Monday, December 22, 2014

School field trips leave lasting memories

field trips

Left, the oil spill at Stinson Beach in 1971, center, a snapshot Tony Wade took in 1974 of Jamestown and right, the 1969 occupation of Alcatraz by Native Americans.

From page A2 | May 02, 2014 |

School field trips always made learning come alive to me. In Virginia, we would study local history then actually visit Jamestown and Williamsburg. There was also a place called Rice’s Fossil Pit where you could excavate your own fossils. We visited Washington, D.C. and I loved the Smithsonian Institution.

At Hamilton Air Force Base Elementary in Novato, we went to the Exploratorium, which was insanely great. We also camped at Stinson Beach where I encountered tide pools, nude swimmers and me and a buddy got a kick out of hearing the THMUCK! sound boulders made when dropped into outhouse toilets.

Other locals shared field trip memories:

Lisa Duke: In 1969, my fourth-grade Fairfield Elementary class took a field trip to San Francisco; a boat ride around the bay. We couldn’t sail very close to Alcatraz because Native Americans had taken over the island and would shoot arrows at boats that came too close.

Stephania Cheng: We went to Sutter’s Fort in fifth grade. I was surprised at their living conditions. I pictured something much more primitive than the nicely built wooden and brick buildings, and the clothing that was real cloth, not animal skins. They also had metal pots and pans, which completely amazed me because I thought they roasted everything over a fire on a spit. It really boggled my 10-year-old brain!

Chris Clark: In January 1971 there was an oil spill at Stinson Beach caused by two tankers colliding. Several busloads of students volunteered and we left from Fairfield High School. We spent the day spreading straw on the beach to soak up oil globs, and rescued some animals coated with oil. It was a sad day for a beautiful place.

Dina Murley Eagles: In fourth grade we visited Fort Point in San Francisco and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, ate our lunches and walked back. I offered to carry someone’s thermos in my paper lunch sack and since it was a little wet, it fell out and rolled off the side of the bridge.

Tamara Beck Watson: On field trips to the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco as well as other museums, I saw my first Warhols, Dalis and Picassos as well as the great masters in person with the Fairfield High Art Club. Our teacher, Ms. Emi Luptak, was instrumental in exposing as many of us to the arts as possible.

Lillian Miller: In elementary school the best field trip ever was to the Daily Republic. The press room was not that exciting (nobody yelled out “Stop the presses!”), but the printing presses were really loud and we got to see how the paper was actually laid out. This was back in the ’70s before computers and everything was done by hand. When I was in high school, I took a newspaper class and later majored in journalism in college.

Chuck Davis: The International Club at Armijo took a field trip to the San Francisco Zoo. One of the first outdoor exhibits was the giraffe habitat. It was springtime, and apparently springtime in the giraffe world is a time of love and romance. As a busload of teenagers watched, a large male giraffe attempted to share his love with a young female. A lot of the girls began to gasp and cover their eyes. Many hurried away from the scene. Those of us who stayed stood in stupefied awe at nature’s display.

Linda Ueki Absher: In 1975, the Fairfield Suisun School District in their wisdom offered to send us to the American Conservatory Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” The play began and Marc “Beastmaster” Sanger made his entrance in a white tight-fitted tunic and even tighter white tights – with a codpiece. I promptly told my best friend to shut up and spent the rest of the play leaning over the balcony as far as possible to get the best look I could get. When he came back in the second act shirtless, I was not disappointed.

Andy Cooper: Our biology class at Fairfield High went to the tide pools at Stinson Beach. No steamy stories, it was just an awesome experience.

Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at

Tony Wade

Tony Wade

Tony Wade is the slightly older yet infinitely more handsome brother of long-time DR columnist Kelvin Wade

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