Robert Huss - Riverside 1964 - 1968


At Divine Word Seminary (high school) in Riverside California, we usually made a school yearbook. Since I was the photographer for it in senior year, we were looking for something significant to post in it.  

Some previous photos over the years were taken of the huge wooden cross, which the school mounted on top of our nearby hill. So, our class decided to spell out the school initials “S.V.D.” on the same hillside but do it with flaming torches held by the students at dusk. Note that there was sagebrush growing everywhere on the hill. So, we hiked up the hill with rags fastened on sticks, some diesel fluid and a box of matches. (Doesn’t this already sound dangerous?) We estimated that the torches would stay lit for around 2 minutes while the photograph was taken.

The good news was the picture came out. The bad news was several fire departments from the city of Riverside thought there was an out-of-control fire in the foothills, and fire-engines came roaring in from all directions. We proceeded to extinguish the torches and checked the neighboring bushes for loose sparks, and came down to see what all the excitement was about. As far as we know, nobody got in trouble and we proudly posted the picture in our yearbook.

Moral of the story, “Don’t assume teenagers know all the consequences.”


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