Sunday, December 21, 2014

Arrowhead Springs 1971 (2)

It had apparently been used as a convalescent hospital at the end of the second World War, and I could certainly see why. The grounds and the buildings were all extremely well taken care of, and I could say no less about the current inhabitants. There was a peace about the place.

But we were shy, having had no experience with a place such as this. The men and women 'on staff' were of such high caliber - some of us felt we might never live up to such a group of people as they were. Talented; faithful; wise; knowledgeable; focused; and young - some not all that much older than we were. They were college graduates, as this was a campus ministry centered on reaching out to college students. All work was focused there. And we were to be a part of it.

I remember wondering what on earth I could possibly do to help. I needed so much help, myself. This subject came up during the entry interview. "And what would you like to do while here at Arrowhead Springs?" a kindly lady had asked.

"Well I am not exactly sure," I replied. "Is there a list I can choose from?"

She laughed. "There are some possibilities, certainly. It depends upon what you see as your strengths. Do you type?"

Now here was something I could speak confidently about. "Oh yes, I do! In High School I took both Typing I and II, and Mr. Roff gave me an A.."
This pleased the lady, who asked a few other questions about my interests, and talents, and goals. She explained what they hoped might develop from my year there. "Our Crusade Training Group are all young people who have not yet graduated from college, but who might wish to be on staff with Crusade, eventually."
The perfectly huge and imposing Arrowhead on the mountain

I had not thought of this possibility yet, being only 19 and having had one not-so-successful year at college. I replied that I might at least like to finish college. But if I didn't, I could probably become a secretary.

"Well then, we will place you in one of our offices down in the 'village', where you will learn to process book orders. How does that sound?"

I thought it would be fine, and the interview was, suddenly, over.

A hopeful beginning! She had been so kind, and so helpful. Where did they get these people, anyway? Everyone was like that, and seemed to assume that if Campus Crusade had accepted us, we must be worthy of acceptance. 

At least, almost everyone seemed to ..

But for now, things were on the upswing. I was moved into the little quonset hut I would share with several other girls. It had a bunk room, a minuscule bathroom, and a dreamy living area where several young people lounged about, holding guitars or chatting calmly. 

I introduced myself. Someone hugged me. A door slammed, and a girl about my own age came in shouting, "Hey! Did you see that POOL? Let's go!"

And thus, I became a part of something bigger than myself. I thought for a moment that I just might be in the process of landing on my feet. Maybe...I could find my Next Step.

Clearly it was time I got started. "Wait for me!" I said, grabbing my swimsuit, and followed the shouting girl.

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Arrowhead Springs 1971

We stood gazing down from the Hotel, astonished and dismayed at all the smog. It was like a bowl of soup down there. Poor San Bernardino! 

I had just moved to Arrowhead Springs, and wasn't fully aware of my surroundings. Until that moment. Smog! Thick rolling clouds of it, hanging there like some kind of strange looking mass.

But we had clear air, we who were fortunate enough to live high above all this. We were not choking and coughing, but were in a blissful paradise. It was to be one year of working. And learning. And getting ready for the Next Step. It was Crusade Training Group.
Post card of Arrowhead Springs Hotel, date unknown

Arrowhead Springs itself was surprising, with its luxurious surroundings. Here I was, a small town Oregon girl transplanted to a Southern Californian utopia encompassed by:

  • the huge and delightful hotel
  • the magnificent Esther Williams swimming pool
  • the hot springs above and below ground, where one could actually boil an egg
  • the trails which took you around the massive grounds
  • the sweet looking quonset huts we were to live in
  • the complex of offices at a lower elevation
  • the perfectly gigantic and imposing Arrowhead on the mountain above!
  • the kind people who surrounded us with support and instruction

For this was the headquarters for Campus Crusade for Christ, International. We students who found ourselves there were not 'on staff', not yet. We were sort of in-betweeners, those who were uncertain of what our Next Step should be, but were willing to consider the possibility. We were there to learn.

These CTG-ers would earn $50.00 per month (a treasure! we thought), plus room and board, and Bible instruction and other kindly support. We were to work in the offices or on the grounds of the complex. We would volunteer in the city below to help churches, and children, and those in need. And we would, ourselves, be helped.

It was only 1971 and therefore no mobile phones or computers to spend time on. There wasn't a television anywhere that we knew of. Hogan's Heroes was happening without us! Heads were not bent over any kind of device. This meant we actually heard. And saw. And learned.

It was a Beginning. 

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady 

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Friday, December 19, 2014


There are two sides to every coin, of course. And if you want one side, you must also take the other. No choice.

We are experiencing the two, to some degree. We came south, to live...exchanging this sweet woodland cabin for something - bigger. Warmer. Crowded. 

Sweet Woodland Cabin in the North

This is a summertime photo, clearly, and therefore warm, cozy, even balmy. But wait just a few months and you will have the other side of that coin.

Beautiful, certainly. Space to roam, and people to coffee with while the snow descends and chills the brave wanderer. Wood for the fire, stacked and ready in the early morning frost before the sunrise. Family. Ah, yes - that. Goodbyes that sting the eyes, more than just a little..

But come south, and there is just as much good to say about this beautiful spot (even if I do call it the Asphalt Jungle). It's a pretty amazing place, truth be told. Clear blue skies and a Lake to boot! Early morning walks with a jacket that will surely be shed before the arrival home. And Family. Providence has again blessed us there, and we are all the richer for it.

But, oh yes - the occasional smog, the crowded freeways, the cacophony along the way. The other side of that coin exists here, too. And there are two sides to every coin, you know. So if you want one side, you must also take the other. 

No choice.

The SconeLady's frequent viewpoint whilst swimming through traffic

Breathtaking walks along the nearby Lake, of a morning    

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dusting Off 1969


We were going through ancient boxes in the garage, again. Boxes the children love to dig in and find old treasures of Grandma and Grandpa. But there was one obscure Rubbermaid container sort of abandoned in the corner, not yet explored. A legendary box, so to speak. Sitting on the top, as I opened it, was a dusty old license plate. My dusty old license plate. The girl who put that plate in that box (or some earlier cardboard version) watched the events of that Year with surprise, and amazement. 

It was a Happening year, and we knew it. Here are just a few notables that the SconeLady noticed as they sped by:

  • Elvis Presley makes his surprising Comeback
  • Golda Meir becomes first female Prime Minister of Israel (yay!)
  • The United States lands men on the Moon
  • John and Yoko get married (I don't remember if I cared about this..)
  • The EPA is created (I didn't care about this)
  • President Nixon begins the first draw down of troops in Vietnam
  • Chappaquiddick..
  • The SconeLady waits tables in Virginia City while listening to the news of Chappaquiddick..
  • Manson family members carry out the Tate-LaBianca murders to everyone's utter horror

  • Woodstock (I didn't even know this was happening!)
  • The birth of the ATM (didn't know and absolutely didn't care)
  • The Brady Bunch! (cared)
  • The Vietnam War Moratorium (went)
  • Muammar Gaddafi stages a coup in Libya
  • Sesame Street!
  • The Draft (we all cared)

Now that is a lot of notoriety, don't you think? Each of those events seem iconic now. It was such a year of contradictions. A Moratorium and The Brady Bunch? Apollo 11 and Chappaquiddick? Odd.

Now lurking somewhere in that same box are other memories, and it is exciting to anticipate going through it. I haven't looked in there for years! But I must be watchful, for sometimes you like being reminded; and other times? maybe not so much.

But I will look, and recall, taking the good with the not-so. Everyone looks backward with some trepidation. Best to hold tight to Mercy; Grace; Forgiveness; Charity.

.. Faith.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

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photo credit: <a href="">Joe Shlabotnik</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Nothing Says It Like A Camera Phone

"We Wish You A Merry Christmas!"

Things have changed significantly since I was little, and nothing speaks to this more than a roomful of camera phones.

We had all dutifully filed into the church sanctuary, loaded up with our own phone cameras ready to click away. It was the preschool Christmas program, and the children were clean, scrubbed and shiningly ready for their debut. They knew the songs, of course, having rehearsed for absolute ages, and had all been properly coached as to correct performance behavior. Everybody hoped no one would be sick.

The 3 year old with black/white stripes
They came in from the side, singing, single file, moving en masse to the front of the church looking shy in front of all these strangers. At least, almost everyone out there was a stranger. The children peered into the audience, looking for familiar faces. Mummy, Daddy. Grandma and Grandpa. Brother. Sister. And so on.  Once  they identified these, they lit up like that nearby Christmas tree, smiling and waving, calling out. They were, after all, 3 through 5 year olds. And anything can happen at a Christmas program.

But - we almost couldn't see it! The first song began, but there were so many loved ones angling cameras and phones that no mere mortal would ever be able to find, focus, and click accurately. There were only the backs of heads. 

We all did our best not to be rude, or get into the way of those behind us. It was rather like the waves of the sea, first left, then right, a brief and wild snap in the general direction of all that cuteness on the stage.

I felt sorry for everyone. But then again, not really sorry, because everyone was so happy. It was Christmastime. The kids were eager to please, shining in their musical debut more sweetly than any Broadway actor ever could. 

And who even needs Broadway, when you have such enchanting small people to entertain you so beautifully?

I, for one, don't.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What You Can Do With 60 Miles

It was almost a 60 mile drive, and every one of those miles was filled with information. In fact, overflowing! Grandma sat in the very back next to the 7 year old, who had stored up all kinds of things to share along the journey. 

"Grandma, what if I could modify my dad's car and make it to fly? With a propellor on the top, and a jet engine at the back!"

This was a poser, to which I had no ready answer. But it turned out that there didn't need to be an answer. All Grandma needed was to be listening.

"He could flip a switch whenever the freeway was crowded and his car would rise up right  there, and get above the rest of the cars, and then he would flip another switch and the after burner would take him to work in less than a minute! Wouldn't he like that?"

"Oh, yes!" I quickly interjected that I hoped he could make Grandma one like that, too.

"And what if I invented that you could go to Mars whenever you wanted to? Do we go to Mars yet? I thought we did. Well we should be in Mars. I can't imagine a world where no one goes there."

I heartily agreed, thinking that going to Mars might solve a lot of problems for a lot of people. For instance it would help people who have made a mess of things down here, because it would take them such a long time for them to get up there; and then when they did get up there it would take even longer for them to mess things up up there. It would be a win-win.

"And what if we were in a space ship and fell asleep for months and months. I wouldn't be at all afraid. Would you be afraid, Grandma?"

I admitted that yes, I would be at least a bit afraid. "Well, I wouldn't be because I would be brave and wouldn't notice anything because I would be asleep."

We went on like this for the 60 miles until we suddenly saw the sea, out ahead. "There it is!" he said with excitement, looking out for his uncle's car. The entire adventure was out there, and he was ready for it. There was always adventure when his uncle showed up.

And so everyone lived the adventure - the eating, the sandcastles, the surfing, the digging in sand, the dinner at Bruce's, the birthday cupcakes, and the amazing calypso drums. It was all care free, just exactly what a kid wants in this life. Not to mention the grownups - all of whom enjoyed it just as much.

But it was time to climb back into the van, and Grandma climbed in next to the 7 year old. As the van pulled out onto the highway, Mother (from up in the front seat) heard the boy telling Grandma something about Calvin and Hobbes.

"Ok," she said, "The little ones need to sleep now. You can tell Grandma one more thing, and then - quiet please."

But I was getting interested in the next scenario, and so we whispered about it for a few minutes more. "And Calvin told Hobbes to stay in the bedroom while he.."

And then, it was suddenly quiet. I glanced over and saw that his head was drooped and lay resting against the window. It was as if a light switch had gone off. And he slept.

But Grandma didn't. She felt super lucky to get to be the one who heard all of his ideas. They were pretty good ones, too. And all the inventions? She figured he'd probably carry it off, in the end. She hoped to be around when he did.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Bolsa Chica State Park, CA

It was, they said, surfing almost at its best.

The waves were already substantial looking, but did they care? Were they worried? Of course not. Surfers never seem to be. Their mothers, however, reserve that right.

It was a birthday celebration for the rather stunning son, much anticipated and planned for, although delayed a couple of times. But yesterday it happened, in the way he most wished for it to happen. Turning a year older along with loved ones at a surfing beach? the BEST! 

The children knew the drill. Out they popped from the van, and on went their sandals, jackets and flip flops (I believe a pair of cowboy boots were left in the van).  Sand toys appeared like magic from Mother's bag somewhere, and the play began. There were drinks and sandwiches, chips and grapes, and I am told there was popcorn and chocolate mixed up together in a bag. Frequent tastes of this delicious concoction were made, in between sand castles.

The two surfers disappeared into the waves, and the rest of us watched closely until we could hardly see the two tiny heads bobbing around.  It was tough getting out past the break, but this they finally accomplished as we all stood watch.

When they at last came back to us and everyone was made presentable, into town we all trooped for dinner. The food was terrifically prepared for us by Dukes at Manhattan Beach. And as always there were thoughtful and lively discussions throughout the meal. 

But the evening wasn't over yet! We all:
  • had homemade cupcakes outside near the waves
  • sang happy birthday to the favored uncle
  • danced and laughed and clapped along with an amazing group of calypso drummers
  • walked down the Manhattan Beach Pier, strolling at a leisurely pace and discussing fish size with local fishermen
  • reluctantly parted, when all was accomplished

It was time to go, and after bidding a fond farewell to the favored uncle, three children were very soon sleeping soundly in their car seats.

It was a calm and peaceful drive home.

What a delight it is to celebrate life with such wonderfully beautiful young people. With their children who are well loved and who love right back, no holds barred. Where everyone wants to be together and can't wait for the next time.

"Grandma?" a sleepy voice whispered.

"Yes, my darling.."

"Can't you spend the night all night with us?"

"Well, no, I need to go to my home to sleep. But maybe someday," Grandma said.

She sat in the very back of the van amongst the sleeping blond heads, and thought about the absolute fullness of her life. There was certainly nothing 'half empty' about it.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady