I took the liberty of calling her Our Lady of the Corner, Nuestra Señora del Rincon.

A great Museum of history and culture is emerging in the San Fernando Valley, in the heart of the Creative Capital of the World.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


2009 - The Year of Valley History

Mexican Vaquero - San Fernando Post Office - Photo for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley by Gerald Fecht November 2009

Today, as I did one of my walks in the San Fernando Valley, I decided to stroll through the San Fernando mall. I have never seen so many wedding stores in an area outside of Broadway, downtown Los Angeles. It was one of those quiet, warm afternoons when the hills seemed miles closer and traffic had better places to go.
I never pass up a U.S. Post Office on my walks, just in case President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's WPA legacy might be seen there. In San Fernando I was not to be disappointed.
Make sure that you included this post office on any visit to the oldest city in the Valley. The hand-carved wooden panels surrounding the post-master's office are truly beautiful.
Since The Museum of the San Fernando Valley has a special interest in our Latino heritage, this panel of a vaquero working on one of the Spanish ranches is a real treasure.


2009 - The Year of Valley History
Icon Statue of Saint Ferdinand King of Spain, Saint Ferdinand's Catholic church - City of San Fernando. Photo by Gerald Fecht for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley - Nov. 2009

Ferdinand II was the first king of united Spain.
Born on the 10th or March 1452, King Ferdinand was originally the king of Aragon. He married Isabella the Queen of Castile. (The crest of the kingdom of Spain has the castle of Castile and the red lion of Aragon) Together the “royal” couple formed the new kingdom of Spain and bankrolled the explorer Christopher Columbus.
Ferdinand and Isabella used a common language, religion and sense of destiny to unify their Catholic kingdom. The result was the expulsion of Jews, Moslems and non-Catholic Christians from Spain, and the eventual arrival of the Inquisition.
For his religious fervor, Fernando was canonized a saint. It is San Fernando Rey de España for whom our Valley is named.
Saint Ferdinand died on 23 June 1516
Rose Window at St. Ferdinand's Catholic church on McClay Street in San Fernando, California.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Andy Hurvitz - writer - blog master - photographer

In our Valley, famous for its creative population, Andy Hurvitz is without question, a rising star. A visit to any one of his three blogs reveals quickly the intensity of his artistic genius.
Check out one of the best blogs yet to be done on the San Fernando Valley:
Here in Van Nuys

Before becoming part of the San Fernando Valley’s art community, Andy attended Boston University where he earned a degree in English. His rich experiences living in New York City and New Jersey, and his relocation to Van Nuys, offer a great basis for his short stories. Read one of them at:

Best of all, Andy Hurvitz is a brilliant photographer. He’s on his way to becoming a major Valley treasure.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


2009 The Year of Valley History
White Pumpkins By The Wagon Load - Tapia Brothers Farm Encino - Photo for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley by Gerald Fecht Nov. 2009

The Museum Board of Directors and Board of Advisors meets on the 3rd Wednesday evening of each month.
Board Room - 2nd floor
Valley Economic Alliance
5121 Van Nuys Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403-1497

November 18th
informal meeting 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm
regular monthly meeting 6:30 pm until 8 pm

call 1 (818) 347-9665 to be included on the agenda.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


2009 The Year of Valley History

Coming to the Valley for the Richard Glazer Danay reception, from his home in Grover Beach, was the Pierce College alumnus John Bogdanoff. John celebrated his Valley visit with one of his favorite Valley traditions -a Cupid's Hot Dog!

Bill Spivey sends this note:
"Do you remember "The Hot Dog Show" across from "Bobs Big Boy" in Toluca Lake?
30 dogs to choose, ranged from $ 00.25 to $ 00.35."


2009 The Year of Valley History

Richard Glazer Danay - Artist - Reception at Pierce College November 2009
"Valley Hard Hat" Sculpture by Richard Glazer Danay - gift from the artist to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley, November 10, 2009
Valley Girl Car Hop - Detail from Valley Hard Hat sculpture by Richard Glazer Danay
Memories of a Valley Boy - Detail from Valley Hard Hat sculpture by Richard Glazer Danay


2009 The Year of Valley History

Ric Glazer Danay came to the San Fernando Valley as a high school boy, at a time when "Valley Car Culture" at a zenith. After serving in the military, he began studies at LA Pierce College, where he committed to a career in fine art. These details from his Valley Hard Hat sculpture, reflect memories of Reseda High School and his time in the Phi Delta Psi Fraternity at Pierce.
Souped up cars, rolled up Levis, girls and rock and roll - The San Fernando Valley.
A culture based on hot cars brought about drive in theaters, drive in restaurants and even drive in churches. Bob's Big Boy with its car hops and walk up fast food places like McDonalds and Cupid's Hot Dogs were part of the Valley world in which Ric Glazer Danay entered adulthood.
KFWB - Boss Jock Ted Quillen - and, Who Wrote the Book of Love - Where is Vietnam anyway?

Your support of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley, supports the history of rock and roll and Valley car culture.
1 (818) 347-9665 Get involved.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


2009 - The Year of Valley History
Los Angeles Transit Lines May 1948 - Inner City Pass - Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Gary Fredburg 2009. (click on image to enlarge) San Fernando Valley Art Club Exhibit.

Special thanks to the Pierce College Foundation Director, Dennis Washburn and his great staff for making the Richard Glazer Danay reception tonight such a great success. Stay tuned, more about the reception to come.

Your Museum Community is working to bring about a great Museum of history and culture for the San Fernando Valley.


2009 - The Year of Valley History
Tapia Brothers in Encino - Harvest Pumpkins - 2009 - Photo by Gerald Fecht for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley.

DON'T FORGET The Big Reception for Richard Danay Glazer tonight at Pierce College. 5:30 reception at Great Hall 6:30 presentations.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


As you may know the history of Corvallis High School is beginning to rapidly disappear. For this reason, The Museum of the San Fernando Valley has appointed the author, Ms. Bronwyn Ralph to chair a volunteer committee to help us secure and preserve Corvallis History.
Your Museum is in hope that you might still have some connections with former Corvallis “girls” and inform them of The Museum’s efforts. We hope to be able to present the findings of the Corvallis Committee at a reunion of the school’s alumnae next summer.
We need names, email or postal addresses and possibly telephone numbers. Or, they can contact Ms. Ralph through The Museum. Thanks for your help. Jerry

Gerald R. Fecht, President 1 (818) 347-9665
The Museum of the San Fernando Valley
21031 Ventura Blvd., Suite 419 Woodland Hills, CA 91364

Halloween is exhausting for black cats, like Louie-Louie (his name is sung). Share your holiday photographs past and present with the Museum Community.

U-Tube Video of San Fernando Valley in 70's and 80's

2009 - The Year of Valley History

Alan Simon wants the Museum Community to know about this enjoyable u-tube video about the Valley.

San Fernando Valley Tribute "Time After Time" The 70's 80's and More:

Ornament from Tarzana Thanksgiving Tree - Photo by Jerry Fecht for the archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley 2009

If you encounter websites or blogs on the Internet related to the San Fernando Valley, give your Museum a head's up. We'll be happy to share the adventure. Jerry Your Museum's telephone is 1 (818) 347-9665


2009 The Year of Valley History

A reminder that the final LA Heritage Alliance meeting for 2009 on Saturday, November 7 at the Pico House at El Pueblo (at the southern end of Olvera Street and the plaza) in Downtown LA. The meeting will begin at 10am and will be completed by 12noon so you can enjoy a lunch or a tour on your own at Olvera Street. (A special thanks goes to El Pueblo and the City of Los Angeles for hosting the meeting.)
The topics to be included: an update on the online calendar and LA Heritage Day 2010, a discussion and creation of an action plan addressing the structure of the LA Heritage Alliance, county wide preservation alerts, and we'll have a short workshop on effective outreach techniques.
The Museum of the San Fernando Valley's representatives at this event will be Matthew Gerred and Gary Fredburg - make sure to introduce yourself to them.
The Goddess Ceres - Collection of Janne and Jery Fecht - Tarzana.

Harvest festivals and Thanksgiving feasts have been part of human life throughout recorded history, and probably beyond. This hand woven object is viewed by most owners as just a fall decoration. It is in actuality the Goddess Ceres herself. Made from the last wheat taken at the harvest, this mother goddess insures her devotees of her return as Persophone in the Spring. Our ancestors knew that every season in life prepares us for the next.


2009 The Year of Valley History

Physical Therapist Sepi Aeen celebrates the Fall - Photograph for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley by Gerald Fecht

The owner of "From the Heart Physical Therapy" in Reseda, California is the important young therapist, Sepi Aeen. Working under the motto of "A Life Enhancing Journey", she and her staff celebrate stronger and healthier lives for San Fernando Valley patients.
To whom does The Museum of the San Fernando Valley belong? To Sepi Aeen and her staff, of course.

Sepi Aeen, MPT
19231 Victory Boulevard
Suite 550
Reseda, CA 91335
telephone: 1 (818) 609-9035

What better place for a great Museum of history and culture than the San Fernando Valley, in the heart of the Creative Capital of the world.


2009 The Year of Valley History
View from Window - by Phyllis Hansen Nov. 2009

The Museum Board of Directors and Board of Advisors
meets on the 3rd Wednesday evening of each month.
Board Room - 2nd floor
Valley Economic Alliance
5121 Van Nuys Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403-1497

November 18th
informal meeting 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm
regular monthly meeting 6:30 pm until 8 pm

call 1 (818) 347-9665 to be included on the agenda.

Share the Vision - a great Museum of history and culture in the heart of the Creative Capital of the World.
Support The Museum of the San Fernando Valley.

Monday, November 2, 2009


2009 The Year of Valley History
Sketch of Iwo Jim - by James Fecht - Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley

Editor’s note:
Among the effects of James Fecht was a hand written manuscript about his return from World War II and the events surrounding his eventual business partnership with Joe Hosler. It gives not only insights into the lives of two long term associates but also life in the San Fernando Valley in 1945. In large measure it was the influx of veterans and the resulting “baby boom” that changed the Valley many disjointed Los Angeles suburbs and a few independent cities, into one of the greatest urban populations in America.

Memories of Joe Hostler by James L. Fecht Part One
“My first meeting with Joe Hosler was in October of 1942, while I was stationed at Camp Pendleton in the Marines.
I was invited to spend the weekend with the Glen Barnes’ family in North Hollywood. During the World War II years, it was customary for families to invite young servicemen into their homes to keep up their morale and to entertain them on weekends.
This particular family (the Barnes) were neighbors to the Hosler family, two doors down the street, and their teenage son of the Hosler’s, named Joe.
On the first visit of mine to the Barnes’ home, I was treated royally, best meals, so unlike service chow. The Barnes’ daughter Joye, paid the way of this poorly paid serviceman, as we took in the latest movies and malt shops along Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood.
We usually walked everywhere, with the gas rationing limiting how much driving one could do. So this one afternoon after a movie matinee, we strolled down Chandler Street to visit a machine shop that her father Glenn Barnes owned and ran.
Joye’s father greeted us and started showing us around the machine shop. I was amazed to see about as many women as men working at the lathes, mills, grinders and drill presses, but then I realized all the younger men were off to war, and the ladies were pitching in to help make the aircraft parts that they were turning out there.
Joye led me over to where a young seventeen year old boy was turning out precision parts on a turret lathe. When she introduced me to the operator, young Joe, she seemed extraordinarily anxious for us to become friends, but I think Joe and I just took it as a casual meeting that October 1942.
In January of 1943, Joe and I met once again, this time on my visit to the Barnes’ home. Joye had invited a classmate from Corvallis Girls’ School, and Joe to go along with us on a double date down in Hollywood. The four of us rode the Red Car down through the Cahuenga Pass, long before there were any freeways. I thought the clanking of the street car added a romantic element.
Evidently Joe and his date thought so too, as they seemed awfully lovee-dovee to me throughout the trip, as well as during dinner at the Brown Derby, then later at the show at the Palladium.
That was the last time I saw Joe for almost three years. My years were spent in the South Pacific while Joe’s time was spent more up in the Central and Western Pacific. I would hear about his adventures from time to time through letters from Joye but we never got close enough out there for a visit."

Editor’s note: While Jim was in the South Pacific in the Marine Corps, the high school girls he had fallen in love with, contracted spinal meningitis. She was taken from the Valley to the contagion ward of County Hospital where she was exposed to polio and came down with that disease by the end of the week. High fevers caused her to lose most of her hearing and left other life-long effects. Because of the extensive time that she was out of school, she was denied permission to graduate with her class at Corvallis High School.

"The climax of Joe’s and my service activities happened about the same time. Mine was with the Marine’s campaign on Iwo Jima Island where some of my buddies didn’t make it, but where we annihilated the Japanese defenders, so close to their homeland that it led them to go to extreme means to defend themselves. That’s when the Japanese accelerated the use of their fanatical Kamikaze pilots. Joe’s ship was the unlucky target of one of these dive-bombers but Joe was lucky to come out of that terrible conflagration alive. A lot of his buddies didn’t make it either.
We were both sent back to the States for a rest from our outfits about the same time and this is when we met again in June of 1945. I was in a great rush to marry Joye Barnes on my thirty day leave. I proposed. She accepted, her parents approved, and all preparations were made for our wedding at Saint Charles Church in North Hollywood. All preparations were complete except one; I didn’t have a best man. I didn’t know anyone in the San Fernando Valley, but who should drop by the Barnes’ residence on his leave, but the neighbor boy Joe Hosler. You can bet on the rest of the outcome.
Joe didn’t have much choice but to say yes, after all the neighbors on Landale Street and all the young girl classmates of Joye’s at Corvallis Girl’s school all banded together to get Joe to participate in the wedding. It didn’t take much coaxing when Joe found out that Joye’s maid of honor was another one of his old lovee-dovees that he had dated while he was in high school.
With the war still going strong, Joe and I were sent to different stations until the was finally over and we were able to go home. Joye and I moved in with the Barnes, and like all young couples melted into peacetime living. I started working at Universal (Studios) as an apprentice electrician and Joe started working with an engineering firm in Hollywood.
Joe had known Bernadette for a while and when he proposed she accepted. He started remodeling the guest house behind his parents’ home for them to live in. Joe’s brothers Robert and Jimmy provided some help and lots of advice. Bernadette’s brothers Larry and Tim helped with the plumbing and I gave his some tips on his wiring. After their wedding they had an almost like new guest house to live in.
The young married couple also would throw the best parties around. Just inviting the members of the old Landale Street work-up baseball team and their new married mates would fill up the guest house and spill out into the backyard of the elder Hostler’s home. There would often be at the parties, the Louis Briels, Eddie and Bobby Lonnegan, Bob and Don Edwards, George Smith, the Dick Noeltners, Ruthie Williams, the Bob Parkinsons, and Joye and myself.
At one of these parties, Joe informed everyone at his party except me that he was going to play a trick on me and for everyone to go along with the gag. He had rigged up a microphone to the radio in the house and ran the mike cable outside where he couldn’t be seen. Bernadette had about three card tables of poker going on in the house with nice quiet music on the radio.
All of the sudden an excited voice came on the radio saying, “We interrupt this broadcast to bring you an important announcement, the United States has just gone to war and all ex-Marines are to report back to Camp Pendleton.” He kept repeating the announcement and I kept trying to get everyone to quiet down so that I could hear all about it, but no one would pay any attention. I really thought it was real, as Joe had disguised his voice very effectively, and I was in a real panic trying to get everyone at the party
to quiet down and listen to the broadcast. When I finally couldn’t get anyone to listen, I pulled my wife away from the ladies’ poker table and told her it was urgent that we go home right away. It was just as we were heading out the door that Joe and his electronic cohort Louis Briel came in laughing through the door. They didn’t realize how worked up I had become and it took quite a little while to calm me down, while everyone at the party stood around laughing at me. "

Editor’s note: For many years James Fecht experienced physical and psychological problems related to his service in the South Pacific. He recovered well from burns that he had experienced under “friendly fire” but it took him years to recover from his exposure to malaria. When he first returned from the war, he took cover when there were loud or unexpected noises, especially when he was sleeping.
Marines who had served on Iwo Jima were prepared for the invasion of the Japanese homeland, and expected massive losses. Hospitals in the San Fernando Valley, such as Olive View in Sylmar and Birmingham Hospital (now Birmingham High School) were preparing for an in
flux of thousands of casualties. Servicemen and women were taught that the treacherous Japanese leaders, who had attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor, were capable of anything. A false surrender and resuming of the war was not implausible.

"All the young married couples started having babies as the same time. It was called the post war baby boom, and it was right. Joye and I had Susan and Joe and Bernadette had Nadette, and each married couple followed right in line. This started putting crimps in our party going and a lot of the old gang started drifting off to jobs and homes in far away places."

Seattle Nightspot "Coon Chicken Inn"
American soldiers on leave from Fort Lewis - July 20, 1945 Collection of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley
Souvenir Photograph from Club Cotton, 8500 Bothell Way, left Jim and Joye Fecht, Earl McCrackin and unknown woman Montana, Holmes and unknown woman - North Dakota.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Hummingbirds - Photographs by Mary Olson Friedman October 31, 2009

Grasshopper - Photograph by Mary Olson Friedman October 31, 2009

We couldn't have asked for better weather for Halloween. The festival of ghosts and goblins was great in the San Fernando Valley, and the day would have been perfect if the Trojans hadn't lost the big game somewhere north of us.

Share your photographs of the greater San Fernando Valley and Southern California.