James Sutton Jr. - My Remembrances of the Lark Ellen Home for Boys - 1933-1940 - Page 1

I wasn't a resident of the Lark Ellen Home, but you might be able to use the following information:

My mother, Rae K. Sutton, worked at the Lark Ellen Home for Boys as the cook from about 1933 until 1940. I was in the sixth grade when she started and finished my second year at UCLA when she was able to quit. The depression was at its worst during this time period and my father, James C. Sutton, was unable to get a steady job until 1940.

I would like to add to some of the information that Ken Schwartz has written. The matrons that were there during this time were Mrs. Highland who supervised the younger boys and Mrs. Valentine who supervised the older ones. Mrs. Cassidy's children lived with her at the home. The oldest was Philip who was my age, second was Donna and third was Carlie who was my brother's age. The caretaker with the wooden leg was Mr. Swanson. He did seem grouchy at times but he really liked the boys. When they had baseball games against other local organizations he was always there to support them.

Don Dicks was mentioned. He was about my age. We went to the same church, the First Baptist Church of West Los Angeles and were classmates at UCLA. The last time I saw him was an accidental meeting on a bus in West Los Angeles during WWII. I was sorry to hear that he had died. We knew his mother quite well as she came to visit Don frequently. She lived in San Juan Capistrano. Another name I knew was Tom Box. I was working at JPL in Pasadena and just about to retire when he came to work there as a subcontractor in 1976. I lost track of him right after that.

Some other names that I can remember was Ronald, but can't remember his last name. He was the oldest of the boys and made beautiful carvings out of wood. Very life like figures. During our summer at Lakeside Park he taught us to make canteens out of old whiskey bottles. He would sew old gunny sack material around them and soak with water. The evaporation would keep the water nice and cool during our hikes in the hills. Then another older boy, Bainan Parvis (I'm not sure of the spelling). I do remember that he wore thick glasses. The names Neil Mentone, Leonard Mapes, McKenzie, Charlie Kramm, come to mind. Philip Cassidy and McKenzie were in my Boy Scout troop, Troop 39, and we met at the West Los Angeles Playground. McKenzie was my patrol leader until I became a patrol leader. I can't remember his first name. I would occasionally eat meals with the boys and invariably would have to sit next to one of the boys that would eat left handed. He always would stick his elbow way up and was continuously poking me with it.