1944

As a snapshot in history, yearbooks are a great way to see what was happening on campus in any particular year. Over the next few months I’ll choose a yearbook from each decade of San Dieguito’s history and share a few of the highlights, photos, and memories, doing my imperfect best to remind our 21st century audience what life at San Dieguito was like in years gone by.

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“Whatever our sins -and they have been many- we are a happy class.” Those words from the San Dieguito seniors of 1944 had me wanting to know more.

The class or ‘44 didn’t look like a rough bunch. Smiling faces from the yearbook show students dancing, listening to shortwave radios, and playing football in leather helmets. Students look out from the pages of The Hoofprint from atop a tractor, beneath the wishing well of the “Sophomore Hatchet Hop,” and checking out at the student store.

photo 3 (1)The captions to the photographs show wit and good humor. Beneath the “Victory Corps” club comes an explanation of the year’s activities: “Drives and more drives-scrap drive, paper drive, bond drive-and all for victory!” The group raised funds to by a PT 19 B training plane.

As would be expected, World War II loomed large over San Dieguito in 1944, nine graduates enlisting that year. One of the names is now inscribed on the war memorial in front of campus.

Perhaps because of this overshadowing reality, participation in athletics boomed in 1944, with record numbers joining the softball, baseball, and field hockey teams. Sports have always provided some respite from the worries of the world, and this is apparent in the yearbook. “Coach Lambert started the basketball season with long, hard sessions of running, running, and running” said one caption, and (in one of my favorite lines from any yearbook anywhere) “Don’t forget Ida Lou and the other baffled guards who were always trying to keep up with Pokey and Doris.”

photo 3A photo of the front court shows youthful palm trees and a view that San Dieguito students still enjoy. Campus was less than ten years old in 1944, and fills the background of many pictures, a backdrop that looks strikingly familiar to students today.

Toward the end of the yearbook is a calendar of highlights: October’s “Hay Seed Hop,”  January’s senior trip to sled in Julian, and the Spanish Club’s Pan American Day in April. A magician visited in February, a “Bond Rally” supported the war effort in January, and in May a “Senior-Alumni Banquet” showed that even in its first decade, San Dieguito honored its graduates.

photo 4A barn dance, a Girl’s League fashion show, and Armistice Day bonfire brightened San Dieguito in 1944, and those are just the events that made the calendar; one can only imagine the other “sins” our seniors mentioned earlier in the yearbook, and what a good time they had at them all.

Graduates in 1944 filled out a “Senior Frame” that listed, among other things, their nicknames, pet peeves, and ambitions.

Norma D. wanted to be a Navy Nurse.

Shorty wanted “to be another Sinatra.”

And Fritz hoped to get past his dislike of trombones and someday “rule the world.”

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I’ve never met “Mousie,” “Swambo,” or “Willy Lump-Lump,” but in a small way I feel they’re kindred spirits to the students who attend San Dieguito today and all those hundreds of kids (now adults) who have passed through these breezeways, Mustangs all.

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