Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Long Overdue Explanation.

In a comment on my post about "Those Confusing Newcomers."
Charlie Two Crows asked:

“E...... You threw the paint on the canvas. We want to know the inspiration for the painting! So far you haven't explained your true feelings for whipping the dog this long!”

Or should I say Charlie threw down the gauntlet. Put-up or shut-up. There are a few posters on this blog that I can tell spend a lot of thinking about things. They read the whole story and really think about it. Charlie Two Crows is one of them, there are many others that come to mind, who give things a lot of thought, but this is a reply to Charlie.

If this blog is about anything... it is about change. I first started posting this blog with the hopes that I would learn to write. I wanted to make my writing easy to read, easy to understand, and still keep my message clear. Quite obviously, I have failed miserably. I started writing because I wanted to tell the story of the South Fork of the Eel Valley that fits between the early settler period, and the early seventies, when the massive culture changing influx of people moved into this canyon. I viewed that in-between period as the South Fork’s Dark Ages. Not much is known about the dark ages, because not much was recorded about them. We knew who the early settlers were, because they are in the history books. We know the history of the back-to-the-landers, because, for the most part, that is the present culture. What is maybe not understood is, many, many people left this area following the influx of the new people. The culture change was dramatic. It seems to me that people would be interested in that change. More later...

I was raised, indeed, steeped in stories about the early pioneer days. Most of the stories were tales of great heroism about the early settlers that moved out here from somewhere back east. They fought through the Indians on their way to California. They tried their hand at gold mining, failed, or caught one of the life threatening diseases that were rampant in the gold fields. Going back east was not an option! They gave up mining, and moved on to find “their land”, to build a farm similar to old McDonald’s farm, where they had pigs, ducks, chickens, and the rest of the menagerie. They grew big gardens and hunted wild game. They made their own lumber and built their own cabins. They were the Back-to-the-Landers of the 1850s. They were determined to survive no-matter-what. The early settlers fell prey to the native Indian people, and, the all-powerful cattle or lumber barons as well. A settler didn't dare cross one of the local barons, because he would almost definitely end up dead, or run out of the country. Indian depredations were met with a bullet. They didn't care the reason that the Indian person was eating their cow, the settler needed the cow to survive. They didn't have a 7-11 on the corner for a back-up. Those were the surface stories that I was raised with.

Along came the 1960s. A time of great civil consciousness. The children of the late fifties and early sixties set about to right all civil wrongs, I was one of them. Even though many of us in the South Fork of the Eel River had never met a black man, let alone knew one, we were convinced that they had been picked on unfairly, which in most cases, indeed they had been. It was with great joy, and a deep sense of purpose, that we set out to free the black man from discrimination.

Some of the children of the sixties started pointing out how unfairly that the American Indians were treated. As true of any label, a label becomes offensive. I asked a few of my Indian friends what they called themselves. Upon inquiring, most gave some version of; "I was born an Indian, raised and Indian, we call ourselves Indian people. So, I guess that you should call us Indians". The best answer that I got was from a person that is highly revered in the Wailaki tribe. He said, loosely quoted: "The native language and culture is mostly gone, what knowledge that is remaining doesn't define the local natives. I guess if you wanted to label the people that live here, it would be 'Indigenous Person'. Why do you ask White-eye?"

Along about the sixties, the local people had to suffer the wrath of the people without local history, because we were the descendants of "Indian Killers". Our ancestors were labeled as thugs and killers, rapist, kidnappers, and murders. You can only imagine what that did to my newly acquired "civil rights mind". I started trying to find the truth about what really happened. In a lot of cases I found that the stories were indeed true! So, I checked my family to see what they might have done. I checked most of my immediate family, back a few generations, and found that they were some of the "good people" that did what ever they could to protect the Indian people. I fell back into that group of people that were pro-civil-rights. (I still am very pro civil rights) But, something didn't quite settle with me. I checked ALL the branches of my family... and found that many had been killed by Indians, and my family in turn had killed many Indians.

Jack Farley, who lived in Laytonville's Long Valley, claimed that a white mans life was worth 20 Indians. He had a string of Indian scalps to prove his philosophy. Near the end of his life, "Uncle Jack", as he was known, was asked to what he attributed his long life. He proudly proclaimed that it was the friendship and care from the local Indians that keep him alive. He used the medicines that they provided for him, and accepted their care. Today's culture would not understand why the Indian people would care for such a man, who by today's standards would have been considered to be a "murderer". It was "Spyrock", another person with both white and Indian heritage that made the best guess as to why Uncle Jack would be so cared for by the Indian People. He proposed the idea that they respected him as a "Great Warrior". It made me realize that I might have been looking too closely to see that might be correct.

I have long realized that we do not have the knowledge, or the understanding, to make broad and sweeping judgements about the early people that occupied this valley. However, people that have recently moved here, or have recently become aware of what happened to the Indian people, have absolutely no hesitation to pronounce that the early settlers were evil, greedy, or pathological. I've been a student of this valley, and the people that live here, long enough to at least suspect that was not the case. I have often suggested that they were doing what they thought that they needed to do to survive. One of the survival tools of those days was to project a tough-as-nails attitude, that included doing anything that they needed to do to maintain that image, that might include killing people.

The local Indians were known to provoke fights fights amongst adjoining tribes, for no better reason than to prove their bravery in battle. Most people today would not understand the Indian culture's need to prove their bravery, but I've heard many stories about Indian bravery in battle that just don't make good healthy sense.

The culture change that the whites brought the local Indians was dramatic. The whites killed most of the stubborn old Indians that didn't want to adopt the white man's ways. They killed the Indian because the Indian  people yearned for the canyon to renew to to a time that had no more white men. Many of their prayer ceremonies were about praying for the white man to be gone. The Ghost Dance that the local people did was to pray for the white man to go away. The white man saw this dance as a "War Dance". One of the last Indian massacres was at Wounded Knee Arizona in 1890. It was because the Indians were dancing the Ghost Dance, praying for the white man to go away. They were killed for their prayers. The Indian People were not respected when they asked the white man to free them to live the Indian way of life in the hills. It was simpler to just kill them, I guess.


The influx of the back-to-the-landers, in the late 60s and early 70s, was much the same as the influx of the white man in the 1850s. I’ve said that before, and have been met with the same indignant opposition that I always get when I try to discuss the culture shock that came with the new people. The comment has often been: “There was a big difference, the people that moved here in the 1970s didn’t kill everybody that got in our path like the white man of the 1850s did!” The other “big difference”, that most of "the indignant" fail to recognize is: The local people of the 1970s didn’t kill the new people either.

The Indians that didn’t want to leave their ways behind, and stop going-on about the life that they lost, were simply killed or made “to get over it” by putting them on reservations. Their children were put in schools and told to forget about their Indian ways, to leave the Indian culture behind, and adopt the white man ways. They were trained that they were much better off now.

The white man knew little, and cared less, about the Indian culture. The Indians were trained to “get over it”. I see much the same with SOME of the new people that moved here. Some didn’t really give a damn about the people that lived here. They changed the names of our plants and places. They roundly condemned everything that we thought was important. They thought that we were foolish, and said so.

Some of the people that moved here were “good people“, same as some of the whites that came to California in the 1850s. Some of the back-to-the-landers joined fire departments. They built schools, health care facilities, parks, and community meeting places. They joined service clubs and they honored the local people. They even recorded some of the old-timers history. Most of the people that moved here were “good people”. By FAR the most of them were. But, they displaced the local culture with their own culture. The people that didn’t like that were told to “get over it”. Most of the people that weren’t about to “get over it” moved away. Sold out and left. It was easy for some because they saw an opportunity to sell their land to the newcomers and get out. Good-bye.

Some of the newcomers that moved in, I’d say about the standard  10%, came with their carpet bags in hand, ready to cash in on the big local crop that was valuable because it is illegal. They didn’t give a damn about the law, the local culture, or even the other new people that had moved here. They are still with us.

Some of the good people that moved up here, cared about, and cared for, our precious canyon and the environment. They grew a small amount of marijuana to pay for their land and care for their families. They recognized the medicinal value of the herb and promoted it as medicine. But they didn’t destroy the land.

Others pack tons of fertilizers into the hills, and stream off all of the water to their plants. The river has become so dry and polluted with fertilizers that it kills animals that try to drink from some of the backwaters. The indoor grows leak diesel and crankcase oil into the ground and creeks. I can’t believe that the good people, in any way approve of those methods.

Some of us have an attachment to the canyon that we live in, and an attachment to most of the people that live here.  Some of us had already been building schools and hospitals and parks, and belonging to service organizations. Some of us had a big personal investment in our community. Some of us didn’t want to leave.

So, when I yearn for the old days and the old ways. It’s just my harmless little “Ghost Dance” that doesn’t really hurt anybody. Some would say that the Indian people are far better of now than they were before the white man “gave” them everything. Some of those good Indian people might argue with that idea. Some would say that I’m a lot better of now that the Back-to-the-Landers gave me everything. Well….

I think that people like Charlie Two crows and Spyrock may understand my feeling of loss, but I know that not many of the people that moved in here would understand, because not many of them knew what was here before. The only thing that I would ask them to do is to look around you, and look at some of the bad that has happened, along with some of the good. So-Hum is not all roses, albeit we have some damn fine people that live here. Some are just a little more sensitive than others, but I intend to keep writing about the changes that I see. If the changes that I see don't really apply to you, don't take it personal. And, if they do apply to you, don't take it personal.

20 comments:

kymkemp.com said...

Ernie, When I read your posts a wave a nostalgia comes over me. I remember the good that is gone. And I feel like a bridge between then and now. I love the now and what the newcomers brought. I think our area is better for it. But, I, too resent the casual attitude of some newcomers that this culture that we have now is the only culture. That the earlier culture didn't exist or isn't relevant. I understand your analogy with the native american culture--- that we look back at their culture loss with compassion but few here look back on our loss with the same gentleness.

Newcomers, Hey, I love you. I married into you and embraced your culture. I know you are going to step on my toes sometime. You don't know the things I miss (square dancing with puffy skirts and fireworks that really blow things up) You probably would hate them. So I'll wince inwardly and move on. Hopefully, you'll do the same when I step on your toes.

Let's just be aware that there really are cultural differences between newcomers and old timers. The old timers are the losers in the cultural war. So be gentle if we get a bit cranky some times. We'll try not to.

Rose said...

It's just ad that the "cultural war" means losing so much of what was freedom and fun.

It's too bad the "culture war" means the imposition of the nanny state.

The really sad thing is - there is nowhere else to go to get away from it. Unless we find we can colonize Mars.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Some young people moved up here as drop-outs, to find peace, love freedom, and, of course weed.

Others moved here because they were raised in a peach orchard, (or enter you own idealic community)then "urban sprawl" moved in on them. They didn't like the people that encroached upon them and they moved to So-Hum. Sadly, they didn't see that they were forcing their culture upon the local area, and displacing the one that existed here, or maybe they just plain didn't care. The fact might not have cared is what bothered me the most, and it is possible that is why I don't show much pity or mercy.

It would seem that people would be more aware that folks are reluctant to give up who they are.

Jon said...

To quote the ERNIE of the South Fork:

If this bolg is about anything... it is about change.

Ernie, this is the best post in the year or so that I have been aware of your quest in correspondence of the History of the South Fork.

Perhaps the Flying Pig quest was on par with this post. But then again it might have been the 'Fury of the Guardian of the FUDGE.'

Nope, this CHANGE thing is what you have been writing about the whole time.

A while back you were investigating the Mormon Brigade and the relevance of South Fork history in some way. Had me confused for a while, but then I realized that in some way a Delaunay Triangulation had crept into one of your spatial relationships of History. I still look forward to your analogy, but have found in your posting today that which makes Ernie so interesting to read: Ernie forces himself to CHANGE.

The FORCE of CHANGE in your post today has not been overlooked by this reader.

Yep, reading Ernie is just as good as having Candide for a neighbor.

Ernie Branscomb said...

"all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds".Candide

Glad you liked it Jon.

Dave Kirby said...

E...Back in the 70s when I arrived here in flight from life in the fast lane in SoCal I spent a lot of time hanging out at the Sawblade as it was a short walk from the cabin Bunny and I shared in P'ville. It was there that a logger offered me a job as a choke setter out in Alderpoint. And another woods worker explained to me what that entailed and if I cared about keeping all my body parts I might want to reconsider. I learned that the main reason my chainsaw was bogging was the bar was was too long and that the heaviest maul in the store wasn't necessarily the best to split firewood. I got to know these folks a little. Later when all these well meaning self righteous kids showed up with Earth First and started hassling working folks they would have benefited from a Logger Burger and brew at the Blade.

I remember thinking that some of the "Hippie" mindset was dopey but mostly harmless. But it well may be that the back to the land, walk lightly on the earth was a short lived utopian idea. I say that when I see so many of these same folks kids driving the biggest gas guzzling rigs money can buy. I am also perplexed when I hear folks busting Obama's chops for extending tax cuts for the wealthy when they have made a mountain of money and not paid anything like their fair share of taxes.

.

Jim Baker said...

Ernie, I know that you encourage constructive criticism and that many of your blog postings are intentionally designed to provoke discussion. With that in mind, here's a personal observation. You do have a tendency to divide local history into three distinct periods of time - the first one being being the "pre-contact" period before the sudden influx of non-indians into the area in the middle of the 19th century, the second one which I assume you would refer to as the "old-timer" period between the 1850s and the coming of "newcomers" in the 1960's, and period from the 1960s to the present . I think that some of the criticism you are getting (mainly from "newcomers") is due to your labeling of people into one of these groups and from a misinterpretation of some of your tongue-in-cheek comments as an attitude of "I know better than you do because I was here first". I know that is not what you intend, but I'm trying to mirror back to you what some people may hear you saying.

Not all of your readership has grown up with the kind of "logger humor" you sometimes use in your blog. Those who do understand it are a dying breed. I know firsthand -- the only difference between my younger years and yours is that I was I was making a real living in "virgin redwood" country and you were down here logging "peckerpoles" (don't get your dander up - remember logger humor). The first rule of a good writer or speaker is to understand your audience. A large part of your blog audience does not like to be categorized into historically or culturally static groups of individuals, whether in jest or not. The fact is that history is never static, it's always on a continuum from somewhere in the past to some unknown point in the future. It seems to me that it's our job to adapt the best of what we have learned in our own past to the ever-changing landscape we are headed into. Learn from the experience of the dinosaurs (and I don't mean "old-timers" like you and me) --- adapt or die. That doesn't mean we have to accept bad behavior in order to adapt.

It's your prerogative to classify local history and groupings of local residents into as many or as few periods as you see fit, but I hope you will agree that there has been a constant transformation in the population and culture of this area as long as human beings have inhabited it, admittedly puncuated at times by change of a more sudden or disruptive nature like the two periods of population change that you emphasize in some of your postings. I would like to encourage a discussion on your blog of of the many waves of immigrations which took place within your "old-timer" period, and whether or not these are any less important in effecting change than your "newcomer" migration in the 1960s and 70s.

Jim Baker said...

Ernie, I know that you encourage constructive criticism and that many of your blog postings are intentionally designed to provoke discussion. With that in mind, here's a personal observation. You do have a tendency to divide local history into three distinct periods of time - the first one being being the "pre-contact" period before the sudden influx of non-indians into the area in the middle of the 19th century, the second one which I assume you would refer to as the "old-timer" period between the 1850s and the coming of "newcomers" in the 1960's, and period from the 1960s to the present . I think that some of the criticism you are getting (mainly from "newcomers") is due to your labeling of people into one of these groups and from a misinterpretation of some of your tongue-in-cheek comments as an attitude of "I know better than you do because I was here first". I know that is not what you intend, but I'm trying to mirror back to you what some others may hear you saying.

Not all of your readership has grown up with the kind of "logger humor" you sometimes use in your blog. Those who do understand it are a dying breed. I know firsthand -- the only difference between my younger years and yours is that I was I was making a real living in "virgin redwood" country and you were down here logging "peckerpoles" (don't get your dander up - remember logger humor). The first rule of a good writer or speaker is to understand your audience. A large part of your blog audience does not like to be categorized into a historically or culturally static group of individuals, whether in jest or not. The fact is that history is never static, it's always on a continuum from somewhere in the past to some unknown point in the future. It seems to me that we should try to adapt the best of what we have learned from our own past to the ever-changing landscape we are headed into. Learn from the experience of the dinosaurs (and I don't mean "old-timers" like you and me) --- adapt or die. That doesn't mean we have to accept bad behavior in order to adapt.

It's your prerogative to classify local history and groupings of local residents into as many or as few periods as you see fit, but I hope you will agree that there has been a constant transformation in the population and culture of this area as long as human beings have inhabited it. I would like to encourage a discussion on your blog of of the many waves of immigrations which took place within your "old-timer" period, and whether or not these are any less important in effecting change than your "newcomer" migration in the 1960s and 70s.

Jim Baker said...

Ernie, I know that you encourage constructive criticism and that many of your blog postings are intentionally designed to provoke discussion. With that in mind, here's a personal observation. You do have a tendency to divide local history into three distinct periods of time - the first one being being the "pre-contact" period before the sudden influx of non-indians into the area in the middle of the 19th century, the second one which I assume you would refer to as the "old-timer" period between the 1850s and the coming of "newcomers" in the 1960's, and period from the 1960s to the present . I think that some of the criticism you are getting (mainly from "newcomers") is due to your labeling of people into one of these groups and from a misinterpretation of some of your tongue-in-cheek comments as an attitude of "I know better than you do because I was here first". I know that is not what you intend, but I'm trying to mirror back to you what some others may hear you saying.

Not all of your readership has grown up with the kind of "logger humor" you sometimes use in your blog. Those who do understand it are a dying breed. I know firsthand -- the only difference between my younger years and yours is that I was I was making a real living in "virgin redwood" country and you were down here logging "peckerpoles" (don't get your dander up - remember logger humor). The first rule of a good writer or speaker is to understand your audience. A large part of your blog audience does not like to be categorized into a historically or culturally static group of individuals, whether in jest or not. The fact is that history is never static, it's always on a continuum from somewhere in the past to some unknown point in the future. It seems to me that we should try to adapt the best of what we have learned from our own past to the ever-changing landscape we are headed into. Learn from the experience of the dinosaurs (and I don't mean "old-timers" like you and me) --- adapt or die. That doesn't mean we have to accept bad behavior in order to adapt.

It's your prerogative to classify local history and groupings of local residents into as many or as few periods as you see fit, but I hope you will agree that there has been a constant transformation in the population and culture of this area as long as human beings have inhabited it. I would like to encourage a discussion on your blog of of the many waves of immigrations which took place within your "old-timer" period, and whether or not these are any less important in effecting change than your "newcomer" migration in the 1960s and 70s.

Jim Baker said...

In roughly chronological order, consider the following:

1) the chinese community, and the well-documented removal of same from this area in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th century.

2) the Irish influx into California, though not a major influence on the North Coast, did play a large part in changes in California cultural history, including the disruptive competition with Chinese labor around the latter half of the 19th century.

2) the Scandinavian migration which took place roughly around the same time period. My own great-grandfather, a Norwegian sailor, jumped ship in Trinidad in 1883. He married my Danish great-grandmother soon thereafter and proceeded to raise a large family despite the fact that he was an uneducated laborer whose daughters were occasionally dressed in gunnysack clothing because they couldn't afford anything else. You can bet that he was not invited to join the "old-timer" fraternal and service organizations of the day. He was not alone in that distinction, notwithstanding the success of more educated and wealthier Scandinavians like Hans Buhne.

3) the "okies" and "arkies" who came west to work in the timber industry from the dust bowl states in the 1930s. Stereotypically, once again, uneducated, raising large families they couldn't afford, littering their front yards with junked cars, and exerting an altogether negative influence on the culture of Humboldt County. By this time my Scandinavian brothers and sisters had entered the "old-timer" class and were doing much of the complaining.

4) During WWII, the migration of blacks from the South to California to work in the shipyards and other war industries. Although not a major factor on the North Coast, this had a great influence in the Bay Area, and not without controversy.

Sorry if I sound like a preacher, but I believe strongly that the only constant in life is continuous, unrelenting change, and the best we can do is to influence it as best we can and spend a minimum of valuable time bitching about it. I know that's not what your intentions are, Ernie, and thanks again for providing this valuable forum for discussion.

Jim Baker said...

Ernie, I know that you encourage constructive criticism and that many of your blog postings are intentionally designed to provoke discussion. With that in mind, here's a personal observation. You do have a tendency to divide local history into three distinct periods of time - the first one being being the "pre-contact" period before the sudden influx of non-indians into the area in the middle of the 19th century, the second one which I assume you would refer to as the "old-timer" period between the 1850s and the coming of "newcomers" in the 1960's, and period from the 1960s to the present . I think that some of the criticism you are getting (mainly from "newcomers") is due to your labeling of people into one of these groups and from a misinterpretation of some of your tongue-in-cheek comments as an attitude of "I know better than you do because I was here first". I know that is not what you intend, but I'm trying to mirror back to you what some others may hear you saying.

Not all of your readership has grown up with the kind of "logger humor" you sometimes use in your blog. Those who do understand it are a dying breed. I know firsthand -- the only difference between my younger years and yours is that I was I was making a real living in "virgin redwood" country and you were down here logging "peckerpoles" (don't get your dander up - remember logger humor). The first rule of a good writer or speaker is to understand your audience. A large part of your blog audience does not like to be categorized into a historically or culturally static group of individuals, whether in jest or not. The fact is that history is never static, it's always on a continuum from somewhere in the past to some unknown point in the future. It seems to me that we should try to adapt the best of what we have learned from our own past to the ever-changing landscape we are headed into. Learn from the experience of the dinosaurs (and I don't mean "old-timers" like you and me) --- adapt or die. That doesn't mean we have to accept bad behavior in order to adapt.

It's your prerogative to classify local history and groupings of local residents into as many or as few periods as you see fit, but I hope you will agree that there has been a constant transformation in the population and culture of this area as long as human beings have inhabited it. I would like to encourage a discussion on your blog of of the many waves of immigrations which took place within your "old-timer" period, and whether or not these are any less important in effecting change than your "newcomer" migration

Jim Baker said...

Ernie, I know that you encourage constructive criticism and that many of your blog postings are intentionally designed to provoke discussion. With that in mind, here's a personal observation. You do have a tendency to divide local history into three distinct periods of time - the first one being being the "pre-contact" period before the sudden influx of non-indians into the area in the middle of the 19th century, the second one which I assume you would refer to as the "old-timer" period between the 1850s and the coming of "newcomers" in the 1960's, and period from the 1960s to the present . I think that some of the criticism you are getting (mainly from "newcomers") is due to your labeling of people into one of these groups and from a misinterpretation of some of your tongue-in-cheek comments as an attitude of "I know better than you do because I was here first". I know that is not what you intend, but I'm trying to mirror back to you what some others may hear you saying.

Not all of your readership has grown up with the kind of "logger humor" you sometimes use in your blog. Those who do understand it are a dying breed. I know firsthand -- the only difference between my younger years and yours is that I was I was making a real living in "virgin redwood" country and you were down here logging "peckerpoles" (don't get your dander up - remember logger humor). The first rule of a good writer or speaker is to understand your audience. A large part of your blog audience does not like to be categorized into a historically or culturally static group of individuals, whether in jest or not. The fact is that history is never static, it's always on a continuum from somewhere in the past to some unknown point in the future. It seems to me that we should try to adapt the best of what we have learned from our own past to the ever-changing landscape we are headed into. Learn from the experience of the dinosaurs (and I don't mean "old-timers" like you and me) --- adapt or die. That doesn't mean we have to accept bad behavior in order to adapt.

It's your prerogative to classify local history and groupings of local residents into as many or as few periods as you see fit, but I hope you will agree that there has been a constant transformation in the population and culture of this area as long as human beings have inhabited it. I would like to encourage a discussion on your blog of of the many waves of immigrations which took place within your "old-timer" period, and whether or not these are any less important in effecting change than your "newcomer" migration in the 1960s and 70s.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it just feels good to bitch.

Oregon

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Jim, point taken.

My complaint if anything, is that I like to talk about what it was like before the change and what it did to our culture. I know probably better than anyone that things are going to change. I see all of the signs of another major change coming our way in the next few years. I'd bet on it. We'll see how all the people that complain about MY whining handle Change.

You are right, some of the worse discrimination has been against people other than the American Indians. You're not going to want a Scandinavian gambling casino are you???

I agree with Oregon though, sometimes you just like to bitch!

Jim Baker said...

Ernie- I see that your blog swallowed up the first part of my posting and spit it into the void, leaving only the second part, which nevertheless seemed to stand on its own since neither you nor Oregon seemed to miss it. By the way, I am envious of Oregon's ability to get right to the core of the issue in a few short words -- something I will never be accused of. For what it's worth, here is the first part of my original post:

It's your prerogative to classify local history and groupings of local residents into as many or as few periods as you see fit, but I hope you will agree that there has been constant transformation in the population and culture of this area as long as human beings have inhabited it. I would like to encourage a discussion on your blog of the many waves of immigrations which took place in the period between your forebears arriving on the North Coast and arrival of the "newcomers" in the 1960s and 70s. I question whether any of these are less influential in effecting change than the "newcomer" immigration.

The fact is that history is never static, it's always on a continuum from somewhere in the past to some unknown point in the future. It seems to me that we should try to adapt the best of what we have learned from our own past to the ever-changing, unknown landscape we are headed into. We should learn the lesson of the dinosaurs' experience (and I don't mean "old-timers" like you and me and Oregon and many of your regular bloggers). That lesson is --- adapt or die. That doesn't mean we have to accept bad behavior in order to adapt, but adapt we must if we are to thrive.

But -- it does feel good to bitch. Happy New Year. I'm going to have another beer, contemplate your idea of establishing a Norwegian casino, and practice distilling my philosophy of life into one clear, uncomplicated sentence, a la Oregon. Wish me luck.

spyrock said...

first there was the indians, then my family. i'm not sure what this is about but i have to go celebrate new years in sutter creek at these rich peoples house. you know. where they discovered gold in california. the reason why so many people came here. it really doesn't matter to me about who is right or wrong. my grandmothers taught me to love people even if they might be a bit stupid to other people. in fact, they didnn't draw a line in the sand. they said love everybody stupid. so i'm not going to be judgemental. i'm just going to wish you all a happy new year. the one i stayed up all night for during the freaking solstice., so you owe me dudes. have a good one. love, spy

Bunny said...

Well Ernie, if you put it that way.............

Ernie Branscomb said...

I laughed out loud at Spy’s comment. His grandmother told him to “…love everybody stupid.” so, he wishes us all a happy new year. “Love, Spyrock” I’m still chuckling. This is the kind of comment that it’s nice to know who wrote it. I know that from Spy, it is completely honest and heartfelt.

Reply to Jim Baker
Jim
The reason that I choice the local Indian culture as a reference, is because it was the only one that was here before “civilization“, and it was the only one that was purposefully displaced and discouraged. The Scandinavian people, and, especially the Chinese, were only discriminated against. They weren’t the local culture. Also, I am the direct descendant of many of the early intruding whites, so I know more about that history.

The story of the sailors that worked along the coast is a very rich history, I don’t have many of those stories under my hat. I do know that they were called the “Scandahoovian Navy”. I know that you are a descendant of one of them, so if “Scandihoovian” is offensive to you I apologize. In the vein of the Old-time lumberman culture, I richly enjoyed your “Peckerpole logger” humor. Thank-you. Few that came here after 1970 would understand the joy that we got out of “besting” each other. I guess that it is a lost art, now that everything is P.C.
Ernie

charlie two crows said...

Change always has a reason. That's the rule of change. And reason is always about MONEY,

olmanriver said...

I thought this was one of your better written Ernie of Mayberry posts. I tease you with this acronym because what comes across to me, is the loss of a way of life... the good ol' days, that seem so innocent looking back.

The reality is that the rest of California found out about our part of the state. No longer an isolated logging/ranching/tourist community...the area has gotten californicated over the last handful of decades as people with different values moved in.

I have a big problem with your using what happened to the Indians as analogous to what happened to the local redneck culture! Were the analogy true...the newcomers would have wiped out or enslaved about %90 per cent of the locals through violent means.
This quote is one heckuva twist of the analogy, and logic:
""There was a big difference, we didn’t kill everybody that got in our path like the white man of the 1850s did!” The other “big difference”, that most of "the indignant" fail to recognize is: We didn’t kill the new people either." Huh?!

More locals left this area because the work in the woods ran out than were displaced by newcomers. It is a fact that work in the woods pretty much dried up from previous boom levels, as the hippies were moving in.
And, as I have mentioned before, heavily logged land was devalued so much that newcomers could afford it, and catdrivers had punched roads into previously wild areas opening up vast tracts of land. Apart from the rampant use of herbicides, perhaps we newcomers owe the logging culture a huge debt of gratitude for making it possible for the back to the landers to find homes!

Don't get me wrong Ernie, there is nothing wrong with mourning loss. This area was an outdoorperson's wet dream... I have talked to more people who got to explore,on foot or horseback, when it was possible to roam throughout the backcountry.
Who wouldn't want to have the chance to do that?

Perhaps lacking the perspective of wider travel that most newcomers bring to the table, you aren't aware of how almost every beautiful part of the country has filled in and gotten settled (owned), compared to forty years ago. Usually it is the middle class and rich who move in on the choice areas, a trend I think we have been seeing and will continue to see around here. Who else will be able to afford the inflated land prices around here.

So, again, I like the writing, if not %100 percent of the content. You captured the sense of loss of what was, a sense many of us have about the area, our days of youth, and the country America used to be.
I better go pour another cup of joe.