Vol. II, No. 17, August 2016
A busy weekend in Channel Islands Harbor
History at the Museum
Penny Wolcott and Joanna Bard Newton share a moment Photo BMK
Georgia Newton Pulos presented a history of the Bard family in Port Hueneme as part of the Port Hueneme Historical Society Distinguished Speaker Series. More than a speech, the presentation provided an opportunity for many of the founding figures of the Port City to renew connections.
Georgia’s mother Joanna is the daughter of Richard and Joan (Boyd) Bard, the granddaughter of Sen. Thomas Bard. The Boyds began ranching in the Santa Inez Valley in 1885. Their ranch, Los Olivos, was on the site of what is now the village of the same name.
The Bards married in 1916 and set up housekeeping in “The Bungalow”, the house now known as Quarters A. Joanna was born in 1917 while her father was away serving as an Army officer in World War I.
In 1918, Victory was celebrated with a big parade in Oxnard and Richard got down to the business of running the Berylwood estate.
Berylwood at the time was a self-sufficient agricultural operation with both food and cash crops as well as dairy cows. It was in this pastoral setting that the Bard offspring spent their childhood under the strict supervision of a German nurse.
Joanna attended Hueneme Grammer School before departing for the Santa Barbara Girls’ School.
Excitement came to the local beach when the famous Rudolph Valentino came to town to film The Sheik. Joanna recalls heading out with her nurse to watch the filming and catch a glimpse of Hollywood glamour.
In 1925, Richard began his fourteen year quest to build the Port of Hueneme. He made so many trips to Washington, D.C. that the fledgling Pan American Airlines awarded him a commemorative plate. Finally, in 1939 his dream was realized with the groundbreaking for the new harbor.
Whatever plans Richard may have had were soon overwhelmed by the onset of World War II. Richard returned to service as one of the famous “Monuments Men” rescuing stolen artwork from the Nazis. He eventually served as the military governor of Kassel, Germany before returning home and winning election to the county Board of Supervisors.
Meanwhile, Berylwood became a military base. Quonset huts replaced vegetables in the garden and the sound of boots marching on the cobblestone walkways marked the end of its pastoral existence.
Joanna was never a fan of our famous local weather. “Dripping fog or howling east winds,” is how she recalls it. In 1951 Richard moved his family to the drier climes of Somis, leaving the old estate in the hands of the U.S. Navy. The Bards’ tenure in the city they had founded had come to an end.
Georgia Newton Pulos presents at the Museum as Joanna Bard Newton looks on
The Great Bank Robbery
Orvene Carpenter, long time Mayor and Councilmember, recalls the time the Bank of Hueneme fell victim to a plot that could only have been hatched in Hollywood.
It seems that during the darkest days of the Great Depression, a movie crew came to town looking for a perfect location to shoot a gangster film about a bank robbery. They just loved the interior of the old bank and deemed it a perfect setting for their cinematic caper.
For several days they set up filming in intricate detail scene after scene, many involving “stage money” as a prop for the robbery.
On their last day of shooting, it seems the property master had forgotten to bring the stage money. One can imagine the scene with the great Hollywood director berating his hapless employee for his stupid negligence. As this was only going to be a very short scene, would the bank be willing to help out and provide some real cash to substitute for the stage money? Such a favor would save a great deal of time and probably the prop master’s job as well.
Wanting to be a good sport and a part of Hollywood history as well, a bank employee obligingly provided a bundle of cash to provide an air of authenticity to the production.
This was all very exciting for the sleepy hamlet, and with the entire town watching, the director yelled, “Action!” Unfortunately, there was some problem or other marked by confusion and a display of temperament. In frustration the director called for a break. The actors and crew headed outside, got into their cars and drove off, never to be seen again.
Oh yes, the money went with them.
The “camera” proved to be nothing more than a wooden box as empty as the bank vault they left behind.
Wings Over Camarillo
Hellcat waiting for action
The Commemorative Air Force at the Camarillo Airport has a very special collection of aircraft, most in flying condition. A B-25, F6F, and SNJ are all part of the collection, but the crown jewel is a Supermarine Spitfire that was given a frame-up restoration in the local hanger.
All these aircraft and many others were on static display and in the air at the annual Wings Over Camarillo Airshow.
The Sheriff’s new chopper
History by the Minute
Beverly Merrill Kelley
Let’s face it, we’re all busy people. We’d love to learn more about our hometown but who has the time? This column will feature highlights that can be read in a minute or two. And rest assured, the information comes from the considerable resources of the Port Hueneme Historical Society. If your interest is piqued to learn more, visit the museum on Market Street or send your questions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ray D. Prueter, who passed away at the age of 87, would have cheered the resurrection of the Hueneme Pilot—first as a print weekly from 2008 to 2011 and then as an electronic newspaper in 2015—for restoring a sense of identity to Port Hueneme. He never got over the fact that during his first year in office, the original Port Hueneme Pilot (1951-63) unceremoniously closed its doors and Dama Hanks, the editor, would have to settle for writing the “Pilot Section” of the Oxnard Press-Courier as a special feature every Thursday.
Prueter was an individual who managed to get along with nearly everyone—a skill that would be sorely tested during “Annexation Wars” with Oxnard and the seemingly never-ending skirmishes over the Port.
What was his secret? According to two-time mayor Anthony Volante, “Ray, who was a mentor to me, did not consider himself a politician.”
Yet Prueter and his council were not always successful. Looking to annex the beach communities west of Channel Island Harbor, they ultimately lost battles with both Oxnard and the Navy, whom they hoped to persuade into permitting a public right of way through the base.
Prueter may have been a Rotarian, a 50-year member of the Port Hueneme Chamber of Commerce, and Port Hueneme’s first Citizen of the Year, but he, along with other local businessmen, wasn’t above garbing himself in glitzy women’s apparel for the infamous Harbor Days’ “Men’s Follies.” If you are interested, there are photos on file at the Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum. In addition, Prueter valued his lifetime Hueneme PTA membership, met regularly with the Channel Islands Navy League and served on the board of the Friends of the Thomas R. Bard Mansion.
I saw Sham 69 at the Whiskey (the Dead Kennedys opened) back in 1979. Right there on the Sunset Strip. Great set. I loved Sham 69. Loved that first album. OK, it was dumb. Way dumb. The Ramones looked like intellectuals compared to Sham 69. It wasn’t exactly poetry. It was oi. Oi! None of us Californians had ever even heard somebody say oi! before punk rock. Now snot nosed rich punks from Pacific Palisades would say oi! Oi? Yeah, oi! It was a very deep time.
The hippies had Dylan. The Beats had Ginsberg. And punks had oi. Well not all punks. Just the less coherent ones. Swilling beers and yelling oi! They don’t say it now, though. They grew up to be lawyers. But this was 1979, and they were all here at the Whiskey for Sham 69.
Though criminal as they tried desperately to look, none of them stole the microphone when Jimmy Pursey, the singer, stuck the mic in the audience for the sing along. A bit of English football camaraderie, that. If the Kids are United, we all chanted, they shall never be divided. Deep stuff. Rhymed even.
To this day when I hear that ferocious guitar riff I can’t help singing along, me, a very late middle aged jazz critic, singing if the kids are united, they can never be divided.
Sham 69 did White Riot in their encore, too, the Clash song. Jimmy Pursey stuck the microphone into the crowd again and the kids all sang I wanna riot, a riot of my own!
They repeated it. Repeated it again. And started to repeat it one more time when the microphone cut out. Jimmy pulled the microphoneless cord back from the crowd and shrugged. “They’ve stolen the microphone!” a stage hand yelled.
The band roared on, Jimmy grabbed another mic and finished the tune. The audience was mad with testosterone, swirling, bouncing, pushing and shoving. It was a moment of punk rock heaven. Meanwhile the stage was flooded by stage hands and sound men and bouncers peering into the boiling mass, looking for the culprit. “No one leaves till we get the microphone back!” someone announced over the PA.
Let me explain. I was in a punk rock band then — the drummer — and we had drums and guitars and amplifiers and even an avocado ranch to practice at. But we didn’t have a microphone. Our singer had to scream bloody murder to be heard above our proto hardcore din.
Suddenly right there in front of me was this beautiful, state of the art, zillion dollar microphone. Being a drummer, I didn’t make the connection between it and us, but my guitar player–who shall remain nameless, as he has three beautiful daughters and a grandchild–did. “Take the mic!” he yelled into my ear. “What?” “Take the mic! Steal the mic! We need a mic!”
So I stole it. It took a tug or two but it came off the cord. I stood there in the packed crowd, staring at it. “Hide it!” my guitar player yelled. “Hide the mic! Stick it in your pants!” So I did.
A small army of bouncers began moving through the crowd. Big dudes, muscular, mean. The sound man announced that someone had stolen the microphone and no one was going to leave ’till it was returned. They began patting people down on the floor. “We better return the mic,” I said stupidly. My guitar player rolled his eyes. “Then they’ll know that you stole it,” he said.
It dawned on me that it was actually me who had stolen it, and it was in my pants, feigning manhood. I must have looked panicky. “Drop it on the floor,” my guitar player said, “and we’ll tell them we found it.”
So I retrieved it from my pants and dropped it on the floor. He picked it up and yelled “Hey! We found it! We found it!” He held the microphone aloft for all to see. Several bouncers rushed over. “He found it,” one said. “He found it,” said another.
My guitar player said, “Since we found it for you, can we go backstage and meet the band?” The bouncers rolled their eyes. “C’mon, we found this expensive microphone for you!” He whined like that for thirty seconds. “OK, alright, let them backstage for a minute.”
And lucky felons that we were, we were led through the mass of sweating kids, past several other bouncers and either up or down some ancient stair to the backstage area.
It wasn’t what I expected. No lush chairs. No cocaine on mahogany tables. No greenless M&Ms. And the girls appeared perfectly nice and fully clad. Someone with an English accent said these guys found the microphone and want to meet the band. The girls rolled their eyes prettily.
We were led into another room and there, exhausted, was Sham 69. Oh my god, real rock stars. It was like meeting the Rolling Stones in 1965, if the Rolling Stones were midgets. Because Sham 69 were dinky, like five foot tall. Well, five foot four maybe. We towered over them. I remember them peering up through exhausted eyes. Back home guys our size were always trouble, the toughest football hooligans. Here we were just kleptomaniac punk rockers.
I shook Jimmy Pursey’s hand. “You were great,” I said, with genuine originality. “Fanks,” he said.
Their manager ushered us out again. “C’mon now, the lads have another set to do.” Back up (or down) the stairs we went, thanking the bouncers profusely. They thanked us for finding the microphone. “You guys really helped us out,” they said. “Most people would have tried to steal it.” I still feel a tinge rotten about that.
Then they let us out a back door and into the December night, where the punks were chucking beers at passing cars.
Meanwhile a buddy of mine I didn’t know yet mouthed off to the bouncer at the door when they tried to search him for the microphone and got worked over good. Beat up by bouncers at the Whiskey for being such a punk. He told me this twenty years later and I laughed it was so funny but I bought him a beer for his pain.
When he reads this I’ll have to buy him a whole six pack.
What Climate Change Will Look Like
A dispatch from Baton Rouge.
F-35 Still Falls Short
Pentagon’s chief tester points out problems.
New Littoral Combat Ship Delivered
USS Detroit scheduled for commissioning.
At the Museum
Councilmember and former Mayor, Sylvia Muñoz Schnopp will be leading our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month at the Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum 220 Market Street on September 17, 2016 at 11:00AM.
Since the history of Ventura County is richly threaded with the names of Spanish and Mexican pioneers, we decided to celebrate Hispanic History Month and invited Councilmember Sylvia Muñoz Schnopp to help us out.
Not only does she trace her heritage back to the early 20th Century in Ventura County, but as a former executive with AT&T Wireless, she also served as a former National Director of Multi-Cultural Initiatives, where she led the way in Spanish-language marketing, media, and public relations.
Those of you who attended her presentation last year on Mexico’s Cristero Revolution already know Councilmember Schnopp to be an entertaining speaker, expert researcher, and gifted historian. In addition to her wealth of expertise and experience, you can’t help but notice her deep commitment to the citizens of Port Hueneme. All you have to do is look back at her fruitful meetings with State officials to ensure the protection of the Hueneme Beach shoreline when federal funding proved inadequate; her ongoing efforts to promote local business with the Economic Development Collaborative of Ventura County (EDC-VC) and the Ventura County Economic Development Association (VCEDA); or her successful lobbying for Naval Base Ventura County with the BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) Taskforce.
Back to School Tips From the Sheriff’s Office
It’s that time of year; the first day of school is August 24, 2016. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind motorists, students and parents to practice basic traffic safety skills when traveling to school. The start of the new school year brings traffic congestion around the schools as well as a rise in pedestrian traffic. We suggest car-pooling or using an alternate drop off and pick up site away from the schools. This will help relieve traffic delays. The following tips are provided to ensure the safety of the students and serve as a reminder to be vigilant while traveling in a school zone. Parents, please discuss traffic safety with your children whether they are walking, riding a bicycle or being driven to school.
- When crossing the street, continue to scan both directions for approaching cars.
- Pay attention to all traffic signals and crossing guards.
- Use marked crosswalks and cross at controlled intersections when possible.
- Wear reflective clothing or bright colors so drivers can see you.
- Plan a safe walking route to and from the school or bus stop.
- When waiting for the school bus, stay out of the street and avoid horseplay.
- If riding a bike, ALWAYS wear a helmet. They are required on all bicycle riders under the age of 18. It’s the law.
- Ride on the right side, in the same direction as traffic.
- Walk your bike when crossing the street.
- Know bicycle laws.
- Be watchful around schools and bus stops for children in the street. Do not double park.
- Pay attention to crossing guards.
- Watch your speed in school and residential zones (25MPH). Leave early and give yourselves ample time to arrive at your destination.
- Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road.
- Do not text or use your cell phone while driving.
- Enter and exit driveways slowly and carefully, be observant in all directions.
- Impeding the flow of traffic to wait to enter a school parking lot could result in a citation.
- Do not allow your child to exit the vehicle into traffic lanes; safely drop them off at curbside.
Copyright 2016 The Hueneme Pilot All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
516 Island View Circle
Port Hueneme, California 93041
J. Sharkey, Editor and Publisher