Lincoln Alumni Oral Histories

Dedication of Lincoln High in 1940, photo courtesy of: www.outsidelands.org/

In spring of 2012 students in Mr. Sultan’s US History course interviewed seven Lincoln alumni. The interviewees ranged from class of 1943 all the way to the class of 1971.

The students focussed their interviews on questions relating to what life was like growing up in San Francisco in a different era, what memorable experiences the alumni had at Lincoln, and how life has (or hasn’t) changed for teenagers in San Francisco over the years.  This project was conducted with the cooperation and help of the Lincoln Alumni association.
http://www.lincolnhigh.net/alumni 

William “Rocky Mason”

William “Rocky” Mason

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In this hour long interview Bill Mason discusses his early childhood memory in Iowa, and experience of moving to San Francisco. He came to Abraham Lincoln High School in his junior year.  He joined baseball team at Lincoln.  Also, he discusses the bell game rally which last until today and his two years of high school at Abraham Lincoln High School. I just found out that he is one of the judge of the bell game rally every year in Lincoln!   He shares his story about how he met his sweetheart which now is his wife.  He briefly introduces his teachers, classmates, and baseball team that he joined by looking at the old yearbook.  As a WWII Veteran, he tells the experience during the WWII and he bravely talks about his personal feeling of watching his teammates pass away and sacrifice in the war.  At the end of the interview, he concludes his personal experiences during the 1940s.

Lorri Ungaretti

Lorri Ungaretti

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In this interview, Lorri Ungaretti discusses her early life and her time spent at Abraham Lincoln High School. As a child, she spent a lot of time around Lincoln because she lived right across the street from the school. There were many nooks and crannies at Lincoln and it was a safe neighborhood. When she attended Lincoln, she talks about how the school didn’t have enough room, so she had to take a painting class in her second grade classroom at her old elementary school. She talks about how the blackboard was so low and how everything was very small. Lincoln was considered a bad school at the time she attended. Overall, she didn’t enjoy her high school experience, but she did like a few teachers. Lorri remembers a race riot she witnessed at Abraham Lincoln’s school cafeteria. During this time, there was tension between Caucasians and African Americans. She wanted to get out of the cafeteria as soon as possible before anything bad happened. She then talks about how her and a friend tore down a racist poster that had an image of chopsticks and a rice bowl. This poster was decorated by Lincoln students to encourage students to attend the game against Lowell, but Lorri and her friend tore it down because it was a racist act. At this time, many civil rights leaders were also assassinated. There was a teacher at Abraham Lincoln High School who raised money to buy a painting of Martin Luther King, Jr. This painting is still hanging in the school library today. Homosexuality was considered as immoral and unnatural. She talks about her brother confessed by writing a letter to Times Magazine where it was published. During this time, homosexuality wasn’t accepted and many people criticized homosexual people. Finally, Ms. Ungaretti discusses the changes she has observed in society today and compared it to how society was back then. Eventhough Ms. Ungaretti did not enjoy her high school experience, she still reflects kindly on her days at Lincoln and how it influenced her life today.

Brian Lowery

Brian Lowery

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In this 35 minute long interview, Brian Lowery discusses his early life and growing up in San Francisco. He also goes into details about his experiences at Abraham Lincoln High School during the 1960s and 1970s. Mr.Lowery explains how Lincoln High School from his era was different from Lincoln today. For example, he tells us how the sports and activities that were present at Lincoln were mainly played by men. Mr.Lowery experienced The Feminist movement, The Hippie Movement, and The Civil Rights Movement during his time. He had shared the same beliefs as hippies during the Hippie movement; that violence was not the answer to solving world problems. Lowery points out how the attitudes toward communists and communism when he was in high school were naive and how it led The United States into the Vietnam War. He also pointed out the attitudes towards gays and lesbians, but because they lived in San Francisco citizens didn’t care as much because they understood its their style and the way they were, so they just let them live the way they wanted to be. He expresses how he was attacked by people that were of a different race, but he states that he didn’t take it personally because he understood the situation that was going on during that time. The interview ends with his favorite memory during his time at Lincoln High School, telling us about the time when he was accepted into UC Berkeley.

June Neuhaus

June Neuhaus

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The interview began with introducing our interviewee June Neuhaus who graduated Lincoln in 1943.The interviewer asked June when and where she was born, also how she got her name June. She also mentioned her family and pets as well as their names.June talked about her parents raised her with morals.June talked about her childhood and she describes how it was growing up here in San Francisco.The toys she described was jacks, card games with her girlfriends.The responsibilities that she had were the chores she had to do around the house as well as keep her room clean.The social status of her family was the middle class, her family was not poor nor rich, both her parents worked  The neighborhood she grew up was in the Sunset, she lived on 28th Ave. near Taraval. June talked about females growing up in the 30s and 40s.She admired  her parents, grandparents and a teacher named,John Mill,  who taught chemistry at Lincoln. The music she listened to was the smooth dance music, she states that Frank Sinatra was a product of her times, she also states other musicians.She states that it was ballads and soft swing and rock and roll came later. As she got older her taste in music didn’t change.During WWII, there was rationing on food,anything that was in a can was rationed. At this time americans were scared because they thought  they were going to be attacked by a sub japanese submarine, there wasn’t much hardship,but the hardest thing was having sons going to the war. The main things she ate were stews, meatloaf,hamburgers mixed with onion and other stuff other than that she ate health. Her family didn’t struggle during the great depression. The classes here at Lincoln were college based, Lincoln was a comprehensive high school. Her favorite class was english and her least favorite was typing. June got good grades and got a job as a librarian with her soon to be sister- in- law, she describes what she did and where. June discusses her challenges she faced. She didn’t join any clubs, she said, “ I’m not a joiner.”  She was good kid, she didn’t get into any trouble as a teen. June mentioned how Lincoln looked different during her time, when it was just one building. Cliques were a big part of June’s life and she mentioned that she didn’t go to middle school. The style that Lincoln had was wearing skirts, sweaters, as she mentioned no one wanted their hair to come uncurled and long hair. She didn’t really notice if there was any sexism and the transportation was walking and public transportation. She faced racial tensions once when she was talking about Germany. There were rumors always at Lincoln.She was not sure she loved high school a lot. She thought that communism was terrible and also everyone around her as well. During the day were no safety precautions at Lincoln. For her it was scary having family and friends in the war.The students from Lincoln supported by making the boys food and sending it to them. She was not really familiar with homosexuality except for one boy that was a close family friend. She continues to talk about her life living in San Francisco and how some may affected her life. In the end we thanked June for her time and for doing the interview.

Bill Mustanich

Bill Mustanich

Bill Mustanich

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In this one hour long interview, Bill Mustanich discusses his early life and about how he  liked to play baseball a lot. He also talks about the Hippie Movement, and how he wasn’t a part of it in his teenage years in high school. He didn’t like how they influenced people to take drugs which was a big part of the Hippie Movement so he stayed out of it. He noted how people were overdosed and did crazy things like jump off buildings. He recalls that there was a lot of racial tension during his times, he remembered there was a fight in his school cafeteria it basically started with food fights. Bill Mustanich was the one who stopped the fights and he has interviewed 1,000 kids who have been in fights and most of the fights were because of racial tensions. During his college years Bill Mustanich was very busy academically and physically and had a part time job which did not allow him to participate in the movements such as helping women get the right’s that they deserved and being equal to all genders and races. During his time of being a teacher there was a law called Title Nine which enforced the equal rights of women and men. For example if you were to spend a dollar on boys sports equipment you should spend a dollar on girls sports equipment. He believes Abraham Lincoln now shares that quality and that it is a multicultural school.

Ronald Davis

Ronald Davis

Ronald Davis

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In this interview, Ronald Davis discusses his early life in San Francisco, California.  He talks about his early memories in the neighborhood he lived in, and in the new house that his parents bought, six months before World War II began.  He mentions how the neighborhoods were segregated and due to this, schools were segregated too.  Davis goes on to discuss his elementary and high school experiences.

He mentions how in elementary school he loved to hang out with his friends to go the movies.  This habit didn’t really change when he went to High school.  During his high school years, he talks about how he enjoyed being with his peers attending parties, dances, and at the same time, Davis brings up his passion with sports at this time. He then talks about his own personal high school dream,  which didn’t last long.  Right after he began attending San Francisco State, he discusses how he decided to become a teacher rather than a pharmacist.  He also talks about how he is very thankful to his mother for the way she raised him, and for being a good parent.   He then talks about his reaction when he heard that John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  He continues on discussing the Civil Rights Movements, and once again his reaction to Martin Luther King Jr.’s. assassination.  Finally, Mr. Davis discusses his career as an elementary school teacher.

 

6 Comments to Lincoln Alumni Oral Histories

  1. watermarko
    July 11, 2012 9:24 am

    been trying to find the whereabouts of Don Daniels, who was swim coach
    at Lincoln for “a long time,” at least into the early ’70’s. Last I heard he was
    living in Marin. Hopefully he’s still around! thanks.

    class of ’68

  2. Jim Heiser
    July 14, 2013 6:42 pm

    I’d be happy to sit for an oral history interview.

    I grew up in the Sunset District on 42nd Ave and attended Noriega Home School, Mark Twain, A.P Giannini and Lincoln (‘F 62 to Spr. 65). I remember the 1957 earthquake, the assassination of JFK, “Y” Dances, Snow in SF, SF Seals games and 49er games at Kezar, Playland at the Beach and much more.

    At Lincoln I played Football (with Mike Holmgren) and Baseball; Was on the field for the last AAA game with fans from both schools on the same side of the field (we beat Balboa 51 – 3 and a huge fight broke out in the stands. Coach Holland lock us in the locker room so we missed most of it).

    Later I attended CCSF and SFSU; during college I worked as a Recreation Director for the City at Argonne (18th & Geary), Parkside (26th & Vicente), Visitation Valley (Leland & Cora) and later as an Adult Probation Officer at the Hall of Justice. Still later I went to work for Contra Costa County where I was employed as a deputy probation officer, a supervisor and a manager, retiring in 2005.

    I recall working one Sunday for the Recreation Department at the Senior Center off Fulton St. in GG Park. This was in 1967 and many of the seniors had lived through the ’06 earthquake. As I was interested in SF history I began asking the seniors about their experience in April 1906. I wish I had the ability to tape record their memories. This is why I’d be happy to be interviewed on my experience growing up in the city and attendance at Lincoln.

    BTW, I also have class pictures from Noriega Home School and Mark Twain. One of which is posted on SF Genealogy.

    Jim Heiser
    Paladin1868@larkspur.com
    (925) 825-6433

  3. Barbara Kaplan
    January 12, 2014 1:42 pm

    Lincoln was a great part of my life. I was VP of the student body and was in the small class that graduated in 1964-1965.
    My boyfriend at that time was Bruce Orchid and he was President of the student body so it was such a fun time. Of course we wore skirts and had bubble hair styles . Girls couldn’t go off campus and the terrible thing that you could get caught for was smoking in the bathrooms. It was a healthy and supportive environment that taught us the values of those days that most boomers carry forward today. Living in the Sunset meant you learned to get along with everyone, no one was better than anyone else and you knew everyone on your block who you grew up with. I lived on 39th ave between Rivera & Santiago which is how you described where you lived. We swam at Fleishackers and visited Playland all the time . I used to walk to the beach all the time and my twin brother was a surfer. He had a woodie and I went with him and his buddies to all the surfing places. Lincoln gave me a solid beginning, after Ulloa & Giannini, to go on and have a great life.

  4. Cindy Minter
    October 2, 2014 9:37 pm

    Would love to see some pics of our teachers of past days. Graduated in Spring of 1972. I will always remember Miss Whitney! Business teacher…she made a difference in my life.

  5. Rudy Ramirez
    February 21, 2016 9:30 am

    I too would love to see names, pictures and whereabouts of the teachers who made a difference in my life as I have become just that. In particular Miss Coulter, English teacher from 1968 – 70, please. I can’t find any info on them. Please help.

  6. ken despotakis
    August 5, 2016 10:57 am

    I went to a p giannini i and then off to lowell but I always wondered what happened to the friends I had a Giannini. I graduated from lowell in 1968 and remember playing against Bill Fox and fortunately we won so we could go to Turkey Day and also unfortunately we lost to Balboa

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