50 years ago — Fire caused extensive damage this morning to the rear enclosed porch at the Charles Rogers’ home, after gasoline being used by Mrs. Rogers to clean a pair overalls apparently was ignited by a nearby water heater pilot light.

Mrs. Rogers was not injured firemen said. An estimated $500 in damages was caused to the porch and the loss of its contents, miscellaneous furniture including some antiques, was set at $1,500. The fire was reported at 9:15 a.m.

 

40 years ago — Louise Green at 59 is a woman who is used to saying goodbye.

For 25 years, she changed diapers, wiped noses and dried away tears of the children who found themselves in the custody of the county. Then she kissed them goodbye and sent them back to homes that were often less than adequate. But there were always more children to reassure, children who had been removed from their parents, children to help adjust to strange, frightening surroundings.

“It was a heart-breaking job,” she said today, “but I loved every minute of it. Those children meant everything to me.”

In the end, it was not her heart but her blood pressure that caused her doctor to suggest she retire. Wednesday her fellow employees gave her a farewell luncheon at the Mandarin Palace.

Although she was given the traditional “gold watch,” the gift was paid for with donations from her fellow employees. She intends to move to Texas because “my son needs me.”

When Mrs. Green started to work for the county, the “receiving home” was at the county juvenile hall in Imperial. It became Los Niños about 10 years ago when the county separated homeless, neglected or abused children from youthful offenders.

The facility is now in remodeled quarters at the old county hospital. Mrs. Green was a group supervisor. But taking care of homeless children remains the same, according to Mrs. Green. All of them come frightened, and it takes two or three days of understanding and tender loving to care to help them adjust, she said.

Frequently the children would then go home to the same environment from which they had been rescued. Sometimes that caused Mrs. Green concern, but she said, “I look at it this way, they (the parents) are the mothers and fathers … and there is no greater love than that.

 

30 years ago — Tears began to trickle down Pauline Zinn’s face last week as students of Hendrick Elementary School in El Centro paraded into her first-grade classroom to bid her farewell.

Zinn, who is retiring at the age of 78, said she is not ready to quit, but her family encouraged her to retire while she still is in good health.

“It is going to be hard to give up teaching,” said Zinn. “I love the children. I don’t want to quit.”

Zinn, who had taught for 32 years, said one of the hardest tasks of retirement is tearing down the students’ art work that covers the walls of her classroom.

“I can’t bring myself to take these things down,” she said. Zinn, a mother of 11, said she plans to travel and visit her children and grandchildren. She also plans to volunteer as a reading teacher for children and adults.

“She has made teaching a big part of her life,” said her eldest daughter, Pat Cole. “When you give up something that has been a major part of your life, it is difficult.”

Cole said the family talked her into retiring because they wanted her to leave teaching “while she still is on top.”

“I am thankful for my good health,” Zinn said, adding that she frequently jogs.

Zinn is best known for lining her students up at the end of each day, and giving them a hug and a kiss on the cheek as they walk out the door.

“Some of the children need a little extra attention each day,” said Zinn. “I have some children who seemed a little lost. It helps their self-image to know that someone cares.”

 

20 years ago — Hi ho, hi ho, it’s to learn the arts we ago.

“Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” will take the stage this summer as the Imperial County Arts Council youth program launches another year of the Mostly Theater Company drama group training as part of its summer 2000 youth program.

Not only will the theater group be back, again led by Billy Brown, but this year the arts council will offer violin lessons, introduction to music, introduction to arts and a story telling program.

Arts Council Interim Director Nan Rebik said none of the programs costs more than $3 per child per day, and all offer invaluable exposure to the arts.

“We’ve made some changes, so this year I think we’re going to have more kids,” Rebik said.

The drama programs is offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and the other programs will begin immediately before or after, meaning the kids can stay for continuous activities throughout the day.

The drama program had grown steadily over its 11 years, according to Brown. She said last year she had 85 students, and is expecting as many as 100 this year, up from its original size of 25 to 30.

This year’s production will be a musical version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”

“It gets 80 to 100 kids involved all summer long and gives them an interest in theater,” Brown said, “I give them basic instruction in acting, writing, directing, props, costumes.”

Brown said the program has inspired students to major in drama at the college level.

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