From 1991: “Submarine Sinks In AB Lake Funny!

From my July 18, 1991 issue of the Alpenhorn newspaper:

“Was it the Creature From the Black Lagoon? A short black version of the Lock Ness Monster (aka “Nessie?) Was it a bird, a plane or a train? Nope….It was a black wet-suitted diver who was scouring the bottom of Arrowbear Lake at 7 a.m. last Sunday, searching for a sunken submarine.Was the lake was too small to hide such a nautical wonder? Ah….think again! Like all good seafaring tales, this is quite a story (which. of course, came from me!

Last year an  Arrowbear family strolled down to the lake intending to sail their new radio-controlled yellow metal three-foot-long submarine known as Explorer 7. After loading it with about 47 batteries  watching the sub dive, resurface and go around in circles. It worked great! It was fantastic! The family had many submarine stories to tell their friends…..until, until it got waterlogged and pooped out. They finally managed to get the sub to shore and they took it home where it was in dry dock for the past year. The state-of-the-art submarine dried out but it looked longingly toward the lake.

As if they could hear its plaintiff cries two weeks ago Ramona  took the kids down to the sea…err…lake for some fun. They took the sub out of drydock and my gosh, it worked perfectly all day. Well, almost all day!  Depending on who you talk to different people decided to play a trick on the””would-be fisherman. Once Sea got the sub to dive it went down for the last  never, never resurfaced.It sank to bottom of Davy Jones Locker, no, somebody’s gym locker…noooo, Arrowbear Lake.

Dejected, Sean and the family went home with in tears.  Not wanting to upset dad  no one said anything to him until last week. When told of the nautical disaster dad burst into laughter. Enter the creature from the Black Lagoon….( Thought I’d forgotten all about that, didn’t you?) The family, their friends. Enter the Creature from the Black Lagoon.The dad’s friend,  a lieutenant col., said he would dive in the lake to see if he could retrieve the lost sub. Donning a wet suit  and paddling out to the place where Sean thought his prized sub had gone down to its final resting place. Sea, Michael slipped into the murky water. He found lots of slimy green lake moss’  slimy tree branches, a current in the middle of the lake that pulled things into a channel but no yellow metal submarine.”




A Weekend of Looking Back in R.Springs

This weekend was quiet, partly due to the weather but also “just because”, I guess. I spent my weekend going through many of my old issues of The Alpenhorn newspaper. I was the original owner/editor of that newspaper and I have many of the old issues. It’s very interesting to read them them and enjoy remembering what our local communities were so many years ago. I loved what I did and I had wonderful people through the years who helped in so many different ways but I owned it and loved it. It was, in many ways, “my baby” and I love spending time going through the many issues that I fortunately have. It’s amazing how much history is in these papers.

This story was one that Winifred Brown wrote for the Thursday, January 22, 1987 issue of the Alpenhorn about the first meeting of the Golden Oaks when the new center opened. It was one of those banner events that if you were there you remember it for many years. It was entitled “Golden Oaks Meet in New Center.”

“Running Springs Area Golden Oaks started off the new year by meeting in the new Robert Hootman Senior/Community Center, celebrating the realization of a dream with a potluck luncheon at which 47 members and five guests attended. Although members had to bring their own chairs and service everyone had a good time.

During the brief business meeting, President Charles Harvey explained the proposed operation plan of having the center open five days a week and asked for volunteers who would be willing to spend a few hours to supervise the premises at that time.

A “Save the Gray Squirrels” petition was circulated by Joe Peake which garnered 46 signatures and will be mailed to the California Department of Fish and Game Commission.

Following a most enjoyable luncheon we were treated to a trip down Memory Lane by Dora Miller, her daughter Sonja Kaplan, Ella Burmeister, Carol Day, Pete Shaw and others who had witnessed and contributed to changes in and around Running Springs during the past 40 years or more. In 1945 the children of the area had to attend school in Lake Arrowhead and it was then that Dora Miller decided to try to form a school in Running Springs. With a total of nine children, including the Miller and Burmeister children, a school was opened in an old log cabin where the Bank of America is now. When the Rim of the World School District was formed in 1946, they moved into the old Wagon Wheel and paid the teacher $50 per month. As the attendance grew it was necessary to move to various locations until the present school was built.

Ella Burmeister started a lunch program where mothers took turns cooking lunch and taking it to the school. When Hootman Center opened it had approximately 108 students; today it has 500. Dora and Ella worked in the cafeteria and many children claimed Ella’s cooking was better than that at home.

At that time the Running Springs Post Office  was housed in the General Store and the post-mistress would take time out to wait on customers. The only telephone in town was located in that store.

Some of the early movie stars such as Hoot Gibson, Reginald Denny and Walter Houston had homes in the area and were frequent visitors. Carol Day read a letter from a former resident of Running Springs dating back to the 1920s which related many interesting happenings here on the the mountains in those early days. Carol recalled when it was necessary to fence their property to keep out the cattle that roamed there abouts and Sonja Kaplan, Dora Miller’s daughter, remembered when she was the first lifeguard at the Luring Pines Club swimming pool which was located where the Chateau Pines restaurant parking lot is today. (In today’s world that site is Rim of the World Community Church). Isn’t history interesting!!!!!!!!!!!


Another Pete Shaw Classic From 1987

“At this moment I’m watching the cat. It is sitting on the couch in regal elegance. Its legs are stretched out, paws side-by-side; neck arched back; neck arched back. It has an expression of complete contempt directed toward me as we change looks. I don’t know how our relationship has come to this.

As a kitten I tried to play with Cat and hold itin my lap but Cat always had this very superior attitude.

I even tried to name it but it simply would not respond to such common labels as PuddyTat, Sparky, Whiskers, ect. Among the things that are “below” Cat are balls of twine, catnip, purring and stretching boards. It does enjoy being addressed as “Your Highness,” but I’ll be darned if I’m going to contribute to its elistest attitudes.

Why do I tolerate this snobby feline? I mean, how long would you continue a relationship with a human being if they immediately washed themselves after you touched them or tuck up their nose and simply walked away when you called them. Heaven forbid you should attempt to share an eight-foot couh with her when she is in HER spot.

I knew a cheerleader in high school once who had similar qualities. I sometimes really chastise Cat when she pushes her luck.

“Who do you think you are, anyway? You take the best seat in the house and won’t share; scratch the arms of the chairs to manicure your claws and smack Pirate, our Llapso Opso), in the nose when you’re in one of your rotten moods. I think even Doris Day would find you “obnoxious. “I mean, do you think the world revolves around you? Well, I’m here to tell you I’m not taking it much longer. Do you understand?!

Most of the time her response to my Ralph Cramden act is to narrow her eyes, lay back her ears and yawn.

“One of these days, Cat……Ooooh, one of these days.” Cat has no sense of humor either. Last summer we were having a squirt gun fight in the front yard. As I came running around the corner in the frenzy of the chase, I foolishly and impulsively gave her a good one in the nose as she sat sunning herself on the sun deck. She immediately puffed  up to three times her size , hissed, spat and bared her teeth in an expression of unadulterated indignity and rage.

I made sure the bedroom door was latched and slept uneasilly for several nights; I just knew she would try to get me in my sleep.

After about a week I figured she had pretty much gotten over “the incident” and I was dozing through the Johnny Carson show when I felt this stirring beside me.

As I came out of my stupor a small, bewildered mouse ran over my knee and across my lap to temporary freedom between the pillow and arm of the couch. Uttering  a blood-curdling scream, I levitated straight up from my spot. When gravity returned to me I looked to my left. There sat Cat with a smug satisfied smile on her face I rained curses on her…. “May a deranged pitbull mistake your tail for a licorice rope. ” “May your sugar-coated kitty treats cause you to have a root canal. May a dark stranger fill your cat box with Crazy Glue!”

Undaunted, she stared me down. Hell hath no grin like a feline scorned…..and avenged.


When R.S. Elementary School Became Hoffman Elementary in 1985

Those of us who knew Chuck Hoffman were so lucky and when he retired and the school board approved changing the name of the elementary school to Hoffman rather than Running Springs Elementary it was very exciting for those of us who knew Chuck and his family.

In my May 17, 1985 issue of The Alpenhorn the main story was that longtime, and much-beloved principal, chuck Hofffman was retiring. Here’s that story.

“The Rim of the world school board voted at their May 7 meeting to rename Running Springs Elementary School to Charles Hoffman elementary School. The change is effective immediately. It honors Principal chuck Hoffman, who will be retiring at the end of the school year. Board member Jack Duckworth made the formal motion citing  Chuck’s many school and community activities and his compassion and concern for all people, most especially the students hose lives have been directly affected by Chuck’s personal warmth and caring during his 30 years of teaching and  administrative services.

Barbara Bjaanes, president of the Running Springs P.T.A., presented Chuck with a bound copy of 34 letters of support and thanks from members of the teaching staff and the community. Following a long standing ovation Mr. Hoffman expressed his special gratitude to his wife, JoAnn, and to his mother who had recently passed away. A reception was held after the meeting and Chuck appeared to be grateful and a little surprised at the large turnout of community members and many local teachers. He was so grateful (as well as surprised) when he learned that the school was being re-named to honor his years of service to the school district and that small elementary school that he loved.

Isn’t it Amazing what a Difference of 67 years can make!

For the February 15, 1996 issue of my newspaper, The Alpenhorn, I wrote a story that I entitled “Isn’t It amazing What a Difference of 67 years can make?! Here’s that story.

“At the point of this photo was taken, somewhere down the canyon wasn’t even a thought in anyone’s mind. The Old City Creek Toll Road was built as a lumber road by the Highland Lumber Company and it was completed at a cost of $52,000 in 1891. In October John E. Brookings and Walter DuBois Brookings purchased the Highland Lumber Company from M.A. Neilan. The property, 5,000 acres, consisted of heavily timbered land, a large sawmill near Running Springs, the City ‘creek Toll Road and a large box factory in Redlands in 1903, the State legislature enacted legislation permitting counties to build roads which resulted in City Creek Road being purchased by the County of San Bernardino. The existing road was then widened with the aid of prison labor. In 1934, the state of California the State Department of Highways took over the existing road as part of the state highway system. In 1951, Hwy. 330 (then known as Hwy. 207 or the Running Springs Freeway) was constructed for $3,500,000.


Another Great Pete Shaw Column From 1987:

“I’ve always admired people who can tune-up cars, fix plumbing and understand electrical wiring. Anyone who can remodel or build their own home possesses a gift of genius in my opinion. The miracle of cutting two 4×4’s and have them fit neatly together to make a corner borders on the supernatural.

I would love to be able to throw on a carpenter’s apron, draw my forearm across my mouth (John Wayne style) and think I’ll just add on a room; see-yah in a couple of days.”

Instead, when I pick up a hammer or saw, the dog immediately puts his tail between his legs and slinks away: the the cat takes refuge on the top of the bookcase to watch the show, and my children walk the neighborhood to see if they can find a place to spend the night.

I lack just two qualities to be a genuine handyman; skill and patience. The problem is that I refuse to accept the fact that I’m inept.

My friends in construction always say, “Just tear out a wall and you’ll have to learn….There’s really nothing to it!: That advice is tantamount to handling a seven year old kid the keys to a Peterbilt and saying,” Just start the engine and put it in gear; everything ‘ll work out.

I tried to hang paneling once. My real disappointment was was that molding didn’t come in 2 1/2 ft. widths to cover my multitude of errors. Actually, if I could have used the molding on the top and bottom of the wall there would only be three feet of exposed paneling and five feet of molding.

If I ever attempted a remodel it would end up resembling the Winchester House of Mystery.

This past week was a tough one for my ego. The light fixture over the kitchen table expired with a rather spectacular pop and flash one morning as I emerged from the shower. Ignoring caution I attempted to replace the fried bulb socket by just turning it off at the wall. For reasons I still don’t understand, I became a human conductor; during those brief moments I had great empathy for every insect that ever flew into an electric bug zapper.

I felt a great sense of relief that I survived: it could have been really “tacky to be found prone on the kitchen table with my old threadbare terrycloth robe.

A day later I decided to “set” a new toilet (notice how I use the jargon). I had watched one in our other bathroom a few months earlier and it just didn’t seem that difficult. I journeyed to home supply places and returned with a feeling of misplaced optimism. Things went swimmingly. I “set” the stool and secured the tank, turned on the water, pulled the handle and “wonder of wonders,” it worked! I was euphoric. the only small flaw was that the top of the tank wasn’t exactly level. Armed with a wrench I squirmed myself on my back into a contorted position beneath the tank and looking up, gave the nut one last half turn. there was a sickening pop that’s what porcelain sounds like when it racks) and immediately drops of water began bouncing off my forehead: soon the drops turned into a steady steam and I dully realized I had exercised poor judgement once again.

I tried to apply the experience to living in general. When thing are fairly flush accept the idea that life just doesn’t function entirely on the level. Most of the time if you try to crank out too much pleasure the fragile existence will crack leaving a flood of sorrow. Go ahead, I know it’s not profound but I need to believe I salvaged something from the experience: excuse me, I’ve got to towel off my head!

From 1986-Caplinger Field Opens in Running Springs

As the owner of The Alpenhorn newspaper in 1986 it was my joy to  take two full pages of my news paper when Caplinger Field opened to team sports. The really wonderful part of that day was that Larry Caplinger and his wife Sandy got to watch  the colorful balloons sail into the sky. To put it mildly it was a wonderful event for everyone but especially for (at that time) AYSO Area Director Larry Caplinger. Here is what I wrote on that exciting day….There were a lot of happy people that day so here is what I wrote at the end of that wonderful occasion.

“It was cool and crisp at the new field by Hoffman Elementary School in Running Springs on Saturday morning September 13 when Opening Ceremonies for the soccer area were held. Special events were held to mark the beginning of organized games on the field which was sodded by local residents last May who carried, laid and pieced together over 100,000 sq. feet of sod to turn the dirt field into a beautiful patchwork of green grass all in one day.

AYSO Mountain Commissioner Sandy Caplinger and husband Larry (who is Area Director) were honored when it was announced that the field would be named “Caplinger Field.” The announcement was made b Rim of the World Recreation and Park General Manager Les Kole. A few minutes later Kole L, and his wife Linda, were honored for their service, not only to the soccer organization but to mountain sports and recreation as a whole. Larry Caplinger stated that you can hire someone for a job and they do that job and work eight hours a day. However, when the District hired Kole they got a man who works until the job is done.” The Kole’s were presented with a plaque from AYSO. Les was awarded the traditional honor of making the first kick of the season and while he may not be ready for the pros, with a little practice he might make a team.

At the beginning of the ceremony, soccer players and their families gathered around in a big circle. The children hung onto plastic trash bags filled with red, while and blue helium-filled balloons .At the designated moment, the children opened the bags and let the balloons float into the air. They sailed on the wind symbolically toward Lake Gregory where the Opening Ceremonies of soccer were being held at the same time on that field.

The first day of the day was played between two Running Springs area teams. Coach Ed Kikuchi’s team, the Lightening Bolts, beat the Hurricanes, coached by Bill McCorkle by a score of 3-1. The first goal of the game was presented with the game ball.The game was stopped to allow Larry Caplinger to present the ball to her. It was a special moment, not only for her but for everyone who was present and shared in the excitement of the day.

  • The actual dedication of Caplinger Field will be held next spring.