LOCUS

NorCal Counties Map
Northern California Counties ~ Courtesy Wikipedia

— Northern California

Northern California is not a formal geographic designation. California’s north-south midway division is around 37° latitude, near the level of San Francisco. Popularly, though, “Northern California” usually refers to the state’s northernmost 48 counties. This definition coincides with the county lines at 35° 47′ 28″ north latitude, which form the southern borders of Monterey, Kings, Tulare and Inyo counties. The term is also applied to the area north of Point Conception and the Tehachapi Mountains.

The human history of the west coast of North America is believed to stretch back to the arrival of the earliest people over the Bering Strait, or alternately along a now-submerged coastal plain, through the development of significant pre-Columbian cultures and population densities, to the arrival of the European explorers and colonizers. The west coast of North America likely saw the first sustained arrival of people to the continent. Although there are other theories, most scientists believe that the first significant groups of people came from Asia, through today’s Bering Strait area, then through modern Alaska, and from there spread throughout North America and to South America.

Although the cultures on the west coast of today’s Canada and United States are not known to have developed substantial urban centers and sophisticated writing or scientific systems, it is likely that, before European contact, the population density along the west coast of today’s Canada and United States was significantly higher than in the rest of the northern part of the continent. For example, it has been estimated that in 1492, one-third of all Native Americans in the United States were living in California because of the temperate climate and easy access to food sources.

Map Land Bridge Migration
Land bridge migration trail of ancient peoples ~ Courtesy American Indian Civics Project

In the western half of Mesoamerica (western portions of Mexico and northern Central America), the oldest known settlements date to approximately 2000 BCE A succession of cultures started with the very early Capacha culture, which appeared on the Pacific coast of modern Mexico about 1450 BC and spread into the interior. The following cultures developed into “high civilizations” in Mesoamerica, with extensive urban areas, writing, astronomy and fine arts: Olmec (beginning about 1150 BC), Mixtec (beginning perhaps 1000 BC), Maya (settled villages along the Pacific coast appear from 1800 BC, and ceremonial architecture by approximately 1000 BC) and Aztec (from the 14th century AD). Farther south, Panama was home to some of the earliest pottery-making, such as the Monagrillo culture dating to about 2500–1700 BC; this culture evolved into significant populations best known for spectacular burial sites (dating to c. 500–900 AD) and polychrome pottery of the Coclé style. Each of these cultures rose, flourished, and was then conquered by a more militarily developed culture. While not all of these civilizations had large settlements along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, their influence extended to the Pacific coast.

Early Native Californians were hunter-gatherers, with seed collection becoming widespread around 9,000 BCE. Due to the local abundance of food, tribes never developed agriculture or tilled the soil. Two early southern California cultural traditions include the La Jolla Complex and the Pauma Complex, both dating from ca. 6050—1000 BCE. From 3000 to 2000 BCE, regional diversity developed, with the peoples making fine-tuned adaptations to local environments. Traits recognizable to historic tribes were developed by approximately 500 BCE.

The Indigenous peoples of California are the inhabitants who have lived or currently live in the geographic area within the current boundaries of California before and after the arrival of Europeans. With over one hundred federally recognized tribes, California has the largest Native American population and the most distinct tribes of any US state. Californian tribes are characterized by linguistic and cultural diversity. However, the California cultural area does not exactly conform to the state of California’s boundaries. Many tribes on the eastern border with Nevada are classified as Great Basin tribes, some tribes on the Oregon border are classified as Plateau tribes, and tribes in Baja California who do not cross into California are classified as Indigenous peoples of Mexico.

The indigenous people practiced various forms of sophisticated forest gardening in the forests, grasslands, mixed woodlands, and wetlands to ensure availability of food and medicine plants. They controlled fire on a regional scale to create low-intensity fire ecology; this prevented larger, catastrophic fires and sustained a low-density “wild” agriculture in loose rotation. By burning underbrush and grass, the natives revitalized patches of land and provided fresh shoots to attract food animals. A form of fire-stick farming was used to clear areas of old growth to encourage new in a repeated cycle; a primitive permaculture (a site that sustains itself and the gardener) that was successful.

One of the difficulties with American Indian research in California is in the terminology used. In most of the United States, the difference between the term tribe and band is quite clear. In California, the Bureau of Indian Affairs seems to have used the two terms almost interchangeably. At least some bands, or subdivisions, of some tribes are sometimes identified as tribes. And in a few case, smaller trust areas of land are called villages or colonies or settlements.

What are called reservations in most states are sometimes identified as such in California, but smaller land areas are also called Rancherias. Jurisdictions are also sometimes confusing. Agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs certainly existed and operated in California, but sometimes the duties of an agency were carried out by a school or a subagency. While that happened in other states, too, it seems to have been more common in California. Another unique part of California Indian research is the need to be fully aware of the influence of the Spanish Missions, especially from 1769 to the mid-1800s. Much of the native population associated with these early missions and some were converted to Catholicism and have their names included in the Mission records.

Pre-Contact map of Indigenous tribes
Pre-Contact Tribal Territories map ~ Courtesy Wikipedia

The original inhabitants of the territorial area that is now known as California included these 64 Tribes: Achumawi, Atsugewi, Cahuilla, Chemehuevi, Chilula, Chimariko, Chumash, Cocopah, Ohlone (Costanoan), Cupeno, Diegueno (Kumeyaay), Esselen, Gabrielino (Tongva), Halchidhoma, Hupa, Juaneno, Karok, Kashaya, Kato, Kawaiisu, Kitanemuk, Klamath, Konkow, Lassik, Luiseno, Maidu, Mattole, Miwok, Modoc, Mojave, Mono, Nisenan, Nomlaki, Nongatl, Northern Paiute, Panamint, Patwin, Pomo, Quechan, Salinan, Serrano, Shasta, Shoshoni, Sinkyone, Southern Paiute, Tataviam, Tolowa, Tubatulabal, Wailaki, Wappo, Washoe, Whilkut, Wintu, Wiyot, Yana, Yahi, Yokuts, Yuki, Yurok, and spoke over 300 dialects of approximately 100 distinct languages.

Most indigenous languages of California belong to three language families: HokanPenutian, and Uto-Aztecan, the first two being somewhat controversial classifications. Historically preceding these families are two ancient lineages, the Chumashan and Yukian families. Algonquian and Athapaskan languages are also found, the latter being characteristic of relatively recent immigrants. The large number of languages may be related to the ecological diversity of California, according to research released in 2013.

The distinctive northern rainforest environment encouraged these tribes to establish their villages along the many rivers, lagoons and coastal bays that dotted their landscape. While this territory was crisscrossed with thousands of trails, the most efficient form of transportation was the dugout canoe used to travel up and down rivers and cross the wider and deeper ones such as the Klamath and Sacramento. These tribes used the great coast Redwood trees for the manufacture of their boats and houses. Redwoods were cleverly felled by burning at the base and then split with elkhorn wedges. Redwood and sometimes cedar planks were used to construct rectangular gabled homes. Baskets in a variety of designs were manufactured in with the twined technique only. Many of these arts survived into the twentieth century and traditional skills have enjoyed a great renaissance in the past twenty years.

The elaborate ritual life of these tribes featured a World Renewal ceremony held each Fall in the largest villages. Sponsored by the wealthiest men in the communities, the ceremony’s purpose was to prevent future natural catastrophes such as earthquakes, floods or failure of acorn crop or a poor salmon run with supplication to supernatural spirits. Because such disasters directly threaten the community, great attention to detail and the utmost solemnity accompanied such ceremonies. This and other traditional rituals continue to be practiced, despite the grinding poverty that plagues many of these groups. These tribes were governed by the most wealthy and powerful lineage leaders. The great emphasis on wealth found in these cultures is reflected in the emphasis on private ownership of food resources such as oak groves and fishing areas.

The Nomlaki (Central Wintun) and Southern Yana people originally inhabited the area along the banks of the Sacramento River where Red Bluff was built. Inhabited for millennia by Native Americans, from the Shasta tribe in the north, to the Miwoks in the central coast and Sierra Nevada, to the Yokuts of the southern Central Valley, northern California was among the most densely populated areas of pre-Columbian North America.

— Darkest Nightmare of Oppression to Indigenous Peoples 

Warning: this article is a true historical account which may affect sensitive people who can feel emotion directly from reading (Examples: Star Trek's Mr. Spock feeling an entire planet screaming as they were being destroyed or the similar - Star Wars' Obi-Wan Kenobi feeling the Death Star Weapon's destruction of an entire planet). The account sickened this author in discovering this atrocity was of our local history. ***The healing ceremony at the article's end provides contact information for Wiyot tribe's "Celebration of Healing" plus where and how to attend the ceremony.
In 1848, somewhere between 70,000 and 150,000 Indians and less than 1,000 Euro-Americans lived in America's new acquisition - California. At the time of white contact, Indian people occupied all the land that we now know as California. Most of the native populations of the area are thought to have died in a malaria epidemic or smallpox epidemic brought by trappers in the early 1830s, shortly before white settlers arrived in the 1840s. 
As more history becomes public knowledge through the Internet, many cover-ups within of the past are released, so historical facts once hidden, are fast becoming exposed and the wrong-doings are slowly becoming open knowledge, so they can be dealt with openly. Many schools are beginning to teach historical truths to our children so they not only know what was done, but also can participate in the beginnings of healing to prosecutions of our historical past. 

While the official policy of the Federal government was to protect Indian people, California policy and the desires of its growing white population sought to remove Indian people and ensure that they did not present. All three goals clashed with the wishes of the native population who did not wish to be protected, removed, or used as a labor force. During its first ten years as a state, California neither recognized Indians as citizens with civil rights, nor did it treat Indians as sovereign people. The famous historian of California, Hubert Howe Bancroft, summed up the state politics towards Indians in a few sentences:

“That part of the early intercourse between aboriginal Americans and European which belongs to history may be briefly given …The savages were in the way; the miners and settlers were arrogant and impatient; there were no missionaries or others present with even the poor pretense of soul saving or civilizing. It was one of the last human hunts of civilization, and the basest and most brutal of them all.”

Despite inconsistent federal efforts to “protect” the Indians of Northern California, the legal policies of elected California representatives and the vigilante actions of white citizens were deliberately genocidal. To some degree, their genocidal actions were successful: by 1870, the vast majority of the Indians who had lived in Northern California had either been forcibly removed to Indian reservations, or they had been killed.

Indeed, the Indian population of 1850 which ranged between 70,000 to 150,000 had dropped to about 30,000 just twenty years later. By the 1900 federal census, only 16,000 Indian were recorded in California. Those who survived suffered great indignities, as well as the loss of much tribal sovereignty. On the other hand, despite the many attempts to destroy the Indians of Northern California, within cultural, political, economic, and spiritual traditions.

By the end of the twentieth century, California had more Indians than any other state in the nation. About one-sixth of the estimated Indian population lives in California – approximately 320,000 Indians. The Bureau of Indian Affairs serves about 56,000 Indians who live on California’s 104 federally recognized Indian reservations, about one-third of which are located in Northern California. About 200,000 urban Indians and 75,000 other indigenous Indians live on about 80 reservations that are not federally recognized. (As of late 1999, approximately 52 California Indian Nations had applied to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for federal recognition.)

Tribal members in dugout canoes make their way from Indian Island to the Adorni Center  for a ceremony marking the return of part of the island to the Wiyots. Photo by Ryan Palmer.
Tribal members in dugout canoes make their way from Indian Island to the Adorni Center or a ceremony marking the return of part of the island to the Wiyots. Photo by Ryan Palmer, NorthCoast Journal

An Indian Island Candlelight Vigil is held every February to remember those who lost their lives in a Massacre that occurred 145 years ago. Early morning February 26th, 1860, a massacre occurred on Indian Island, the center of the Wiyot world, decimating the tribe. Visit www.wiyot.com for more information on this annual event or go to their February Events section.

The first vigil was held on the last Saturday of February in 1992. A vigil has been held each year in February ever since. With each year, the number of participants has grown.

This Vigil may be the first memorial for the lives lost where the Wiyot, other Indian nations, and the non-Indian communities have come together. This process helps heal the whole community. A fire is lit. A Wiyot elder lights their candle from the fire and from that candle all candles are lit. A moment of silence is observed, a prayer is given remembering all who have gone before us, songs are sung, poems are read, and one leaves with a feeling of accomplishment.

Excerpt from the North Coast Journal (2014):

“It was Feb. 22, and it was indeed the Wiyot’s last vigil. The tribe has held one every year since 1992, on the last Saturday in February, to memorialize the hundreds of ancestors killed by white men in a series of premeditated massacres in villages around Humboldt Bay in the last week of February 1860. As many as 100 of them, mostly women, children and elders, were murdered in their sleep at Tuluwat, on Indian Island — the center of the Wiyot world — where the tribe’s annual World Renewal Ceremony was underway. The tribe was shattered, the people dispersed. Wiyot land became white people land. Tuluwat, over time and heavy use, became virtually a toxic waste dump.

Last year the tribe finished cleaning up Tuluwat. The land was ready. The tribe declared the mourning period over. It was time to dance again.

Next week, beginning March 28 on Tuluwat, for the first time since that terrible February 154 years ago, the tribe will once again hold its World Renewal Ceremony.The Wiyot, you might say, are back — though they’ve been here all along.”

(Sources: [Wikipedia: Indigenous peoples of California, History of west coast North America], CA Indian History, Native American Tribes of California, Indians of California, American Indian Civics Project, Intro to CA Native Peoples)

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ANTIQUITY

Tehama County Judge Charles P. Braynard was given the duty of property distribution for Tehama County by President Andrew Johnson in 1867, after the Federal Government found land sold and given away by Senator J. Grandville Doll, which he had purchased from the State of California at $1.25 per acre, had not been properly surveyed and some parcels had multiple owners.

During the investigation, the Department of Interior filed suit against California for selling land they did not own, citing the fact that Lands purchased from Mexico by Peter Lassen, appointed Ambassador to make the purchase, was bought with Federal Government Funds.

The dispute raised such alarm, that it went to Congress and as a result, President Lincoln’s successor, President Andrew Johnson, by way of a Special Act, appointed Tehama County Judge Charles Braynard, the most trusted man in Tehama County, Power of Authority to sort and settle confusions concerning Land Patents, a process which took over a decade.

In a special election during 1875, Horace A. Mayhew, Lawyer and Minister, took the bench with Judge Braynard as a Tehama County Judge,  was among the many others who fell victim to Senator Doll’s misconstruements.

Joseph Spencer Cone
Joseph Spencer Cone

 Joseph Spencer Cone, of Tehama County, California, is one of the representative men of his time, and of his region, and of his occupation. Although vice-president of a large banking corporation and the head of a large mercantile firm, he is essentially an American farmer, and proudly registers himself as such wherever called upon to state his occupation. The farm has been always generous and kind to him. Natural selection brought them together early in his life, and neither money changing, merchandising, politics, nor other allurements have ever shaken his love for the simple yet noble occupation of tilling the soil.

 The lineage of Mr. Cone is traced back to the days of the Norman conquest, embracing eight and twenty generations, among the last of whom were many families which cast their lot in what was then the British-American colonies. He is the son of Timothy Cone, a native of East Haddam, Massachusetts, who was the son of Joseph Cone, a naval officer in the Revolutionary war.

Joseph was the seventh of Timothy’s ten children, and was born on the 26th day of August, 1822, near Marietta, Ohio. Of noble lineage, reaching by connected historical records to the invasion of England by William I, a more unaffected and thoroughgoing American, despising cant and humbug and modern snobbery, cannot be found anywhere.

Until reaching his twenty-second year Joseph worked on his father’s farm, making the best of such scanty educational facilities as the neighborhood afforded. His choice inclined toward a profession, especially to that of the law; and had he selected this career, he would, beyond a doubt, have achieved success, for he possessed a full share of the qualities required for this calling—soundness of judgment and a ready wit, coupled with a remarkable force of character and an almost unlimited capacity for work. But this was not to be, and fortunate it proved for his adopted State, and perhaps for himself, that while losing a good lawyer his country gained the assistance of one whose later services in developing the resources of Northern California it is impossible to overestimate.

But Mr. Cone was resolved to make his own way in the world, and as a beginning set forth in 1843, upon obtaining his majority, on a trading expedition among the Cherokee Indians, with the results of which he had no reason to be dissatisfied. From that date until 1850 the incidents of his career contained nothing calling for special mention. In the spring of this year the excitement that followed the discovery of gold being at its height, he joined a company of adventurous spirits like himself bound for California, starting from Jasper County, Missouri, and following the banks of the North Platte to the neighborhood of Fort Laramie. Here he became wearied with the slow and tedious travel of the wagon trains, and with four others, packing their effects on horseback, made their way to Green River, where, as he supposed, a settlement was near at hand. Meanwhile their animals had been stolen by the Piutes, and now provisions ran short, so that for a fortnight they were compelled to live on crow soup, to which were added a few teaspoonfuls of flour. At length, however, all arrived in safety at Nevada City, following exactly the route afterward selected by the Central Pacific Railroad.

He mined, engaged in merchandising, packing and all the varied occupations of that early period until 1857, when he settled down to the stock-raising business in Tehama County, on Alder Creek, where he remained with fair success until 1868. In that year he purchased the celebrated Rancho de los Berrendos, near Red Bluff, which he has developed into the finest ranch property, probably, in the State. The limits of this article will not permit a description of this noble estate. It has grown under the inspiring genius of its owner until it embraces nearly 100,000 acres, and is a principality.

Every branch of agriculture known to the wonderful climate of California can here be seen. Cereals, stock of all kinds, fruits, gardens, orchards,—indeed, all the varied products of our generous soil and climate here find splendid development. Mr. Cone is vice-president of the Bank of Tehama County and one of its largest stockholders; he is also at the head of a large mercantile corporation—the Cone & Kimball Company. Other business also engages his attention, and yet every detail of his great farm receives his supervision. He was president of the first railroad commission under the new constitution in 1879, and served with great benefit to the State for four years. He was the leading spirit in the railroad commission, and through his practical knowledge of affairs and his friends in dealing with the question of freight rates, he succeeded in obtaining for the people a reduction on all the staple products of the soil going towards tide-water, from twenty-five to thirty-three per cent. He has marvelous executive ability, and yet does his work in so quiet a way as to appear not to do it at all.

Mr. Cone is a man of strong and decided convictions. He is a Republican in politics and believes profoundly in the doctrine of protection to American industries and labor. His recent travels abroad have confirmed him in this belief. While not a communicant of any church he yet respects all creeds and supports the church liberally and endeavors to walk uprightly before God and man.

In 1867 Mr. Cone returned to his native State and married the daughter of Colonel Reppert. One son and two daughters are the fruit of this marriage. Kind and generous and helpful to the needy; enterprising and broad-minded on all questions, he is one of the foremost men of this region, and has stamped his influence and his character upon the history of his time. We regret that this work does not admit of a more extended sketch of his career.

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RADIX

Passion, Power and Grace [Mixed Media] 1991

 Success

Rushmore Roundup Series (17)
Rushmore Roundup (South Dakota, USA) Series of 17 originals. Commissioned by Australian Cattle Dog Association. National Kennel Club Association granted special permission to use paintings as placement awards, for it had never been done in the history of international Dog Shows.

I believe success is a measurement of self. It is based in perception and how you see the world, measured by how you fit into it. Do you meet your own expectations? Those are the only ones which truly matter. Except pleasing parents and making them proud…yet it still comes back to you.  Ricky Nelson’s wise word lyrics for Garden Party, “…only got to please yourself.”

The definition is so very simple, yet the personal meaning to those words, are not. Success, fame & fortune, is it what we really want? Nope. We want what recognition gives us. VALIDATION. I mean for real. Success gives us a sort of freedom, yet success also takes away a part of you – privacy. You have to become a public personality to be successful. The extend you push for in achieving your recognition, all depends on what you are willing to give up for the dreams you have. Scary that success is what we all strive for based on that premise…give privacy away to gain recognition. It’s what we do.

cherib heart card- colored -framed
A drawing for my sister’s birthday card (2013) ~ Courtesy Cavette Collection

Deep within me is an insecurity of losing myself, which threatens my personal security. Those unseen aspects in the cost of fame…loss of privacy, plus possibly losing who you are from the changes of who you become… brought me to undermine and sabotage  my own life repeatedly in pursuing Art as a full-time career…unconsciously, yet for many years. I was my own worst enemy. I prevented myself from that very glory I had sought since my early youth, because deep down inside, I had a very real fear of who I’d become with success. Yet knowing the meaning of the word: success, which I have had in many different ways, well, that didn’t quite cover it either. I may be a bit touched in the head. Perhaps? Oh yes! and “for sure” on numerous levels. I won’t kid myself there, for I’ve known for years that I am generally a mental nut-job as compared to other people, but gentle as the hurricane kid in a Loony Tunes cartoon.

While I’ve always fancied myself more a Marvin the Martian personality, on the construction jobsite I was like the Transylvanian Devil, earning the nickname “Mr. C”, where the C stood for catastophe. I am excellent at channeled destruction and pouring concrete. The rest of the time on the job, unless I was running a piece of equipment from a crane to a backhoe, it was, “Give that guy with the big guns the jackhammer and cut him loose destroying stuff.” And I did, all up and down California. Built some nice-looking stuff too, from hospitals to water-treatment plants and a few bridges. I started with a shovel in my hands and retired just the same. 

BEST OF SHOW “Still Life” (1969) Watercolor on watercolor paper done in 8th grade when 13 yrs old ~ Courtesy Cavette Collection

So, a crazy person I am. I mean, hell, who really sees an angel, much less the Archangel Michael, and talks with him for hours? Although my Mom said I had German Measles at the time, I truly believe who I know I saw sitting beside me.

So that verified I was totally bonkers, or, at the least, one of those someones who’d better keep my mouth shut. Don’t wanna get burned at the stake like Joan of Arc, a relative traced back on my Dad’s Mother’s side of the family. Cool, cool, cool! So, anyway, I didn’t tell anyone until I was grown up, and then only to a very close loved one; ’til now. That she didn’t keep it a secret is a whole ‘nother story in itself, reading like a die store novel…but that’s for a later post. Now that I’m back, I plan to stay writing for a bit.

the Shadow Loom

Life got dark at an early age, so I escaped into art and crafts…beauty through creation. That wasn’t enough to satisfy me easily however, it also had to be difficult to achieve, a struggle. Unless there was struggle, it took far longer for me to get into the “zone” of the void. Then, I was free, so I became addicted to the zone, naturally!

Succumbing to a free-floating of mind and spirit, without body, out farther and farther into the void and that comfort zone of solace, peace and solitude…where beauty was only a thought away…instantly traveling within, at whim’s notice, and to wherever I wanted to go in my daydream; no responsibilities, no duties, no time, nobody hassling me. I was addicted to art, it truly was my greatest escape. Everybody was cool with it too!

a-JDs Dog-600dpi
“J D’s Dog” (1995) Airbrush acrylic on CS-10 Illustration Board ~ Courtesy Cavette Collection

So, to make it seem a worthwhile pursuit, I demanded my art be more technical, deliberate and detailed. Tight control. Forcing my right hand, by shear willpower, to endure the finest of control, be it a light stroke or dark, it was all about commanding my body to the most finite control possible, creating that 1/4″ area into perfection, then blending all the rest to fit. Over and over. Finish, repeat. Tight detail, overall matching detail.

Years later, when I found airbrush,  gifted a single-action Pausche for Christmas by my Mother, it was about control of the dot from the very beginning. My eyes burning and tearing from intensity of focus to see as fine as my eyes could tolerate, I began to “see” the dots of paint as they escaped the gun and floated onto the canvas with my God-given 20/15 vision. Now I don’t really see in the sense that you’d see…say, like a period on the end of a sentence in detail; instead it is a feeling, like developing your sixth sense to control the paint as it exits the spray-gun, as if you can mentally move the paint droplets and form the direction they go in.

Allowing me to draw with air and a watery mix of paints, was like a new discovery, allowing unbridled passion anew! Though the guts and grit was much the same as pencil, I could create so easily in full color, and totally without worry of smearing! Pushing myself harder and harder into the most confining spaces of extreme detail,ever smaller, deeper into the smallest dots of paint…then coming back out hours later. This was a divine escape, a dream fulfilled into the reality of life itself. Ahhhh!


the Balloon Deflates

pole climber
Lineman climbing telephone pole ~ Courtesy NARA via Wikimedia Commons

Up until I was in 2nd grade, we had  a pretty normal life. “Nineteen twelve, Bailey Road, Concord Cal-i-forn-ya!” was a nursery rhyme song, taught to me for kindergarten. Life went on without much incident. Dad had started at Pacific Bell working on telephone servicing, and switched over to PG&E later, working his way from groundman to lineman.

Mom raised us four kids and worked odd jobs on occasion as we started getting older; bank teller, secretary and even drive-in cashier. Life was good except the time she was held up at the drive-in. That was scary and she got hurt when the gunman knocked her to the ground to steal the till, but nothing else came of it.

Then my parents got a little over-extended, so Dad changed to the PG&E’s construction unit, building Goat-Head Towers for high-voltage power transmission lines. The plan was for Dad to work on the road until the power line run was completed, then transfer back to his lineman job and come back home to live with us again.

Goad-Head tower for high tension, high power line. This is the kind of tower my father was working on, at a point above Dunsmuir CA when his back got broken. He was lowered over 200′ down to the ground never losing consciousness ~ Courtesy Cavette Collection
"The best laid plans..." Dad said relating the story to me at my request. "Well, I guess you're old enough to understand now," he said, then slugged down his beer and gave a heavy sigh. I was about nine or ten then. "It was about ten weeks into the job and a crane operator was transferred in to cover for the regular
guy who was out sick. On his second day, this operator was moving a girder past me and somehow grabbed the wrong handle by mistake, setting the girder down onto my shoulders.
"'Oomph!' I said as it knocked the air out of me. In response to my look, he said, "No, it didn't hurt...at first. It just pinned me on the beam I was straddling so I couldn't move anywhere. The operator, seeing his mistake, 
A crane lifts a section of the new tower at Buxton Mountain as contractors help guide the top section into place ~ Courtesy Oregon Dept. of Transportation CC BY 2.0
panicked a little at first, and tried to move the beam off me too fast. Son, heavy weights work differently on a crane and the cable. Let me explain. The weight kinda stays in place for a second and the cable's properties change a little, so even though the crane started pulling the beam up and away, for
an instant, the beam will stay in place and the cable will stretch. You know how rope is twisted? (I nodded) Well, cable is made the same way, only with steel wire instead. So when the crane started to move up, the cable actually untwists slightly, and stretch a little more...then...will finally lift." He took a big draw of his beer, crushed out a smoke, lit another, then continued.
"So I'm still straddling the beam and the cable stretches, but he did it too fast, so, like I told you, the cable strands stretches just another an inch or so. That inch was too much and that's when it hurt! So I tried to twist out from under it...guess that's what gave me the nerve damage, deadening the muscle on the front of my leg, so I can't lift my foot up like others can...like you raising your toes...and also messed up the bottom of my feet."

"Anyway, throughout the entire ordeal, I never, even for a minute, lost consciousness. The crew put me in a manbasket and lowered me down 
manbasketfrom about 200' up, high off the ground. I remember the ambulance ride, all the bumps in the road and the ride all the way to the hospital. Then they gave me a shot and next thing I knew, I was in the room wearing that big old cast as a girdle, from my hips to my shoulders." 

Tragedy had only started it’s run on our family with Dad’s accident and continued several more times. An accident claimed  one of my sisters, the middle of my three sisters, she was in kindergarten and I was only in 2nd grade. THen my Mom;s first cousin’s child, a five year old girl, was walking across the street in the crosswalk and was hit, killing her instantly. Then, only a few months later, Dad’s father died. This all happened in a 2-3 year span. A dark cloud dropped over life at our house. I was old enough to see all the effects and how it affected our family, yet too young to really understand or help with any of the situations when they arrived.

The effects of those incidents on our family were devastating, especially my sister’s death. My parents never really recovered, and another sister only eleven months older, who was confused by most people thinking they were twins, was the hardest hit and affected far more than the rest of us. Understandably, she had lost her confidant and best friend in the entire world. She felt alone and abandoned. It took a long time for family life to settle into some form of normality again, yet changed us all.


old man 3
“Old Man” pencil #2 sketch (1970) based on a Time/Life Photography Library Photo ~ Courtesy Cavette Collection

Being the oldest child, the effects of those traumas were quite devastating! I did feel abandoned, feeling like I’d lost my parents. Laughter was gone for a long time from our house. Mom cried all the time and Dad got extremely quiet.

I discovered at an early age, when I started drawing a picture, I felt more relaxed, forgetting everything around me, transported, wandering about the cosmos, not even hearing anything. Life simply went by in the background, seldom registering, my art a total focus of present in life. That time spent drawing was a place of solace, oblivious to anything and everything; my personal place of healing. Nobody said a word. It was awesome and so I went there more and more often, becoming addicted.

I was raised hearing “with every award comes a concession.” As an adult, understanding “cause and effect” of the universe made sense, yet life in youth began undulating in greater arcs. I focused more towards “waiting for the ball to drop,” I suppose a natural course in thought patterns, given all our traumas. It changed how life affected me, creating effects not before seen in any light. As I grew older, I followed a more spiritual path and started letting religion go, seeing religion as a means to make sense of life for some people. For me, once I started an investigation into religion for a report during my freshman year of parochial school, I came to see that almost all religions followed a similar path in belief systems, reaffirmed by the “Zeitgeist” movies in an more obvious sense, many years later. A lot of people don’t like the message of those movies, but they came to me after a broken back and another divorce, losing a second soul-mate down my life’s path, creating a massive pain inside my heart.

Locally Famous

starliter drawing
“Star Liter” (self-portrait) Flair Marking Pen (2008) ~ Courtesy Cavette Collection

I got a taste of fame while painting a mural on the main intersection of my hometown. It was a two-fold project: giving a gift back to all the townspeople where I grew up, and also sort of a billboard to showcase my talents, hopefully establishing means to do art full-time as a living.

However, inner conflicts and insecurities raged a battle deep within. Although very passionately devoted to creating, success gain easily by the project, breaking new ground as an airbrush illustrator was a lot more difficult than anticipated. Having a family with two sons to raise, although hindering in some ways, has never deterred the direction of my life. What helped change that path was my generosity. My ex-wife’s Daycare needed to survive for her self-esteem, so whatever was left over in profits which any other artist seeking success would reinvest into their business, I invested into her daycare. I always liked children, but the daycare was a leech to my making it full-time in the art world.

There were no other airbrush artists in the upper Northern California area of Red Bluff. People simply had no idea what could be accomplished with an airbrush. I pioneered the trail, doing advertisements for the local newspaper, painting signs in reverse on glass (beginning with highlights and working until the background was finished) and other trailblazing techniques. Problem was I kept having signs come in the door — great during the lean times in construction, yet not my cup of tea. I never liked signs because of the mechanical side…and although I could do lettering great by hand, letters don’t look as great when you have “coffee shake” and so nix on the idea of a pinstriping business too.

Dog Show
“Rushmore Round-Up” International Australian Cattle Dog Association Show in South Dakota (series of 17 individual paintings) ~ Courtesy Cavette Collection

Art was always an escape which allowed me to vent frustrations, and was exponentially more rewarding as I grew, developed and honed my skills. By 45 yrs of age,  when my back was broken, making a new start on life by incorporating my art and construction into a new career like drafting made sense, so while I waited for opportunity to strike, I started becoming involved in our local small town politics… eventually forcing me to face my fears head on, and learn move beyond them. That last paragraph took about five years to happen in real life.

Communication

Art is a right brain thing, whereas, language is a left brain thing. With each budding artist in the family, eventually they will be gifted with Betty Edwards, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.” I can’t say enough about how the exercises in this book show people how to view life with an artist’s eye. Her exercises teach how to see the shapes everything is made of and she uses fun exercises to accomplish this which anyone can learn.

Having a strong personal interest in advertising, eventually led to study of marketing too. Regardless of who you are and who you know, the scope of your art must appeal to both sides of the brain effectively for it to be desired, then subsequently purchased. This is why television marketing has claimed such success, it accomplishes the engagement of employing both sides sides of the brain simultaneously. This is easy to understand, yet takes a lifetime to do successfully…unless you are innovative, creative and brash in trying new experiments for getting people to see your work.

Just the FactsAdvertising by methods of traditional marketplaces are the means that are generally favored, by most. However, art is an exception. Buying a billboard on the busiest Los Angeles freeway only set in motion an ostracization from the art world for Charles White, considered the “father of the modern airbrush” while seeking greater fame and fortune. Eventually he moved to Japan and started the “sexy robot movement,” during the 1980’s in advertising. Change can be a good thing, making us spread our wings in different directions than we would have without the “disaster” life presents us.

Pioneering new methods and formats can bring greater dividends and results. Experimenting has an “out” if ever needed, in that you can always drop back into more traditional market practices. Use as many aspects as possible to display your product, and as wide a dispersal as is available, then measure the effects. Your timing might just strike that vein of gold!

mac3impact-com4 B-Fly


the MAC Impact logo
The logo I was designing before changing the name to mac3impact ~ Courtesy Cavette Collection

Finding solutions without banging your head on a wall is always a better choice. Otherwise, go move a mountain or two! Life is about channeling energy — do it constructively — GO CREATE SUMPIN’…

MAC Impact logo design
A little animation to add movement to the mac impact logo ~ Courtesy Cavette Collection

I spent 20 years as construction laborer & general illustrator, with a specialty of airbrush, pushing my body to extremes, simultaneously working in both professions.  Once I can enter the “zone,” that place with a feeling of connection to the universe & it’s expanse, time itself seemingly broadens, everything getting all light & airy…tra la la…nothing like channeling the cosmos through you. It’s awesome!

JUXTAPOSE a tour de force

Juxtapose

I have always had an overactive imagination (an excellent asset for an artist) and though I seldom dream (or remember them anyway), I have always been able to visualize extremely well. In my youth, evidently I used to daydream just a little too well, at least if you take any credence from report card comments among the teachers throughout grammar school, yet somehow also maintained a 3.0 or better grade point average the entire time – go figure. Anyway, here is a  scene from a daydream I had as a kid, which I have generously embellished on to fit my purposes and just because I happened to be in a writing mood today. Keep in mind this started with the perspective of a nine year old boy’s imagination after reading Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain for a school assignment:

It was a calm and sunny day during the Spring. There is a slight breeze blowing scents of Jasmine and Lilac from nearby neighbor’s yards. The colors are rich with all the flowers in bloom and the temperature is about 72 degrees, even though it is twilight already.

Sitting in a wrought iron chair on the front porch is an average build, woman in an older-style, Victorian dress, hiked slightly because she is seated, light brown with lace exposed at the bottom, tailored and tapered to perfectly fit her body; finishing her outfit with a set of heeled boots, accented with hooks.

She sat in a very smartly and proper, facing the street, her smile exuding health and vitality. Her face was glinting yellowish-orange from the glow of light from the window behind, as she sat patiently awaiting a meeting with her prospective client, or perhaps, clients, unsure if his wife would accompany him from their earlier telephone conversation.

She loved her job and researched her market and real estate well, enjoying the learning process of history and the newly available massive informational encyclopedia of the Internet, yet was equally versed in library etiquette and study. Leading the clients all round the houses and through the rooms pointing out features of significance, explaining stories based on facts of those occupants of the past and knowledge she’d learned of them, was a very strong talent. Strangely, she always assumed character which sounded like someone from inside a Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer story, or a character straight out of one of Mark Twain’s yarns as told to a friend in a tavern. It seemed to endear her to people and lent a stronger air to both her demeanor and her attire, making her as much an era piece as the real estate she handled.

“You must be the Fergusons!” She said revealing her obvious accent as she warmly greeted the couple and shined her most genuinely cheerful smile, reached out her hand and shook each of their hands.

“Ya know, Joe Spencer Cone hisself built this thing, we ba’lieve an’ lived here ’til he up and got his spread outside of town, a year or so later. It’s called Rancho De La Berrendos, an’ started raisin cattle, then sheep…but boy did he do good with tha grain and wheat! Made hisself rich an all like that, up and b’fore he be’cums mister fancy pants an’ started doin’ law with tha state assembly and done his spit as a ra-i-l-rode commissiner! Yes, goodness me! Howyja like that! Them huge old victor’ans can do all this an’ that, making thingy-ma-bobbers an’ other kinda stuff, inven’shuns an’ tha lik, cuz thar wurn’t nobody out here, or com-pa-ti-shun back then, so’s if ya had half a brain, ya could’a dun real well fer youself.”

Img_2205She smiled and opened the front door, gesturing for them to follow, then she said, “Cum’on in!” Standing in the entry hallway, a beautiful stairway to the left and above, matched by two large pocket doors on the right, contrasted sharply in their dark wood to the large, overhead white lamp with a pull cord hanging down within reach. To the immediate left, a wide bay was built with three large windows, creating a base landingImg_2209 for the stairs. She gestured for them to follow her up the carpeted steps of the solid stairs. Pausing for a few seconds on the center landing, she gestured upwards, towards the ceiling and turned to face the wall, pointing out a huge window far above reach. Turning back, she rose from the center landing, up the stairs and three doors came into view, a single door directly at the top of the stairs across the top landing, and two Img_2211doors graced each side of the center door, half-open framed glass window vents built above each.

“All tha doors still work with a skeleton key, ‘cept’n tha added hooks an’ clasps fer bedroom privacy, plus outside doors is better sa’cured ta keep out any riff-raff fella’s, how’s ya like that? Looky-here,” she paused, ascending the stairs slowly, glancing between the next step and the two clients. Drawing in a sharp, deep breath, continued, running sentences together in nervous monologue, “Ya got lots ov rooms in this place! Hell-a-ce-ous floor space! My GAWD!” she accented sharply, taking another step and breath, continued, “It’s got lik over two thousand, four hundred an’ forty square feet to this here house!” she exclaimed, opening arms wide and connecting with one wall, continued, raising her voice slightly louder in emphasis.

“Footprint’s got ‘bout thirty-four…oh…ah…” she trailed, quickly and as discreetly as possible opened her briefcase, and peeking into it, glanced quickly down, pulled a file partially open and looked inside to check her figures, a small portion of a file end protruding slightly. “Hmm…” she said drawing the sound out, trailing her voice. Then, apparently discovering the information she had sought, dropped the file back into her case, captured a quick breath, and with a quiet sucking sound, continued, “Ah, yes…by a hundred an’ ten feet wide, overall!”

She caught as deep a breath as she could, preparing for the stair climb, the corset just snug enough to hold her how she liked, but while not too tight for airflow, it did constrict a little, so as long as she drew deeper breaths while standing straight and before exertion like the stairs, she was okay. Her friend’s thought she was crazy to wear one while showing a house with stairs, yet they had to admit it did shape her figure well and placed her into the part playing a southern Victorian woman of the period in time she was imitating.

Her eyes met the man’s directly, pausing slightly on the landing to speak directly to him, then, in kind to his companion. She continued as smoothly as possible, “An’ it’s fully fenced on both sides. plus across the en-ti-er back yard.”

“Oh, my, how I do go on…” nervously emitting half of a laugh, took another breath and continued, “ I get that way wit new people on account of my excitement wit showin’ such a grand house lik this one here house is!” She smiled widely, her cheeks flushing. “I think it’s a great buy! An’ I’m not jist sayin’ that cuz I’m a doin’ tha sellin’ eith’a! I own a home, a couple rentals, an’ a office already, or I’d buy this in a lick, er, a short minute!” she sharply contorted in a quick burst, “Yes’um!”

She gave her most sincere look, and then, began again, “Thay’s a big ‘nuff area fer a motorhome on tha side wit tha cherry tree, but tha gate is too small to fit one in thar…but ya do gits a covered carport ov concrete out in tha back fer another car, or boat, three-wheeler, or whatever.”

As they neared the top landing, the open Img_2222door of the room to the left revealed a six foot tall, built-in, white shelf with glass doors on the topside of it, kitty-corner to the door. New carpeting was laid on the floor and fresh paint was accented by hanging drapery 3/4 of the way up the tall walls. As she strode into the large room upstairs, her arms raised upwards in wide, exaggeratedly open arms, fanning the movement first towards the ceiling and continuing slowly down the full breadth of the twelve foot tall walls, down to the floor.

Img_2225She walked across the room and over to the built-in bookcase, opening all the doors, then started speaking in a higher pitch, great excitement and passion in her voice, “You can build shelves up ’em, an’ climb up, an’ add on moor, an’ climb up sum moor, an’ add on sum moor, until finally ya gits uppins to tha ceiling! Jist don’t look down from way up thar tho’, ore ya might jus get dizzy or sick an’ all!”

“Ya know, twelve foot ceilin’s is taller as tha top’a them basketball hooperImg_2224 thangs, they created in ’91, 1891, when basketball was invented. An’ tha rooms wuz built fer boarders way back in them thar days. This house wuz filled with boarders, more’na few times over tha years,” she gasped quickly and continued, “Zilpha E-liz-a-beth Mc-Cubbins, bless her hart, rented out rooms fer a bit. Did I tell ya she wuz the first white woman ta reside in McDonough County, livin’ thar lik’ that, fer over two years…” she whistled slightly as she drew another breath, “Yes’um, she could even speak their langwage, tha Potta-wa-to-mie langwage, back in Hancock, Illinois. Yep! Img_2226Her husband up an’ died ten years b’fore her did, leavin’ her to mind fer herself’s, right here in Red Bluff, pioneer country, sum of tha first ov them early settlers back thar when all tha Injuns wuz still around an’ all.”

“Thar wuz anotha man what lived here who wuz a ra-il-road man too — think he wuz tha third own-ah of tha house, went by tha name of Jim, no, James Barham. He wuz also the MasterImg_2228 pooba, whatever they call em in those places; ah, yes, Vesper Lodge! That’s it! Ya know, the Masons, ah, Masonic hall. Guess he ran tha place an’ all. Anyhoo, dunno much ’bout such stuff, ‘cept-in they’s a strange bunch, all se-crative and such,so’s nobody knows they’s business. Suits me fine as long as nun ‘ov ’em go cutting up an-a-mals an’ doin’ voodoo an’ all. Heh, heh,” escaped a nervous laugh, her eyes fogged over with a second in reflection. She yanked open a door on the opposite side of the room, it giving way with a quiet shudder.

She moved back from the center of the room and continued, “An’ plenty of fresh air in this room,” she said opening a door leading to a Img_2268screened in room. “An’ if ya open this door in tha summer, it ba’cums an’ outlet fer a swamp coo’lar. They’s cheaper than a air con’di’shuner, an’ a house fan lik sittin’ in tha wind’ah way up high thar ‘bove tha center landin’ ov tha stairway, might suit ya jist fine fer an air exchange ta remove any built up hot air, with tha high ceilin’s an all! Ya know it git’s pretty hot here in Red Bluff durin’ tha summer…over 110 da’grees sumtimes in August.”

She walked past them through a smaller room and into the upstairs bathroom, then spoke again, ” See this here light fixture?” pointing out the painted accents with her Img_2238hands, “It’s an orig’nal, just lik tha clawfoot tub! Sink too, all orig’nal fixtures. Too bad they didn’t have tha fancy tank on top ov tha toilet, but a crapper’s a crapper, ah guess, ha ha!” She gestured toward the second door to Img_2237the right of the door they had just came in through, “This here’s so’s ya can git in from tha screened porch we wuz jist in, ‘stead ov walkin’ round,” she said absentmindedly. Img_2234“Let’s head over ta tha master bedroom,” sweeping her hand back towards the larger room and upstairs stair landing.Img_2241

Opening the door on the left as we exited back to the landing, at the top of the stairs, she showed the Img_2273large linen closet.

After each looked inside, she shut that door, and then opened the master bedroom to the right. “CheckImg_2254 out this huge walk-in closet!” Quietly she said, “Sorry ’bout tha paint an’ spida-webs!” Lowering her Img_2246voice she added, “they’s still cleanin’ an’ all. Continuing with normal tone she exclaimed, “It goes all tha way round tha corner, with more shelves built in thar,” she gestured indicating the Img_2252curve of the hidden shelves at the back end of theImg_2251 closet. “Tha air condishner works real good too! Good sized room fer back in them days an’ see how nicely tha bay wind’as give light!” There was a shelf one the wall as Img_2257if it was for a headboard to the far right behind the open door.

They continued out and she closed that door, opening the door of the other room at a sharp right to the stairway on the landing.
“Notice the venta-la-shun wind’as above all three doors,” she pointed Img_2214out for the doors around the top stair landing.
“See that one over there for outside air above tha door outside ta tha front porch?” she pointed to theopposite wall. “An’ see tha bay wind’a in here too? Good air an’ light too!” She gestured at the hand-built closet, obviously added at a later date. “Back in tha day, they used Lincoln closets,” she dismissed as she stepped past them to go through the Img_2219 Img_2217 Img_2216 doorway. “So shall we head downstairs? Oh, an’ if’n ya didn’t see it, thar’s tha wind’a I wuz talkin’ ’bout fer tha whole house fan,” she gestured upwards as they began to descend the staircase.

Img_2275“I love how they’s got tha bay wind’as on each side ov tha front ov tha house. Nice feature!” At the bottom of the stairs she steppedImg_2279 Img_2280through the entrance hallway, past the front door and opened the two big pocket doors into the living room. “Tha pocket doors close tha livin’ room off ov tha rest ov tha house. Guess it Img_2210would work well fer parties an’ such, I ‘spose.” Nice iron fireplace with tha green ceramic top an’ tha clawfoots make a nice accent too. Img_2287Wind’as are all bigger here, downstairs I noticed.”

 Opposite the pocket door doorway, on the far wall to the right, was a large, built-in china cabinet with glass doors over large drawers. She walked over to the far side

Img_2342 of the bay windows at the front of the house and revealed an air conditioner hidden by the heavy drapery. “Tha owners said they never used tha pocket doors by the stoves, but kept tha doors near tha front door closed during tha winter ta keep tha heat in, an’ also tha hotter part of tha summer for tha cooler ta keep it cooler.”

Img_2293Closing the drape, she closed the pocket doors they had walked through from the front hallway after coming down the stairs, then crossed the room into the dining room area.”Nice design how they built tha china cab-net so’s ya can see yer dishes from anywhere in tha room.” she commented pointing out it was very similar to the one upstairs, except there were drawers at the bottom and it opened at the back on the kitchen side too.

Passing through the open pocket doors into the dining room, immediately after the doorway, Img_2281a metal gas heater was revealed on the right and behind, several long shelves for books, opening into a dining room. Another doorway could be seen at the immediate left, and farther down on the same side of the wall. Directly across the room on the left, was the door into the kitchen. Walking through to each door in kind, she explained as she opened the closest, at immediate left,Img_2343 “This one opens so ya can bypass tha pocket doors and enter straight inta tha dining room from the entry hallway,” she said, purposely leaving the door open.

Walking to the second door, farther down on the left wall, she spoke again, “They used this as a craftsroom, for tha lady of tha house once had a candle shop inside.” She walked through, revealing a long tabletop shelf aboveImg_2305 several other shelves. Pulling up a cover underneath several items on top, She reached into the box at the far end, made a downward scooping motion, then lifted her hand out. The lid snapped down sharply as she held Img_2307her hand out to reveal sand. She opened the lid back up and let the sand fall from her hand back into the box. Wiping her hands into the nearby corner, she gestured to the shelves that lined the walls almost to the ceiling.Img_2303

“I’m told thar’s ah doorway bahind this counter top an’ shelves. If’n ya look close, ya can see it,” she said gesturing at the hidden doorway. “An’ looky over thar, that’s a nice little workbench,” she pointed to the Img_2295left side of the room behind the doorway they were standing in, then continuing to sweep towards the back of the room, another door sat.

She walked over to it and threw it open. “Ya see, in these old houses, Img_2296they used every bits pf space they could.” A small closet withImg_2297 a tapered ceiling showed. “It’s under tha stairs!”  she declared, pointing out the obvious. “Let’s head into tha kitchen.” She closed both doors as the couple backed their way out of the room, then she Img_2337walked past them and continued on into the kitchen. “How ya lik tha size of this here kitchen!” she exclaimed excitedly. Flicking on the light switch caused a fan to light the kitchen back door & center counterroom, revealing a large Img_2338countertop with drawers underneath, to the right across the room, and a door straight across and ahead of where they stood in the doorway. She walked to the right so they could come into the room.

“Cab-nets everywhere,” she exclaimed, continuing, “An’ the double oven with a overhead lighted four-burner rangetop!” she Oven & stovegestured to their immediate right. “The hot water heater between tha stove and china cab-net warms tha room, an’, of course on tha other side of tha china cab-net,” she continued, sweeping her arm to the left, Img_2339“Built-in dishwasher nosin’ out at the far end, an’ huge farm-style single sink! Look at tha far side of tha china cab-net, a built-in spice rack, an’ all those cab-nets…” She trailed her voice as she walked towards them and gestured to the other side of the room.

“Outside door, actually to a back porch with a washroom,” she dismissed as she continued down the center of the long room. Walking past them, still standing in the doorway between the dining room and kitchen, she passed another countertop with many drawers underneath and cabinets above, centered on the wall to the left of the door they had seen as they first entered the room. Img_2259 Walking to the end of the counter, she opened the doorway revealing a shower stall and bathroom, with a toilet furthest from the door. “How quaint, a pull chain fer thalight,” she continued as they peeked into the room. “Lots of Img_2261room fer shelves or whatever ya want,” waving her arm in a circular motion to encompass the room

microwave counterShe came back out of the bathroom as the couple stepped back, “Have ya ever seen so many cupboards in a kitchen bafore?” she said as she stood in the doorway. Pointing downto the, she said, “They’s a root cella’ with shelves ba’low, still all orig’nal lik, dirt floor an’ all. Pretty good size too…almost as big as this half ov tha room! Wanna give it a looky?” she continued, her voice lifting as she posed the question, “You’s can see tha found-a-shun from down in there.” She whipped out a key and pried up theImg_2265 20″x 30″ cover from the floor, responding to his nod. “Be careful, lik they say, that first step is a doozey!” she added as he stepped down while holding the floor on both sides of the opening.

“All orig’nal,” she continued matter-of-factly, “An’ it’s lasted fer near a hundred an’ fifty years, so’s they got sumthin’ right! Today’s houses don’t last half that! They’s wuz craftsmen then!”

She closed the floor access and walked towards the last door, Img_2329leading to the back porch. Opening the door, she said, “Got ya a washer an’ dryer, with a huge wash basin!” She pointed at the Img_2331deep, concrete double sink. Turning, she continued through the back porch area, around a plain Img_2333wood shelf, then turned and walked through the old screendoor and out into the backyard. “Here ya see tha big workshop tha owner built fer hisself, an’ a carport between tha picnic table deck on tha house an’ dech with tha huge hot tub…” she paused walking over to open the cover, ”Thar’s seatin’ fer eight people, that far side has tha lay down, all body massage bubbles too! Nice deck for flowers and such, an’ a small backyard areaImg_2314 left,” she said walking across the ten foot square deck that led into the back yard.

“Great shade!” she said gesturing above, then pointing to the base of the pomegranate tree, said, “An’ a pom-o-gran-et tree, fig shoots which could become a tree, an’ tha big cherry tree ya’ all seen on left facing tha front door when ya came up ta tha porch!” she said as she led them behind the wash room Img_2316and past the pomegranate tree to see the hidden side of the house.

“See, tha missus put in rosebushes, grapes, ivy,Img_2315 trumpet vine an’… hm… I’m not quite sure what else, guess I gotta do sum studyin'” see said as she pointed out the numerous plants in both directions behind the workshop.

Img_2319Walking back across the yard to the other side, she pointed out the little walkway deck, then the picnic table deck, with the patio. Continuing past, they walked to the other side of the house, to the larger part of the yard.

“Like I said upstairs, it’s wide e’nuff fer a moterhome, but ain’t got a bigImg_2313 e’nuff to fit it in here, lessin ya drop tha fence out and that’d be too much werk if’n it was fer me!”

“Sorry fer all the leaves an’ what’not, makes a bigger mess to see than I gen-raly lik ta show,” she said, walking into the shop. “He, ah, tha Img_2322own’a, had plans fer a, what’s ya call them roof thingies? Like on a church, within shutters an’ such? oh, yea, a cupola!” She danced a little twoImg_2323 step jig in reward at remembering.

“It’s all roofed an’ until he got tha cupola built, he’s been usin’ tarps ta cover tha openin’. Padio goes all tha way under tha shop, fer tha most part. Gates open wide e’nuff fer a car or boat. Let’s look in tha back so’s ya can see tha plants an’ all.” 

Img_2308She walked them across the hot tub deck and out into the back yard. Several roses and some vines climbed the side fence directly at the back of a neighbor’s exterior wall. “How they got away with buildin so close wit that little house is beyond me…guess they wuz bein’ like San Fran-cis-co does it.”

Img_2309

“That one grapevine will cum back, it’s a diff’rent kind, an’ tha leaves cum off sooner is all.” Pointing up, she motioned at the massive trees overhead. “Those trees gotta be a hundred years old all by themselves,” she muttered. “Well, let’s head back…” 

Img_2310“Oh sorry, I forgot to mention ’bout tha hot tub. It’s got a full lounge across on tha oth’a side fer ya ta lay down in, an’ bubblers all across yer backside when layin’, an’ I think 4 or 5 oth’a seats wit bubblers too!” She Img_2312walked up to the steps, turned around,  then pointed to a little planted  garden area with pots. “Tha missus wuz quite tha little gard’ner ba’fore she died. Sadly, she wuz gone a couple years ba’fore tha master of tha house, an’ he wuz heart-broked, so tha plants kinda went awry.”

Img_2326She continued past and said, “See there,” pointing upward at the back of the house, “They’s wuz a whole staircase wit two landin’s, an’ a ladder which cum down by tha back door on tha left side. Own’a took it down cuz wuz gettin’ too unsafe. Old wood an’ all. Guess’in it worn’t made’a redwood lik tha rest ov tha house is. As an after-thought she added, “Oh, an’ all tha decks isImg_2324 e’tha redwood or cedar, not sure.” She stopped for a second before opening the back door, pointing down beside it and exclaimed, “Oh, lookie, a doggie door!” then opened the door.

As they headed back into the house, another little work bench and more shelves appeared, unseen on the Img_2335way out before.

Before opening the door into the house, she opened her purse, retrieved a business card and handed it to the gentleman. “Thank you for cum’in on time. Lots ov people get side-tracked, an’ fergit ta call an’ let me know. I use’yaly give ’em an’ hour or so’s ba’fore I call wit a remind’a. enlessen I got plans.”

She opened the door,Img_2336 headed through the kitchen, and continued through the house. Passing through the dining room she pointed up to the lights saying, “Those ova’head lights on tha fans in tha dinin’ room an’ livin’room, is from tha brick schoolhouse Img_2294on tha other side of tha train tracks at the end of tha street.” Img_2344She pointed to the northwest. “Circa 1920’s I wuz told,” she said. “I lik tha nic-nac shelf wit room fer books an’ tha like. Tha mirror is a nice touch, an’ ya can see a full view.” 

Img_2343Img_2345She walked into the entrance hallway and turned near the door, shaking their hands before leading them out.

She said, “Well, that’s tha house, let me know what ya think after ya talk on it,” she said, watching them walk down the steps.

“Give a call if’n ya wanna take anoth’a tour, or if ya got questions, or anythin’ else ya think ov in tha meantime!” Shaking their hands once more, she presented a warm and cheerful, fully sincere smile, and waved them goodbye. “Bye now! Drive safe! Have a great eve’nin’!”

She reached into her purse and grabbed a cigarette. She took as deep a breath as possible and sighing deeply, placed the cigarette into her mouth. “So, tell me, how’d I do for a first time effort?” she asked. “I was shaking inside the whole time even though I know you.”

The couple stopped at the end of the sidewalk and turned around…

more to come…


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