The Sandbox

Upland High School with San Gabriel Mountains

In the Beginning (1955), there were three sprouts transplanted from rich Kansas plains to an uprooted Southern California Orange grove upon the side of the San Gabriel mountains. In a newly planted subdivision of tract houses I was soon helping daddy rake rocks out of the bare yard, planting grass, and shrimp plant (Justicia Brandegeeana) under the windows. An empty window box would soon hold purple Clematis Jackmanii, which would thrive until the day it was sold, thirty years later.

885 West 11th (left) was a garden (a rocky diluvial suburb of a garden) I grew up in. In many ways, it was the classic American story. On the other hand, it was a place like no other: It was mine! (Click for map)

The Sandbox was just the start, nestled in the corner of the backyard, under the shade of a lone remaining Valencia Orange tree. The rest of the grove still remained one door to the west, after which was the newly built Baldy View Elementary school, which I attended. On the block to the east was Upland High School (left), where I did not attend, but most of my friends did, while my Mom was manager of the cafeteria (eventually Director of Food Services for the entire Chaffey High School system).

Further afield to the south, down San Antonio Ave, was the Upland Brethren in Christ Church: A second home for a faithful family, if not particularly pious (by my grandfather's standards). Across the street was Upland College where my Dad first came to California, and its offshoot Upland Academy, our church's school which later became Western Christian High School on another campus, which I attended. My paternal grandparents lived on a small lot on Arrow Highway in a direct line between the church and the Upland College gymnasium, where I oft ventured in my teen years.

By bicycle I eventually mastered the stores and businesses of downtown Upland (left), and haunted the Carnegie-established Upland Public Library, where I visited distant places and times, and discovered the stars-- of Science Fiction! Next door to the Library was the Upland Police Station, of which my Father was a Reserve Officer. I was once locked up there, via my father's idea of "seeing what it's like so you'll stay out!" I had a friend who lived in the Cracker-Jack mansion (built by the inventor of Cracker-Jacks; the famed peanuts, popcorn, and prize snack). I also built forts and had rotten-orange wars with my buddies in the groves.

My bike, and eventually my first car, took me through Jack Benny & Bug's Bunny's, Cucamonga, to the newly built Chaffey Community College in neighboring Fontana (left). There my father was the Director of Transportation and a founding member of the California Association of School Transportation Officials, CASTO, as well as a consultant to the NTSB West Coast office for investigating school bus accidents. In later years I drove busses for the College and headed the football game-night parking detail. I also joined CASTO and, with my father, held CASTO School Bus Driver Rodeo competitions. I was one of the initial proof-of-concept testers of air-operated stop signs on school buses.

I went further afield with the family in a camping trailer, on long-weekend holidays camping in the mountains, beaches, and deserts around So. Cal. Further I had frequent road trips and summers spent with my maternal grandparents who owned a motel near Caldwell, Idaho, then in John Day, Oregon. Further summers included on-staff at Mile High Pines Camp, a cattle ranch in Oregon, and two as a city-slicker on my Uncle Fred's dairy farm outside Weatherford, Oklahoma. Those coming-of-age adventures introduced me to hard work and the true values of where milk and meat came from.

Into the World Beyond: I attended Western Christian High School, from its beginning out of the BiC’s Upland College and Upland Academy. As a youth, I was "saved” (several times) in Sunday School class, a week (as camper) at Mile High Pines Camp (which I later managed 1977-81), and at a spring “Camp Meeting.”

My intellectual awakening was when I took a trip to India (1973) with my college roommate, Dr. Jay Smith, a missionary son. There I sat under the tutelage of Jay's parents, Joe and Marietta Smith, who ran an outstation of Francis Schaeffer's L'Abri Fellowship in Mussoorie, India. There I was exposed to the Christian Philosophy of Scheaffer, Dr. Rev. John Stott, and Os Guinness which kicked over my intellectual dissatisfaction with my fundamental upbringing.

As a result of that trip, I met and married a girl from Shippensburg, PA, Mary Cummings (one of my sister Lucille's quadmates at Messiah). We settled back in my hometown of Upland where I had my first real job as a schoolbus driver, maintenance, and janitor for a five-room Mt View School District. We had a daughter, Laura, and moved to Mile High Pines Camp for five years. Then we moved to Redlands, Ca, where I worked as a building contractor (sample at left). I quit contracting after a back injury at Mile High flared up, and was hired as an engineer for ASC Circuit Labs in Upland (bare circuit board manufacturing). When that company went under in 1997 I was hired by one of our customers, Bergquist Company, as an IT Systems contractor to build its new TClad plant in Prescott, Wi. (since spun-off) I became the plant IT manager and worked my way up to retiring (medical) in 2007 as the Senior Corporate IT Admin, and Engineer at the headquarters office.

During my time at ASC Labs, owned by Les Taylor, a deacon at Alta Loma BiC (Now Solid Ground) I was able to attend (with Les' generous support) Azusa Pacific University and received a Master of Divinity (1996) intending to become a Pastor. During that process I realized I wasn't cut out to be a Pastor; I was a better theologian. However, being self-taught, this was one of the highlights of my life-- along with my daughter Laura!

The rest of my life is what this digital Sandbox holds! So take off your shoes and socks, roll up your blue-jean cuffs, and climb in. The sand is warm!