While many families have come and gone in the area, the Parker family has made Redlands their family tradition for over a century.
Chris Parker of Highland was born in Escondido but came to Redlands when he was a toddler. His family first arrived in Southern California in the early 1920s.
"My grandfather, Charles Clark Parker, was around 9," said Chris. "At one point, my great grandfather Clark Newton Parker served as mayor of Hemet. My grandfather met my grandmother, Juanita Bernice Hinkle, during or just before WWII when he served as an Air Force pilot. After the war they moved back to Redlands where her family was from with my infant father in 1945/46. He built their first home here by hand out of adobe in the East Valley area on Valencia Avenue. That house is still standing. After various jobs including working/managing the original 76 gas station at 4th & Citrus, he eventually got involved in local politics and at one point served a term as mayor of Redlands in the 1960s. My father Charles Michael Parker grew up in Redlands with his brother John and both graduated from RHS. He is retired and still lives in Redlands with my Stepmother Rose in the southwest part of town in the home where I grew up."
His grandmother's family goes back even further, he says.
"My grandmother Juanita Bernice Hinkle's family moved from Missouri to what is now Mentone around 1910 where they worked as orange pickers and packers. My grandmother was born at Redlands Hospital in 1917 and eventually graduated from RHS along with her two brothers and sister."
The first weekend of June marked the 71st annual Hinkle family reunion at Sylvan Park.
"When I was a kid, the reunion was attended by 100-plus family members," according to Chris. "There's now only about 15 to 20 regulars but we still hold to some of the same traditions started at the first reunion when my dad was just five. There was a great article about that in the Redlands Facts a few years ago."
Five generations later, Chris, his wife Gina, their son Nathan and daughter Caitlyn live in Highland. Nathan became a fourth generation graduate of Redlands schools on Friday, June 7, graduating from Citrus Valley High School. During Nathan's Blackhawk years he took to the pool, playing water polo for Citrus Valley all four years and captaining his junior and senior years.
"It's really cool and something I brag about all the time!" exclaimed Chris. "The Redlands school district is great and is one of the reasons we chose to live in East Highland to raise our children."
At first, Nathan attending Citrus Valley initially left him feeling sour. But knowing it was their closest high school, Chris soon got over it.
"I'll admit that early on, there was a small part of me that would have liked to see the RHS tradition continue, but CVHS is a fantastic school and we couldn't be happier to have him and his sister graduate from there."
Nathan, who plans to attend Los Angeles Trade-Tech College and become a power line mechanic, says he's been more focused on his goals than family tradition.
"I've never really given it much thought until now but I think it is cool that I am the fourth generation to graduate from here," he said.
Despite the family tradition, Nathan's ambitions have him seeking broader horizons.
"I do not plan to raise my kids in Redlands because I would like to eventually live in a beach city or out of state," he says.
That's something Chris said he doesn't mind, as long as Nathan finds his way in the world.
"While it will be sad for us if he moves away, we've always encouraged him to explore the world before he settles down. He knows he will always have a home to return to if he wants."
Caitlyn also attends Citrus Valley where she plays the oboe and kicks it for the Blackhawks' girls soccer team. Caitlyn will be a sophomore in the fall.