Mysterious knife and some local history classes

Thanks to everyone who brought artifacts to the OCHS "Show & Tell Night." I wasn't sure how well this program would work out when we revived it last year, but now I can't imagine not doing it annually. Such amazing stuff!

One of the objects brought on Thursday night was an old ivory-handled knife, brought by Phil Brigandi. Normally, Phil solves everyone else's historical mysteries -- But this time he has a mystery of his own. Nobody knows where the knife originally came from.

"My grandfather, Miner Whitford, found that knife in the 1950s, while preparing the foundation for a home he was building in San Clemente," says Phil. "The family lore was that it must have been from the rancho days. Of course it is not, but it was still one of his favorite keepsakes."

Note the initials "S.O.M." and some of the other fancy details. Do you know much about old knives? What can you tell us about this curious artifact? (Answer in the "Comments" section, below, or via email.)
Diane Ryan is again offering her History of Orange County class at the Oasis Senior Center in Corona del Mar. The class will be held Thursdays 1:30-3:30pm, from Jan. 26 to Mar. 1. The class is $50, plus a $2 material fee. To register, call 949 644-3244 or go to the "recreation classes" section on city's website, and reference class number 684011.

She's also offering a class on California Impressionism (612811) at the Oasis Senior Center, also beginning Jan. 26, and a class on California Regionalism, Art of 1930s to 1950s (085233) at the Huntington Beach Adult School District Office, beginning in April.

Diane is also teaching a class on California Missions (088122), to be held Wednesdays, l:30-3:30pm, Feb. 1 to Mar. 21, at the Fountain Valley Senior Center. The class is $54, with early bird registrants paying $48.

And finally, Diane is also offering a class on Historic Landmarks & Pioneers of Southern California (088133), Wednesdays, l:30-3:30pm, April 25 to June 13, at the Fountain Valley Senior Center. The class is $54. Early birds $48.

I'm not sure how she manages to keep teaching so many classes on such diverse topics, but more power to her! To contact her for more information, email her at