This is first in a series of stories of Paso’s past from local storytellers willing to share their remembrances in honor of the 125th Anniversary. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent.
A lot of things have changed in the Paso Robles area in the past 125 years. One living now would not imagine in their wildest dreams what it was like then. The term “good old days” definitely applies to these stories.
by Harold Franklin
Robert “Bud” Toevs was in FFA at Paso Robles High School in 1945. He used the Agriculture Allis Chalmers wheel tractor that was hand cranked to plant hay on the open areas where Spring Street Rabobank now stands. On the back of the lot on a low hill was a tall two story house build and previously lived in by James Blackburn. Now it was empty and there were several acres of ground between Spring Street, Highway 101, and the house. The city would get gravel from the bank of the hill alongside Spring Street. Bud also raised hay along Vine Street and 9th Street by his parent’s house on empty lots for his FFA project. The school had a mower and rake. Bud shocked the hay and then hauled it out to Alfred Heer’s farm in Pleasant Valley to feed a bull and heifer Bud was raising for his FFA project.
The agriculture teacher was Mr. Clive Remund. Bud’s FFA friend, Bill Echols, lived out in Estrella past the one-room Pleasant Valley School. Bill’s FFA project was raising several Spotted Poland China pigs. Bill collected the infertile turkey eggs from Black’s Hatchery just North of the present Adelaide Inn on 24th and 101 and fed the pigs the eggs. You never saw such nice slick hogs.
One time Mr. Remund took the Ag students on a field trip out to Echol’s farm in 1945. Mr. Remund was the bus driver. He stopped the bus in a dip in the road and told the boys to climb through the fence and get some summer fallow watermelon growing in the field! The farmer wouldn’t miss some sweet melons. Mr. Remund would rub a student’s head with his knuckles if they needed some reminder to act respectfully (nowadays, we call those “noogies”). FFA were all boys until the 1960’s when girls were also included in FFA.
Paso Robles High School in 1892
Bill Osman was the driver for the Whitley Gardens route. He was the 7th grade science teacher for many years. About 1950 our bus stopped suddenly on Spring Street which was Highway 101 then. Bill was behind us in old Bus #4 and he stood on the air brake pedal to avoid hitting us. But he finally stopped as he bumped our bus. No real damage was done but the kids all had a story to tell about the incident.
In 1959 Harold Franklin drove the Oak Flat bus while teaching fifth grade at Georgia Brown School, Bus #9. In the mornings he also picked up the 12th and Pacific Drive kids. It was hectic to get to class on time each morning. His Principal, Bob Butler, would cover for him if he was late, which was not very often. By 1963, the busses were driven by professional drivers.
Leland Sonne was the bus driver for the Creston area kids 1949-1951. He drove bus his Junior and Senior years, parking the bus overnight at his house in Creston. Students were good drivers and had no discipline problems. If someone on the bus was a problem, he would stop and tell the kid to walk, regardless of age.
In 1933 to 1935, Wesley Franklin was a Senior at Paso Robles High School as well as taking a fifth year of advanced schooling. He lived alongside the Estrella River at the Wayne Hillman house owned by Andrew Iverson. He drove a Model A school bus. The kids would all try to sit in the back of the bus and it would raise the front wheels off the road.
About the Author:
I am Harold Franklin. I was born at home on Creston Road, June 12, 1937, the first 2nd generation baby of Dr. Wilmer who delivered my mother, Hilda Claassen, on May 18, 1915. I am the oldest of 6 children of farmer and rancher Harold and Hilda Franklin. I rode the bus 5 miles into Paso Robles where I attended grades 1-12. I attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara 1955 to 1959 and obtained my California Elementary Teaching Credential. Mr. Speck hired me to teach fifth grade at Georgia Brown School where I taught from 1959 to 1976. In the summertimes I harvested barley until 1998. I taught fifth and sixth grade at the then Pifer School, now Lewis Middle School, my 7th Grade teacher. In 1978 and 1979 I moved with my family to Huehuetenango, Guatemala, where I taught 6th Grade in English at the Huehue Boarding School. I then moved to the new Flamson Middle School in 1981 where I taught 6th and 8th Grade science for eighteen years. I retired in 1997. I work at the Pioneer Museum as well as my church.
I attended the Willow Creek Mennonite Church from my birth until first grade in 1943 when the activity of WW II in the area hindered our travel. I then attended First Baptist Church until 1956 when we started Grace Baptist Church on Creston Road. After teaching for one year and one month, I was drafted into the U.S. Army 25 October 1960 and served with Special Troops at Ft. Hood, Texas, in the Post Headquarters.
I returned to my fifth grade class in 1962 and on June 21, 1963, I married my wife, Karen Bergman, from Tulare, CA, a nurse. I have three children, Rebecca, Jonathan, and Sharon, 7 grandchildren and 4 great grand children that live in the area except for Becky, who lives in Spokane, Washington. My grandson Taylor is presently in Fort Richardson, Alaska, in the U. S. Army.