Friday, March 5, 2010

I'm all ears.

Once I moved about like the wind. Now I surrender to you and that is all. -- Geronimo

It has become more and more apparent to me that my words sometimes offend people. What I might think is humor over the human condition, others see prejudice and malice. At what point is it not okay to mention the things that happen around us. At what point does conversation become unacceptable.

I encourage open comment on this blog and have not deleted anything except flagrant viciousness directed toward me or others. This blog is a good place to post your thoughts. I encourage comments. Some tell me that they read every word written here, but they don’t comment or add their own thoughts. I accept that, but I don’t understand it. I don’t ever make fun of people that have trouble communicating, and more often than not we can all understand a poorly communicated position. So, the fact that you may not be able to write well is no excuse for not adding your thoughts here.

Lately, it has been occurring to me that I am one of the few people that lived here before the huge influx of people that came here in the late sixties and early seventies. We now have three generations of the “back to the land” movement living here. The people that were born here rightfully feel that they are a part of culture that exists here.

I was talking to an old friend this morning about my use of the term “Newcomer”. I consider the term to be tongue in cheek, while others see it as being just plain cheeky.

I was wondering if anybody really cares about what it was like before the influx of new people? Is it important? Tell me how this area has benefited from the back to the land movement. I’ll listen for a change.


Anonymous said...

Ernie, I think I fall well within the "not well written" folks. I didn't mean to offend anybody with my comments. I also didn't mean to say that the back to land movement was wrong, I just didn't like it and still don't. That is why I don't live there anymore.


Anonymous said...

I loved the way it was before the back to the landers came and I'm "no redneck." I'm acquaited with many good people who came with the movement and I don't hand all of the blame to this group. However, with their arrival came the first sign; the changes we face today ie living off the land $$$ illegaly which attacted greed and crime. This didn't set well with the person working for an honest living - if darned lucky making $15-20 per hour. All they could do was feed their families and pay their mortgage. There were no fancy trips all over the world for them. Maybe it was jealousy!!! But most of the newcomers had this privilege from tilling the soils of the local mountains.

Few reports of high crime were reported in this area after the wars between the Indians and the settlers to speak, until the new ag. business came to town. Highly educated peoples "back to the land" moved into our beautiful hills and began making their fortunes like none of we peons ever dreamt of. They loved our beautiful valleys thus fulfilling their dream of "farming" and being free. I respect these people because I've had the opportunity to know many personally. But the outcome whether directly, or indirectly, changed life as it was in the valley. It shouldn't be that tough for those people to understand why we have a problem with it.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Actually Oregon I was pretty impressed with what you said. I know many others that fled for the same reasons. They got tired of being disrespected. I later found out later that a lot of the local timber people, that were around here in the 50s and 60s, moved to Scotia and Rio Dell. Many are still there.

I agree with Cousin also. We liked the people that moved here, but it wasn’t all sweetness and light. We started having to move things away from the street, take the keys out of our vehicles for the first time in history, and start locking our doors. No longer could you leave a wrench laying on the fender overnight. The attitude was “If I don’t take it, somebody else will”. It was annoying as heck to get used to. Not all the people that came here were like that, but the early people were pretty desperate. And, the concerts that the new people had brought groups of people that made their way by stealing. To the credit of some of the new people that came here they helped drive the Ne’er do wells away. It’s not anywhere near as bad as it used to be.

Anonymous said...

I loved Humboldt before the back to the land movement but I love it better now.

We did lose a little closeness but gained some much needed diversity.

The saddest part of the "newcomer" influx is the the oldtimer's culture is dissed in a way that most newcomers would never allow for native cultures or foreigners. I see among many liberals a wonderful respect for the ways of distant cultures. Sadly, I often don't see the same willingness to empathize with the logging/redneck (not my favorite terms but I use them as shorthand to describe the complexity that existed) culture that existed here pre 1970.

spyrock said...

there is this lama up on a high mountain before the flood comes in the movie 2012. he fills his guest with the questions cup to over flowing. then he says, your cup is already full, why are you asking me. you should. i was there when it all happened.
for me the tragedy was the number of people that started surfing. we went from about 100 to a 100,000 in one decade from above santa barbara north.
you don't understand because you have no respect for what happened in the haight. there were certain people that just showed up near golden gate park around 1965-66. most of those people are dead now. but they were from oregon, texas, other parts of california. some of my friends from high school played in those early bands. we were just hanging out and being cool and then some chronicle writer invented the hippie thing. the first people that showed up in what they called the summer of love was the people from los angeles. the next year all the good people from everywhere else started showing up and then the people from new york and then people like manson came. when the manson element came, the oldtimers wanted out and they fled in many different directions. the first ones i knew about, fled the haight to the morning star ranch above the russian river not far from bodega bay. this itailian guy named chipper from new york who stayed with us when he got back from nam and i hitch hiked to this free land. we camped out and the next morning we were drinking out of the communal faucet and this big naked breasted lady chastised us for wasteing their water. so the land was free but the water wasn't. in other words, the scene was already corrupted before it got to santa rosa.
a little later we went up to albion and heard about a concert in the woods. this was early 70's. it was basically cool except for a few real aggresive people who were early growers. bad vibes man as they used to say. so the whole scene was corrupted by the time it got up your way and who knows where those people came from. they certainly weren't hippies, just people disquised as hippies. when you talk about the newcomers, i view them as the latecomers. but how can i explain this to you. your cup is already full.

Unk John said...

My sister and I were both born in San Francisco and that is where we lived until I was 9 years old, when we went to Japan where my father was stationed in the army. When we came back, he was stationed in Ft. Lewis and we settled in Tacoma.

We made an annual trip down to the Bay area every year in the summer. I remember the first time we came through Humboldt county in 1954. Highway 101 was called "the curviest highway in the United States." It seems to me that from somewhere between Crescent City and Eureka, all the way to and perhaps south of Richardson Grove, there was one sign after another announcing the entrance to grove after grove, each one with its own name. Of course, the weather was spectacular and I was certain that this must be what heaven was like.

I had a postcard collection (actually, I still have it) and one of them was a picture of Founder's Tree, at that time thought to be the tallest tree in the world. As we passed the sign that pointed to it I demanded that we go there. My father agreed and I will never forget how I felt that first time there. I stood there, completely overwhelmed. It still gives me chills.

Then, going south through Redway and Garberville, I thought that this was paradise and I just had to come back. Over the years I have done that, but never to live there, although we came very close to doing just that in 1969. Close, but that is another story.

I can understand the frustration that the "old timers" might have had with the newcomers, because I have experienced some of the same sort of thing here in the northwest corner of Washington State. In a way, I have always felt a bit relieved that I wasn't able to find a way to support my family in Garberville and returned here because we might have felt uncomfortable being part of the newcomer movement.

Anyway, we have always loved Humboldt county and I am glad we know a couple of people there and thus have reason to visit.

Anonymous said...

I found that when I moved here I was considered a newcomer, and after being her for many a year I became a local, and now I find that the new newcomers are different then the old newcomers and the current locals are not quite the same as the yesterdays locals. Mostly I notice that the television sets had gotten bigger and bigger and now they are getting skinnier and skinnier. The picture has gotten more colorful and higher and higher definition. The only thing that hasn't changed is the demographics; there is still a bunch of self important hypocrites who complain about another bunch of lazy ne'er do wells, now there may be more people in these groups, but as a percentage of the population it is still the same. There are also several other groups of people who do other stuff. Some of whom are actually quite nice and others just need a good spanking. It all reminds me of the good old days but with all the modern conveniences and inconveniences.

Anna McCarthy said...

When I came to Spy Rock in 1970, the Old Timers were mostly very helpful and welcoming. They taught us to quilt and garden and can and make things. How to wrap Arkansas Blacks in paper so they would last for months. I have forgotten their names at Black Oak Ranch but I will be forever grateful.

Antonio Garcia said...

I first came here in 1853. Had a little cabin near the town gulch and creek in what came to be Garberville. Later, when Garber and his family moved up from the lower flat, their children played in my little house. Garber used my brother's land for his small herd. I sold my claim to McMillan some years later. I also sold the Swithenback's their place near Bear Butte, and the Dickson brothers their land which came to be called Dixon Butte.
When Tracy and Robert White, the road viewers from Long Valley came through in 1859, they didn't even notice me, just Armstrong and lowlife associates. Relations with the Keneste went sour fast, but that is a story for another time. Talk about disrespecting the locals. I saw what those first newcomers did.
This town should be called Garciaville.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Great stuff, great history!

Bunny said...

Sometimes I can't believe you are still talking about it. I've been here 36 years, am a I a newcomer? You guys gotta get over it. When I was 6 we moved to La Mirada in so cal. We were the 2nd tract built there. We were surrounded by orange groves, it always smelled good. And gee whiz more people came and everything changed. Don't you think it happened and is happening everywhere? Times move on. BFD. It was what it was, became what it did and is what it is. Be here now. There's no relationship between then and now. Be here now.

Anonymous said...

Ernie, I for one am VERY interested in the days before the back to the landers came. Everything has happened so fast around here we have to hang on to the history.Being the kid of proud hippies, this blog is awfully good perspective.

Ernie, Oregon, Spy, keep it coming.

P.S.Ernie: It's ok to get a little cranky with the newcomers at times.I can only imagine how it must feel to have seen/lived this whole social experiment in your hometown.

P.S.S: The back to the land movement is over. Something different is happening now which hasn't quite defined itself. I'll let you know if I can put a finger on it.

spyrock said...

my mom went to san francisco state back when it was down on market street. she used to walk from blythedale ave in mill valley near the old show and down the block from the old mill to the ferry dock and sail to the ferry building in san francisco everyday to go to school. how cool. but when it came time to go to school for me, s i hayakawa was the dean and all the students were protesting. so all my relatives thought the communists had taken over that school and told me i couldn't follow in my mother's footsteps. so i applied to uc santa cruz which was the first year it was open and usf which was a catholic school which my catholic aunt norma talked me into. my grandma was still living in stinson beach and i saw a guy at the beach with a usf sweatshirt on and that was it. so i wound up at a jesuit catholic school with a great basketball team four blocks off haight street. my bank was on haight street as was my store and my barber shop.
to make a very long story short, the first people i met, remnants of the jack keroauc crowd were the so called early hippies. to me they were just like the people up at spyrock. down to earth, real people, like janis joplin and others, no pretense, friendly, and just having a good time. there were no stars, just community. then the chronicle started writing those hippie stories and soon everybody and their sister were on there way to san francisco with flowers in their hair. soon after that article came out, the locals had a parade where the diggers carried a coffin of "the dead hippie" in it. this was the fall of 1967 just after the summer of love. but way back in the spring of 67, some british dude told everyone that it was already over and that the circus was coming to town.
so the thing is, to me the real hippies and the real pioneers of the sohum are exactly the same kind of people. somehow, the circus made it all the way up there. go figure. everyone moved away from my little town. i can count my high school class that still live here on one hand.
you are living in just one of those chosen places like taos new mexico, sedona, arizona, etc. etc.
so just sit back buy your self some popcorn and enjoy the circus.

Robin Shelley said...

I was born in Willits & raised in Laytonville where I lived for 50 years & knew no other way of life until I moved away three years ago. It's not much different here. I have good friends "down there" & I have good friends "up here". I might expound on this when I have more time but, for now, suffice it to say that I married a "newcomer" to my hometown... a born & bred Humboldt Co. boy!

Ernie Branscomb said...

I'm really lovin' this, but I really think, at some time I should point out... I'm not the one that invented the term "Newcomer". If the new people that moved up here would have taken the time to understand us, or who we were, it would have been so hard to take. But they renamed everything. Not one time did did I hear anyone say or act like they were sorry, or understand how we felt. We just got to be wrong, while the back to the landers were right. When we became a little stiff around them, they would say “What've you got against Newcomers”. They didn't really want to hear, they just wanted us to “Get over it”. I guess I never really did... My bad. I wasn't as bad as most of the people that lived here, they packed up and left.

But, I want to make it clear. I dearly like most of the back to the landers. There is only one or two that I don't like, and I've discovered that most people don't like them. A “Newcomer" friend of mine pointed out. "You notice the assholes first!"

I'm doing a little post on my foray out of the the South Fork Canyon. And my trip back home, just before the big influx.

Have any of you been here long enough to remember the welfare communes or “the Truckers?”

Anonymous said...

Spyrock shared an interesting trip through time with his latest post … until his final comment. Can't say I've ever heard Garberville mentioned in the same sentence as Taos or Sedona. These southwestern communities share a reputation for attracting world class artists and exhibitions. Their studios and workshops are a Mecca for those who appreciate paintings, sculpture, bronze, turquoise, etc.
I left G-ville in '66 and knew I'd be better off ... and I was 12 at the time. Before leaving, I had the opportunity to stand in a grocery store line near - too near - a few tie-dyed, organic shoppers. My eyes watered with my next breath. I searched their grocery cart in hopes of seeing a box of detergent among the fruits and grains. On a related note, there was apparently a spike in head lice cases at the elementary school that year. Also, an article appeared in the old Redwood Record, the local newspaper edited by Warren Wright. Seems the locals were alarmed by a few indiscreet exhibitions of daytime lovemaking at Tooby Park.
Yeah, but was it art?

Bunny said...

Lots of generalizations going on here. We DO HAVE world class artists and writers and scientists and just plain very smart people here, many who were "newcomers", wait.... almost ALL of them newcomers. "In 1966"... that's 44 years ago folks. You still live those days, the smell of someone in line at a store. You take that and apply to all of us. I just want to say fu, but I won't. Have you guys seen some of the born here locals that are still alive? Not a pretty sight. And they have always grown as much pot as the newcomers. BAck to what cousin said at the top of all this if no hippy had come here the..."living off the land $$$ illegally which attracted greed and crime." would all still have happened, for obvious reasons.

I'm just feeling ornery today. You guys go ahead and keep the "them and us" history alive. I know it makes you happy.

Bunny said...

Lots of generalizations going on here. We DO HAVE world class artists and writers and scientists and just plain very smart people here, many who were "newcomers", wait.... almost ALL of them newcomers. "In 1966"... that's 44 years ago folks. You still live those days, the smell of someone in line at a store. You take that and apply to all of us. I just want to say fu, but I won't. Have you guys seen some of the born here locals that are still alive? Not a pretty sight. And they have always grown as much pot as the newcomers. BAck to what cousin said at the top of all this if no hippy had come here the..."living off the land $$$ illegally which attracted greed and crime." would all still have happened, for obvious reasons.

I'm just feeling ornery today. You guys go ahead and keep the "them and us" history alive. I know it makes you happy.

Bunny said...

Anonymous said...

Anon @10:54 things are different now. These days Humboldt is on the privileged-but-groovy super highway. Other stopovers include Santa Cruz, Tahoe, Bend, Steamboat Springs etc... Taos yep.We've made the big time.

Ernie Branscomb said...

You can get as ornery as you want here. You can give any valid opinion you want. At least you object without getting mean and personal.

The following is about those FEW of the "new people" that stood out of the crowd of the rest, and has no bearing on the good people that moved here. I sometimes wonder what happened to the rotten ones, because you don’t see them anymore. But, they sure stood out when they first came here. So, the following is completely true, but only about a small percentage of the new people that moved here. Got it???

Bunny, I enjoyed your link back to the 60s and it reminded me that the sixties really were the end of ALL of our innocence. The back to the landers moved in on us and they didn’t give a damn what we thought, and pretty much went about telling us so. We no longer could feel that our stuff would be safe. We began to need locks and keys. A world of locks was totally alien to us. The attitude was, “it was just laying there. If I didn’t take it, somebody else would”. So we had to lock things up. The new people thought that was only reasonable to lock things if you wanted to keep them. So we got used to that.

Our standards weren’t accepted, nor approved of by the new people. I think the most graphic example of the fact that they didn’t care about our standards was when the hippy couple made love on the Laundromat folding table in front of the church ladies that were doing their laundry. At the time I thought that was pretty funny, but I guess it must have been very shocking to a group of people that had no concept that in the whole wide world that there were people like that. If you think about it, what real harm did it do, it only changed their innocence.

The early people that moved here, didn’t worry that much about cleanliness. To make it worse they wore patchouli oil to cover up the smell of B.O. and marijuana. I guess that they thought that if they wore the patchouli oil you wouldn’t know that they were stoned. But, they really didn’t care what you thought. The fact that we didn’t like filth and especially didn’t like patchouli oil was a real plus for them. But, We got over it, like they say, "it was going to happen sooner or later."

The thing that took me the longest to figure out, is that they never addressed a problem directly. I suspect the whole environmental movement sprung out of the fact that the loggers sprayed the marijuana plants that they were growing on logging company land. But logging is gone now. We got used to that too.

The very most humorous thing that I see today is the that the GOOD people that moved up here learned to love this place as much as some of the locals. The old Newcomers object to the “new people” moving up here fouling the land with the pollution from “Diesel Marijuana”, and poisoning our streams with the wanton disposal of plant fertilizers. Fungicides are being found in some of the medical marijuana. Where’s the love man?

Just like the loggers had to accept that we were screwing things up by logging, we also readily accepted the logging practices act, that said that we couldn’t foul up the land and streams. To some of us this was a good thing. We ALL had to play by the same rules and the guy that took his logs down the crick to get them to the mill faster could no longer do that, and we could all save the cricks and the fish. We thought that our lumber was building America, and that a little damage to the environment was worth it. They said that we were wrong, but we got over it.

The growers need to accept standards that THEY THEMSELVES invented for the logger. To lay off the pollution. But, this is a fight that I hope they win. And now, just like the Newcomers say, “It’s going to happen, get over it!”

Ben said...

Oh Boy, Ernie... You are not responding to Bunny's point at all. I can name you low life scum local to your hippie. The hostility we felt in the 70s produced Redwoods Rural Health Center, The Community Credit Union, The Mateel Community Center and local schools and community centers like Beginnings. The Credit union excepted, I sure don't remember many "locals" pitching in when these institutions started. You act as if "locals" aren't big diesel dopers (or outdoor for that matter) Just newcomers. I remember when one of the biggest local ranches hired a growing crew so big they had their own softball team. I remember some stories about sex on the billiard tables in the Blue Room with some well known "locals" as spectators. I had food stamps in the 70s and so did the rancher in line with me at Peter Pan Market. We were poor back then. Times have changed for the better. We even have a black President.

spyrock said...

I left G-ville in '66 and knew I'd be better off ... and I was 12 at the time. Before leaving, I had the opportunity to stand in a grocery store line near - too near - a few tie-dyed, organic shoppers. My
thanks for the compliment but i think your time line is a bit off. the first large gathering of the tribes was the human be-in at the polo fields in golden gate park in January 1967. There were other events prior to that at long shoreman's hall, the panhandle on new years day in 67 and at the fillmore and avalon throughout the year of 1966. however, only about 100-200 people would attend those earlier events until the human be-in which attracted a large number of people. there were only two stores selling patchuli oil in san francisco on haight street in those days. the psychedilic shop and the house of richard. very few people shopped in these stores until the summer of love in 1967 because i used to stop by every day to get the free posters. the organic food trip came a few years after that. more like 1970. before that people ate brown rice because they didn't have any money. but there was plenty of self righteousness to go around in those days among that crowd. the drop out lifestyle morphed into the organic lifestyle. my friend yoga bob was one of the first people to make organic bread and sell it to the very few organic markets in san francisco in the early 70's. but an organic store in garberville in 66, wow, maybe it all started up there and i'm wrong about what i saw happen with my own eyes. after all, i wasn't up in garberville. people started leaving the city as early as the end of the summer of love in 1967 to go back to the land. there were still lots of free concerts in the park at the pandhandle and speedway meadows up until 1969 and then the bands went commercial and we had to start paying. the last concert i went to in those days was pink floyd at winterland for $5. way too much money. i was only paying $2 to get into the avalon. most of the people i saw at events in those days were in their 20's and 30's. we were the babies of the crowd wherever we went. you remind me of my mother who was raised at spyrock tell me what the indians she saw were like back when she lived there. she said that the "diggers" used to put animal fat in their hair and there were maggots crawling all over it. so maybe you should look at the lice event as a slight improvement.

Anonymous said...

I don't care what people do with their lives or where they choose to live, because we are all human and it's our choice to be and do what we wish to do. New blood is a good thing; it's what keeps communities alive. I also believe it's my perogative to research history.

When my husband and I moved back to the valley in 1971 after living in Montana for a couple of years, I noticed the many changes that had occurred while we were away. Alcohol and tobacco had been a parents dreaded nightmare due to the windy roads, for fear their children would drive while under the influence and be killed.(too many were) And it was much later that I realized MJ had not come with the end of the war in Vietnam, but former local classmates were putting themselves through college with their summer/fall jobs. The economy was then much as now. But, marijuana is not todays poison, it's the pharmaceutical drugs/chemicals. There have been 2 local teen
suicides and 2 deaths by overdose within the last 3 months. Too many teens are into these drugs and many use at a dangerous level.I feel that we are on a path of self destruction.

In regards to the loggers, I would not have a home to live in if it weren't for loggers hauling the timber to the mill. Logging was like everything else, after a while it got out of control.It came to an end here.

Peace health and happiness to all.

Anonymous said...

Good follow-up post by Spyrock 10:16. I can remember the 1st time I had to pay $5 for a ticket at Winterland, too. (Early Humble Pie.)
As for Bunny's post? Well, she’s quick to point out the generalizations of others, then proceeds to add a few of her own. Little did I know, for example, that “the locals (date range undefined) “have ALWAYS grown as much pot as the newcomers (date range undefined).”
Or that the local gifted ones are “almost ALL newcomers”. (Excuse me? Is she with the Census Bureau?)
If someone left the area in '66, they wouldn't HAVE a more recent point of reference.
Hopefully, next time she’s “just feeling ornery”, she’ll do so with her keyboard unplugged.
“Think before you post.”

Ernie Branscomb said...

The one thing that I want to make clear is it is people like you, Anna, Bunny and Kirby that are the kind of people that I’m glad came here, among many others. If fact MOST other people, I welcomed. You guys in particular made a real contribution, and at least studied our local history.

However YOU are missing the point that I was trying to make. You skipped right over what I was saying, because you assumed that I was wrong... Again. Not one time have I ever heard that the local people did anything right. You don’t see that. The Redwoods Rural Health Center was started because the new people didn’t like the way we did healthcare. A new school was started in every canyon because the new people didn’t like the way that we did education.

The Community Credit Union was started AFTER the prosperity of the illegal marijuana was established. Apparently something was done wrong with the way money as already being handled. Our children became involved with the highly (pun intended) lucrative crop that came to our canyon… That was our big fear!

Everything that we did was being supplanted by the new people. The way we made a living was roundly criticized. For some reason they thought ranching was wrong. The newcomers thought that a dog should run free. The locals could no longer raise sheep.

The logging was stopped because of the herbicide spray, and the erosion that was caused. As I’ve said before the new people didn’t like the loggers because of the fact that they tried to drive the growers off of logging property.

Yes, the corrupting influence of the newcomer’s prosperity, and wealth, sucked local people in. People that might not have fallen by the wayside otherwise. Most of the people that had land or opportunity to cash in with marijuana, did so. Most of the local ranchers became involved. Even our, otherwise liked and respected sheriff lieutenant had a large crop hidden in a remote location. He got caught a spent the rest of his life in incarceration. Okay now, this is where the new people will switch from listening to what I have to say to protecting their sacred Marijuana. Don’t do that this time! Please, just listen to what I’m saying. I don’t give a rats ass if you stick the lovely weed in your ears until you go blind. Marijuana is a totally moot point! Get it??? It was the wealth and the corrupting influence that the locals objected to. Please don’t even try to defend marijuana to me until you say that you heard what my objections were on this point! Marijuana = rats ass! Peoples lives ruined by it = big deal.

But, what do I know? I just saw the whole thing happen. Would it have happened anyway? Probably. But at some point I would like it to be acknowledged that I was here.

The local people knew the land, animals, and the plants of the South Fork canyons intimately. It didn’t seem to make any difference what was known by the locals, it was just written of as wrong. Our rivers are choked with gravel from the floods, but we are not allowed to harvest the gravel to any great extent. Our forests are a renewable resource, yet logging is not a viable business. We have been supplanted by the marijuana industry. Which is proving to be the most damaging industry that we’ve ever seen around here. I don’t give a rats ass about marijuana, but I would like to see some responsibility in the industry. What’s good for the loggers is good for the grower.

I know,,, BUT,,, I’m wrong…

Ben said...

Well Ernie... We can see from both of our rhetorics that this is still n emotional issue. Hippies were here well before commercial marijuana came ( 1976 or so) We certainly did not notice acceptance in town. However, in the hills, and rural areas, local ranchers grew organic gardens and shared their knowledge with the newcomers. My new logger friends around Phillipsville taught me that people here helped each other out. If you were moving, needed a porch added or even a road graded, it was done. Everyone helped out. A big lesson for a city boy. However, when I went to town I was simply shunned. The day I shaved my beard to go to work at the High School as a janitor (a CEDA job, remember?) I suddenly found welcoming smiles in town. Nowadays, bikers, rednecks, hippies and preachers wear beards. If you think is was a pleasant experience to go to the Garberville Clinic as a hippie, think again. If you think we could have obtained a car loan at the bank, think again, We responded to those problems and helped everyone in the community, not just hippies.. Rotary did not accept a hippie businessman 'til a shorn Jay Sooter joined. Ed Williams brought him in. Roger Adams brought Alan Katz in. Rotary accepted women and Bunny was the first. That certainly was a plus. All of this raised grumbles from some of the locals but they got over it.
These days, I can't go to town without running into old friends I have known for nearly forty years. People like Ray Oakes or Louis Lester, and when we stop to chat all that time stands there with us no matter the topic. I love it, I'm home.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Well, I said that I would listen and I did. What I heard is that the new people wanted to move to this beautiful canyon and they did. They came up here and made their way the best that they could. They were not made to feel very welcome, mostly because they were grouped together with some of the early drug addicts and thieves that came at the same time.

To Ben’s credit, anybody that took the time to know him, would like him. That is also true of Bunny, Dave, and Anna who all responded here and I know fairly well. They are the kind of people that were eventually accepted. Many of the drug addicts and thieves were driven off, and made to move on, unequivocally. They were burned out and physically threatened. They left.

The people that were left here, were for the most part good honest people with what the locals perceived to be a “bad habit”. They liked their weed. They soon found that they could grow enough to help pay for their land, so they could stay here. I understand that feeling more than they know.

Because they were not accepted readily, they built their own world that the locals were not particularly welcome in. And a “them and us” division formed that we still see signs of today.

Most of the people that didn’t like the way things shook out, left the country. They didn’t want their kids to be exposed to the new industry that was cropping up around here. Some say that it is everywhere. But, anybody that pays attention will have to admit that we have far more than our share. Indeed Marijuana is the main source of the local economy now.

The only thing that I remain bitter about is the way that they renamed everything. It was arrogance on their part, but I’m sure that they felt it was a good payback for the way that they were treated by the locals.

I value the friendships that I have formed with some of the “Newcomers” and as any can see, I was treated well on this post, even when maybe I didn’t deserve to be. I would like to thank my good friends for tolerating me, because like them, I ain’t goin’ away!

Anonymous said...

Bunny, in reponse to the comment: "if no hippy had come here the..."living off the land $$$ illegally which attracted greed and crime." would all still have happened, for obvious reasons."
I have to disagree with you somewhat. Now-a-days it's true that many of the locals grow as hugely as anyone else, but in the beginning they were very cautious; taking babysteps.
I know the first man who went to jail around here for MJ. He'd earlier been a professor back east. He moved here and lived with his family behind Bell Springs Mountain. He was allowed to work at a store in Ukiah for certain hours of the day, and waved to his family from his cell window for a long time. My daughter became best friends with his daughter later on.
It's mere speculation that the outcome would have been the same. But, I think we're condoning the situation by passing the blame around. We just need to try and make this a safe enviornment to live. Isn't that what we all want?

spyrock said...

Dear Mr. Steve Jobs,

Hello from Albert Hofmann. I understand from media accounts that you feel LSD helped you creatively in your development of Apple computers and your personal spiritual quest. I'm interested in learning more about how LSD was useful to you.

I'm writing now, shortly after my 101st birthday, to request that you support Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Peter Gasser's proposed study of LSD-assisted psychotherapy in subjects with anxiety associated with life-threatening illness. This will become the first LSD-assisted psychotherapy study in over 35 years. I hope you will help in the transformation of my problem child into a wonder child.

Sincerely, A. Hofmann

this is the guy who invented lsd in 1939, it was pure, no other ingredients were added.
i'm copying all of this from elsewhere.

until 1967 everything was beautiful then the insanity began.

the cia got into the business of altering human behavior in 1947.
project paperclip brought 1000 nazi specialists to work in the us military and civilian institutions to continue their work on controlling the mind.

the us army got interested in using lsd for interrogation purposes in 1950. from 1956 until 1975 us army intelligence experimented with hallucinogenic drugs.

the cia and army spent over 26 million testing lsd code name ea 1729. contracts went out to 48 different institutions for testing. the cia concealed their participation by contracting to various colleges, hospitals, prisons, mental hospitals, and private foundations.

the lsd i will refer to is the same type of lsd that the cia used because of the similarity of symptoms between their reports and what happened to musicians or hippies after 1967. we shall be speaking of cia-lsd, not pure lsd.

government agents had the ability to cause permanent insanity, identical to schizophrenia, without physician or family knowing what happened to the victim.

when the first reports came out that the cia could administer a tasteless substance into the beverage of one of their most responsible co-workers, and drive that man into a mental institution, or cause him to jump out of a window to his death, all existing cia records were destroyed.

i found this all on the internet looking for the why of your topic.
i've often wondered why so many people went nuts or died after 1967 or turned into the assholes that have irritated ernie for so long. now we know why.

while we all wait for the few former hippies left alive to sue the government. i'll share these words from bd.

while preacher preach of evil fates
teachers teach that knowledge waits
can lead to hundred dollar plates
goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
sometimes must have
to stand naked.

Local said...

That last line should have been edited out before posting. I do not believe that that statement is true.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Maybe I'm more of a country boy than a logger. Gypo loggers got paid by the thousand board foot of logs delivered to the mill, we really didn't care where they came from. So, from the logging standpoint we got paid for what we did. The real losers in the logging practices act was the timber owners that got to lose all that money left standing in the cricks.
From my standpoint, I couldn't be happier that the creeks are protected. Just like some growers are concerned about the environment, but not the rogues. Sometimes rules are a good thing. (I never thought that I would ever hear myself say that!)

Anonymous said...

I loved Blackie Adams! I danced with him in the Cellar to Rod & the Ideals while the whole crowd sang along.
That's been my life, a mesh of the old and new. Days spent canning with women who talk of family & life - and days spent clipping with women while they talk of family and life.
I remember when telling people that my parents were "straight" meant something entirely different than it would in today's vernacular.
Those who came became... they became us.
We are SoHum. We are people who come to the aid of our neighbors. We are people who are independent & proud. WE are people who carry a roll of T.P. in our car.

Ernie, I love the discussions you host.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Wow! That is a real compliment coming from "SoHumBorn".

But, I would be the first to admit, some of my "conversations" get way over my head!

Anonymous said...

and some just don't seem to sink in.

Ernie Branscomb said...

No need to apologize Anon, if you keep reading it will come to you…

Bill Pitt said...

Ernie, I have been following your blog for a few months. That means I enjoy reading what you have to say. Whether I agree with all of it or not you say what you think and that's what counts. I came here in 73 and I guess I'm a lander. I've worked and raised a family for the past thirty seven years and this is my home. I miss the way it used to be - the fishing fleet, the mills - the plywood mill in Hoopa. All that that meant. It wasn't the landers that killed that. The place just played out. Just my opinion. Keep it up Ernie you are doing a good job.

Idaho said...

I started to comment but there is a National Geographic special on LSD with P-Fairy and Juggler Dan explaining the experience and brain scientists explaining the burst firing of neurons...and on and on. Peter Coyote is narrating. Somebody pinch me.
Exploring Marijuana Nation is on next on National Geo.

Snaggletooth said...

I was in an office the other day in Laytonville, I asked the secretary if she was a local. She laughed and said that she had been living there for forty years but was still considered a newcomer by the locals.
Tough standards.

spyrock said...

except for the grace of god, there go i. i almost died the summer of 69 and wound up watching the men on the moon at the hospital. i really don't know what i had, they didn't know either but i started reading about spirit, took lots of vitamins and wound up in clear lake picking walnuts, living at soda bay and working for the konocti resort doing landscaping.
i was reading lobsang rampa, bob was reading conan. lobsang won out. bob was a kelseyville local. together we explored a number of abandoned resorts. hobergs, seigler springs, etc. in 1970. bob would later bring his integral yoga group to seigler springs. after that bubba free john moved in. transcendatal meditation moved into hobergs. that was around 73. there was no one up in clear lake from the bay area in 70 except the usual summer tourists. but 73 on is about when people left the bay area and actually moved north to live. personally, i've never liked groups because both my parents belonged to every civic group in existence and we never saw them when we were kids. we never considered ourselves hippies. i was going to school the whole time i was there passing all my courses. i had short hair so we would get called straight by the hippies for having short hair and get hell from the relatives when i went home for having long hair over my ears. (the hair being the same length for both viewpoints) i never considered myself a surfer either. i started out bodysurfing without a wetsuit and went from there. it took quite a while to be accepted as a local by the surfers at the cliff house or kelly's cove. so i know how important it is to all of you newcomers up there. and there's not any 20 foot waves rolling in or tubes to get locked into that would impress the locals enough to accept you. so i would suggest you do what my parents did all their lives. be of service to the community. join every club they got up there and help out. if the locals don't respect you after that, you don't need their respect.

She said it said...

Aunt Janet said this on another thread...
"So, at least in my neighborhood, newcomers were a little bit different from the locals. I think there are all kinds of newcomers and old school members. But there was a real difference back in the early 80s when I arrived. I think that has changed some, and we have integrated well. I think there might still be some tension, but not much. I have heard vague rumors about a "redneck vs hippies" stand-off at South Fork High, but I have also heard about the two meeting frequently and intermarrying. I really think it is smoothing over, and one day not too far into the future, we won't know the difference."

olmanriver said...

"What did the cornstalk say to the farmer who wanted to confide to it?"
for $200 Ernie.

Ernie Branscomb said...

"What did the cornstalk say to the farmer who wanted to confide to it?"
for $200 Ernie.

That's easy: "I'm all ears"
What do you think, I just fell off the turnup truck?

What's the $400 question?

Ernie Branscomb said...

The newcomers were accepted and they now own the place. I was only asking for acknowledgment that I was here. It didn't seem to matter to them.

I married a newcomer, SO, I'm not all that prejudiced.

olmanriver said...

For $400, or you lose what you have already earned, ... according to Bill Underhill..."Who were the first two men in Long Valley to use rod and reel to catch salmon?"

Unk John said...

This topic has been dragged, kicked, and shot to hell. The only thing I can add to it is an incident that took place in 1969.

My wife and I, with our two kids were in Garberville visiting over a weekend. We had left SF on a Friday afternoon and spent the night in a motel just north of Garberville. The next day, we were driving on the freeway toward Garberville and I noticed a very real problem with our car. I had to pull off the highway and walk into town to get help. I went to a dealership that was open near the south end of town. I think it may have been a VW dealership, but I am not certain of that. I do know that it is no longer there.

I explained my situation, and the response was amazing. Since it was Saturday morning and they were going to close at noon, things had to happen quickly. They got their tow truck, we drove back to my car, brought it back to town, and determined that my right front wheel bearing was...doomed. What made matters worse was that the race was fused to the axle.

I don't remember exactly why, but no one there could deal with that problem. They called a guy in a gas station in Redway. He said to bring it over. I bought a new wheel bearing at the dealership, they hauled us to redway, the guy removed the old bearing with a cutting torch, we put on the new bearing and were good to go. Total cost? Less than 20 dollars.

Yes, that was 41 years ago. But everyone involved in that event was way more helpful than I had a right to expect. I've never forgotten it.

Ernie mentioned that things changed and people felt as though they had to lock things up. I'm sure he understands that things change everywhere, and the degree of good to bad or whatever, is, more than a little, location dependent. Think about the fact that when I was in kindergarten I used to walk to school alone every morning. I wasn't yet six years old when I started and I lived in Hunter's Point housing project and attended Burnette Grade School just off of 3rd St. in San Francisco. That was a distance of about a mile. Can you imagine anyone allowing a six year old child to do that today?

I have one last question of Spyrock. Did you ever go to Magnolia Thunderpussy's Head Kitchen?

Ernie Branscomb said...

Eddie Downing & Jim Dill.

Unk John
It's strange that no matter how many times that it is pointed out that @80% of the people that moved here were good people, and became assets to the community, they want to think that I'm picking on them. I'm not.

Anonymous said...

Good people, yes, but to damn many of them. For years I hunted from Shell Mountain in the Yolla Bolly's to the coast of Humboldt and Mendocino counties. It used to be open and pretty land now there are house's in every canyon and on all the ridges. That is more than a culture change for me, it was just a plain invasion of what I held important to me.
I know y'all say you like and get along with each other and I would too but my life there was in the mountains not in town with social events.


Ernie Branscomb said...

They aren't called "mountains" any more, They're called "hills" and the hill people own them. No tresspasing!

omr said...

Dang, Ed Downing, yes, but according to the Mendo Hist Soc, it was Bob Poe. But that wasn't the bullshistory version, so it might not be right.

Bunny said...

Anonymous said...

Dang-it omr, I didn't know ol' Bob had a reel. Sounds like cheatin' to me.


Ernie Branscomb said...

To be honest, I almost named Bob Poe, but I remember that Jim Dill was a gentleman. So I flipped a coin and lost. I would have let you off the hook anyway (pun) because of what you have done for all of us in collecting the REAL history of the South Fork canyon.

Ekovox said...

"WE are people who carry a roll of T.P. in our car."

Hey, Dammit...that's a Klamath-Trinity deal...keep your traditions on your side of the ridge and we'll keep ours over here. (In a pinch, Madrone leaves work, too)

To add fuel to the fire, again I repeat, Some of my Hupa friends often say that Hippies are living proof that the white man fornicated with the buffalo...just saying.

Anonymous said...

just sayin' what?

Anonymous said...

Dear local. I was talking about the drugs not the people :)

Anonymous said...

I think Eko just called my mom a buffalo!

Anonymous said...

Sorry Ekovox, I've got kin folk on that side too (lets keep that between the two of us though).

Heard this song today & it brought my mind back to this post,
& before anyone gets all offended, I'm just sharing, not pointing. Your all winners just like the Special Olympics, everyone gets a ribbon ;)

I come from a long line of losers
Half outlaw, half boozers
I was born with a shot glass in my hand
I'm part hippie, a little redneck
I'm always a suspect
My blood line made me who I am.


spyrock said...

I have one last question of Spyrock. Did you ever go to Magnolia Thunderpussy's Head Kitchen?
i went inside about every store on haight street back then but mostly just looking. i think you are talking about a place on the corner of haight and masonic that opened a bit later, 67-68. sort of a hippie cafe and there was another place across the street but i lived off of clayton most of the time i was there so i used to walk by the deads house and then go over to the liquor store and buy surfer magazine. later on i moved further down to stanyon and fell across the street from the park. there was this fish and chips place by the bowling alley called the foghorn.
i was living off $10 a week in those days. for a buck i could get a newspaper full of great fries and the best fish i've ever had. pretty soon there was a line around the block.
i heard the place you are talking about was good too. really good desserts. night delivery. the lady who ran it was into the porn scene and later had something to do with the holy city zoo over on clement where robin williams and steve martin got their start.
i didn't know her but one of my friends was going with marilyn chambers when we lived out in the sunset by the beach. i was actually on her bed with just three other people, unfortunately, i was the designated driver. that's about as close as i got to thunderpussy or head in those days.
my routine was getting out of class early and riding the muni down to the beach. i would go in the water 3 to 4 times a day. ride the muni back home, i used to eat at the school cafeteria, and all my extra money went to the avalon and the fillmore so i didn't eat out much back then.
in fact, i don't remember eating much at all after moving off campus. by the way, great story about your car.

spyrock said...

i have to agree with you ernie. the newcomers should honor you for all that you have done for your community. i remember my mother never getting the respect she deserved until she retired. they even tried to fire her just before she turned 62 to save money. the only thing was, she lived 30 more years and i've got boxes full of her awards, proclamations, and every other type of recognition. they even named a school after her. so be careful what you wish for. the women's club just called me the other day and want my input on some kind of plaque they are making in remembrance of her.
so i think that there seems to be plenty of those people that respect you but somehow you know how to change the subject when appreciatin time sets in. but as soon as oldtimers starts catching up with you all those accolades are going to start sneaking up on you. like ernie, the master storyteller.

olmanriver said...

Did Sohumborn just call us a bunch of Special Olympic bloggers?!
Oh right, sure, as if, well, jeez, harrumph, doh, hmmmmm... OK.....where do I pick up my ribbon?

I hope I didn't sound defensive.

gabby haze said...

ps. Great stories, spyrock!

Back in the midwest, we were a little behind the times. When I was in my eighties in the sixties, I went back to high school to finish up my degree.
Now up until then, I had been listening to a lot of Lawrence Welk, Perry Como, and the Andrew Sisters...

"Three Little Fishes

Down in the meadow in a little bitty pool
Were three little fishes and their mommy fishy too
Swim! said the mommy fishy, Swim if you can!
And they swam and they swam right over the dam

cho: Boop boop dittum dattum wattum, choo (3x)
And they swam and they swam all over the dam (repeats last line)

Stop! said the mommy fishy, You'll get lost!
But the three little fishes didn't want to be bossed
So the three little fishes set off on a spree
And they swam and they swam right out to the sea

Whee yelled the fishes, oh here's a lot of fun.
Swim in the sea 'til the day is done
So they swam and they swam, it was all, a lark.
'Til all of a sudden they saw a shark.

Whoa(?) cried the fishes, oh look at the whales
Quick as they could they turned on their tails
Back to the pool in the meadow they swam
And swam and swam back over the dam."

('Course the newcomers wanted to take out the dam*, so I got nowhere to sing that song locally!
* heard it on a blog somewhere.)

When Jimi Hendrix came to Cleveland in '67, I thought I would give the new "underground" music a try. There was some kind of incense in the air drifting up into the balcony seats that, whew, made me a little dizzy. Then this wildly dressed trio came on stage and blasted out the loudest music I had ever heard. Jimi played with his teeth, behind his back, between his legs, and, then burned and smashed his guitar. That only slightly affected the quality of the sound, but I was mightily impressed. The words to Wild Thang chased those "Boop boop dittum dattum wattum, choo" lyrics right over the dam (that isn't there, see above). I started wearing my hair a half an inch over my ears, and letting my sideburns creep below the bottom of my earlobes. Boy was I groovy and with it. Those were the daze, and I often look back and wonder what I would have become without Jimi and that concert incense drifting upwards.

Anonymous said...

Daylight savings time coming up, Yay!!BULLSHI-
Does the government have some kind of magic that makes a day longer by changing the time?
Sorry to all you folks that stay up half the night.


spyrock said...

Does the government have some kind of magic that makes a day longer by changing the time?

yeah, we been talkin about it.
if it wasn't for the cia using us as genie pigs, it would still be the 50's.

Idaho said...

I guess I was a genie pig a few times. That National Geo special on Acid, narrated by Peter Coyote, must be seen.

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Unk John said...

Spyrock- In answer to your answer to my question about Thunderpussy's Head Kitchen, as I recall, it was originally on Diamond St. or maybe Castro just off of 24th in Noe Valley. I heard that it did move later, but I don't know what happened ultimately. Not that it makes any difference in the fate of the universe. I just always liked the name.

I haven't lived in SF since 1970, so what do I care? I have enough problems trying to deal with local situations up here in northwest Washington, where we are faced with a county council that recently took a decidedly strange turn in the direction of sympathy to developers and bigger business. Oh well, I guess I can't sleep. I must pay attention. Does that sound familiar to anyone?

Bunny said...

Ernie, I'm curious. I just rewatched the video about the 60's that I put up here and it got me thinking of those times and then wondering where you were in the sixties. You have probably already mentioned it but when did your family move to Garberville? Maybe they never did. What's the scoop? Somehow I don't see you running home from school to watch Bandstand. Did you watch national news? Soopy Sales? Just curious.

And how do you like socialized medicine now that you're a bona-fide old guy on medi-care?