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Covington Junior High alumni recall Los Altos in 1952

Photo By: Courtesy of JoAnne Estill
Photo Courtesy Of Joanne Estill

Members of Covington Junior High School’s Class of 1952 are gathering Saturday to celebrate their 60th reunion. Class of 󈧸 president Mead Memmeter, upper-left-hand corner, is hosting the event for his former classmates.

Graduates from Covington Junior High School’s Class of 1952 have been reminiscing about the early days of Los Altos in preparation for the city’s 60th anniversary celebration this month.

The 1952 eighth-grade class president, Mead Hemmeter, invited fellow alumni to attend a reunion at Michaels at Shoreline Sept. 29. Guests are coming from as far as London to attend the event.

“Living in Los Altos in 1952 was a very special time,” Loretta Merry, Covington alumna and Mountain View resident, wrote in a letter to the Town Crier. “I would describe it best by saying that before it was known as Silicon Valley, it could best be described as living in ‘Mayberry, USA.’ It was the perfect utopia. It was about friends, family and so much more.”

Los Altos resident JoAnne Estill, a member of the class, described Los Altos as naturally integrated. Most parents had just survived World War II and were excited to move into the homes and occupy the orchards of Los Altos.

“They were all willing to jump in and make it happen, from those who pitched in on the careful planning of how the town would grow to those who tended to the orchards,” she said.

Estill, Merry and fellow classmate Joyce Masterson recalled that many of their peers earned their own spending money and helped their families by working in the apricot, prune, plum, cherry and almond orchards.

“I remember the clear skies, fresh air and the smell of the blossoms in the spring from the many orchards that surrounded us each day in Los Altos,” Merry said. “I remember the smell of fresh dirt being turned over by the tractors as the ranchers got ready for irrigating. You just felt alive and happy to be right where you were.”

Masterson said she fondly looks back on trips to Clint’s Ice Cream Parlor, afternoons watching movies at the Los Altos Theatre on Main Street and swimming and picnicking during the summer at Shangri-la, Adobe Creek Lodge and Pink Horse Ranch.

Estill said she remembers how important downtown was to the community.

“No one had to go anywhere but downtown,” she said. “Everything one needed could be purchased in Los Altos. We were a very tight-knit community.”

Merry said Los Altos in 1952 was about “friendships, values and trust.”

“Our doors were left unlocked when we were away and at night as we slept,” she said. “Keys were left in cars overnight. If you ran out of eggs or other items, you borrowed from your friend and neighbor until you could get to the grocery store.”

Merry, Estill and Masterson plan to join approximately 50 former classmates at the reunion, nearly one-third of the original class, sharing memories and catching up with friends.

“How grand it is of Mead, 60 years later, to still think of us as friends,” Merry said. “We are in our mid-70s now, and I am hopeful that we will be meeting and waiting for each other again someday in the future in our next attempt to get to our ‘New Mayberry, USA.’”

Estill agreed.

“Friendships were very important,” she said. “It will be very easy for us to pick up after all these years and sit down and talk about our fond memories of our years as adolescents.”

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