Rhizomia Booms, Box 56, 1947


The date on box 56 is Nov 14, 1947. Joel had a busy November that year.

Few images in this box are football related.

Fresno-Pacific, 1947

Not sure what the next two image signify, I just assume they were taken at the end of a game. The last image was published in the 1948 Naranjado in the “Big Days” section.

Pacific Bell, 1947 (Printed)
Pacific Bell, 1947. (Printed and published in 1948 Naranjado)

The rest of the image I believe all belong to the same event, the “Rhizomia Dance, Friday, Nov 14, 1947.”

PomPom Village, Indiana Jones style train track into the jungle, COP, 1947

Joel photographed this entrance at least 3 times, this image is the only reference in the 1948 yearbook Naranjado to this event, for very obvious reasons.

There’s always food on these events …

Robert E. Burns, center, Nov 14, 1947, COP
More participants, Nov 14, 1947, COP
More participants, different lighting, Nov 14, 1947, COP

And we don’t know what came first … the decorated house, or the dinner ? We can’t even be sure this is the exact same day or crowd, but i’m leaving it in this lineup till more evidence to the contrary pops up.

The image below gives us an inkling of what PomPom Village is all about . There’s a friendly (?) jab at Omega Phi Alpha fraternity in this pot !

Foo Foo Stew, Rhizomia or Rho Lambda Phi, Nov 14, 1947.

The decorated house contests and associated parties are legendary if one follows Pacific Weekly, the student newsletter. I couldn’t find any details for this period, as late 1947, or 1948, Pacific Weekly is not online at the digital download Holt-Atherton Collection section of UOP.

The rest of the (removable) house decoration images don’t leave much to the imagination what the subject is for that day.

Rhizomia, house decorating contest and party, 1947, COP
Rhizomia Booms, Party, 1947, COP

It’s safe to say that sensitivities have changed over the last 75 years. Joel is using a two light setup in these images to ensure proper lighting. One reflector is visible in the lower left corner and the power chord for this set-up runs to the wall.

The “Powder Rooms”, Rhizomia Booms Party, 1947, COP
The door to the “Powder Room”, Rhizomia Booms Party, 1947, COP
Inside the “Powder Room”, Rhizomia Booms Party, 1947, COP

The friendly rivalry and jesting between fraternities and living groups is obvious.

What happens in the sandbox, stays in the sandbox, Rhizomia, 1947, COP

Two images with the players below, the last one is the only image from the event itself that was copied or printed.

Rhizomia and dates, Nov 14, 1947, COP
Rhizomia and dates, Nov 14, 1947, COP (Printed or copied)

And then there was music !

Vernon Alley Trio with Vernon on bass, Jerome RIchardson on sax and Bob Skinner on piano, 1947, COP

Vernon Alley (1915-2004) was a prominent jazz bassist who attended San Francisco State in 1940 where he met the Zech family (father William and son Norman) who were big in the local music scene.

Norman, just a year older than Alley, was the string teacher and orchestra director of the College’s Summer Music Workshop that provided music instruction to San Francisco high school students for nominal fees.

Norman Zech taught Alley the fundamentals and fingering techniques of playing the bass that would serve him very well in his career.

Vernon played with Saunders King, the Lionel Hampton band, and Count Basie early on in his career.

There are two images left in this box that I believe are from the same event. I can’t exclude however that the last images was taken at other decorated fraternity house during the same time. I’m missing connecting subject material.

First image, the Ring Nose Crew, is clearly associated with the PomPom Village. Quite a few of the names could match Rhizomia characters.

The Ring Nose Crew, Rhizomia Booms, 1947, COP
Entrance to a decorated fraternity house ? 1947, COP

Last image shows Tully Knoles on his horse, with a football in his hand, and a bunch of stuffed onlookers in the bleachers.

This Rhizomia Booms party subject material is in line with what we’ve seen for “More COP Parties, Box 44, 1948” blog post. Including quite racy drawings on the wall.

In this “Box 44” blog post are three images showing an after-party (1948?), this party probably plays in a basement with the very Tiki subject mural painted on concrete walls.

Mostly likely the Rhizomia house had their own hangout there. There is continuity in this story.

The first reference to a “Rhizomia Booms” party I could find online, dates back to the Naranjado of 1887, so this was established tradition to play hard outside the box.

Cheers !


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