Edith V. Biggers, Class of 1942

November 28, 2003
Santa Paula High School

James H. and Dessie Cavaness Biggers came to Santa Paula in the early days from Texas.

By B. J. Harding, President, SPUHS Alumni AssociationJames H. and Dessie Cavaness Biggers came to Santa Paula in the early days from Texas. They had eight children, George (Class of 1922), Howard (‘26), James Thomas (‘27), Elizabeth (‘27), Alice (‘30), John (‘35), Frances (‘38), and our subject Edith, Class of 1942.The children grew up on an apricot ranch in Santa Paula Canyon, and memory brings back the family and friends in the pitting shed, run by Dessie. As they were frantically pitting apricots and placing them on the drying trays, they were all singing in harmony and rounds and playing word games to make the time go faster.When winter came, the downpours filled the Santa Paula Creek with rainwater with huge rolling boulders, and muddy, thunderous water caused them to cross the river on a swinging footbridge. For little children, this was a very scary adventure.Mupu School was a great memory, with the incredible Lulu Duncan teaching as well as acting as principal to all the Canyon children in her two-room schoolhouse. This no-nonsense lady gave those children the greatest education they could have received.At SPUHS Edith recalls the dedication of teachers like Henry Hill, Ellen Bailard, Rhe Nelson and Angie Cirino making their lessons so interesting and fun. Friendships for a lifetime were made with her pals, Virginia Bailey and Virginia Young, both of the Class of 1939; Virginia Taft from 1940; Betty Lou Horton, who was in the Class of 1941; and Ila Boles, who was with Edith in the Class of 1942. Barbara Young, Class of 1946, would tag along with her older sister Virginia. These girls were together through their years in high school and in their church life, and have remained friends through the years.
Following graduation from SPUHS Edith attended Pepperdine University for one semester and then transferred to Los Angeles City College, where she graduated in 1945 with a major in Sociology. She immediately went to work as a secretary for the Southern California Gas Company in Ventura, and then in Santa Barbara.In 1956 Edith joined the Foreign Service for the State Department and was sent to the American Embassy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Following this tour of duty, she returned home via a quick vacation tour of Europe and went to work for the Hercules Chemical Company in Los Angeles.Edith was married to Maurice Grandinetti. During this time she worked for the Crown Zellerbach Corporation in Los Angeles, and then went back to the Hercules Chemical Company in their San Francisco office. The couple then moved to San Diego so her husband could complete his master’s degree, and Edith worked for the Small Business Administration and the Supply Division for the U.S. Navy at North Island. They then moved to Virginia and Maryland, where Edith worked for the Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C. Perhaps all this moving around was cause for divorce, and so it happened.Edith now lives in Goleta and runs her small export business of mosaic items from Florence, Italy, and works with her Church of Christ in Santa Barbara with the Seniors Ministry. She still stays in touch with her dwindling family members, and gets together for luncheons with her high school pals whenever possible.

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