Prospectors Club finds gold

“I have an iPod,” said 94 year old founding Prospectors Club member Harriet Sawyer. “And I love how great it sounds.”

Sawyer, like her club, is embracing the technology of today. At the 75th annual Prospectors’ club meeting last Friday, the FC Library announced its scrapbook site and participation in the California Digital Collections. Both have dozens of historical photos dating back to the 1930’s, including dozens of Prospector’s club meetings and events.

“Bringing back documents of the past has been a dream of mine since grade school,” said Circulation Librarian Jane Ishibashi, who provided a demonstration of the new site at the meeting.

During the website demo, photos of days gone by led to reminiscences by the eight of 12 living members in attendance, two of which were founding members.

“The bathing suits haven’t changed a bit,” joked geology professor and event organizer Richard Lozinsky, refering to an old photo of swimmers.

“I can name all of those people,” said 95-year-old John Johnson, a founding Prospector that graduated from Fullerton High School and Fullerton College.

Johnson and other members smiled when photos of club advisor and former FC professor Mabel Myers came on the projector.

“The club started on a hike for [Myer’s] geology class on Pala Mountain,” said Johnson. “We were looking for [rocks] and we decided to start a club.”

The Geology Club was started in 1933 and renamed in 1942, when Myers took the opportunity to teach at San Diego State. Despite the move, Myers was a proactive organizer and continued to contact the Prospectors frequently and the club never missed a meeting.

“She used to write us,” said Sawyer. “We’d all come home for the holidays and meet then.”

Myers, who passed away in 1978, bequeathed a part of her estate to the FC Foundation.

“It is important to note that these were students that became successful,” said Foundation Board Member Anthony Florentine. “These [FC] alumni developed these scholarships for our students.”

“Back in 1934, I couldn’t afford the $5 tuition,” Sawyer explained. “Dr. Myers paid it and and had me make covers for our lab’s microscopes. Of course, I didn’t, my mom made them.”

During the meeting’s meal, Prospector Preston Mitchell performed an entertaining repertoire of songs from his mini-harmonica and ocarina, including “Three Trees,” a story-song about hunting a rabbit.

“I learned it from an old 78 R.P.M. record during my college days,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell said he practices many wind instruments, including the tuba and flute.

“I play the tuba twice a week.” Mitchell said. “They give me big lungs which keep me healthy.”

Several prospectors said that the club lives on today with new technological breath in memory of Myers’ dedication to students and geologic education.

“Myers was such a great instructor,” said Johnson. “She gave all of us a fine lesson on the family of rocks.”

With the help of scholarships and digital preservation, the Prospectors predict they will last far longer than 75 years.

“The Internet is really a great thing,” Sawyer said. “We want to keep Dr. Myers’ memory and the great Prospectors alive.”