When I was in 5th grade, 1963, my parents discovered that I could not read 1st grade material yet. They took me through extensive testing and I was found to be Dyslexic. After much searching, my parents found Ford Country Day School and the most wonderful head master imaginable, Brent Warner. My father was a scientist for Stanford Research Institute and not at all wealthy but my parents found a way to enroll me in the school with Brent’s help. I repeated 5th grade starting in 1963 and proceeded to graduate from 6th grade in 1965. At that time Brent decided to add a 7th grade and I graduated from the first 7th grade class in1966. Brent then added an 8th grade and I was in the first graduating 8th grade class in 1967. Those four years were the turning point in my life and set me on a course of learning which is to this day a driving force in my life.

This is how the Ford Manor looked when I went to school there

The Morgan Manor which Brent purchased from the Fords who founded Ford Country Day School. Read the history of the Manor in this excellent article in Sandstone & Tile. You will love to pictures!

Here is the school song:

Hey look me over lend me an ear

I’m a Ford School Wild Cat learning through the years

Thirsting for knowledge, having lots of fun

I figure whenever I want to grow the only way is up

and I’ll be up like a wild cat high in a tree

A Ford School wild cat take a look at me

I’m a little bit short of the elbow room so let me get me some

So look out world here I come

My first girl friend, Christy Smith of Woodside Calif. in 7th grade. Christy left after the 7th grade.

First 8th grade graduating class, 1967. This picture was taken in our home room which was the library. Teachers rotated to us, we stayed put. It was said that the blood stain on the floor came from an original family member of the Morgan Manor. This was a very fun year.

I would love to find all of them and any help would be appreciated!

Top from left: John Inman, Selby McCreery, Steve Koch, Vicky Mitchell

Bottom from left: Pat Yaffee behind Billy Noyes, Lucy Harding, Peter ?, Beverly ? I think, Bruce Boughton, Kelly Flanagan

My girlfriend in 8th grade, Selby McCreery from Woodside Calif. Her family moved to Ireland where she completed high school.

This was our 7th grade class, the first ever at the school. Graduating 1966. We were on a field trip to the SS C.E. Dant, a ship named after one of our classmate’s great grand father. John Dant is in the middle of the middle row and his father is next to our teacher Mrs. Spursal (sp?).
I do not remember everyone but here is a try. Selby and Christy did not make the field trip. A very special thank you to Barbara Ettinger who provided me with names that I had forgotten: Back Left: ?, ?, Bruce Boughton, Mr. Dant, Mrs. Spursal, Terry Beacon, Lucy Harding, Barbara Ettinger, Howdy Kirkbride, Cavin Philbin, Philip Kahn

Middle Left: Charlie Baker, John Inman, Steve Koch, Billy Noyes, Gary Reiner, John Dant

Front Left: Ida Ellen Bandy, Abby Carver, Lisa Rasmussen, Kelly Flanagan just behind front row, ?, Wendy Bartlett, ?

If you look at the Christmas program below for 1965, you will see the names of the rest of the class for the most part, I just can not match them up. If anyone has corrections or additions, I would love to receive updated information.

This is the SS C.E. Dant. This is where we were when the above picture was taken on our class field trip.

This is the only class photo I have of our graduating 6th grade class of 1965. There is sun glare and I have tried to clean it up but this is as good as I could get. 

I will attempt at names on this one as well:

Girls Back: Barbara Ettinger, then I do not know the next 4, Pat Yaffee, then I do not know the next 2 girls

Girls Front: Sherry Balestra, Christy Smith, Selby McCreery are the first three girls and I do not know the rest

Boys top left: Philip Kahn, Bruce Boughton, Greg Larzaro, Cavin Philbin, Howdy Kirkbride, and to right Steve Koch, John Inman

Howdy Kirkbride goofing off in our class room in the south front of the manor in 6th grade. I remember English in this room with Mrs. Spursal and French class. Two French teachers quit on us. One left crying after I would not quit goofing off. I felt so bad after that.

This is a copy of the 1965 Christmas program. The Christmas programs were always held in the Great Hall. You can see pictures of the Great Hall in the  excellent article in Sandstone & Tile. Our class was the 7th grade class in this program.

Steve Koch was my best friend for years. This is a picture of him in my bedroom at my house in Palo Alto. The last time I saw Steve was in Seattle in the late 70’s. I believe that he became a fisheries biologist in the Philippines. I have long since lost touch of Steve and would love to reconnect some day. It amazes me how quickly we lose touch with people we care for. That is one reason that I network so heavily now.

This was my 13th birthday at our home in Palo Alto. With me is Christy Smith who was my girlfriend at the time. At 13, I was head and heals in love with Christy as my notes below indicate. Very cute. My nephews Todd and Eric are also with me at the birthday party. Todd is my brothers oldest son, just 2 1/2 years younger than me and Eric 4 1/2 years younger. The picture to the right is in our dining room and the one to the left includes my father and mother as well as Christy, Todd, and Eric.

I was amazed to find that my mother kept these notes that I wrote as a kid. Mothers are great that way.

If anyone that is viewing this Ford Country Day School memory walk has information that you would like to share, please drop me an e-mail at jinman at wetherhaven dot com and I would love to connect. If you network, join me on LinkedIn. Just e-mail me. JI

A memorial to Brent Warner is certainly in order. Brent and his teachers literally turned my life around. As a learning disabled kid, I would have never done well if it had not been for their caring, direction, and help. I have so many wonderful memories of my 4 years at Ford Country Day School between the years of 1963 and 1967. That is one reason that I have created this page to share my memories with others. So many firsts for our class. The first football team. The first tennis on the new tennis courts. The first swimming in the new swimming pool. Being the top graduating class three years in a row. We were a bit spoiled I must say by the end of 8th grade. And so much more. And let’s not forget my first kiss. 

Also did you know that Brent was drafted into the Major League in Baseball and gave that up to buy Ford Country Day School? He also was degreed in Child Psychology and followed his love for kids and that showed in everything that he did. Judith, Brent’s wife, was also a great influence on us during our later years at Ford. As she said to me a few years ago when I talked with her, she was not much older than we were. The last time that I talked with her she was living in Palm Springs and about to be remarried. I contacted her to give her my condolences and thank her for the work that Brent did. I had not realized that Brent had died and was heart broken and wanted to be able to express that to his family. Please see the text of a letter that I wrote to Judith to see what I was able to say to her and her family. I wish them all the very best.