High School Memories


This page is dedicated to the many memories and memorabilia along our 4-year journey. 

We had so many friends growing up together, we met in school, had classes together, dances, parties and we lived in the same housing tract.  Here is a list of those tracts in Camarillo. Can you find you tract name? CLICK HERE

Do you remember our foreign exchange teacher, Mr. Walkington in 1967. I had him for a history class and won't ever forget what happened.  A fellow student who was branded as a "hard guy' and wore the black steel toed boots.  I can't recall his name but he was sitting in the back of the class. Mr Walkington called on him to read from our book.  He wasn't paying attention so Mr. Walkington scolded him and said to pay attention.  A few minutes later he called upon the same student.  Once again he wasn't paying attention and didn't know where we were in the book.  He called him up to the front of the class and we all waited to see what would happed.  Mr, Walkington gave him a warning and the student said some smart remark back to Mr. Walkington.  Well Mr. Walkington "slapped" him in the face, told him to pay attention and to return to his seat!!! You could hear a PIN drop as I thought he would hit Mr. Walkington yet he returned to his seat!

Ventura County Fair
: From what I recall we had to ditch school for the opening day of the fair.  A year or two later the school district decided to give us that day off due to so many students missing school.  We all loved the rides and the Ag exhibits not to mention checking out the opposite sex..lol. The fair has been moved to the summer time for several years now.  Like most fairs now they also have some really good entertainment.  Here is the line up for the 2009 fair.  http://venturacountyfair.org/pages/3441/

Who can forget the noon movies in the gym.  It took a couple of weeks to see a whole movie but it was fun.  I remember two movies, the fly and Bye Bye Birdie. Do you remember the Rice Kryspies who performed for us in the gym.  It was the "Rice Brothers, Joe, Jim & Wayne along with their band.  They later went on to become one of the biggest bands know as "BRUSH ARBOR".  They played on many TV shows such as the Smother's Brothers, Johnny Cash, Hee Haw and many others.

History of Brush Arbor

Okay, here’s the short version of how the band Brush Arbor came into existence:

We three Rice brothers (Wayne, Jim and Joe), and Wayne’s wife, Marci Rice, had a 1960’s-era bluegrass/folk group called “The Rice Kryspies”. We had been together for about 4 years, playing mostly camps, coffee houses and churches around Southern California. We also had a drummer whose name was Pat Stevens. We imitated our musical heroes, the Dillards, which is why we had a drummer. The Dillards had a drummer, so we did too. Jim began playing pedal steel guitar in the late sixties, so we were able to add that ”country” sound to our bluegrass.

In the fall of 1971, Marci decided she didn’t want to play bass anymore, since she was about to give birth to her first child. So we began looking for a replacement bass player. We knew of a Christian bluegrass band called Kentucky Faith (in the Pasadena area), that we heard were breaking up. So we contacted their bass player, Dave Rose, to see if he’d be interested in joining up with us. He auditioned and brought along Kentucky Faith’s lead singer, Ken Munds. We jammed a little and decided to also ask Ken to join our band. Ken’s lead vocals really had that country sound we were looking for and Jim, who had been singing most of the lead until then, enjoyed sitting down to play pedal steel guitar.

We decided to now change the name of the group. We first came up with “The Country Church”. After playing one or two dates with this name, we decided to change it because it sounded too much like a gospel group. We wanted to be a country group, not just a gospel group. Gospel groups only played churches and Christian events. We wanted to play everywhere we could. So we changed the name to Brush Arbor. We got the name from the “brush arbor meetings” we heard about in Tennessee (where our family is from). These were temporary country churches, set up for revivals and gospel singing. We didn’t think anyone would know what a brush arbor was, and we could disguise our Christian roots a bit with that name.

Early in 1972, we heard about an amateur talent contest called “Country Star” held in San Diego sponsored by country radio station KSON (AM 1240). There were no prizes offered, other than the chance to be on the radio (the contest was going to be broadcast live). We entered the contest and won. One of the judges just happened to be a producer from Capitol Records. Next thing we knew, we were in the studio cutting our first single, a song that we had performed on the talent show…”Proud Mary” (a cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival hit).

The single was released a couple of months later, and before long we were hearing “Proud Mary” on the radio. Radio station KLAC in Los Angeles was the first to jump on it and start playing it…a lot! We were really excited. The song soon debuted on the Billboard Country charts and we were on our way. A second single was released called “Brush Arbor Meeting” (which kind of blew our cover as a Christian band). Surprisingly, it did even better. An album was then released which got very good reviews all across the country. In the summer of 1972 we made our first Grand Ole Opry appearance. We started appearing in concert tours with some of our heroes: Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Marty Robbins, Waylon Jennings, Charlie Rich, the Everly Brothers and many others. Pat Stevens (our drummer) quit the band that summer because he didn’t want to tour and was replaced by our friend (and a great musician) Dale Cooper.

This version of Brush Arbor stayed together for about two years. Wayne left the band in February of 1974, the same month we won the Academy of Country Music award for Vocal Group of the Year. Shortly thereafter, Ken Munds also left for a solo career. Jim now became lead singer again and played 5-string banjo and guitar rather than pedal steel. Brush Arbor went on, leaving Capitol Records moving on to Monument, Word, Myrrh, Light and Benson. Because Jim was the primary songwriter and lead singer, gospel music was the band’s mainstay. Several songs charted on Billboard’s Positive Country charts and the band ended up staying together for almost 30 years. The band members with the longest stay in the band were Jim and Joe Rice, Dale Cooper, Dave Rose, and Kevin Watkins. The last version of Brush Arbor was Jim Rice, Dale Cooper, Kevin Watkins, Brad Carr, Gordon Jenewein, and Steve Lawrence. Their farewell tour ended in December of 1999.

After a seven-year hiatus, Brush Arbor has been resurrected! With the same line-up of musicians, Brush Arbor played their first concert on September 1, 2007. They have already booked a number of dates into 2008; keep checking this website for an event near you!

This is the band Brush Arbor performing "Let's All Go Down to the River" on a Johnny Cash TV Special aired in December 1973. Features Ken Munds, Jim Rice, Joe Rice, Wayne Rice, Dale Cooper and Dave Rose.

YouTube Video


Brush Arbor was a guest of Johnny Cash on his NBC TV Special in December 1973. Other guests on the show included Bill Monroe, Larry Gatlin, Tanya Tucker, the Statler Brothers, Tommy Cash, Mother Maybelle Carter and the Carter Family, Carl Perkins and the Tennessee Three.

YouTube Video


The Rice brothers (Jim, Joe and Wayne) occasionally pick and sing together after their collective years in the award-winning group Brush Arbor. Now, however, the brothers have gone back to their roots of bluegrass and “unplugged” acoustic music with those signature harmony vocals that won them Vocal Group of the Year by the Academy of Country Music, back when they recorded for Capitol Records.

From performances on the Grand Ol’ Opry and touring with Johnny Cash, to concerts at Saddleback Church and Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton, it never mattered to them. The message is always the same, and the music is just fun.


Randy played Major League Baseball with the San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants & finished with the Oakland Athletics. Debut: September 10, 1972  Final Game: June 28, 1980

I first met Randy when I moved to Camarillo in 1960 as he lived around the corner from me.  We played baseball every waking moment when we were kids.  We would build out own baseball fields and play until dark and then some.  We played Little League, Pony League and so on.  Randy continued to excel and in High School was being scouted by many of the Big Leagues.  I remember in 1969 we played in the CIF finals at Camarillo High School against El Monte High.  You might recall that the high school baseball field was by the freeway onramp.  Randy hit a home run that went over the outfield, over the football field and into the cement football stands.  What a shot it was as it was the longest ball ever hit at Cam High. In the later innings El Monte brought their center fielder in to pitch the last couple of innings.  The center fielder ended up being Fred Lynn who later went on to play centerfield for the Boston Red Sox.

Randy was drafted in the 1st round of the draft picks and made it to the San Diego Padres in 1972 - 1974. Randy had his share of injuries off and on as he ended up the the Giants in 1977. It was during Spring Training in 1977 that Randy was on fire.  He put up such great numbers they still talk about him today and in many news articles. This was from one of those articles. "Spring training has never mattered, other than to the occasional Randy Elliott, who hit .547 for the Giants in spring training of 1977"!  I recall one game Giants game against the Dodgers where I was able to be on the field with the Giants during warmup.  Randy introduced me to such greats as Vida Blue & Willie McCovey.  I was invited to their club house where they had a huge spread of food.  The experience was great meeting so many of the Giants. I recall the 2am phone call from Randy as he was on his way to the Oakland A's.  Billy Martin had called Randy and asked him to join them in Oakland.  Randy spend one season with the Oakland A's before he left baseball.  He later went on to coach at Camarillo High School and some of the minor league teams in Oregon. He also provided private lessons to many of the kids in Ventura County.

Randy Elliott

Giants' spring phenom of '77 didn't enjoy a fairy-tale career


Steve Kroner, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Randy Elliott hit .547 during the spring of 1977, earning a spot on the Giants' Opening Day roster.

Just as surely as March brings St. Patrick's Day and the NCAA Tournament, for years it brought reporters' calls to Randy Elliott.

"It's been three or four years since I got one, though," Elliott said with a laugh during a phone interview earlier this month.

Seemingly every time a relatively obscure player would light up the Cactus League, Elliott explained, writers would try to contact him. That's because for some people, the words "spring-training phenom" are interchangeable with "Randy Lee Elliott."

In 1977, after sitting out the previous 1 1/2 seasons because of shoulder and rib injuries, the outfielder took over the Giants' spring training with a performance that bordered on mythic.

In a March 16, 1977 Chronicle story headlined "Elliott Homers; Average .692, " Bob Stevens had this lead:

Day by day in every way, Randy Elliott looks like this spring's Cinderella story.

"I knew if I hit .400, I wouldn't make the team," recalled Elliott, 51. He hit quite a bit better than .400; his spring average ended at a mere .547 (29- for-53, with 18 extra-base hits).

When you look at Elliott's career major-league stats (.215, 8 HRs, 35 RBIs in 114 games over four seasons), you're left wondering how in the world he managed such an eye-popping spring.

"My (left) shoulder stayed in the whole time," he said matter-of-factly. "When my shoulder was healthy, I could play."

In their first-ever draft, the Padres selected Elliott in the first round in 1969. He made his major-league debut with San Diego in September 1972 and had another short stint with the Padres in '74. However, the shoulder injury he incurred while taking a swing in winter ball after the '72 season and a 1973 rib injury combined to derail his career.

Following the '76 season, Elliott persuaded the Giants to sign him to a Triple-A contract, and then he willingly went to the Instructional League. He made an impression on Giants fixture Hank Sauer, who was running the IL team.

"(Sauer) thought I could do everything," Elliott remembered. "He thought I was the next Joe Hardy or Roy Hobbs."

Elliott's 1977 regular season, though, was hardly the stuff of those stage and screen characters. He began the season in a left-field platoon with Darrell Evans. That platoon didn't last long.

In the second game of the season, in his first plate appearance, Elliott was hit on the shoulder by a pitch from the Dodgers' Doug Rau. In Elliott's next at-bat, he felt the shoulder pop loose on a swing. Soon, he lost his grip on significant playing time.

Elliott batted .091 in April. He did come around, finishing the year with a .240 average, 7 homers and 26 RBIs in 167 at-bats. His fondest memory: a pinch- hit grand slam off the Reds' Fred Norman.

The Giants released Elliott after the '77 season, and he didn't play in '78 or '79, but he had one more comeback, this time with the A's.

At the beginning of spring training in 1980, he spent the night in his van at Scottsdale Stadium (then the site of the A's camp), intent on meeting new manager Billy Martin in the parking lot. It took a little doing, but Martin agreed to give Elliott a shot.

Elliott, too embarrassed to let the club know he didn't have a place to stay, spent about another week sleeping in the van. Then one night he went into the team's hotel bar and Martin spotted him.

"He asked where I was staying and I finally told him. Then he ripped off (three) $100 bills, gave 'em to me and said I was getting the same (things) as everybody else."

When Elliott got his first paycheck from the A's, he tried to return the $300 to Martin. Elliott said that Martin's response was, "Get the flock out of here," or something to that effect.

Elliott endeared himself to Martin in the Cactus League, but Martin said he couldn't persuade owner Charlie Finley to keep Elliott on the major-league roster. Martin told Elliott to go to Triple-A for 10 days and then he'd get recalled to the big-league club.

After about two weeks, with no recall in the offing, Elliott decided to call it quits and went to his Southern California home. Then in mid-May, A's coach Clete Boyer called Elliott, saying Martin wanted him to join the A's in Kansas City that night.

But with his shoulder problem flaring again, Elliott couldn't do much in his final big-league go-round: He went 5-for-39 (.128) in 14 games as a designated hitter. By the end of June, his major-league career was over.

In the two decades since then, Elliott has owned and operated (with his wife, Joi) a day-care center in Utah, has been a teaching assistant for special-ed children, has done some part-time scouting for the Cardinals and has been a coach for several teams, including the Camarillo High School freshmen and, in 1997, the A's Class-A club in Medford, Ore.

Today, Elliott lives in his hometown of Camarillo (Ventura County) and gives private lessons to ballplayers. He has four children and six grandchildren.

You don't often hear the phrase "He can tell his grandchildren about that" regarding spring-training performances, but you couldn't begrudge Randy Elliott if he regales his grandkids about what he did in the 1977 Cactus League.

E-mail Steve Kroner at skroner@sfchronicle.com.


This article appeared on page B - 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle

1972 San Diego Padres Roster

1977 San Francisco Giants Roster


1980 Oakland Athletics Roster


Many of you will remember our classmate Bob Gamble.  Unlike Joe Rice and Randy Elliott who were on TV and constantly in the news Bob has followed a different road. Bob has given his life to helping children living on the streets in Odessa, Ukraine. He is a Presbyterian Minister living in Odessa, Ukraine. He is the Director of "This Child Here", a non-profit that raises funds and designs programs for street children and children in orphanages in Ukraine. 


In the September of 2005, as pastor of The First Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) www.fpcdaytona.org of Daytona Beach, Florida. I traveled to Ukraine and volunteered at a shelter for street children in Odessa. I met the staff and photographed children on the streets who are served by the agency, The Way Home. The Way Home provides housing, food and education for children who live in their dormitory. The Way Home also maintains a street patrol in which food and medical care is given to children who live under the streets and in the abandoned buildings and parks of Odessa.

In February 2006, I returned to Odessa and The Way Home. My photographs were on exhibition during that week as means to increase awareness of the plight of homeless children. I returned again in May 2006 to make donations, to learn more about where these children live and how best to serve them.

On these trips, I met more people than I can remember. I have email addresses and phone numbers of , Eastern Europeans, of aid workers from Non-Governmental Organizations ( NGO'S), of travel agents, rental agencies and pastors taken so quickly in a cab or on the street, that I look in my notebook and say, "Now who is that?" I met the desperate and the rich, the crazy and the beautiful. I saw scenes that awed me and conditions too shocking for tears. In October, 2006, I resigned as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church and moved to Odessa.

Living here, I never get bored. Each day, I walk the streets or stick out my hand and ride in the cars of strangers (any personal vehicle can be a taxi). I can spend as little as $1.75 in a restaurant, or less on a street corner. I often feel the tingle of risk, the warmth of doing a good thing and the presence of God in both good times and bad. I am learning how much I can do, how much I can feel, how to let go of stuff I have lost and move on following mistakes, how to ignore stupid people, listen for wisdom and keep hope stubbornly alive. I know I cannot help every child, but I can help this child right here.

I believe that many people would like to give to children in need and know that the funds they give will be used wisely. This Child Here is a small and very personal non profit organization. We pledge to do our best on your behalf with the funds you provide.

Grace and Peace,

Robert D. Gamble, D.Min


Dr. Robert Gamble, D.Min. Th.M.
cell in states  828 301 7104
in Ukraine  +380636117928


The best estimates are 140,000 children live on the streets of Ukraine. In a country with a population of fifty million, it may seem a small percentage, but the number is still staggering. Street children survive by living in groups with their own laws. They wash cars, carry things, beg, steal, and become prostitutes. They don't go to school; they have no time, no friends and no documentation. When they are not begging or making money or sleeping, some inject themselves with drug store chemicals or squirt glue into a plastic bag and inhale.



These are just a few of the many pictures you can see on Bob's Blog.  Please take the time to check out Bob's heartfelt mission.


If you would like to help Bob and his children you can donate here. Just click on DONATE

This Child Here


How to Achieve a Heaven on Earth is a book of 101 essays by some well known people like Barack Obama, George Bush, Al Gore, Tony Blair, Ted Turner, Walter Wink and Thomas Friedman, some unknown people like me (Bob Gamble '69). It is for the most part, about good people trying to do a good thing. As the promotional says, ".... Focusing on the large problems of the world without losing sight of the little challenges people face every day, this collection of essays encourages readers to find meaning in their own lives and share it with others for the betterment of the world. Religious and secular, liberal and conservative, old and young, the luminaries who have contributed to this work offer their voices and thoughts to inspire movement toward creating a more harmonious world community."

It's available through Amazon or Barnes and Noble. I have a copy and I have been reading it; some of the most interesting essays are by people you never heard of. Bob Gamble '69.   www.thischildhere.org

Christian the lion belonged to our classmate John DiVito who purchased him in 1972.  Christian was a male African lion who was born at the Oakland Zoo and was one of three cubs born there.  When John got Christian he was less than 10 pounds.  He was so cute as he would stalk you like he was a grown lion.  He loved to play and run around the yard.  As he grew he had an enormous appetite as he devoured 15 to 20 lbs of chicken necks at a sitting.   I would get the big boxes of chicken necks from Von's for almost nothing.  The chicken necks were perfect for Christian as they don't splinter. In case you were wondering Christian was de clawed so he couldn't hurt you. 

At the time I was working the 3rd shift at Von's so every morning John would drop Christian off at my home on Rosewood Ave.  He would chain him to my backyard tree.  When I got up we would play in the backyard with my Golden Retriever. On the day of this picture I took him out to the front yard while I did the yard work.  It was funny to watch the people driving down the street do a double-take of Christian.  Who would ever think they would see a lion in the front yard in Camarillo.  One day I took him home in my 55 Chevy to John's house in the Heights.  We I put him in the front seat which was a big seat until he got in...lol. I pulled onto Las Posas Road and there were two ladies who pulled along side of us.  Their jaw dropped in amazement and then they immediately broke into laughter. 

John would drive around Camarillo with Christian in the back of his pick up truck.  He had built a bar type cage for Christian which was quite a site.  The county was after John to take Christian out of the county due to their concerns. John kept Christian for several years as he was well over 500 lbs when John took him to Lion Country Safari in Orange County. I felt very fortunate to have the opportunity to play with him and see Christian grow up into an incredible Lion.  As you can see in the picture below he was starting to get him mane.