Sunday, February 11, 2018

That Sleepy Little College Town is Greater than the Whole

David and Margaret Home

Dad and His Daughters
My father worked for Waltersheid Electric in San Dimas, California for many many years.  He was able to do electrical work for lots of people and many different companies such, as Vita Pakt in Covina.  Loved working there because he could bring home orange juice and lemonade.  I loved their lemonade.  He crawled through a great many attics, down crawl-spaces, and through yards.  Two of his favorite places to do work were in that sleepy little college town of La Verne: The David and Margaret Home and Leroy's Boys Home.  He loved having the young kids come watch him work and ask him questions.

Hotel La Verne
The David and Margaret Home in La Verne was the first orphanage in the area.  It's history is directly connected to the building of the sleepy little town that was built by the Church of the Brethren and expanded by the citrus growers.  See, back when La Verne was known as Lordsburg in the late 1800s, there were no children services nor safe places for orphaned or abandoned children.  Poor thangs just roamed the streets and relied on strangers for food and bedding.  This bothered the President of the First National Bank, Henry Kuns.  So he purchased 18 acres of property and constructed the La Verne Hotel.  Now remember there was already an unused hotel--Lordsburg Hotel--that became the basis of the University of La Verne.  But Kuns build this hotel with another purpose in mind.  In 1910 when it was completed, he had donated it to the Women’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Church for the purpose of establishing the David & Margaret Home for Children.  The orphanage was named after Kuns' parents. 

Whitney Building in 2018
By 1925, the hotel needed major repairs and so Kuns bought more land and the children moved into the newly built Whitney Building.  The rest of the land was used as a farm to help feed the children and to house administration outposts.  All this was right near the center of town so the community could be involved.

Over the years the organization continued to build housing--in 1964 the first residential cabin was built in order to make it more "homey."  The kids transitioned out of the Whitney building and into the welcoming housing.  Today the acres are filled with housing and classes and administration and families.  The mission of the organization has remained the same: to empower children.  But the organization has grown to include so many services.  Here is a list of the services they now offer.

Leroy's Boys Home
Now you would think one children organization was enough social services needed in such a small town, but the township didn't stop there.  There were troubled kids in the town and Leroy Haynes, a chaplain for the youth authority, thought there was a better way than kid jail to help these kids.  In 1946 he and his wife bought a large estate near the foothills of La Verne and opened the doors to Leroy's Boys Home.  They started with 10 residents.  Today they are still working with the community, having changed the name to the Haynes Family of Programs.  Like David and Margaret Youth and Family Services, they have expanded what they offer by tenfold.  The organization, still located on the same estate, now has 18 buildings, including six residential cottages and a state certified K-12 non-public school. They annually serve more than 450 boys and girls of all ages, and their families, through four programs:
  1. Non-public School
  2. Residential Treatment
  3. Mental Health Services
  4. Community Outreach
The Haynes Family of Programs is dedicated to helping children with special needs relating to emotional development, autism, Asperger’s Disorder, learning disabilities, abuse, neglect and abandonment.

Leroy's Boys in the 1950s
One of the connections between them that these two organizations have is that they both have transitional housing for kids who age out of programs like Foster Care (D&M Home) and schooling (LB Home).  No way are they going to just dump the kids out on the street simply because they reach 18 years old.  Yay for them!  Who would think that such a sweet little town would welcome and support not one but two incredible organizations that were created to house and help kids and are still going strong today?  

I recently continued my father's legacy of helping support La Verne kids by donating four lap blankets and a quilt to the David and Margaret Youth and Family Services.  The next round will go to the Boys Home.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Just a Sleepy Little College Town

Sometime around 1932, my father moved to La Verne, California.  His mother and grandmother shared the responsibilities of raising four children.  Gramma bought a sweet little farmhouse with a wrap-around porch, a second story, and a great big sun porch in the back.  I loved that house.

Gramma's House
As a kid, staying overnight with Gramma meant 50cents or a dollar in my pocket, a short walk with Gramma downtown to the toy store, and walking home twirling a baton.  I always bought a baton.  When Gramma died in 1982, the house was sold.  I drive past it every time I come south to visit Mom.

Mom moved to La Verne to the Hillcrest Retirement Community in 1997 and then she moved into the Woods Health Services after her stroke in 2014.  I visit her every six weeks or so.  The little town hasn't changed much in all the years I've known it.  

After the land was used by Native Americans and other early settlers, the land where La Verne now sits was owned by Isaac Wilson Lord.  He was a Los Angeles business owner who, in 1887, convinced the Santa Fe Railroad to come out his way through his many acres of land.  In May of that year, he made a bold move and set up parades and street music in both Los Angeles and San Bernardino, enticing people a free ride to Lordsburg.  Over 2500 people accepted and Lord sold over $200,000 worth of lots. 

Lordsburg Hotel/University of La Verne
As City of La Verne history said, "Building began immediately. The most notable building was a large hotel with more than 60 rooms. Lord and others had invested some $70,000 or more in it. Water mains were put in, a post office opened, a newspaper published and stores opened, all within four months."

Then the railroad competition began with Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Railroads vying for customers.  Passenger rates dropped to $1/person from mid-west to Los Angeles.  It brought an influx of people to the area--most to just look around; some stayed.

With the hotel completed, waiting for paying customers, the little town of Lordsburg was ready to blossom.  Only it never happened.  Not one paying customer ever stayed at this glorious hotel.  It seemed throughout the area there were few residents and many businesses.  

In 1889, M.M. Eshelman arrived from the midwest.  He was a member of the Church of the Brethren.  Along with George McDonaugh, also a Brethren, they made an offer to Lord for the hotel.  The offer included 100 city lots in on the deal. They offered $15,000 for the lots and the hotel.  They wanted to make a college out of the hotel.  They enticed many Brethren to join them so their kids could go to college.  It worked.  By November, they had formed a Brethren congregation and by fall of 1891, the college opened with eight faculty members and 135 students.  Also in the northern lands there were a few ranchers.  They called their area "La Verne," meaning "growing green."   

Citrus groves with Mt Baldy in background
The ranchers didn't have time to be concerned with the little college town.  They had their own problems with the elements.  Rain.  Drought.  Snow.  Winds.  They dug deep wells and by 1890 they had tried planting citrus groves.  They went well and more citrus groves were planted.  During its peak in 1919, more than a thousand carloads of fruit were being shipped annually, and the output continued to grow. The growing, picking, packing, and shipping of oranges, grapefruit and lemons influenced all of life in the town.

In 1917, town people and ranchers voted to change the name of the town to La Verne.  They had tried back in 1912, but Lord still had a majority of land ownership and he balked.  But then he died and TaDa!  La Verne it became.

Lighting smudge pots
In the 1940, the citrus trees began dying and the owners tore many groves out and sold the land as housing lots.  I remember waking in the night while at Gramma's hearing the fire house warning bells and the people going out to the groves to heat the trees with smudge pots.  I would wake up the next morning with black soot in my nostrils and mouth.  This practice was stopped in the 1970s, but those of us near citrus groves knew the sound and results.

University of La Verne
But now they are gone, all the groves.  There are some 30,000 people living in La Verne today.  But somehow it has remained that sleepy little college town that the Church of the Brethren once developed and La Verne citrus growers expanded. 


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Hidey Holes

All photos were stolen from GOOGLE Images...just sayin

When I was a kid, there was this wonderful old gnarley pepper tree at the edge of Mr. Cooper's property.  It sat near the dirt road where we lived and, with a 360 view, headed toward the paved road that t-boned our little street.  It was my favorite place to hide when I was an angst-ridden teenager.  Our dog could climb up with me and we would hide behind the branches and leaves, watch the world go by, and write angst-ridden poetry. Unfortunately the road was eventually paved, orange groves and Mr. Cooper's farm torn down, apartments, houses, and condos built.  The tree is gone.  Sad 'cause it was the best.

Kids need hidey holes to get away from adults for a while, to meet with friends and talk about their lives.  Goofy lives.  Serious lives.  Like the tree house in the movie Stand By Me.  So cool to have a place to go with your friends and be the self you want to be in the moment.  Try out new yous.  You a kid.  When I was in high school, my friend Cindy and I would take a drive out to the vineyards in my little yellow '56 VW bug.  Never any traffic, so we would turn the little side windows in toward us and drive throughout the area--up the hills and down the hills--pretending to be a race car.  And talk.  And laugh.  And not talk.  You know, like teenagers can.  

Some kids are not so good at hiding....  Some have created great spaces to be alone....

Today I was driving past a large field that is fenced and a screen over the fence.  Because the wind was blowing, I could see the large property through the broken and torn screens.  And I was thinking what a great place it was to sneak into and find a space for to be alone and talk.  Or not talk.  But a special place for kids to be away from adults.  A safe place for them to just be kids.  Hidey holes.  A place to go when the real world is too much or, maybe, not enough.

A great hiding hole
There is a tree across the street from my house in Portland that has a large skirt that dips to the ground.  I know that coyotes used to sleep there during the day.  But now it is empty and a perfect perfect perfect hiding hole!  There was a little girl--maybe three years old--who would take her daddy over there and peek under the tree every time they took a walk.  If she still lived in the neighborhood and was old enough, I'll bet she would be having tea parties under that tree.

A perfect place to play away from adults
We all need hidey holes from time-to-time.  That's why some people take long hot bathes.  That's why my fella goes into his computer room and kills monsters.  That's why I look for spaces to play with my friends when I'm down south.  I miss my gnarley pepper tree but have a great quilting studio.  I miss my VW bug and Cindy but I have long-time friends and family in Southern California and good friends in Portland and a grandkid and family, all with whom I can play.  

So, yeah, come on over to my hidey hole here in Upland and we can get away from adults for a while and try on new selves.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

It Makes More Sense at Sixty-Seven

I loved smoking.  Can't say I didn't.  It was such a hippie thing at 16, a cool thing at 20, a relaxing thing at 30.  I enjoyed the way it gave me a moment to think before I spoke.  I liked the relaxing aspect at the end of a task.  I liked the social thing of smoking on campus with other smokers.

I started smoking at 16.  My boyfriend and I had just broken up and I didn't want to be the goody-two-shoes that was my imagined image.  So I stole some gawd-awful thing that my mother was smoking--something with icky mint (still curling up my nose at that while I type that!  LOL).  Then I found some non-filtered thing that I liked using for a while.  Soooo badass.  But I settled on pretty much anything I could get.  In college, I smoked clove cigarettes.  Height of coolness.  Bad lung cough.  Stopped that unless I wanted to smell cloves and look cool.

When I discovered the Internet, I would stay up latelatelate chatting with people all over the world.  Eventually found the channel #41plus (I was, you know, 41) and chatted and hot chatted and traveled and loved and loved and one final time, loved.  Of course, throughout the whole IRC (Internet Relay Chat) adventures, I smoked.  This little clock was always next to my computer monitor when it wasn't traveling with me across the states on my summer treks.  I won it from some banking campaign back in like 1974.  It was bright white and black.  It told me what time it was in Kentucky and then what time in Pittsburgh while I was three hours earlier.  It is now in my window near my sewing machine in the apartment in California.

Notice the color change...  The window sill is white.  The little clock is yellow.  *nodding*  Yeah, yellow from all those years of smoking next to it, traveling with it, it breathing in the second-hand smoke I was breathing out.  Poor lil thang.  Didn't have a chance.

It was in 2001 that I quit.  I was 5o.  Cold turkey from two-three packs of smokes a day.  I didn't quit because I no longer wanted to smoke.  I quit so I would no longer smell like a smoker.  I quit during Spring Break so that I could be okay when classes started in a week.  We put my house on the market that same day.  I thought I was doing pretty well as I went out to look at new houses.

hahahahahahaha *deep breath*  hahahahahahahaha  *wiping my yes*  hahahahahahahaha

I became pretty isolated in my office, eating lunch at the desk, not taking breaks.  Over the next 12 years of teaching, I never did find out what nonsmokers did for breaks.  I just didn't take a break.  I missed the smoking friends and the companionship.  I got a lot of work done!  I became known as the One Who Would Do the Work.  The committee member.  The doer.  The program director.

I always believed I was good at making a reasonable argument.  I could remain pretty cool-headed when in a verbal fight.  That is...until I quit smoking.  Without the barrier of time--inhaling exhaling--that came with smoking, I had no filter to my thoughts.  Non-filtered words.  First things that came into my head spewed out to the world.  Not the height of coolness.  I still haven't learned exactly how to argue without smoking, but I have learned to hold back most the time.

I remember a doctor once said to me when I was in college that smoking was bad for my health.  Sheesh like I didn't know that.  I mean, they had those little warnings on the side of the carton and individual packs.  I could read.  I heard the Surgeon General tell us over and over and over.  They had already taken smoking ads off television.  Cigarette companies had to pay big monies to people.  I looked at him and said, "WHAT??  When did this happen??"  Yes, I could be a snot :)  He didn't continue the subject.  After all, I was strong!  I was invincible!  I was woman!  Oh sorry...different issue.  But disease and death meant very little to me at 28.  

Yesterday I picked up my little clock and studied it.  It was no longer telling correct time.  Probably too much second-hand smoke. It had new batteries; the hands moved around.  It just didn't tell the correct time.  I again noticed the yellow shell and thought about what I didn't think was really true (even with science behind it!) almost 40 years earlier: smoking is bad for your health.  

This little clock says something different to my thinking all those years ago.

Monday, January 15, 2018

And the Little One Rules the Roost

I have an only-pup.  She loves to lap-around and has her specific settle-spots when we are at home in Portland.  We also have a large yellow-mellow kitty who mostly ignores the only-pup but Only-Pup sometimes can't ignore him...he likes to get into her settle-spots on occasion.  Kitty ambles off when Pup makes a stink.  Rarely do they settle together.  And while she thinks she rules the house, Tyler at twice her size, would beg to differ.  It's a near match.

This week I am house/pet sitting for my sister and brother-in-law while they are in Ghana.  Patrick's mother died this past spring and they are there for the memorial ceremony.  Patrick is GA.  So I am tending to Ace, a two-and-a-half year old German Shephard, and Joy, a little nine-month old kitty.  So far it has been an adventure.

Ace and Zoe are pals.  Ace loves my little girl and my little girl tolerates Ace.  There are moments of great play.  When they are in the (fenced) backyard, Ace runs like a wild dog.  He rips across the lawn, up the embankment, around the side of the house and back again.  Speed of light!  Zoe, always the dainty lil thang, makes a half-hearted attempt at running after him.  She usually just runs at him when he runs past.  Ace thinks Zoe is now the fun yard-mate and runs even faster, kneeling down in engagement, bouncing back up.  Yes, he does remind me a bit of Tigger...  

Joy is a loving imp.  She used to follow Ace around and swipe at his tail while he was sleeping.  Ace wasn't really thrilled about that but the two of them live in tolerance.  Joy is used to my great nephews trying to get her for some lovin and pettin.  Joy isn't really thrilled with that either.  Joy knows how to run away!  But Joy looooves my sister, snuggles up to her and gets her head rubbed.  

Joy began her journey with Zoe by chasing her tail, creeping up on her and batting at the white fuzzy tail, sticking out her tongue and running.  Zoe would happily chase her, both laughing the way cats and dogs can do.  Until it no longer became fun for Joy.  Now it is running for dear life from the grrrr-girl.  See, Zoe is used to having me all to herself and here these upstarts want in on the lovin.  She takes it as an upfront to her space, her person.  Her! Person!

Boy howdy.

Bedtime...a time for peace and quiet.  Until Joy wants to snuggle on the king-sized bed.  Grrrrr-girl is off and running.  Of course, she can't get up onto the bed without help. Periodically this event happens.  And after a while I become the grrrr-girl.  And then there's the 5:45 wake up.  Ace is in my face, Zoe is on my back.  Both are telling me, "Hey!  Now's the time!!"  I am definitely the grrr-girl then and make them wait until at least 6:45.  Somehow I am more tired here than at my apartment while south.  *rolling eyes*

Late evenings is the calm time.  Last evening Zoe was on the love seat.  Ace was on the recliner.  Joy was up on her Joy-perch.  All was sweet in the world.

So the adventures continue.  Their favorite time is when I let them outside.  Unfortunately I can't allow Joy outside (and she rrreeeeeeeeaaaaalllllyyyy wants to go) and can't allow Zoe out alone because of coyote danger.  And treat time.  I forget that Ace is a really long dog and he found the bedtime chewies.  Ate a good five of them before I realized he could get them.  *rolling my eyes again*  And the pooh!  Good gawd big dogs pooh a lot!

But overall, we are having a good time.  And Zoe truly does rule the roost.  She keeps Ace in line.  She keeps Joy on her toes.  She gets scolded and is a really good pup for a short while.  Then forgets.

It's a good thing she's cute.

Zoe and Doug: one of her settle-spots