Crazy Women Don’t Blog, But What Do They Do?

Hi everyone,

It’s true, crazy people don’t write blogs.  I’ve been crazy busy these last few days.  We are changing staff people at CCSS, and I have answered emails, and tied up loose ends all week in the interim.

loose ends

I got my signed contract for the History of Woodlake book yesterday, and I’ve also been scanning pictures like crazy, and posting them on three different Facebook Woodlake groups.

4th Grade Bike Trip 4_RT

The pictures won’t win any awards, but when I post them on FB, people recognize their tia or tio (aunt or uncle), and other family members, and it’s a lot of fun.  I taught the fourth grade bilingual class in Woodlake in the early 90s.  Aren’t they adorable?

 

 

4th Grade Bike Trip 1_RT

The pictures show the last bike trip we took before the helmet law for bicyclists went into effect around 1993 or 1994.

 

4th Grade Bike Trip 3_RT

The goal was to get to location that hadn’t been disturbed by settlement, where a tribe of the Wachumna Indians, a sub-tribe of  Yokuts Indians, lived in this area.  The Yokuts, yes the ‘s’ is part of the name, was one of the largest tribes in North America.  Food was plentiful, nutritious and easy to gather or hunt.  However, not even missionaries or Spanish soldiers ventured this far east more than once or twice.  Settlers from South Carolina discovered this area in 1853.

 

4th Grade Bike Trip 7_RT

Kids enjoyed walking through a sort-of-cave and looking at the paintings left by the Wachumna.

 

4th Grade Bike Trip 15_RT

The owner of this property, who is in his 80s, remembers seeing them down by Cottonwood Creek.  It’s dry most of the year.  It probably was then, too.

 

4th Grade Bike Trip 10_RT

Wachumna women harvested the many oak trees in the area. Women of all ages sat around the large grinding rock and ground acorns.  You can tell who sat where by the size of the holes in the rocks.  Grandmas had very deep holes.  You can clearly see the deep hole on the back right.

 

 

4th Grade Bike Trip 2_RT

Too soon it was time to bike back to school.

4th Grade Bike Trip 13_RT

Drivers followed in trucks or vans to pick up stray bikes and bikers that broke down along the way.

 

4th Grade Bike Trip 14_RT

I biked behind them taking pictures and hoping that no one would have problems.  And no one did.  🙂

Don’t Read Sad Books, Then Talk On The Phone

The Fault in Our Stars residing in my Kindle is Laurie’s fault.

LaurieShe read it and posted on Facebook how good it was.  When my friend Laurie says anything, I listen because she is smart and fun.  I immediately ordered the book on Amazon, and put it aside to read when I finished reading the boring book, Underworld a Novel.

The boringness of Underworld overwhelmed me on  Saturday. Then thought hit me that the day was too beautiful, and life is too short to EVER be bored.

The back yard 1

Saturday was one of those rare, partly cloudy, 85-90 degree, days in central California.  Vince and I sat by the pool and visited. When we ran out of words, I opened The Fault in Our Stars; he snuck off to take a picture.  The little blob by the pool slouched in the rocking chair with her legs spread apart like Grandma Morris, in her not-long-enough giant-flowered dresses exposing nylons that came up mid-thigh, is me.  In my defense I am wearing a bathing suit, so my thighs should be exposed.

Indianapolis street
I am driving up a street near our former home in Indianapolis, IN.

I’m laughing out loud at the audacity of this sixteen year old Hoosier (in the book).  I am a Hoosier (from Indiana), and it was great reading about a kid that attended my high school, North Central, and drove badly on streets near my home.  These three protagonist children all have cancer, but one of them is hot, hot, hot, according to the girl, Hazel.

Who names their kids Hazel?  Grandma Morris had a sister,  Great-Aunt Hazel, but really, does this author, John Green, know me or something?  It’s so Hoosier.

Hoosiers
Can you find Grandma Morris? Aunt Hazel is probably there, too.

In the book Hazel, age 16, has terminal cancer, and Augustus, the hot one, is cancer free after a leg amputation.  They meet in a cancer support group led by an old guy (probably 21 or so) who is cancer free after losing his testicles, which he talks about at every meeting.  The story bounces around from hilarious to sad, and I had just finished a particularly sad page when Melissa called. Melissa rarely calls me.

“You’ve got to call(a nameless friend of ours),” she orders.   “Her brother and sister-in-law are both expected to die within a few hours, and I can’t reach mom so she can call.  Could you please call her?”

My gut says, “This is not a good idea, Marsha Lee.  You’re crying, two people are dying, and you’re supposed to… say what?”

I’m the emotional one.  Melissa’s mom is the one who gets us out of our funk. I dial my friend’s number from memory.  She is not there.  I have to look up her cell phone.  She answers after a few rings.

“Where are you?” I ask, not knowing what to say, tears lurking in my voice.

“I’m in Utah.”

“Who are you with?”

This is the most eloquent thing I could think of to say at this point.  I’m off base because I know this “secret” about her brother and sister-in-law, but I don’t know if she is in on it.  Tears well up in my throat. I can’t think, let alone talk.  I wish I had listened to my gut.

“A couple of ladies from church.”

I’m at a complete loss.  Does she or doesn’t she know? She doesn’t give me any clues. By this point in the conversation, the pent-up tears wailed out a little.  It turned out that she knew.

“I’ll call you when I get back in ten days, and we can go to lunch,” she cut me short after I stumbled around some more.

“OK,” I replied and hung up.  I never felt dumber and more useless.

Moral:  When tears are in your eyes, wait to call.

Oh, and you’ve got to read The Fault in Our Stars.  It’s amazing.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra, Extra

Extra, Extra

Cousin Hal and I stopped momentarily in New Castle, DE to mark the landing-place of William Penn in 1682. We relaxed in a park on the Delaware River in this tiny historic village, named “Tomakonck,” place of the beaver, by the natives that settled there.   We didn’t see any beavers.  The extra entertainment we found in New Castle lurked in the lower left corner of my camera.

Serious conversation

Who knows what two ducks have to talk about.  But I don’t think it’s much different from any male and female that live in the same place.  His Eminence, the strong silent type, dominated the discussion early on, as Dolly Duck listened… silently, waiting her turn to talk.

Come back here

Sure enough, he quit quacking. Dolly started to speak. Maybe H.E. didn’t hear her.  Maybe he had just used his 10,000 quacks for the day, and it was time for a swim.  I don’t really know because I don’t speak “duck.”

Quacking Up

But the situation seemed vaguely familiar.

For “Extra, extra” reading, click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Room

This is the perfect challenge to tell you about the wonderful interesting room I had in San Francisco a couple of months ago.  I wanted to support these people because they are from the Valley.  In the pictures the rooms look fabulous.

beresford arms_4a

In their defense, I drove in late, and was lucky to get a room.  I got the last available room, and it was in the basement.

SFW SF Beresford

Whoever heard of rooms in the basement? Yes, it had a window.  It was two stories above the ground level.  I know, it confused me, too.  The view was unusual _______.

Beresford2

I didn’t care about outdated wallpaper that didn’t match the vintage of the building.  My worst complaint wasn’t the bath tub.  In fact I looked forward to getting into the spa tub.  Until…

Beresford3

I ran the water.

Beresford4
before Marsha

I didn’t need a soak in tan that badly.  I fell into bed tired and dirty, and after breakfast the next morning decided to just leave.  I phoned ahead for my car because it could take up to 30 minutes to get it.  I went down up to the lobby twenty minutes later, and waited an hour an a half downstairs upstairs.

Beresford5

As old hotels in San Francisco go, this one probably rates better than you might get from my review. My friend Sally rented a brochure room when she stayed there.

 

Book Review: Co-Operative Dreams A History of the Kaweah Colony by Jay O’Connell

Kaweah Colony

If you’ve never seen a tree so wide you can drive your truck through it, then you need to come to the Sequoia National Park.  The Kaweah River surges down from the Sierra Nevada, through the Big Trees, forming the Delta where big agriculture lives in Tulare County.

map

The huge forests that attract thousands of tourists world-wide today, might have been wiped from the map before their secret was discovered were it not for the drama that unfolded in the mountains in the 1880s.

I met author, Jay O’Connell, in the Pizza Factory in Three Rivers on the day Sally Pace and I made ad sales calls for the Kiwanis Magazine, “What’s Happening in the Foothills.”  I went home, and sure enough, I had his book, Cooperative Dreams A History of the Kaweah Colony, in my library, but to my loss, had never taken the time to read it.

Early tent colony where first Kaweah Colony residents settled.
Early tent colony where first Kaweah Colony residents settled.

“Three key issues of the nineteenth-century California history are illustrated by events at Kaweah.” The issues prominent in the 1880s, when the Kaweah Colony formed were: “land and its acquisition; labor and the organization of it; and conservation.  … They are personified by three major characters in the drama of the Kaweah.” Charles Keller found the land, and knew it would be perfect to start the perfect cooperative colony.  Burnette Haskell, son of none other than Eddie Haskell (not from Leave It To Beaver, but very much like him in personality) gave voice to the organized labor movement so prominent in those years.  Finally, Visalia’s own “Father of the Sequoia National Park,” George W. Stewart championed conservation so effectively that the results surprised even him.

More permanent dwellings afforded little protection from the winter weather.
More permanent dwellings afforded little protection from the winter weather.

What I didn’t know was that there was such a mysterious aura around the often-told story.  For fifty years even historians did not know how the park came to be included in a bill that originally reserved only a small portion of the trees for posterity.  Even more amazing was the reason for including the magnificent trees in the preservation act.

O’Connell gently unfurls the story, introducing each character, using primary sources including letters, newspaper articles, and interviews of survivors of the colonies conducted in the 1940s by Tulare County historical expert, Joe Doctor, to authenticate his narrative.

As a student of local history, I found this fascinating, but California’s history, its dream belongs to the world as did the settlers that came in the 1800s.