Pearl at 9 months of age camping
July 13, 2018
There is something about an acorn that fascinates me and always has. As a child growing up in the California foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains at the entrance to Sequoia National Park, our acreage had many oaks. Every year the falling of them would make me so happy. The smooth shape, the crusty little caps, the way they would easily lend themselves to play, would cause me to stuff my pockets to the overflowing. I still do not have any control over picking up acorns in the fall. Every year I make forages wherever I am to find some acorns and start little trees growing. I am getting quite good at it now that I am in the fall of my own life. However, I have learned that acorns collected in Texas do not do well in Idaho, California varieties don't do well in Oregon, and none of them grow in Hawaii! I actually started life in the big city in Southern California, but most of it is obscure in my mind except for family parties where all the cousins would gather for birthdays, or jam sessions that were held in our detached garage way behind the house on Saturday nights. My father was a musician, and loved to give his students chances to meet other musicians and, well, jam! There are also memories of fireworks we always saw on my birthday in the hot of July, big Christmas and Easter celebrations with relatives, and my first bout with school where I won a book called Reddy Fox for a reading contest of some sort or another. That was second place, by the way. I believe that photographs are the main way I remember these things. Nothing wrong with that in my book. My Mother was full-time Mom with three of us then, busy as a bee and strict as they come. She had married young (16) and was an artist by nature. She sewed all our clothing (except what my Gram made for us), and she took china painting lessons for years. She became an outstanding Porcelain Artist as time went on and taught many people this time-consuming passion of hers. She eventually joined clubs and became President of the California chapter of that society, went all over the nation to conventions where she sometimes gave seminars, and even traveled to Europe and Russia ever in search of everything there was to do and know about Porcelain painting. As a child I didn't understand the extent of her knowledge and drive, but she passed on to me the inner knowing that; number one, women were artists, and number two, it was up to you to make time for that, cultivate it, do the work and enjoy the wonder. For real the best parts of that city time were our camping vacations to ANYWHERE. The above picture shows me at 9 months old standing by my Dad and looking back at Pepper and my Mom over at the trailer. I was told it was one of the first “travel trailers” on the road in 1953, and we loved it to death. We had many adventures and saw so many of God's wonderful creations. I was in love from the start. I just wanted to be outside with a stick over the campfire burning marshmallows and getting dirty. The pitch was another story, but is sure smelled nice! We moved to Three Rivers intentionally so that “us kids” could have a country life. My Dad enjoyed visiting his Aunt Della and Uncle Robert's ranch in Ojai, California in the summer when he was young. He wanted us to have that same experience. My parents did me one of the biggest favors in my entire life by moving us there. I was doing a lot of drawing by that time. This was heaven, and this was home.