Bonnie Brae Sign

Bonnie Brae Lane

The Bonnie Brae Farm Memory Experience

Welcome to Bonnie Brae Farm for Boys, as it was decades ago. Join us in a memory excursion by the Bonnie Brae Alumni Association which believes that this journey is a worthy venture for alumni, others who lived here, and their friends.

How many times have you been down the lane in the picture above? How long ago? Each of us who lived at Bonnie Brae recalls vividly the first day we saw this majestic lane, often with kids like us on either side in some form of game or sporting activity. For some, this first sighting was a welcome change; for others a dreaded encounter. Yet, we each share that moment of turning off Valley Road and experiencing the Bonnie Brae Lane for the first time. It was the start of an episode that would change our lives forever.

The Lane is most beautiful perhaps each Fall when the leaves change into bright colors and swirl to the ground hurried by the sharp brisk winds that so often sweep across the fields where we played capture the flag behind the cottages, or football in the huge field on the left. Click on the picture above (443 KB) to sharpen your memory about those times---perhaps when you had to walk home after missing the Bonnie Brae bus. At the top of the lane is the main circle with Osborne Cottage on the right and across the road from Osborne on the left was the Dining Hall, now a movie theater. Back then, each morning and evening, or three times a day on weekends and in the Summer, the cottages would empty as we headed to the Dining Hall for meals that were as predictable as the seasons.

  Dining Hall  

The Dining Hall brings forth strong memories, much of it sensory, of clanking sounds from the kitchen, of Grace from the dining room, of grease from scrubbing huge pots and pans. But most of all the smells and tastes associated with being served and eating your fill of fried chicken and mashed potatoes, fresh corn on the cob, spaghetti, succotash, meatloaf, lima beans, ham, and powdered donuts on Sunday mornings. Evening desserts included peach cobbler, fruit cocktail, butterscotch pudding, and cake on special occasions. And who can forget Frank, the cook, or Mrs. Shepherd, usually yelling at someone, or the first taste of power as Head Waiter. It all happened here.

"Friends are the Family that you choose for yourself."

Among the many enduring Bonnie Brae hallmarks are the friendships that were developed and never forgotten. How often over these long years have you stopped for a moment or two to reflect about some old friends, and then wondered what ever became of them?


Osborne Cottage is where many of us started. The two-story Tudor brick buildings were heated by coal in the early 1950s, and in Winter the coal ashes were spread on the ice and snow covered roads. In retrospect, each cottage was kept incredibly clean, both inside and out. Every morning, 365 days a year, each boy had a chore to complete, after making his bed and before breakfast, such as dusting, or cleaning the bathroom. On weekends a more thorough half day cleaning included washing windows or waxing and buffing floors. These chores instilled an enduring work ethic and a shared responsibility.

  Osborne Cottage  

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Address inquiries to the Bonnie Brae Farm Alumni Association President:
George Edw. Seymour.
Or write to George at: P.O. Box 461719, Escondido, CA 92046-1719. (760) 738-6257
Comment about this page should be directed to Alumni Historian, and Webmaster George Edw. Seymour.
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