John Story Jenks Elementary School circa 1960's

Lauren Vanett *much desired photo wanted here

Beginning Year: Ending Year: Graduation Year:
19?? 1966 1968

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Lauren Vanett entry:


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Hi Michael,

I was wandering around on the web and to my amazement, I came across the Jenks website, which it looks like you created. What a great idea! The strangest thing is that I was talking to my husband last night and somehow got on the subject of elementary school. I was telling him how many people's names I remembered from my class--quite a few actually--and then to come across the site this morning was just uncanny.

I don't know if you remember me, but we were in the same class. I left after 6th grade to go to Leeds, however. Right after college, I moved to San Francisco and have lived in this area ever since. I was in SF for 19 years, but about 10 years ago, moved about a half hour outside of the city to a town called San Rafael. My dad still lives in Mt. Airy in the house I grew up in, so I usually get back once a year to see him and always wander through Chestnut Hill and passed Jenks. I'm not in touch with anyone else from Jenks (except my sister, Jo Anne, who left to go to Leeds in '64), but I have pretty vivid memories of the people in our class. I got such a kick out of seeing pictures of you and your family, David Sherman, Lee Ann Root and Neil Powe on the site. The pictures I walk around with in my head--needless to say--have everyone stuck at 11 years old.

As for work, I have been a teacher and program director at San Francisco State University College of Extended Learning for a long time. I started the English as a second Language program that's directed out toward the community and used to teach ESL for many years. I still run that program and several others, but these days I teach lots of other things from public speaking to creative process through painting, which is more where my heart is though it doesn't tend to pay the bills...

I, too, have lots of fond memories of Jenks. One that stands out was in 5th grade when Mrs. Dunkelburger had us put on a play for National Brotherhood week. I think Mrs. Davidson wrote the play. The reason I recall this so well is that Terry Seamon and I had two of the leading parts--my acting career, alas, never progressed beyond that point. In the play, Terry played a Jewish girl who had a great singing voice and was new to town and I was trying to be her friend... Believe it or not,I still remember the opening lines:

Me: Say Dorothy, wait a minute. Why are you in such a hurry? You can give our class a big boost if you want to

Terry: Me? How?

Me: By getting a part in the school operetta. I sit behind you in assembly and whenever you sing the Star Spangled Banner, I get goose bumps all over.

Terry: My father always wanted...

Me: Your father always wanted what?

Terry: Oh, nothing. I have to go...

Me: Gee, I didn't mean...

Amazing what sticks in one's brain... I also recall walks to the water tower, making linoleum block prints, sponge painting autumn leaves on black tree trunks, not being allowed to go to glee club because I couldn't carry a tune well enough, playing the resonator bells during Christmas assemblies, Miss Jaegar telling stories from Greek mythology, jumping double dutch and turning the ropes in just the right rhythm to avoid being called 'double-handed', learning to sing "Go Tell Aunt Rhodie the Old Gray Goose is Dead", "White Coral Bells" and "Bless this House" (who picked those songs?!), the Jenks pet show and sucking the juice out of lemons through candy sticks while kids paraded their animals around the school yard, among lots of other stuff. Do you remember any of this?

By the way...I noticed a couple names missing from our class. Do you remember Gary Lee or Neil Style? Gary was a really good artist and a gentle person. Can't recall much about Neil. Also, Tony's last name is Harris. I have no idea what became of him but he used to live down the block from me.

Anyway, maybe the next time I come to Philly we can meet up for coffee or something. Alex, my husband, and I may be coming sometime in June. Thanks again for taking the time to put the site together, and drop a line if you have a chance. My email address is: (I'm working from home today and was having trouble with my email so wrote from Alex's address).

Warm regards,

Michael Stevenson entry:


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Have I ever been happier to receive a message!?

Hello Dear Lauren,
    I *was so glad to receive your message and once again, the warm smiles overtook my face and heart while I savoured your wonderful memories of John Story Jenks Elementary School and your time there. I want you to know that I *vividly remember you, your face and you nice personallity from those days. And as I said in the prologue, until today you were trapped in time (in my mind) in just those ways.

   Lauren, the only reason I did not have your page pre-set here is because I didn't have your photo from the class, but certainly we have a logos set up for those who departed JSJenks early for Leeds, but who certainly are Jenks family! In your message you have demonstrated that point, probably as best as it could possibly be demonstrated (smile!) But here it is, now, and please add to it, as you can.

    I was glad to hear of your adventures in San Francisco. Please let me tell you a little story from my life, that I have not shared here, as of yet. But after a year of college, and a year of initial employment in the work force, I enlisted in the US Navy in something called the Advanced Electronics Field while allowed me to enjoy two years of training in electronics around the contenintal United States. Part of that journey was via San Francisco, as I was stationed at Mare Island for about three or four months.

    Well, I thought it to be absolutely beautiful! After work, I would joyride through the NAPA valley, and the trip via the expressway into San Francisco itself where I toured to my hearts content. So I really enjoyed my four month stay there in your area. I remember there were two ways to get to San Francisco, one, via the expressway, (maybe highway 80?) and also a back route over the Golden Gate bridge. This would have been in 1978. By the way, Lauren, I am certainly glad that you survived all of the earthquakes I heard about out there. During one, I understand that one of those super-long bridges that I used to come into the city had collapsed!

    Back to JSJenks, well I smiled while reading about the play that you were in. Terry Seamon stayed on the cutting edge of things so I can see her out there in one of the prominent roles you mentioned (the casting is very interesting:). Lauren I just want you to know that I understand how such vivid memories *do stick in one's mind and I have many. I enjoyed hearing about yours and those precious lines from the play! By the way, Robert Staib '67 has provided the lyrics to a poem that Miss Jaeger recited in assembly that I also thought was fascinating to share.

    Thanks so much, Lauren, for providing the names of Tony Harris, whom I remember quite well, Neil Stile whose name (only) I remember, and what is wrong with me that I don't remember Gary Lee. I'm wondering now is he the guy that I knew from Central (where I attended High School)? Well the addition of these names makes *you and editor! This page would not be possible without such contributions.

"Go Tell Aunt Rhodie the Old Gray Goose is Dead"
    Well, I guess I mention David Sherman's name a lot. But I can tell you that I distinctly remember laughing out loud upon the reciting of even this song *title. I don't know who picked that song, but they fall second to the author, themselves :) I remember lots of things we did in assembly, including the wonderful stories of Miss Jaeger that many remember. Boy, did she command attention or what!!? :) Allen Richey '68 who is our mutual classmate, told me when I met him in Chestnut Hill a year or so ago that he remembered me playing the piano in assembly. Now he plays in a band (they sound better). And about the things guys used to do, I remember crawling under the seats (secretly) to the back of the Auditorium during assembly... unfortunately I remember getting caught, too.

    Lauren, it was wonderful to hear from you and I hope I do often. I'm not in the immediate Philadelphia area right now (I never quite made it back from the Washington, DC metropolitan area where I was finally stationed during my tour of duty). But, *please-- if you and Alex ever come out this way for a visit let us know, because it would be to me a treasure to reunite with you once again.

Warmest regards,
-- Michael

Send in your entry, today!      Webpage updated:    12/9/2005 3:28PM
Profession:Teacher/Program Director at San Francisco State University College of Extended Learning for a long time
Status:Alive and Well
Current Location:San Raphael, CA