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Living California History

Sidney Drabkin

Posted on November 1, 2019 18:51

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It was a good lesson about California’s Gold Rush era.

When talking to a teacher, who I worked with for the San Francisco United School District, we talk about our 70s field trip to Columbia, California, with 60 children and eight adults. 

One night, during a summer in the 70s, I talked to the Sheriff of Tuolumne County about bringing children from San Francisco to Columbia, California on a field trip. He said, bring them; we'll think something up. If you do, bring them the Friday before Mother’s Day, when we have our Mother Lode Rodeo Roundup and Parade. 

After I discussed the field trip with the principal and the other 4th grade Social Studies teacher, we agreed on the day and trip. We ordered the district bus, and we were told that we would have a big enough bus for both classes. 

The day before our field trip, there was a telephone call from the district that our bus was canceled because district had to use it to take kids to the San Francisco Zoo. We told the district to call the Tuolumne County Sheriff Office and tell them our trip is canceled because you needed the bus to take kids to the San Francisco Zoo, and we hung up—less then 10-minutes later we got another call from the district telling us that the bus will be waiting for us.

We left San Francisco and drove to Sonora, California, and up Highway 49 to Columbia, California. When we entered the Columbia parking lot, we were stopped by eight bandits on horses. and one yelled, Get off the bus!—no one moved. When one of the bandits fired a shotgun the bus door opened and the bus emptied. 

Because two kids were slow getting off the bus, they were put on horses behind a bandit, and taken out of the parking lot—behind them was the sheriff's posse who brought the kids  back minutes later. 

A park ranger walked up and asked us if the kids could help put out a fire that they had in Columbia. We said, yes. The children and ranger walked to the fire and formed a water bucket brigade to put the fire out. After the fire was put out, the rangers took the kids on a tour of Columbia.

When we were having lunch at the bus, (the kids brought their own lunches), three bandits appeared and yelled, Mr. get a gun! We told them we don’t carry guns. A bandit appeared and put a gun on me and said: You have one now!

Another bandit yelled draw! We both drew and fired. The bandit went down, but refused to get up. When he did get up, he said that he split his pants and was embarrassed to get up, in front of the kids. 

When we got back to the school, several chaperones who were on the bus, said: It was a good lesson about California’s Gold Rush era; the children will never forget the trip.

 

Sidney Drabkin

Posted on November 1, 2019 18:51

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Source: Pink Bike

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