Jennifer Hartzell Martin

Profile Updated: April 9, 2020
Jennifer Hartzell
Class of 1963
Residing In: Redwood City, CA USA
Spouse/Partner: Donn R. Martin
Children, Grandchildren: Marriage in 1973 gave me 4 stepchildren: Chris, Robert, Darya, and Anastasia Martin. From them we now More…enjoy 10 diverse grandchildren: Rebekah, Benjamin, Daniel, and Kazy (Chris's 3 children & 2 stepsons); Ross, Taylor, McKay, Audrey, and Nathaniel (Darya's children); and Kayla (Stacy's daughter). In July 2019 Audrey gave us our first great-grandchild, Charlie, (a total charmer). Grandchildren range in age from 16 to 31; all doing well at last count.
Occupation title: Retired; formerly corporate communications manager
Yes! Attending Reunion
Occupation/Career(s) Details:

Went from proofreader to editor to reports writer to communications manager, including print and Web work, nearly all for the same nonprofit group (Originally the "BALLOTS" project at Stanford University, it became the independent, reconstituted "Research Libraries Group" and then just "RLG," before merging into OCLC. I started there in late 1970 -- when I moved back from the East coast; and retired at the beginning of 2006.

Different places I have lived:

Born at 410 El Centro Street, South Pasadena, CA.
In 1962 moved with family to Somerville, then Newark, NJ.
1962-1967 went to Principia Upper School & College in Elsah, IL.
1967-1969 lived in Arlington, Virginia while working in Washington, DC.
In 1970 moved to Palo Alto, CA & have worked/lived in SF Bay area ever after (mostly in San Mateo County -- Redwood City since 2000).

Family history living in South Pasadena:

At various times in the 1930s and '40s my father's family lived in South Pas; my aunt Jessie Hartzell Cooper (deceased) went to SPHS when the girl's daily uniform was a middie blouse and navy skirt. My parents, Kenneth A. Hartzell and Elizabeth L. Hartzell (both deceased) lived first at 410 El Centro, with my older sister Susan and brother Jon. My father remodeled the house on the corner of El Centro and Indiana streets and we moved to 425 El Centro in 1946 when I was one year old. (Dad moved the front door from El Centro to Indiana Avenue, and sometime over the past X years the addressed changed to 1003 Indian.)

During World War II my mother, Betty, drove a school bus. In the 1950s and early 60s she was a cub scout den mother, active in PTA, sang for a while with the Oneonta Glee Club, and was a staunch member of the Christian Science church on Fremont. As Sunday school superintendent, she was a key player in the building of the church extension to house Sunday school classes. Both buildings were acquired by the Holy Family Catholic church at some point after we had all moved away. I never told my mother about this....

My father, Ken Hartzell, was active in the late 1940s - early 1950s in South Pas civic activities. He designed SP's Rose Parade float one year. He was a member of the school board, and was president of the board when they closed the Las Flores elementary school owing to earthquake hazards. (An unpopular move, this got him voted off the board.) He was, particularly, an active scout master in the 1950s and until we moved away in 1962. His scouts became Explorer Post 369. Those scout day dinners in the basement of St. James Episcopal church stay in my memory -- the tuna noodle casseroles with crushed cornflake topping! The cottage cheese -lime gelatine salad!! The Rice Krispy bars!!! (We never had any of these at home.) The annual Scout Day parade and events in Garfield Park; is this still going on?

My sister Susan, brother Jon, and I all went to Lincoln Elementary School (now renamed, sigh), and on through the Jr. High and Sr. High. (We moved to the East coast between my own junior and senior years at SPHS.) Jon and I went to Mrs. Harlan's nursery school in South Pas. Susan was an A student, musical (studied organ at SPHS with Mr. Adams), and artistic. While we were still living in South Pasadena, she went through Principia College in 3 years (1956-1959) and on to Europe to become an interpreter. On return visits home, she introduced us to espresso, croissants, little open-face sandwiches, and wonderful slides of where she'd traveled.

During his time in South Pas schools my brother Jon (he took the h out of his first name in the fifth grade) was an A student, a science buff (including science fiction), and a devotee of jazz (an ongoing interest). In our dad's scout post he achieve Eagle scout level, and I remember him going to Boy's State one year. At the time we moved, he was a sophomore at Principia College. My father, promoted by his company, E. R. Squibb & Sons, started work in New Jersey in early 1962, while my mother worked at extracting us from the house we'd lived in almost 17 years. After a hugh, protracted front lawn and garage sale (I still look in antique stores for some of the things we had to give up!), she, Jon, and I drove across country (first up to Seattle, then east) to our shared experience of small-apartment living.

In South Pas I was a reasonably good student, faced every year with another teacher's high expectations based on Susan's and Jon's performance. ("Oh, you're [fill in name]'s sister, are you?" I did some time in Brownies and Girl Scouts. A favorite place (for all of us) was the South Pas library, which I think was more beautiful before the extensive modifications made since the 1960s. "Downtown" (along Fair Oaks), I went to Saturday morning free kids' shows at the Rialto (the Ritz theater is a dim memory), stood on the X-ray device at Unruh's shoe store, inspected the offerings at the Bookworm shop and lending library, went with friends to Hank's Fish and Chips, accompanied my mother when she bought groceries at the Market Basket, and my dad at the corner drug store. Among the teachers who really engaged my interest with lasting effect were Miss Johnson, who brought Mexico alive for us in 2nd grade, and Miss Warren, whose world history class at SPHS was a revelation for me.

Family members who also went to SPHS:

Sister Susan M. Hartzell, 1939-2017, Class of 1956 (married Fredy Biegel, who died in 2009). She lived & worked in Switzerland for close to 58 years.
Brother Jon K. Hartzell, 1942-2007, Class of 1960 (married Sally Jane Westgard; their daughter, Freyja Hartzell, married in 2004 and has two children now in grade school -- Bjorn and Brynja Hartzell Johnson).
Aunt Jessie Marian Hartzell, 1918-1998, Class of 1936 (married the late Frank Cooper, four children).

Other SPHS graduates I keep in touch with:

Virtually no one -- sorry! I have come to 2 or 3 reunions and wished i'd been able to come to the big one in 2014, but we were traveling in Germany with my older sister Susan and niece Freyja (who had a grant to do further research towards turning her doctoral dissertation into a book -- Jon would have been so proud).

School Memories:

I was dazzled by World History class my Soph. year -- felt so grown up after Jr. High, and really did learn a huge amount there. Miss May Ryman made geometry as good as it could be for me, but I clearly tuned out altogether in trig. On the other hand, I got a kick out of Mr. Gruen's approach to chemistry experiments. Basically, I had good teachers throughout my school life in South Pas -- fortunate.

Also remember Friday assemblies in the SPHS auditorium as fun, esp. Bruce Brown's surfing films and the student talent shows.

In Miss McDonald's English class, I always looked forward to Jeannie Harris's book reports: lots of enthusiasm & action, in full technicolor. Never an athlete, I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed field hockey (was I a right fullback?). Enjoyed playing with Susie Ellison, but when she came down the field towards me as a stick-waving forward, I knew I was way out of my league. (But she was kind.)

Organizations, clubs, sports groups, and other groups I (did or do) participate in (in high school and/or now):

Can't really remember from Soph. & Jr. years -- had moved away before Sr. one, sigh.

As a grown-up, have contributed to lots of causes and services, but was never much of an active joiner. I always thought someday I'd picket something, but it hasn't happened yet.

Milestones & Epiphanies:

Discovering that where you live and who you live with as a child/teenager weighs far more in the balance than longer years spent elsewhere as an adult.

Learning that if you can't stand a book you're reading, you don't HAVE to finish it. (My sister revealed this to me when I got stuck 300 pages into Walter Scott's "Kenilworth.")

Finding out I could indeed work and support myself without flagging.

Marriage, and finding out one month later that I could indeed cook dinner for at least 4 people every night.

Realizing a bit too late that you shouldn't wait to do important things, and should always give your loved ones priority.

[Date] What's happening in my life now:

Retired early, in January 2006. Still happy to be so in April 2020. It hasn't meant catching up with all the deferred projects and intentions accumulated over the years, but has given us the time and ability to read more, go to more music events (mostly opera and chamber music), see family and friends.

We try to drive down to southern California at least once a year to see family there (son in Pasadena, cousins in Arcadia and Newport Coast). It's rare that we don't somehow gravitate to South Pasadena for a stroll or drive-through. I always love coming down.

Somehow, over the past several years, I've spent a lot of time and effort to help family/friends who need help of one sort or another. Very much the case in 2020, even while trying to lie low during the pandemic. Have internalized the saying, "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

Pastimes & Hobbies:

Reading. Small-scale gardening (patio plants). Walking, esp. wildflower walks. Films, including old ones. Art museums.

Experiencing concert music. We go to the Metropolitan Opera's HD broadcasts in movie theaters each year, and spend 3 weeks each July-August going to all sorts of events in the Music at Menlo chamber music festival two towns away from us.

Some international travel over the years, to Europe (quick visits to the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Vienna, Budapest, Prague) and longer stays in Switzerland, near Geneva). Had a memorable week in Turkey in 2002. Before this, a few places in Mexico, South America, and Costa Rica. Plans for a May 2020 trip to Berlin & Bremen canceled courtesy of COVID-19.

Favorite Music, Songs, Bands

Operas: Among my faves are works by Bellini, Verdi, Janacek, Massenet, Richard Strauss, Britten, John Adams. (Love - hate relationship with Wagner.)
Chamber music: Really like the intimate quality and the chance to focus on the interaction of a few closely bound musicians.
Songs: Fats Waller, Tom Lehrer, Oum Kalthoum, Carlos Gardel (hmm, how many are dead?); great popular songs of the 1930s-40s, all sorts of art lieder and other art songs.
Some jazz (thanks to Jon); some symphonic; some "world music."

As I write this, have had so many performances canceled, but music is more essential than ever to well-being. Thanks to Echo and Alexa, we listen daily to KUSC, and in the summers can hear the BBC "Proms" broadcasts from July into September.

Favorite Books, Magazines, Movies, TV etc:

Books: Partial to fiction, especially what's been around for a while; some mysteries; memoirs & biography/autobiography; and travel lit. (I should read non-fiction, but mostly leave that to my spouse, who is much more widely -- and better -- read.)

Our major newspaper (in print) is "The New York Times." Am also a devoted follower of the LA Times' "Essential California" email newsletter, and have enough of a subscription to read linked-to articles in the online paper. Other news sources: NPR, PBS, France-24 in English.

We like small films, foreign films, and older films; mostly watch them on Turner Classic Movies or DVDs checked out from the excellent Redwood City Library. Still like to experience a shared viewing in a movie theater) Still like to experience a shared viewing in a movie theater. (But Laemmle's theater in Pasadena routinely has more interesting movies for us than are ever shown at one time where we live.)

Things about me that you probably don't know.

That would be interesting to anyone?

[Date] What I'd like my classmates to know about me for our next class reunion.

I don't expect to be there ... but I wish just once the stars would align so I could come to one of the all-classes reunions ... in Garfield Park?!?

Additional Comments:

(Surely you jest.)

Jennifer's Latest Interactions

Jun 15, 2021 at 1:33 AM
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Apr 09, 2020 at 11:29 AM