I have to admit, this blog has been a sorry site for awhile now. Having lost most of my videos (and the slideshow “Ventura’s Underbelly,” which I have no copy of) –due to Vimeo’s decision to disable all of the videos that were published through them– just because I failed to renew my Premium membership!! That was quite disheartening, to say the least. It represented hours of my time and work just instantly vanishing. I have been meaning to try and republish a better, edited version of all the videos I have taken of my dad, but I simply haven’t had the time to do it. I’ve spent a lot of time emailing back and forth to Vimeo, who claim to be unable to find these videos because they need some kind of payment info that I did not make a record of. Well, I just thought of pulling some of the source code of the broken videos and sending that to them to see if they can track the files down from that. I should think so! If not, then I will just move forward from here. And speaking of moving, I am MOVING, finally!! down to Ventura, tomorrow. Almost everything is packed up or in storage. Seems a lot of people are moving these days. It is ironic that my old comrade, Chris Collins, who also grew up in Ventura, has moved to PA. It was he who was responsible for my meeting the “earth orbitals,” and going to Burning Man in 1998, among many other adventures. It is so strange that he was, this very day, talking to me from Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Jeff, who is still in Philly, is moving back to Ventura this (or may be next?) month! Soon he an I will both be there, and this was never planned. I will be renting a room from an old ‘homey’ and recent Facebook friend (via Buena High School commonalities). I never knew him personally as he was a few years ahead of me. So, it seems it’s back to the heart, and may be the belly too, of the place of my youth. Strange, yet so familiar.
Fall is here, and it is my favorite season. The passing of summer is melancholy, and here is one of my favorite ‘end of the summer’ songs by the Doors. It perfectly captures that peculiar sense of melancholia. I found it on Utube along with this film footage that I think also perfectly captures the melancholia of those times. Film footage created by the band of themselves tripping their minds out — at the beach and the waterholes of So Cal.
It reminds me of the days we’d drive up to Ojai, up to the waterholes. My twin sister and I, with our best friend Jackie, chaperoned by our older sister, Theresa, and Jackie’s older sister, Sandy. We would usually go to Matilaja hot springs and a now defunct grouping of water holes called “Ojala.” Jeff tells me stories of how he’d camp up at an infamous “Punch Bowls” that I heard about at school and wanted sorely to be allowed to go to. It spans three areas: Cross Camp, Second Camp, and Jackson Hole, which at that time sported numerous waterholes and waterfalls. As lenient as they were, My parents never allowed us to go up there. They said it was because they didn’t want us ‘girls’ camping out with a bunch of boys. Many girls went though, and, looking back, it probably wouldn’t have made much difference in the ‘grand scheme of things.’Many of these natural springs in Ojai were so pristine back then that you didn’t even need to bring your own drinking water. People actually drank the water from those springs! Within a decade it all became trashed and polluted (I’m sure the revelers contributed to this). There would be a crowd up there, Jeff told me, and he was one of those guys who would go up there a lot.
I remember when an older classmate OD’d on heroin up at Punch Bowls, and that incident became legendary during our Jr. High School years. The 70’s was a time of excess and abandon, and viewing this Doors video in retrospect brings up many mixed feelings. The footage is in some ways disturbingly provincial and insular, and it brings back old Ventura memories that are lush, hypnotic, and filled with the kind of longing that we only ever feel when we are on the verge of becoming adults. And this is why I think this song resonates so deeply– summer encapsulates the mood of adolescence, and fall broods like a grown-up, telling us to stop playing and to come back in.
Today I was in Los Osos and I got honey at Native Herbs and Honey, and some poppy seeds. All I needed was some lemons. Heck, I thought, if I see a tree I’ll just pick some… so then I ended up on a dead end road (was a bit lost) and I saw a lemon tree laden down with Meyer lemons.. but it was right in the driveway and the people were clearly there (plus I’d never just go and take lemons unless they were not obviously on the property), so I drove away, but considered going back several blocks, just mulling it over and over.. until I finally just turned around and went back. I said, what the hell, when I was a child I used to go up and knock on doors and ask for fruit all the time (we did this with a woman who had the most fabulous peaches– we called her the “peach lady”), so I got out and walked up the gravel driveway, my tennis shoes making a loud, obvious scrunching noise, which made a bit nervous, but then I saw an old man in his garage and I asked him if I could pick some lemons. He came out and was smiling, told me it was nice of me to ask, and said, “Wait– don’t pick any. I’ll go get my clippers.” He came back out with a plastic bag and clippers and told him I’d brought a (cloth) bag already, and he went over and started clipping off lemons. It was funny because he chose the ones with blight on the peels, explaining they were just as good as the others (I thought it was funny how he wanted to keep the good ones for himself, even though there was at least 100 lemons on that tree, probably more..) anyway, I was happy with whatever he was willing to give me, and we talked while he doled out the lemons, dropping them into my bag– about 20 of them! Meyers! So I got ’em for nothing but an ASK. He asked me what I was going to do with them and I told him I was going to make lemon poppyseed muffins. So maybe, if they turn out real good I’ll stop by and leave him some!
Thanks to Randy Blair for this one. Wonderfully written personal essay: an almost scientific accounting of what it was like as a boy learning to surf in Ventura. I never had even the slightest desire to learn to surf. Theresa surfed for awhile. I’d go in the ocean a lot and just bob around (high), body surf for awhile, then go further out and bob around again. I wasn’t ambitious enough to learn to surf. It was harder for girls, a lot harder just to get accepted in. But I could bob around for hours it seemed. One time I remember getting caught in a set of huge ( ~6- foot) waves and that scared the bejeezus out of me. Got pummeled, ate sand, thought I was going to drown. Every time I came up I had to swim my ass off just to dive under the next huge wave right before it broke. That kind of rid me of any inkling I had of ever wanting to surf.
My post on Patrick Farley’s video-diary Facebook page, My Lfe as a Were-Lemur:
Experiencing a load of anxiety and some intermittent depression around having to make necessary life-changes yet wanting to postpone the inevitable– need to get a “real” job, any job, so I can be independent and re-learn the life skills of paying my way 100%. Been a “homemaker” for years, [while pretending at being a business owner] and currently living rent-free (last two years) with my mother. I can say that I’ve been here helping her with my dad, who has Alzheimer’s, and there is a lot of truth to that– but if I was like 99% of the women out there living on their own, would I have come back to live with my mom in Cambria? Probably not. It worked out for use both, but it hasn’t been easy. And now I must leave a pretty damned sweet situation (big house on dead-end street under pines, cedars and redwoods, in a small village nestled by the sea) to make it on my own. And dare I say, I’m no spring chicken. Good-bye, Free Time!
[Text in brackets were added for the Blog]
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