Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Gorilla in the wilderness

Historical research takes on many forms. Just ask Carolyn and Leonard Harr. The local couple were doing research and came across some interesting newspaper articles. They have shared the articles with me.

"The Wild Men of California" is a story about the a gorilla or wiild man seen in the area of in the mountains in Orestimba Creek. It was written Nov. 10, 1870 in the Titusville Morning Herald (The First Daily Paper in the Oil Regions). The newspaper is still in existence in Pennsylvania.

The writer tells his story that the wild man is not a myth.

"I know that it exists, and that there are at least two of them, having seen them both at once not a year ago. Their existence has been reported at times for the past twenty years, and I have heard it said that in the early days an ourang-outang escaped from ship on the southern coast; but the creature I have seen is not that animal, and it if is, where did he get his mate? Import her as the Web-foot did their wives?"

The hunter saw the tracks of enormous feet and decided to lay in wait for the visitor. A few hours later, he saw the wild man near his campfiire.

"The creature, whatever it was, stood full five feet high and disproportionately broad and square at the shoulders with arms of great length. The legs were very short, and the body long. The head was small compared with the rest of the creature and appeared to set upon his shoulders without a neck. The whole was covered with dark brown and cinnamon-colored hair, quite long on some parts, that on the head standing in a shock and growing close down to the eyes, like a Digger Indian. As I looked, he threw his head back and whistled again and then stooped and grasped a stick from the fire. This he swung round and round, until the fire on the end had gone out, when he repeated the manuevre. I was dumb, almost and could only look. "

Later, the wild man was joined by what the writer thought was female. Then they disappeared in to the brush.

An April 1871 story first appeared in the New York Times and was reprinted in The Petersburg Index( Petersburg, Virginia).

That paper said that over the ensuring time, the wild man appeared throughout the United States — then disappeared for a few months before resurfacing again. He eluded caputre wherever he went.

Theories on the sightings include the idea that the wild men were gorillas.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ring in the holidays

The elections are over and thoughts turn to holiday time.
Thanksgiving is in three weeks and Christmas is seven weeks away!
For those fortunate enough to have the day after the Thanksgiving off from work, the four-day weekend can turn in to a time of eating, visiting or shopping with and for the family.
Or maybe everyone gets together to decorate the house Christmas.

But for many, sadly, the holidays will be skimpy this year.
Thousands of folks in the United States were been laid off when businesses took a downturn.
The economy is in a slump,the stock market tanked and housing market stalled.

Right here in Patterson clubs, individuals and organizations are heeding the call of helping others at holiday time. This year local groups are banning together to collect clothes and toys for more than 1,000 children and food for 370 families.

Everyone is struggling — we have all had to tighten the belt in some way.

But, no matter what the generosity of our community has always been paramount. The Patterson-Westley Chamber of Commerce, St. Vincent De Paul Society, Westside Food Pantry and so many others volunteer countless hours to make the holidays brighter for families who cannot afford the simple necessities.

Contact anyone in these groups or stop by U.S. Bank or Sacred Heart Church and pick a name of a child who needs clothes and wants a toy for Christmas.
Giving to others is what Christmas is all about.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The mud slinging elections

It's hard to believe we live in the "... land of the free and the home of the brave."
One would never know we are the home of the brave by looking at the national election race on television. Each candidate blasts the other.
Researchers look into family history and even pick apart, first, middle and last names. The jabs go back and forth.

Statewide and countywide the campaigns are no better. Television ads are attack pieces on candidates and even statewide propositions.
Why not tell us about the candidates, what they stand for and what they plan to do when they get into office?

On the county level, we have received in our mailbox fliers against political candidates. I call it hate mail

And, sadly, the mudslinging has reached the local level — the Patterson races for Mayor and City Council.
What is the purpose of each candidate tearing apart another?
People are talking on the street and on the Patterson Irrigator website. Is that what we want to be known for — a town torn apart?

As Americans we have the freedom to get out and vote.
First, we have to travel the long, hateful road to get there.
How sad for us.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Going on vacation

A New York wedding
It takes quite a bit of planning, organizing and packing to get on the road for a trip. Tom and I did just that leaving for New York at the beginning of the month.

Our road took us to Oakland airport and off into the skies for our trip East. Thanks to our friend Ed who saw us off safely.

The big occasion was My Sister Eileen's wedding on Oct. 4. Eileen, a single parent for more than 30 years, married Rich, a wonderful guy. At the wedding we danced, danced, danced and ate and had lots of fun. There was plenty of time to visit with guests and enjoy the music and singing.

That week of vacation was filled with wedding, family, dinners, visiting and enjoying each other's company.

My family lives on Long Island and my relatives and my husband's relatives are just a car's drive away. My mom, three brothers, three sisters and their families all live close to each other and there was a lot of visiting throughout the week.

We went to dinner and to lunch and had a lot of fun. (We ate a lot and talked a lot).

I got together with school friends, Liz and Ann and their families and we caught up on all the news. Tom's Aunt Ruth had us over for lunch one day and we saw her new, very beautiful apartment.

On Wednesday, I went to New York City with my Mom, my Aunt Ann and my sister, Connnie.

We saw the play " South Pacific " at Lincoln Center then went out to eat at a lovely restaurant. The next day, while I was visiting with school friends, Connie and Tom into New York City. They went to Ground Zero, The Firehouse Museum, Wall Street, Trinity Church among other sites. They had lunch at the historic Fraunces Tavern.

My mom was our hostess and the trip was perfect. Mom and Connie prepare a calendar of events for us for each day. Tom and I get up in the morning and follow the calendar schedule!

On the Friday before we left New York, my mom and all had a cake to observe our anniversary.

It was nice being all together at that special time.

Back to California on time for our 34th wedding anniversary on Oct. 12. Then on Monday it was back to work. The time went by way too fast!

Hope all of you enjoy those special times with those you love, too.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Good people sharing time and talents

Raising money for children
The Westside Shrine Club had a successful first-time fundraiser Sept. 13. Shriners and guests met for dinner at the rural Patterson home of Carla and Kevin Nelson raising $1,150 for children.

Shriners set out to raise money for the Shriners Children's Hospital in Sacramento and decided to put on a steak and oyster feed. Tom and I were honored be two of the 70 people in attendance, visit with folks in the Nelson's beautiful yard and have a delicious meal.

"Everyone has called me during the week and told me they were very happy with the event and look forward to repeating it," Kevin, who is the local Shrine president, said. "Many people worked together to make it a success."

The entire Nelson family worked hard on the event, and along with volunteer cooks and bartender, helped raise funds for kids who need medical care.

The Westside Shrine Club is one of the units of the Aahames Shrine Center in the Pleasanton/ Livermore area.

Kevin said the money will first go to the Shrine Center, be added to the money raised by other Shrine Clubs and then be passed on to Sacramento to Shriner's Children's Hospital.

There are plenty of great people with great causes out there who work hard for what they believe in -- this dinner is just one of example of what dedicated folks working together can do.

Hansen shares artwork; play depicts life issues
When former Patterson resident Lois Hansen was asked to display her artwork depicting women at the Prospect Theatre in Modesto she said "Yes."

Local resident Colton Dennis is directing an Edward Albee play,"Three Tall Women" at the Prospect. He thought of Lois' artwork and gave her a call. Now, five of her paintings are displayed in the lobby of the theater and ready for Friday's opening night.

Lois, who moved to Hughson 1½ years ago, lived here more than 40 years and she and her husband, Charlie, raised four children here.

After her children grew up, she began classes at Modesto Junior College and then at California State University, Stanislaus, in Turlock, where she studied art. After many years, Lois graduated in 2000 from CSUS with a bachelor of arts degree in fine arts.

"I would lke the viewer to identify with my paintings as they trigger different memories for each of us," Lois said in her artist statement. "In my body of work, a recurrent theme for me is the ageing process. These feelings are ones of loneliness and isolation, as well as the very joy of life and its rich rewards."

Lois, who comes to Patterson often, is also a member of the Del Puerto Art Group here. Her paintings, along with other local artists in town, are on display at various businesses around the Circle and downtown.

Meanwhile, Colton is ready for a long run for the Pulitzer Prize winning play, which will be presented from Sept. 26 to Oct. 19 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. A Thursday performance will be Oct. 16. Evening performances are at 8 p.m and matinees are at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person.
For information: 549-9341 or

Friday, September 12, 2008

Remember 9/11

Seven years ago America was reeling from what were devastating attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Terrorists drove three commercial airplanes into those buildings, while a fourth plane went down in a field in Pennsylvania.

More than 3,000 people were killed and the nation was in shock.

Let us not forget, seven years later, the impact of that day. Familes who lost a loved one cannot forget and they still grieve.

We should not forget either.

Although we go about our buisness our lives have changed.
Folks are more viligant when they travel, and are aware of what's going on with the neighbors and neighborhood.

Americans are not afraid to speak up in the face of injustice and fly the flag with pride.

As time goes on do not let the images of that day fade away.

September 11, 2001 should burn forever in your memory.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Jumping from a plane and visiting the neighbors

The big jump

Three-day weekends mean an extra day of fun for those of us who go to school, to work and who have to keep on a strict schedule throughout the week.

Most of us keep our feet on the ground unlike my friends, Linda De Forest and her son, Ryan, who decided to celebrate their birthdays by jumping out of a plane. The pair usually take a trip abroad at birthday time but Ryan, who turned 18 in March, was so busy with school and his summer job they decided on an Aug. 30 jump.

"We both decided before he left for college this is how we were going to celebrate, " Linda said.

The pair headed to Lodi to the Parachute Center to prepare for the big moment. Armed with nerves of steel and the proper parachute equipment — essential — they boarded the plane.
Then they jumped!
Linda and Ryan had a fabulous time as you can see by the accompanying pictures. ( Just a few of the more than 100 pictures they took that day.)

Ryan will leave Patterson to start his areonautical engineering studies at Univeisty of California, Davis, on Sept. 20. We wish you all the best, Ryan!

Visiting the neighbors
The Newman Fall Festival is a tradition of our neighbors to the south. My friend, Coleen Sanguinetti, her granddaughters, Sarah and Ashley, and yours truly headed to Newman for some fun on Sunday.

The big parade — with the Apricot Fiesta float in the lineup — was followed by fun in the Newman Park. Sarah and Ashley enjoyed the rides and bounce houses and we all took part in delicious food and drink. (Of course!) The festival featured a car show and plenty of musical entertainment.

We browsed all the craft booths before starting for home in the late afternoon. It was a fun day for all of us thanks to our neighbors in Newman.
Again I headed south and after helping Coleen with some chores on Monday, our little group headed to the playhouse set up in the Sanguinetti yard.
Coleen and I were the customers at the make-believe restaurant, decorated with tables, chairs, lamps and complete with curtains on the windows and decorations on the walls.
Sarah and Ashley, in dress up attire, served the make believe food, while Coleen and I chatted.
Hope you had a nice three-day weekend celebrated in your own style.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Talk Around Town is back!

When I started work at the Patterson Irrigator, little did I know that 27 years later, I would have my own blog and enter the "blogosphere" of the Internet world. Our town has seen so many changes in that time and so has our newspaper. The World Wide Web has brought us all closer together and through this I have the chance to share community news, thoughts and concerns about our town.

I've named my blog "Talk Around Town" after my column of the same name that ran from 1981 to 2003. That column featured news about the folks in Patterson back in the days when the town was small — under 20,000 people.

One thing has not changed, however. We still have community contact with the people who live here. When my husband and I raised our four sons in Patterson, there was plenty to keep all of us busy as they moved through school and into college. Our sons have married and are gone from home, but our family's connection with the townsfolk still remains.

The network of Patterson news flows through the neighborhoods, schools, grocery stores, churches, gatherings and local offices.

And folks can still come through the front door of the newspaper office and talk to a reporter in person. New brides bring in their wedding albums for us to see, proud parents introduce us to their new babies, folks stop by to laugh, cry, and share their lives with us. We are so fortunate to have that close bond and connection to our readers.

I look forward to sharing the community news with you via Talk Around Town.