Tanya Harjan remembers PHS and Peninsula School-Letter to Robin B

Posted on 25. Sep, 2010 by in Updates

Hi Robin,
I had spoken to Bill Ashby last September after learning of Tag’s passing. We hadn’t seen each other since summer of ’69 and it took him a moment to remember me. I let him know about Mark Jacobs and yes, when I get to sit down with my old friend Steve’s sisters, then I will continue my contact efforts with Marks sisters and/or brother.

I was actually at Pacific from September of 1967 till around April of 1970 when I’d had enough. The deal was that I needed to finish the mural on the office wall before Michael Kaye would let me graduate. I started it in ’67 when Peter Marin was the director continuing through Mark Sheehan’s time until Michael’s time. I also painted the “Pacific School” sign, fashioned, by Lars Speyer, from three heavy pieces of wood nailed together that was placed up in the tree at the turnout up on Skyline. If memory serves, we used to park the school buses up there.

I don’t know if it is common knowledge, but Pacific was started by people who were involved with Peninsula school as an adjunct to Peninsula, sort of a continuation of the Peninsula model. Alan Strain had been the director at Peninsula some time before I got there and Hal Stallings, who now goes by Tobias Jean, was my eighth grade teacher. All these families, the Creelmans, the Strains, The Moses’, the Matthews, the Wallaces and of course the legendary Hobson’s, were in some way connected to Peninsula School. The first time I saw Bruce Hobson, Greg Troll and Miggles Wallace, was as an eighth grader in 1966 and they had shown up at the school and someone said, “those are some kids from Pacific” I was somewhat in awe of them, um, especially in awe of Bruce, because he was someone I had heard about for decades and had never met. His sister Debbie and brother Jimmy were at Pacific when I got there so I got to know them. And I think I saw Becky for the first time at Peninsula during the same time period. She couldn’t have been more than ten. I don’t recall any of the Hobson’s actually attending Peninsula but they knew everybody.

I first came to Peninsula in 1963 to do a summer science program and then the following summer I repeated it because it was so much fun. We were living in San Francisco at the time and my mother pulled up stakes in 1965 and bought a house in Menlo Park so that I, and later my brother, could go to Peninsula School. I was there only between 1965-66. Then I went to Menlo-Atherton High School (M-A) which I hated, for one year 1966-67. I met Lynn Rogers there when she was a senior and she and the other older hippie kids took me under their wings and let me hang out with them even though I was just a 14 year old. M-A is located in Menlo Park or maybe it’s technically Atherton. They had their 40 year reunion on the same Saturday as ours! I knew there would be some Peninsula kids there but the Pacific reunion was much more relevant to me. I just wish that more of the people I had been close to back in the day had been there but it’s ok. I went down the list of folks who showed up and I was happy to see that I had spoken to a lot of them. And I did make a point of introducing myself to as many of the “legends” as I could find. All in all I’m glad I went.

Do you have any memory of this photo? [Photo of Robin on porch of George Hall] This is you in front of the kitchen, standing next to the door that I painted summer/fall of ’69 The lower half of the door has all kinds of morbid scenes. The central character has a green face and there are cemeteries and people with knives sticking in their heads as well as the usual vampires. This was my early pre-goth period, LOL Still love my vampire, though….Thank you for all your hard work, Robin

Another follow up letter:
As for my brother, he was able to attend Peninsula in 1970-71 and then he went on to Ravenswood High School till 1973 when, in his second year, he passed away from leukemia at the age of 16. His name was Michael. Paula Bowman had been the art teacher when Michael and I had been at Peninsula and in 1998 she hosted something of a reunion for the kids in Michael’s class. I think one of the kids came up with the idea for this gathering and they invited my Mom to attend so that they could hear, from her, what had happened to Michael. I’m grateful that my Mom was able to do this because it was a wonderful thing for her AND she passed away six or seven months later. Such is life,huh?

Oh, while I’m thinking of it. Do you remember Bob Allen? He took his French class to Quebec during the winter of ’69-70. I stayed in his trailer while he was away. This was during the time when the domes were being built and a lot of the kids were sleeping in the library. I had taught myself the Moonlight Sonata and I used to creep down to the music room at night and I would play it on the piano in the dark. I would then walk next door to the library and I would peek in and say something like, goodnight, children. Most of them couldn’t have been more than fourteen. Kelly spoke to me about it one day. She told me the kids really liked it when I did that. Made them feel kind of like someone was watching out for them.

As I said, you can go ahead and post my letters to you. I may write more later on, but right now I need to get busy with my Peninsula friend’s sister. Sheesh, and I forgot to tell Larry Strain about our friend’s departure. Do you have any photos of Jim Langworthy from the ’97 reunion? Dean gave me a reunion book and I don’t recognize anyone as being him. Maybe I just forgot what he looked like. Oh well, ever onward.

Every now and again, I try to find Carolyn Ritter, AKA Critter. I think she was originally from Moss Beach. I wouldn’t know where to look but I keep trying. I’m also trying to find someone who was a student at Peninsula whom I met after I had graduated. I have asked around and I’m drawing blanks, but again, I try.

Bye for now, Tanya Harjan

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6 Responses to “Tanya Harjan remembers PHS and Peninsula School-Letter to Robin B”

  1. PacificHS

    25. Sep, 2010

    PHS: Tanya Harjan remembers PHS and Peninsula School-Letter to Robin B: Hi Robin,
    I had spoken to Bill Ashby last … http://bit.ly/aB2D3h

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  2. Tajmari

    25. Sep, 2010

    PHS: Tanya Harjan remembers PHS and Peninsula School-Letter to Robin B: Hi Robin,
    I had spoken to Bill Ashby last … http://bit.ly/aB2D3h

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  3. Mariana Ovalle(Nicky)

    02. Mar, 2012

    Tanya, are you the student who was tall, had long light brown hair, wore long skirts and loved to have the trees brush against you for you said it was as if they were hugging you? I remember you in the fog out with the trees. If it is you, you left a beautiful impression on me. I was the girl with the long brown hair who was often pensive and sad. A hug for you from me and from the trees. Nicky

  4. Robin Bloomgarden

    02. Mar, 2012

    Tanya, did you ever find Carolyn Ritter? I too have been looking for her for many years.

  5. Mariana Ovalle(Nicky)

    02. Mar, 2012

    Carolyn Ritter was a good friend to me. We lived in the same dome. We had in common that we were the same age. I think her parents lived in Pacifica. Her father was a professor in a college near there. Maybe you can find her that way. Do you remember me? I remember Tanya and Robin (if you are the Robin that went Mexico with a group of students in the Winter of ’69) I live in Brazil. I left a comment to Tanya in the comment column by her letter. Hope to hear from you both. Nicky

  6. Robin Bloomgarden

    27. Nov, 2013

    Hey Nicky,
    So how old are you both, exactly? I neverhad her exact age so I could try and find her that way. Her dad was a professor at SF state in SF, but they have no records anymore. He died a few years later.
    Of course I remember you Nicky. I AM the one who went to Mexico, my sister Rouanne too.
    Carolyn and I had something special together, but unfortunately, I screwed it up jsut before we all went our separate ways, and I still regret it. I keep hoping she might find us on the web.
    Best, Robin

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