Grand Opening for a New Museum

I stepped out of the museum yesterday with Mr. Tom Sweeney, a Woodlaker whose family has been in Woodlake since the 1870s, who had come in so I could record his oral interview for any future books and for the museum archives. We struggled to get the chain strung across the new driveway.

A stranger drove by, rolled down his window, and asked, “Are you ever going to open the museum.”

“Tomorrow,” I told him, “is our grand opening from 12:00-4:00.”

“It’s a date!” he called back smiling as he waved then rolled his window back up.

I love Ben Reynoso's hat. He monitored everything at the VIP opening.
I love Ben Reynoso’s hat. He monitored everything at the VIP opening.

Few people have any idea how much time it takes to gather artifacts and pictures, sort them into some kind of an order so that together they tell a story, and then arrange them in the space provided.

Marcy Miller explains to the donors the work involved. They will soon understand why it took two years to open the museum.
Marcy Miller explains to the donors the work involved. They will soon understand why it took two years to open the museum.

Trust me it is a momentous task. Marcy Miller, almost single-handedly, set out to do this work to honor her parents and the other families that had come to Woodlake to make this a community. She had the help of one friend,Debbie Eckenfel. I went in to help once or twice, but I was clumsy, and was just in the way more than I helped. They were precise, and my eyes prevent me from doing anything exact – even with glasses.

Each case represents hours of thought and work.
Each case represents hours of thought and work.

They trimmed pictures, mounted them, put them in frames, arranged tables, brought in the big displays, went to Woodlake Hardware and picked up more antiques that had hung on the walls for probably fifty years.

Where did they ever skate in Woodlake?
Where did they ever skate in Woodlake?

Morris Bennett, owner of the store for over fifty years, retired from Woodlake Hardware at age 92 and donated them to the museum. Marcy and Debbie rearranged them on large display boards. They set a pair of skates on a pupil’s wooden desk from the same time period. They stacked and separated, stood back and examined, and rearranged. They recorded each item in a spreadsheet, first writing each entry by hand as they handled it.

Rudy Garcia could hardly contain his excitement. His enthusiasm is so contageous.
Rudy Garcia could hardly contain his excitement. His enthusiasm is so contagious.

It has taken two years after the museum building was completed before it was ready to open. People got impatient. They wanted to see inside. Marcy and Debbie kept working. Rudy Garcia, President of the Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce, added some farm equipment he had received from folks in Red Banks. Agriculture is the major industry of our county, but in Woodlake, “We R Agriculture,” my own new name of us. We grow oranges and raise cattle. Our major claim to fame is the Woodlake Rodeo, which is famous nation-wide. Slowly people donated money to build the building and items to display inside.

Cool cars admired the beautiful new Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum.
Cool cars admired the beautiful new Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum.

Monrovia Nursery donated all the plants outside the building. There was no fence around the building and kids skate boarded over the plants destroying all of them. Cruz-ta-Welding donated a beautiful fence around the building so kids couldn’t do that anymore.

Andrew Glazier and his wife admire the inside of the museum too.
Andrew Glazier and his wife admire the inside of the museum too.

Andrew Glazier doesn’t have a lot of money, but he loves Woodlake. He is a local landscaper who believes in using native materials. He donated all the materials to redo the landscaping. He comes when no one is looking and puts in more bark, and evens out the land. He sweeps the new parking lot so not a single piece of bark remains, then he locks the chain so cars can’t drive and leave dirty marks on the new cement. He gets everything ready for the Grand Opening.

Carl Peden, so vibrant at the Museum VIP opening, passed away two days later on President's Day. We all mourn his passing.
Carl Peden, so vibrant at the Museum VIP opening, passed away two days later on President’s Day. We all mourn his passing.

The museum was not alarmed. Some people, like me, were afraid to bring items of value to put in the building.  Now the building is safe and alarmed. Mr. Peden donated the jacket he wore to pilot Air Force #1. Took it off right after he spoke at the VIP donor opening event.

Carl Peden talks to John Wood, the builder of the Museum.
Carl Peden talks to John Wood, the builder of the Museum.

Marcy and Debbie want everything to look just right for the Grand Opening. They come and mop all the floors and dust all the displays.

Native basket weaving won't become a lost art. Jennifer will be teaching classes to preserve it.
Native basket weaving won’t become a lost art. Jennifer will be teaching classes to preserve it.

Jennifer Malone comes with her family to lovingly place baskets, valuable as collectables, into the glass cases so the public can see the amazing designs from the Yokuts Indians who lived in Woodlake for centuries before American and Mexican people ever saw it. I heard laughing across the hall coming from the basket room.  After most of the guests had gone,  I had to go investigate to see what had been so much fun.

Everyone crowds around the basket room door to play Marie Wilcox's dice game.
Everyone crowds around the basket room door to play Marie Wilcox’s dice game.

Jennifer’s mother, Marie Wilcox, brings her walnut dice with sparkly shells embedded in the center so we can play Wukchumni games. If you roll five with the center up, you get two sticks. If you roll seven, you luck has changed and you have to give up sticks. When all the sticks are gone, you take your opponents sticks, and they take yours. It’s a do or die game. I won!  I jumped up and down and cheered. Everyone looked happy for me. No one brushed all the sticks and walnuts off the table. We laughed and laughed and hugged and hugged.

It looks heavenly, doesn't it?
It looks heavenly, doesn’t it?

Our Grand Opening is today. I can’t wait to see who will come.

 

Unforgettable Show

Foggy night in London

It was a dank and foggy eve,

A perfect night for London theatre.

The stairway couldn’t have been narrower

And farther up than you’d believe.

Voilá, a view seat – “Hey, qui vive!”

Plopped in front of me a beehive coiffure!

It was a dank and foggy eve.

A perfect night for London theatre.

beehive

Phew, a ton of spray in her upheave!

A smoke to cope, I lit the tobacco cylinder.

My lighter – a torch, and I the unwitting emblazoner.

Her hair ablaze, I quickly took my leave.

It was a dank and foggy eve.

 

A friend told of his Navy days during a break in England in the 1960s. He remembered this night fifty years later. I hope someone extinguished her fiery hair before any major damage took place.

I wrote the poem as a rondel, a thirteen lined French style poem begun in the fourteenth century writing in northern France. It follows a strict rhyming patterns with only two sounds.

Thought you all might like a break from my blogging blog posts for a minute.

Exciting things in my life this week:

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Grand Opening of the Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum on Saturday.

Donation Drawing Maui

Donation tickets (we call them) to win an all expenses paid round trip to Hawaii for two. If you would like to support the Woodlake Museum, by purchasing a ticket, email me tchistorygal@gmail.com

 

 

 

Blog Management Solutions

HELP!  I want to blog, but I’m out of time! My life is a roller coaster!  What can I do? There is hope, and I’ll share not ten, but eleven ideas that have helped me.

SFW Santa Monica155r

Passionate bloggers have something to say to the world. The world, or at least a very small fraction of it, wants to connect and interact, increasing the desire and commitment to blog. Experts convinced me that I needed to write daily, or at least consistently, to attract my fair share of people to my blog. V calls that market share. SO TRUE!!!

When I started blogging, I drove myself to do publish daily, and life became a balancing act, not to mention some of my posts were kind of cruddy, Yeah, I own up to it! Not to mention the bags under my eyes were becoming scary.

Even so, I am passionate about blogging because it has changed my life, but what do I do when the rest of my life dictates that I spend my time in other ways? Just like I did when I worked full-time, I struggle to maintain a balance between blogging and the rest of life. AND SO DO YOU! There just are not enough hours.  So here are some tips I’ve picked up over the years.

  1. Shop for the best and fastest internet service. Poor Internet service can discourage your blogging quicker than any other obstacle. I’m happy to report that ours has improved over the years.
  2. Prioritize, unless blogging is your job, not just your passion, it sometimes has to take second or third place.
  3. Write shorter posts. Write about what you are doing.
  4. Publish your to-do list so people will feel sympathy. That’s the ugly side of my personality. I crave praise, and blogging changed my life because a small group of people continued to support me in that need.
  5. Blog (reading and writing both) as a reward to yourself after you complete tasks.
  6. If you can’t read all the blogs to which you subscribe, visit those who have troubled to comment on your blog.
  7. Scroll the reader, scan articles, and at least press like on blogs you enjoyed.
  8. Blogging is you. Write when you can, and do not beat yourself up when your life interferes.
  9. Write several posts when you have time, and schedule them spacing them several days apart.
  10. Keep a to-do list handy so you can cross off what you accomplished and celebrate.
  11. Make draft posts of your ideas, instead of writing your ideas on a scrap of paper. Then you’re ready to go when you start writing again.

How are you keeping up with blogging and life?

 

Because of Blogging

#amblogging

I switched to a MacBook Pro from an old Toshiba laptop in preparation for my retirement from teaching and administration. I have been trying to clean my A S D and E keys because I thought they collected lint in the center, just like my Toshiba. I tried to pick the lint out with a pin. It frustrated me that they did not get any clearer. I must be dense. During the day the keys look about like my Toshiba keys. They are just keys. At night I turn on a light to type so I don’t burn my eyes out, so I have not noticed much difference. Tonight I got up in the middle of the night and stared down at the computer like I always do before I turn on the desk lamp. For some reason something hit me. I turned the lamp back out. The keys on my computer are blurry because the blue apple light that lights up the keyboard is shining through them. They are worn out. Blogging is addictive.

 

Images of America Woodlake Sales

I’m not a famous blogger or writer, except in Woodlake, the tiny town in Central California where I live. My fame is new – since August 2015 when my Arcadia Publishing book came out, Images of America Woodlake. Even now I can stand right next to the book or this lovely poster made by my Kiwanis friend, Lauri Polly, and talk to someone in a business office, and they don’t recognize me. For example I walked into the grocery the other day and offered to autograph the books they had for sale in the window.

“You’re the author?”

The young man’s voice behind the manager’s window sounded skeptical . He looked like he was about 20. Age has nothing to do with this, but I could smile instead of being insulted. What twenty year-old male thinks that a sixty-four year old woman can do much of anything except bake cookies?

“You WROTE this book?” Maybe I don’t know the meaning of the word author.

“Are you FROM Woodlake?”

Woodlakers are surprised they don’t know me. They grew up here. I just moved here fifteen years ago, and taught fourth grade here twenty years ago. They thought they noticed everything important about Woodlake, and they had never noticed me before, so maybe I was mistaken about living in Woodlake for fifteen years.

I started out talking about blogging, not about my fame in Woodlake. I talk about blogging frequently. I’m like the blogging evangelist to the stranger on the street, “Can I share with you the Four Steps to Happy Blogging?” I speak at the high school on career days. I spoke to Kiwanis once. I speak whenever anyone asks me to speak.  

They respond, “I really should start blogging. I just…” Fill in the blanks.

I really need a published book about blogging to establish myself as an expert. I AM an expert on some aspects of blogging. I KNOW what it has done for me. Since blogging brought me such fame and fortune, that should motivate others like you to start blogging, right? It is OK with me if you do not blog. Just like cooking, it is not for everyone.

My husband shakes his head. “You spend all this time on blogging, and what do you have to show for it?”

MacBook Pro1t
He means money, income.  We argue. I’m retired. I don’t feel that it’s my responsibility to EARN more money. MY value isn’t defined by my income producing ability. Money is wonderful, and I can definitely earn some through blogging. I defend blogging . “Because of blogging, I…” I fill in the blanks in my mind with hundreds of benefits. That’s when I decided to write another nonfiction book, because blogging has changed me.

Because of Blogging Cover

Because of Blogging is not another How To Blog or You Should Blog If You are a… kind of book. Rather I want to share my journey of blogging with you. I will include some of my old posts, updated to make them relevant and some of your comments because you are part of my journey. If you prefer that I don’t use your name, I’m glad to preserve your anonymity. Sure I will share blogging tips and obstacles you can avoid because I have experienced a bunch of them. But I hope this book will go beyond the how to the because.

Thanks again for being part of my journey. Watch for my book in the next month or so. Let me set a date so I’m committed, April 1st. Look for my book by April 1, 2016. Don’t let me fool you! I want to do this!

Because of Blogging calendar

Now I’ve got to go get started because my OTHER next book after that is a third grade reader or coloring book about Woodlake, I can’t decide yet which.

Things that are Rough

My friend Marvin Awbrey died. I loved him dearly. He was such a close friend that I could criticize him when we disagreed, but don’t you dare unless you loved him too!

By this time, I had learned to bring folks where I want them, not take a snapshot! I learn SO slowly! :)
Marvin, Father of History Day in CA, presents the Marvin Awbrey award to a student in Tulare County.

He was my mentor. He taught me how to be a history consultant. He dedicated himself to all educational organizations especially history. He sent me tons and tons of picture and story emails that I was supposed to pass on. I seldom did, but they showed me that I was on his list. He loved me and thought about me every time someone sent him a chain  email.

Stupid
This is difficult for me, Marvin.

Marvin’s last few years were rough, but he did not complain.

His good friend and sometimes caretaker, Linda Boaen, said,

“It is a testament to my best friend Marvin Awbrey what a great person he was. We can all take lessons from his dignity. He let those he loved know it. He never ever complained through kidney transplant. Three bouts of cancer and all the treatments that go with it. Massive surgeries that would devastate most. He kept extremely busy with causes he believed in. He gave to all charities. And he forgave those who trespassed against him. He loved my children, David and my pets. He was a kind caring human that most will never encounter. I hope he knows how much we miss him.”

Marvin Awbrey
Marvin Awbrey

I will miss Marvin a great deal. We always went out for his birthday. He turned 78 on January 14th. I emailed him asking when we could go out for his birthday. He didn’t return the email. Sometimes people don’t. I emailed him about something else, and he didn’t respond to that either. Sometimes people don’t. I rarely called him. Cancer took his voice box. I called him and left a message. He didn’t call back. Sometimes people don’t.

My last picture of Marvin
My last picture of Marvin

He sent me and six others an email on January 13th. I finally emailed him back 22 hours before I heard that he was gone. It was about going to the doctor.

Marvin's last email

On the 23rd of January he sent his last email along with a personal message.

train of life
At birth we boarded the train and met our parents,
and we believe they will always travel on our side.
 
However, at some station
our parents will step down from the train,
leaving us on this journey alone.
 
As time goes by,
other people will board the train;
and they will be significant
i.e. our siblings, friends, children,
and even the love of your life.
 
Many will step down
and leave a permanent vacuum.
 
Others will go so unnoticed
sothat we don’t realize
they vacated their seats.
 
This train ride will be full of joy,
sorrow, fantasy, expectations,
hellos, goodbyes, and farewells.
 
Success consists of having a good relationship
with all passengers
requiring that we give the best of ourselves.
 
The mystery to everyone is:
We do not know at which station
we ourselves will step down.
 
So, we must live in the best way,
love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are.
 
It is important to do
this because when the time comes for us to step down
and leave our seat empty
we should leave behind beautiful memories
for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.
 
I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life.
Reap success and give lots of love.
More importantly, thank God for the journey.
 
Lastly, I thank you
for being one of the passengers on my train.
 
(By the way, I am not planning to get off the train anytime soon
but if I do, just remember I am glad you were part of my journey.)

“Marsha happy new year dear friend!   Can you forward the particulars for the SJCCSS Alcatraz visit?  Can it be done in one day? I could use the minutes from the Reedley  meeting, too.   When is out meeting this month and where is it?   I am feeling unconnected to SJVCSS and I don’t like that.    Thanks, Marvin”

I replied back 11 hours later, and he didn’t write back. Sometimes people don’t. That’s rough!

I am blessed to have been his friend. I will miss him. I had fun with Marvin. This is rough.

For more things that are rough, Click here.

CFFC runs weekly challenge starting every Tuesday.
CFFC runs weekly challenge starting every Tuesday.
  • Things that are Wet

The Next Series 

  • Locks, Keys, Knobs and Handles
  • Indoor Seating
  • Outdoor Seating
  • Alleys, Driveways, Parking Lots, Dirt Roads
  • Freeways, Expressway, Highways