Category Archives: Folk Music

Issue 368 – Boy Scouts vs. Girl Scouts

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The Paregien Journal   –   Issue 368   –   Oct. 27, 2017 

Boy Scouts vs. Girl Scouts

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal this week which was a bit shocking. The writer, a former administrator with the Girl Scouts of America, told a bitter struggle which is going on right now between the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts. Seems that the Boy Scouts’ membership has been hemorrhaging for several years, as times change and fewer boys join the scouts and many older ones are dropping out. So, if you’re in charge of money and growth at the Boy Scouts, what do you do?

Ah, ha. Thought you’d never ask. What the big boys in suits and ties decided was to kick their doors and membership open to girls. Not only that, they developed an aggressive recruiting plan to go after Girl Scout employees, troop leaders and girls to migrate to the winning team before they were all left high, dry and lonesome.

Hmmmm.

That just didn’t seem like a neighborly thing to do, not between folks setting the example for your young folk. So I sat down and wrote a little song in protest, put some guitar chords with the words and videotaped it, then posted in on Facebook and elsewhere. And today I revised the song as a poem. Each has the same title: “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Girls Grow Up to Be Boy Scouts.”

Girl Scouts of America - 02

Anyway, here they are, starting with the poem.

Poem 477 Mamas, Don't Let Your Girls Grow Up to Be Boy Scouts -- Stan Paregien Sr - Oct 27, 2017

Mamas, Don't Let Your Girls Grow Up to Be Boy Scouts -- Stan Paregien Sr - Oct 25, 2017 -- Page 1 of 2

Mamas, Don't Let Your Girls Grow Up to Be Boy Scouts -- Stan Paregien Sr - Oct 25, 2017 -- Page 2 of 2

Please take time to click on this link and watch my four-minute video of me playing my guitar and singing my song. It is on YouTube:. Just “cut and paste” this information into your browser’s address box:   

https://youtu.be/n-_iMT3rPgk

Oh, by the way, I’m gonna buy a few extra boxes of Girl Scout cookies this year. And maybe you and I can come up with other ways to help the organization. What do you think? And more importantly, what are you going to do?

Girl Scouts of America

 

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Issue 353    –     March 17, 2017

Horsin’ Around in Florida

Retired folks in Florida just don’t have many empty days on their calendars. First of all, there are all those coffee hours, bingo games and shuffleboard games that beckon every week. Then there are all those Yankees who come down from up North to visit “during the season.” And then, if that were not enough to keep one busy, there is a lot of just plain ol’ horsin’ around on my agenda. 

For example, we dearly love all of the beautiful beaches here on the Gulf side of Florida. Some of the best anywhere are from Clearwater to our north and down to Venice on our south. But undoubtedly, the first choice for a broad, pearly white beach and beautiful water the prize goes to Siesta Beach on the west edge of Sarasota. That’s about 20 miles from our house. So . . . hi-ho, hi-ho . . . it’s off to the beach we go. 

2017--02--23 07 Siesta Beach - No 1 in US, No 5 in World

Ralph Iacovacci (“The Italian Stallion,” so named because he liked to put in a quarter and ride those horses outside Walmart) and his wife Eunice told us about a “Night of Nashville Music” program put on by their church. So Peggy and I saddled up and joined the fun.

2017--02--25 01 Bradenton, FL - Nashville Music Show

2017--02--25 02 Bradenton, FL - Nashville Music Show

2017--02--25 03 Bradenton, FL - Nashville Music Show

Now about that “Best Western Outfit” contest mentioned below in the program, . . . well, shazam . . . I won the doggoned thing. Got a new Dodge Ram pickup truck, too. Hey, I can dream can’t I? The real prize was dinner for two at a local restaurant. That was close enough to satisfy me.

2017--02--25 04 Bradenton, FL - Nashville Music Show

2017--02--25 05A Bradenton, FL - Nashville Music Show

2017--02--25 05B Bradenton, FL - Nashville Music Show

2017--02--25 07 Bradenton, FL - Stan and Peggy Paregien

“Hey, babe, ya wanna fool around . . . er, I mean pucker up??”

2017--02--25 06 Bradenton, FL - Stan and Peggy Paregien

2017--02--25 08 Bradenton, FL - Stan and Peggy Paregien

2017--02--25 09 Bradenton, FL - Stan Paregien's boots and spurs

And next . . . . 

2017--03--02 01 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 03 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 04 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 05 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 06 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 07 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 08 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 09 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 10 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 11 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 13 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 14 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

And then an afternoon spent in Sarasota looking at old (i.e., classic) cars. And we returned that evening for a very good singer (Jimmy Mezz) doing “A Tribute to Music of the 1950’s.” 

2017--03--03 06 Sarasota, FL - P Paregien, G and James Cotton - Classic Cars - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--03 05 Sarasota, FL - James Cotton at Classic Cars - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--05 01A Palmetto, FL - James and Glenda Cotton - by S Paregien

2017--03--05 01C Palmetto, FL - James and Glenda Cotton - by S Paregien

2017--03--05 03 Palmetto, FL - Stan and Peggy Paregien - by G Cotton

2017--03--07 01 Bradenton, FL - James and Glenda Cotton

2017--03--07 02 Bradenton, FL - Peggy Paregien and Allie - by Stan Paregien

And next, . . . we and our neighbors/friends Michael and Penny Letichevsky went over to Aracadia, Florida (about 1 hour southeast of us) on March 11th to enjoy the 89th Annual Arcadia Rodeo. We all enjoyed the cowboy and cowgirl action. They’re even supposed to have a brand-new arena ready for next year’s event.

2017--03--11 01 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien
2017--03--11 02 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 03 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 04 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 05 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 06 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 07 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

That clown is being just a little too nosey, if you catch my drift. 

2017--03--11 08 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 09 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 10 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 11 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 12 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 12B Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 13 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 14 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 15 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 16A Arcadia, FL - barrel racing - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 16B Arcadia, FL - barrel racing - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 16C Arcadia, FL - barrel racing - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 16D Arcadia, FL - barrel racing - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 17A Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 17B Arcadia, FL - Michael Letichevsky - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 17C Arcadia, FL - Penny Letichevsky - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 17D Arcadia, FL - Peggy Paregien - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 17D1 Arcadia, FL - Stan Paregien

And here’s the old cowboy himself.

2017--03--11 17E Arcadia, FL - Peggy Paregien - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 19 Arcadia, FL - Clydesdale - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 20 Arcadia, FL - Penny Letichevsky with Clydesdale - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 21 Arcadia, FL - Michael Letichevsky with portapotties - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 22 Arcadia, FL - Michael Letichevsky with portapotties - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 23 Arcadia, FL - bull - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 24 Arcadia, FL - bull - by Stan Paregien

Well, as you can clearly see, we have been doing a lot of horsin’ around here in Florida. So you might just as well come on down and join the fun.

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Issue 348 – This Land Is Your Land

 

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Issue 348     –    February 6, 2017

This Land Is Your Land

I did not watch the Super Bowl football game on Feb. 5, 2017. Half-time entertainer Lady Gaga seems to have gotten favorable reviews from lots of folks. I did catch a news clip of her singing a portion of Woody Guthrie’s popular song, “This Land Is Your Land.” It is a populist, kind of get-together-and-sing-Kumbaya song. 

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However, as the late radio broadcaster Paul Harvey used to say, . . . here is the rest of the story.

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I made the following statements about the history of the song, “This Land Is Your Land.” in my 2012 eBook, WOODY GUTHRIE: HIS LIFE, MUSIC AND MYTH (Chapter 5):  

“On Feb. 23, 1940, Woody wrote ‘This Land Is Your Land’ while living with friend and fellow folksinger Burl Ives at the Hanover House in New York City. He wrote it to counteract what he considered the mindless sentimentality of ‘God Bless America,’ penned by the great Irving Berlin. That song just really irritated him something awful.

“Slowly but surely he worked out the words of his own song and, as usual, simply matched the lyrics up with an existing song. In this case it was the melody of a gospel song, ‘Oh, My Loving Brother,’ a melody that was also borrowed by the Carter Family for their song, ‘Little Darling, Pal of Mine’. Woody titled his song, ‘This Land Is Your Land’ and pretty much forgot about it until April of 1944.

“When the song finally surfaced and was recorded, it only included the first four verses (see below). And it quickly gained traction. Today the first few verses are sung by people all over the world, sometimes with a few adaptations to fit the Canadian or Japanese or Irish or whatever culture. It has been recorded by virtually everyone under the sun, from Bing Crosby to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In the 1960s President Lyndon Baines Johnson was one of the first to wonder if maybe it should replace our national anthem. And various big-name corporations, including United Airlines and the Ford Motor Company, have used bits of it for their sales pitches on TV and radio.

“Here is how those first four verses read:

1   This land is your land, This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.

 2  As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

 3  I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

 4  When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me.

“The problem with most of the admiration for this song is that the four-verses-only version hides or at least ignores the whole point of the complete song. With all of its verses intact, ‘This Land is Your Land’ stands as a Marxist chant for communal property. Here is how those last three verses read:

5   As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

6   In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

7  Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

“Now, go back and read the first line of the first verse. Doesn’t it take on a much darker meaning? It should because this song is, in fact, radical leftist Guthrie’s most clear challenge to life as most American’s know it.

“He understood that private property rights were, more often than not in the United States, used by land-owning corporations to put down the workers. They and their henchmen, the courts and law enforcement, constantly trampled on workers’ constitutional-granted rights of freedom of speech and freedom to assemble.

“So he was calling on people to join the fight against the concept of private ownership of property which, historically, has been the lynchpin of American politics and economics. Woody reasoned that he was taking the high moral ground in advocating that all Americans should share equally in America’s wealth and property.

“Keep in mind, too, that one of the reasons Guthrie wrote this song was to protest the idealism of the big hit song of 1939-1940, ‘God Bless America.’ And it is in verse 6 that he makes the point that the America he saw, from sea to shining sea, was filled with poor and unemployed people standing in welfare lines. And he felt that capitalism and its innate greed were responsible for the awful situation in which there was a great gulf between the bankers and the guys digging ditches or even those who just wish they had a job of any kind. So nothing would change—the poor will continue to be with us en mass—until we change capitalism to communism. And, though not stated in the song, it was his belief that the labor movement—and unions, in particular—could accomplish that goal.

 “Was Woody a Communist Party Member?

 “Was Woody Guthrie a member of the official Communist Party or was he just a sympathizer on the outside looking in or was he just a guy who sympathized and identified with poor, hard-hit people and sought help from any source?

“Guy Logsdon expressed his point of view when I interviewed him in 2006: ‘Woody loved the United States of America. He loved Oklahoma. And he loved Okemah. He never wrote anything bad against them. He wrote against greed and anything having to do with the suppression of innocent people. If that makes him a Communist, then Jesus was a Communist. Woody was the poet philosopher of the people, the voice of the ordinary person.

“’However, Woody was not radical enough to be a communist. The Almanac Singers, some of whom later became stars as a group called The Weavers, wrote and performed pro-labor and anti-war songs. You know Franklin Roosevelt had a program to rebuild the economy and get production and prices stabilized. It involved killing every fourth cow and plowing under every fourth acre. So the Almanac Singers recorded a song called, ‘Plow Under Every Fourth Soldier’ in protest to the war. That offended a lot of people.

“’And the public sentiment changed radically when Germany waged war against Russia. So the Almanac Singers dropped that song from their programs very quickly. And they started writing and performing anti-Hitler songs.

“’When Woody went to New York City, he was in awe of what they were doing. And he sometimes attended meetings of the Communist Party but, as Pete Seeger has often said, ‘Woody was not a Communist. The Communist Party was a tightly structured organization. And Woody Guthrie wouldn’t join anything like that, because his nature was too independent and unstructured.’”

“Perhaps so. But as we have quoted previously, Woody made that admission or assertion of membership himself. And he did it in what my dear ol’ English teacher at Fillmore (California) High School—Mrs. Percy—would call a simple declarative sentence: “The best thing I did in 1936 [he got the actual date wrong; it was 1939] was to sign up with the Communist Party . . . ” (see Chapter 4.)

“When all views are heard, it seems clear that Woody Guthrie was at the least a solid sympathizer and supporter of the Communist Party. He was a man of his times, and those times were very hard for the working class. So whether he was a card-carrying member of the Party seems immaterial today. And it seems to me that, in the final analysis, Guthrie really had more faith in the unions than he did in Communism. In 1944 he said, ‘I live union. I eat union. I think union. I see union. I walk it and I talk it. I sing it and I preach it’ (Quoted by Ed Cray, Ramblin’ Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie [2011], page 283).

 “Well, as I said, he filed the song away and pretty much forgot about it for several years. But it would finally end up as his signature song and in its four-verse form one of the most sung songs in the world.”

One more thing. The big news right now is about our immigration and deportation policies (or lack thereof). It is old news, really.

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Woody Guthrie had a big place in his heart for the frequently abused immigrant workers and their families. He spent a great deal of time traveling around to make-shift worker’s camps to listen to their problems and to encourage them with his songs. 

In 1948, an event happened that triggered a great deal of anger in Woody.  The U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Department had chartered a DC-3 airplane to deport back to Mexico both illegal immigrants and those Mexicans whose work permits had expired. They left Oakland, Calif., on Jan. 28th with 28 such deportees on board, plus the pilot, a co-pilot, a guard and a stewardess. The plane crashed in a ball of fire near Los Gatos, California.The news reports mentioned the staff members by name and said 28 deportees were also killed. No mention of their names, leaving the impression they were of no importance.

Guthrie took that as a personal insult and an outrage. He went into a writing frenzy, pouring his heart and soul in a song he titled, “Deportees” (also known as “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos”):

Plane Wreck at Los Gatos

(also known as “Deportees”)
by Woody Guthrie

The crops are all in and the peaches are rott’ning,
The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
They’re flying ’em back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
You won’t have your names when you ride the big airplane,
All they will call you will be “deportees”

My father’s own father, he waded that river,
They took all the money he made in his life;
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees,
And they rode the truck till they took down and died.

Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,
Our work contract’s out and we have to move on;
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.

We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
We died in your valleys and died on your plains.
We died ‘neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
Both sides of the river, we died just the same.

The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,
A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says, “They are just deportees”

Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except “deportees”?

Sad to say that the practice of devaluing other people is still alive and well. We often find fault with those who are different from ourselves — morally, culturally, racially, religiously and politically. The list goes on.

Now, friends, if you look at this thing strictly logically and scientifically (not morally or religiously) the woes and injustices to the poor, the weak and sickly and the disenfranchised should be of no concern to those of us who are winners in the lottery of life. After all, scientist Charles Darwin preached the survival of the fittest as being in the best interest of the world. So why should one glob of atoms (a human) give a flip about another glob (another human)? You know the routine: (1) Look out for Number 1; (2) What’s mine is mine and I’m after yours; (3) The real “Golden Rule” is that whoever has the gold rules; (4) Greed is good; and (5) Don’t get involved.

Well, . . . if you buy that premise, then it is kinda irrational to do otherwise, don’t you think? Maybe that’s why you’re never seen anywhere a hospital founded and funded by the American Association of Atheists. That’s why there are no major philanthropic foundations operated by the American Humanist Association. That’s what the Society for Humanistic Judaism sits around gazing at their navels. 

Thankfully, however, there are people of goodwill and generous acts of kindness in every group and country. Concern for others, whether a friend or a neighbor or an enemy, is still alive and well.

For example, loving concern is a fundamental theme in the sacred Jewish texts. Here is a sampling from Exodus 23:1-9: “(1) Don’t spread rumors. Don’t plot with evil people to act as a lying witness. (2) Don’t take sides with important people to do wrong. When you act as a witness, don’t stretch the truth to favor important people. (3) But don’t privilege unimportant people in their lawsuits either. (4) When you happen to come upon your enemy’s ox or donkey that has wandered off, you should bring it back to them. (5) When you see a donkey that belongs to someone who hates you and it’s lying down under its load and you are included not to help set it free, you must help set it free. (6) Don’t undermine the justice that your poor deserve in their lawsuits. (7) Stay away from making a false charge. Don’t put an innocent person who is in the right to death, because I will not consider innocent those who do such evil. (8) Don’t take a bribe, because a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right. (9) Don’t oppress an immigrant. You know what it’s like to be an immigrant, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt.” — from the COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE (used with permission)

Christians, too, recognize their duty and honor to serve others who have hit hard times. John the Baptist, who was in prison at the time, sent word to this new teacher named Jesus and asked him for some proof that the was the longed-for Messiah. Jesus did not cite as evidence that he had formed a large anti-Roman army, nor that he had a large political campaign war chest, nor that the Who’s Who of Israel were his backers. Amazingly, Jesus told the messengers, “Go, report to John what you hear and see. Those who were blind are able to see. Those who are crippled are walking. People with skin diseases are cleansed. Those who were deaf now hear. Those who were dead are raised up. The poor have good news proclaimed to them.” (Matthew 11:4-5, CEB)

A lawyer with the Pharisee sect of Judaism tried to trap Jesus one time by asking him what the greatest commandment was in the Law of Moses. Jesus said, ” (37) You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. (38) This is the first and greatest commandment. (39) And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” (Matthew 22:37-39, CEB)

It is clear in both Judaism and in Christianity that love for others–not just a good feeling but positive, practical help–is fundamental to religious faith.

The apostle James chided his peers by saying, “(2) Imagine two people coming into your meeting. One has a gold ring and fine clothes, while the other is poor, dressed in filthy rags. (3) Then suppose that you were to take special notice of the one wearing fine clothes, saying, ‘Here’s an excellent place. Sit here.’ But to the poor person you say, ‘Stand over there’; or, ‘Here, sit at my feet.’ (4) Wouldn’t you have shown favoritism among yourselves and become evil-minded judges?

“(5) My dear brothers and sisters, listen! Hasn’t God chosen those who are poor by worldly standards to be rich in terms of faith? Hasn’t God chosen the poor as heirs of the kingdom he has promised to those who love him? (6) But you have dishonored the poor. Don’t the wealthy make life difficult for you? Aren’t they the ones who drag you into court? (7) Aren’t they the ones who insult the good name spoken over you at your baptism?

“(8) You do well when you really fulfill the royal law found in scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself.” (James 2:2-8, CEB)

That, my friends, is why you see hundreds of hospitals and universities and homes for the needy founded by and funded by the faith community. Highly respected Jewish hospitals and Christian hospitals are found across America, as are homes for the homeless and abused. Back in my old stomping ground, Oklahoma City, we had the Baptist Hospital, Deaconess Hospital (Methodist), and Mercy Hospital (Catholic), each of them a fine facility caring for anyone who walked through the door. Other religious organizations work every day to help migrants with legal work or with learning English, or helping pregnant women save their babies from abortions, or rescuing young men and women from sex traffickers and drug dealers. And the list of good works goes on and on.

“This Land is Your Land” is a nice song title and sorta give us a warm, fuzzy feeling. In fact, I have personally adapted it to create songs for the people of Rwanda (“Rwandans, This Land Is Our Land”), for the people of Honduras (“Hondurans, This Land Is Your Land”), and for the people of Ireland (“Ireland Is Your Land).  View videos of those songs and 50 others on my “Stan Paregien’s Studio” on YouTube at:https://www.youtube.com/user/CowboyStan/videos

My point is this: it takes that “good feeling” and $5.00 to get you a cup of java at Starbucks. Fact is, it is up to you and to me to look for opportunities to honor God by doing good wherever we go and by teaching others to do the same.  

So if you are looking for hope and purpose in your life, please take a serious look around you. Observe how your neighbors are living. Is it the Believers who are more happy and fulfilled . . . and busy helping others . . . or is it the Non-Believers? There are exceptions, of course, for no one is perfect in practicing their philosophy of life. But my 75+ years of experience has shown me that people of faith actually believe that history is headed somewhere and they are not just sitting hopelessly on a spinning earth.

Just sayin’.

[NOTE: My eBook, WOODY GUTHRIE: HIS LIFE, MUSIC AND MYTH, is available in seven popular formats at:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/StanParegien . You’ll find over a dozen more of my eBooks there as well. And before long there will be another one on the list, right now tentatively titled MANATEE COUNTY, FLORIDA: FACTS, FOLKS AND PHOTOS. Stay tuned.]

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Issue 332 – Stan Paregien’s 15 eBooks Online

The Paregien Journal  –  Issue 332  –  May 4, 2016  –  Stan Paregien Sr., Editor

Periodically I need to stop and introduce my newer internet friends to some of the other things I have written over the years. So what follows here are thumbnail descriptions of the fifteen (15) eBooks of mine which are currently for sale online in a variety of popular formats.

I hope to have another eBook finished by the end of the summer, this one a non-fiction book with loads of photos and information about places and people in our recently adopted state, Florida. When that one is complete, I plan to start the most challenging non-fiction book of my entire career. Can’t tell you much about it, except that it will probably take a year or two for me to complete it. And I hope it will be my best and most-widely received.

After those two very serious projects end, I’ll ease off the keyboard and chip away at my “bucket list” of over 15 more writing projects. Do you know the story of Mrs. Winchester of the famed, odd-ball “Winchester House” in San Jose, California? Well, her hubby invented the Winchester brand rifle. He made a king-sized fortune on the manufacture of his guns and ammunition. After his death, Mrs. Winchester began listening way too much to a gypsy fortuneteller who convinced her that she would not die as long as there were carpenters at work on her house. So this dear lady with deep pockets kept crews of carpenters busy 24-hours of every day for years. So her house had doors and stairways that led nowhere and rooms that had been remodeled dozens of times. But, bless this mislead lady, her heart stopped way before the hammers and saws would have.

Unlike Mrs. Winchester, I really am not working away at my eBooks under some similar delusion that as long as I’m working on a manuscript I will not die. I’m a realist in the awareness that I may not even finish this page, let alone another manuscript, before the Good Lord calls me  to that Writers Retirement Home in the Sky. God knows I’m ready when He is, but I just don’t want to get on the Gospel Train today if it can be helped. So I keep writing.

In the meantime, please read through this information about what I have already done.

 

2016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 01 of 13

2016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 02 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 03 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 04 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 05 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 06 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 07 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 08 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 09 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 10 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 11 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 12 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 13 of 13

There you have it, friends. My blog for today. I really do appreciate you stopping by once in a while to catch up on what is going on in my corner of the world. I am absolutely amazed at the fact we get visits from people in so many countries around the world. Even a few that I’m gonna have to look on a map and find out where they’re located.

From January 1 to May4, 2016, we had visitors from an amazing 64 countries in the world. Here is the list in order of frequency, with the visitors from the United States being 20 times as many as the next country:

(1) United States, (2) France, (3) German, (4) United Kingdom, (5) Columbia, (6) Brazil, (7) Spain, (8) Netherlands, (9) India, (10) South Africa, (11) Hungary, (12) (13) Australia, (14) Jamaica, (15) Norway, (16) Italy, (17) Ghana, (18) Switzerland, (19) Finland, and (20) Sweden.

Also:  Ireland, Poland, European Union, Thailand, Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Chech Republic, Venezuala, New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, Trinidad & Tobago, Belgium, Israel, Chile, Mexico, Twaiwon, Serbia, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Slovenia, Jordan, Ukraine, Russia, Costa Rica, United Arab Emirates, Iceland, Lebanon, Peru, Mayotte, Turkey, Kuwait, Greece, Sri Lanka, Georgia (Russia), Morocco, British Virgin Islands, Ecuador, Romania, and Vatican City.

What? Vatican City. Yep, Vatican City. Hmmm. Wonder if one of them was the Pope?

That wide and semi-permanent exposure of my thoughts to others in other cultures is another reason I keep on writing. 

See ya next time.  

 — Stan                Stan Paregien, Storyteller -- 01--D   300 dpi

P.S. The above logo was designed for me by my late sister, Roberta Paregien Fournier, who died in 2015. I miss my littl’ sister a whole bunch almost every day.

Bar  -- 03   Blue with tan and maroon border - created by Stan Paregien - 2015-11-10

 

 

 

Issue 326 – Music: Language of the Universe

The Paregien Journal  —  Issue 326  —  February 28, 2016 

Stan Paregien, Editor

Music: Language of the Universe

We had another “Music and Poetry Show” on Friday night, Feb. 19, 2016 at our clubhouse at the Plantation Grove MHP in Bradenton, Florida. Back in December, we had 42 present. Then we had 62 folks here in January. And last night we rocked the house with 72 people gathered for a good time. They were not disappointed.

Our new Canadian friends–Tom White (percussion), Neil Blair (guitar and singing) and Roger A. St. Jules (lead guitar) –made a delightful night even better. Our regulars, too, were right on top of their game with Virginia Corbin reading her original poem and playing several songs on the piano, plus Paul Cox and Clay Landes and Rod Myers each playing their guitars and singing. Very nice, indeed. Our final show “of the season” will begin at 6:45 p.m. on Friday, March 18th. 

Below are some thoughts about music and quite a number of photos of people in various parts of the world enjoying “the language of the universe.” I have scattered among these items a few photos from last night’s event. 

Pete Seeger quote -- music and mistakes

Live music and poetry are all about making mistakes and adjusting to the circumstances. When I was really heavy into performing my original stories and poetry at cowboy festivals around the western United States, we repeatedly saw even the best poets and musicians flub up right in front of God and everybody. We called it “gettin’ bucked off,” and part of the fun was watching how the person recovered and got back on track. Life is like that, too. Don’t let your mistakes get you down or cause you to quit. Suck it in, cowboy up, and get right back into this thing we call “life.”

1949--culture--music--forgiveness--family--Tommy Dorsey and Jimmy Dorsey--Reminisce mag - Aug-Sept 2011, page 30

1958--culture--teenage girls--music--45 records--REMINISCE mag - Aug-Sept, 2011 - Page 31

Music -- traditional instruments in India --  about 1900

2016--0182   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show -- Paul Cox

Aging -- music -- Denis the Menace cartoon - your frisbees play music

Church -- music -- contemporary worship -- church organist cartoon

Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.  — Martin Luther, would-be reformer of the Catholic Church and founder of the Lutheran Church.

Music -- gospel music -- I write modern worship choruses

1940--OK--McIntosh County--musicians at a square dance - by Russell Lee - Library of Congress

This was the entire “orchestra” at a square dance in somebody’s house in McIntosh County, Oklahoma, in about 1939.Photo by Russell Lee.

Cowboys--and-dance-party---01

Aging--041--Hi and Lois cartoon - records were groovy - 2012

Aging--Music---Dennis the Menace cartoon - 2012-09-01

2016--0183   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show -- Roger A St Jules

Karl Alex Smyser Banjoy Band in about 1931

Aging--teenagers--radio--music---Zits cartoon--2012--07--12

Band---BromideOK--about1920

Band-getFamousBeforeQuitting

Band--novelty act

Music -- traditional instruments in Africa -- band - The African Children's Choir

Music -- a musician is ---

Musicians  -- Marriage and musicians -- Hagar the Horrible cartoon

Music - I don't always talk with musicians, but

Music - how to make a small fortune, start with a big one

Music -- traditional instruments in China  - 1878 painting by Settei Hasegawa shows woman playing the koto

2016--0184   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show -- Tom White, Neil Blair, Roger A St Jules

Cartoon--Blondie--Mandolin Lessons--2012--02--29

musician-makingaliving

Music -- traditional instruments in Scotland -- band - Ceilidh Trail

Fiddler  --  a song in the heart cannot be denied  --  HOLY MOLE  cartoon for 2016--02--17

Music - entertainment - our band was old from the start

“Out of the mouths of babes”

Music - it's not that I'm old, your music really does suck

Music--challenges--courage---disabled violinist and broken string--2013--01--07

Music -- traditional instruments in Rwanda -- about 1973

2016--0185   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show -- Clay Landes, Rod Meyers

Music--NormanRockwell--painting--barbershop

Music--turn down the volumn--Hi and Lois Cartoon- 2012-10-22

Poster -- sometimes music is the only thing that gets your mind off of everything else

2016--0188   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show --  Virginia Corbin

2016--0188--B   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show --  Virginia Corbin

Singing--child singing at a piano

Singing---quote--MayaAngelou

Working--singing--happy--cooking---Hagar cartoon--2012--11--22

Music -- cartoon - we removed the tune stuck in your head

Those who wish to sing always find a song.  ~Proverb

I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.  ~William James

God sent his Singers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth,
That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to heaven again.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.  — Billy Joel

2016--0186   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show -- Clay Landes, Rod Meyers

I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me–like food or water.  — Ray Charles, blind singer and piano player

Andres Segovia, the great performer and teacher of the flamingo guitar style, said: “Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart.”
Okay, my friends, that is it for this time. 
Those of you in our area, please remember that our next and last “Music & Poetry Show” of “the season” will start at 6:45 pm on Friday, March 18, 2016. We hope you’ll come and join the fun.
2016--04--18   Flyer 1 - Music and Poetry Show - March 18 -- 03
 
AA  Fair Use Disclaimer - 01 -- designed on by Stan Paregien Sr on 2016-02-01
END.

Issue 323 – Life in Florida, Part 1

The Paregien Journal  –  Issue 323  –  Friday, Feb. 12, 2016

Stan Paregien, Editor

Life in Florida, Part 1

This issue is devoted to showing  a number of photos taken at some of our recent music events. Since moving to Bradenton, Florida in June of 2013, we have hosted maybe 5 or 6 music jams in our home. We maxed out with 19 folks the last time. So we thought about hosting a music jame at our clubhouse in Plantation Grove MHP in Bradenton, Florida.That would allow us to invite a lot more folks and several more musicians. 

As we were exploring that idea, I also decided to add poetry to the mix. You see, there is a long-standing tradition at cowboy festivals across the country of including music, poetry, storytelling and the reading of formal papers on various cowboy subjects. So Peggy and I decided to give it and try here. 

The first time we hosted a “Music & Poetry Show” at our clubhouse we had some 42 folks show up. And several people were prepared to read some poetry for us. It seems to be a welcomed combination, though unusual in this area. So please come enjoy the fun. If you plan an instrument and/or sing, we’d be happy to have you perform. We would particularly like to add a fiddle player, a harmonica player, a dulcimer player, a mandolin play and even a drummer or a steel guitar player. They just seem to be scarce in these parts. And if you want to read poems, each being no more than 4 minutes in length, we’d be happy for you to share with us.

 

2015--11--20   2672    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2674    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2675    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2676    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2678    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2679    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--12--11   2705--A    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam

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2016--0006--A   Jan 15  - Bradenton, FL   PG Music and Poetry Jam - by Stan Paregien2016--0006--B   Jan 15  - Bradenton, FL   PG Music and Poetry Jam - by Stan Paregien2016--0008   Jan 15  Bradenton, FL -- PG Music and Poetry Jam -- by Virginia Corbin

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2016--0009   Jan 15  Bradenton, FL -- PG Music and Poetry Jam -- by Virginia Corbin2016--0010   Jan 15  Bradenton, FL -- PG Music and Poetry Jam -- by Virginia Corbin

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Those who share some poems with us last time included Evelyn Sklair, Virginia Corbin, Joyce Sparks, Don Betts, Judy Teeuwen, Mike Teeuwen, Eunice Iacovacci and Tom White.

So, there you have it. Our “Music & Poetry Shows” are just a lot of casual, home-grown fun. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. Each person who reads a poem, plays an instrument and/or sings a song is doing it just out of the pure joy of sharing with our friends and neighbors and other guests. Please note that no one involved with this event receives a payment for services rendered, other than the applause of the audience.

Below you’ll find the flyer for the next show. Won’t you please consider joining us??

Flyer 1 - for 2016--02--19  Music and Poetry Show -- by Stan Paregien

NOTE: Sometimes we have new folks say, “What the heck is finger food?” That just means we’d like to only have things that can be eaten with one’s fingers as we do not sit out knives or forks. We’re looking for non-messy cookies, carrots, crackers, chips, celery sticks, peanuts, and such. Coffee (both regular and decalf) and water are free.

Invite a friend and come on down.

End.

 

Issue 318 – An Evening with John McEuen

The Paregien Journal – Issue 318 – Dec. 21, 2015

Stan Paregien, Editor

 

An  Evening with John McEuwen

2015--12--20   2716--A1    Sarasota, FL --  John McEuen Birthday Concert -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was founded in Long Beach, California in 1966. Band members came and went, and the band itself performed under the name “Dirt Band” from 1976 to 1981.

The members with longest tenures include singer-guitarist Jeff Hanna, harmonica player and drummer Jimmie Fadden, and banjo-guitar-mandolin player/singer John McEuen. The band’s successes include a cover version of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles” and a bit hit with “Fishing in the Dark.”

NGDB’s many albums include 1972’s  “Will the Circle be Unbroken,” featuring such traditional country artists as Mother Maybelle Carter, Earl Scruggs, Roy Acuff, Doc Watson, Merle Travis, and Jimmy Martin.

A follow-up album based on the same concept, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two” was released in 1989. It was certified gold, won two Grammy Awards and was named Album of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards.

Jimmie Fadden and John McEuen performed with other members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on a “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” reunion, also featuring guests Allison Krauss, Vince Gill, etc. See the YouTube posting at:

 

Also, see a brief Documentary on the making of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” collaboration:

 

And, just for a hoot, watch a clip of a dozen or so stars performing “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” Includes Jimmy Martin, Jeff Hanna (NGDB), Michael Martin Murphy, John Denver, Paulette Carlson, Carter Sisters, New Grass Revival, and Murphy,Vassar Clements

 

 

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2015--12--20   2716--E    Sarasota, FL --  John McEuen Birthday Concert -- Matt Cartisonis- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

Matt Cartsonis not only sings well, but he plays about a dozen instruments. And he composes music for movies and TV programs.

2015--12--20   2716--F    Sarasota, FL --  John McEuen Birthday Concert -- J Robert - copyrighted by Stan Paregien

J. Robert, fiddler, a resident of Marco Island, Florida

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There were, at my estimation, about 125 or more of us seated at tables both inside the Fogartyville Community Center building and just outside on the patio. My three buddies and I were seated out on the patio, just 30 feet or so from the stage and a great view of the band.

The crowd, a mixture of men and women on the . . . uh, well, . . . the more mature side of life . . . , were enthusiastic about the performances. If you haven’t been to a sure-’nuff live concert lately, well neighbor, then it has been too long. Git up from in front of the TV and go. You’ll be glad you did.

END.

 

Issue 316 – St. Francis Dam in Story & Song

The Paregien Digest  –  Issue 316  –  December 5, 2015

 Stan Paregien, Editor

The 1928  St. Francis Dam Disaster:

The Story & A Song

by Stan Paregien Sr.

Copyrighted 2015

 

The St. Francis Dam was built between 1924 and 1926 in the San Francisquito Canyon up in the Sierra Pelona Mountains about 10 miles north of what today is Santa Clarita, California (the site is about 40 north of downtown Los Angeles). It was built both as an additional source of water for Los Angeles and as a way to control occasional flooding downstream in the Santa Clara Valley. The dam itself was a gravity dam made of concrete in was a curved fashion.

1928--43   St Francis Dam - William Mulholland

William Mulholland was both the General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the “Chief Engineer” (though he had no engineering degree; he taught himself by reading engineering and geology books). He was directly responsible for the construction and maintenance of the dam.

1928--31   Modern map St_Francis_Dam_area_terrain_relief_1_svg

The modern map, above, shows the historic location of the St. Francis Dam in the center of the map.  [“St Francis Dam area terrain relief 1” by Kbh3rd – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons ]

It was Mulholland himself who chose the site for the dam, and that was the moment the disaster began. That area was known to be unstable. The original plan for the dam was for it to be 175 feet high with a capacity of 30,000 acres of water. In 1925, after the first concrete had been poured, Mr. Mulholland approved a change to a height of 185 feet and a reservoir capacity of 38,000. All this with very little structural change.

1928--32   St Francis Dam nearing capacity - failed on Mar 12, 1928

The dam was completed on May 4, 1926 and steadily filled the reservoir behind it. Some cracks and leaks were noted into 1927, but they were considered normal and in some cases attempts were made to seal them. But in the spring of 1928, heavy rains pushed the dam toward its capacity . . . and, significantly, it began to really leak. Lots of leaks.

Staff and concerned citizens finally demanded that Mulholland come up and inspect the dam himself. He did so on March 11, 1928. He declared it was safe and such leaks were normal and that crews would fix them in the coming days. All was well. 

It just over 24 hours later, at exactly 11:57 p.m. on March 12th,  when the mountainside on the left end of the dam collapsed and brought down the dam. A wall of water—estimated at 12.4 billion gallons and at least 120 feet high–roared down the canyon at 18 mph, carrying, most of the structure of dam far down into the canyon below. When the flood entered the Santa Clara Valley, it careened to the right and followed the Santa Clara River bed west toward the Pacific ocean at a height of about 55 feet and a  speed of 12 mph. It was 54 miles from the dam to the mouth of the Pacific Ocean.

1928--34   St Francis Dam - map to Ventura

Many small communities and larger towns lay in the path of the raging wall of water. There were no warning systems in place. It wiped out the village of Castaic Junction, where Highway 126 and present-day Interstate 5 intersect.

Some five miles downstream the deluge hit the spot where my father worked and where we lived in the mid-1950s. My father, Harold Paregien, was a farm laborer in the walnut orchards for the farming division of the Newhall Land and Farming Company. We lived in an old farm house which someone told us had survived the flood, but I have no verification of that.

The house stood at the eastern end of “the flats” which ran a mile or so to the west. The house was about a hundred yards or so east of the Los Angeles County and Ventura County line, and on the south side of the railroad track (between the track and a 25 foot bluff overlooking the normally placid Santa Clara River).

About a half-mile west of our house, the mountains on each side crowded the riverbed. In the attached photo, below, please note a “notch” in the low mountain ridge about 1/2 of the way from the left side. Highway 126 ran through there and many called that notch  “The Blue Cut.” That ridge of the mountain formed a natural bottleneck for the flood and backed up the murky flood waters to a considerable depth. Simultaneously, it created a gigantic whirlpool before shooting out the pass like a high pressure fire hose. It was there in the west flats in Ventura County that a terrible loss of life took place. It normally would have been deserted, with our farm house to the east and another farm house perched high on the hill (notch) just to the northwest on Highway 126. The farmer who lived there worked for the orange orchard division of Newhall Land and Farming Company.

1928--30   St Francis Dam break --  Flood - Santa Clara Valley - west of LA-Ventura County Line on Hwy 126

The Southern California Edison electric company had rented a spot of Newhall Land & Farming Company’s land or a temporary tent city set up on the far west flats. Some 150 men were building a new electric line project through the valley. They were sleeping when, with only a few shouts of warning, the awful wall of water—estimated at 20 feet high–engulfed them. Most survived, but 84 died horrible deaths. The rumor was that the company’s cash box containing hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars, was buried somewhere downstream.

1928--41   St Francis Dam - site of Edison Construction Crew at 'Blue Cut'

1928--42   St Francis Dam - Farmer Joe Gotardi searching for wife and 5 kids

When it reached the orange orchards a mile or so down on the south side of the river bed, Newhall Land & Farming Company executives believed the wave of water was at least 60 feet high to reach up as far as it did. The flood continued west on past tiny Piru and doing major damage to the community of Bardsdale and the town of Fillmore (the latter being where I graduated from high school in 1959).

At about 1:30 a.m. on what by then was March 13, 1928, the lonely telephone operator on duty at the Santa Paula switchboard received an urgent call. It was from an area manager telling her that the St. Francis Dam had collapsed and a deadly wall of water was rushing her way down the Santa Clara Valley. That local operator, Louise Gipe, notified the police and then called the on-duty telephone operator in Saticoy, just to the west of Santa Paula, alerting them to the immediate danger. Both operators called and awoke as many residents as they could, especially in the lower areas nearer the river.

There in Santa Paula, two motorcycle officers for the California Highway Patrol, got the warning. They roared down to the areas near the river, knocked on doors and yelled the message to evacuate toward higher ground right then. Those brave men, officers Thornton Edwards and Stanley Baker, were able to alert scores and scores of sleeping residents to the danger and those folks passed the message on to many of their neighbors. Thus, the officers effectually saved hundreds of people from certain death. In recognition of their bravery, a statue was erected 2003 in Santa Paula in honor of them and to their memory.

1928--39   St Francis Dam - Santa Paula memorial to motorcycle offiers

Photo by Stan Paregien Sr.

The flood waters ravaged Santa Paula and parts of Ventura before dumping many bodies and tons of mangled houses and trees into the ocean. The inland tsunami reached the Pacific Ocean at about 5:30 a.m. on the morning of March 13, 1928. It had taken 5 1/2 hours for the leading edge of the massive, raging wall of water to travel from the dam site to the Pacific Ocean 54 miles away. The wall spewed into the ocean near the tiny community of Montalvo an awful cocktail that was two miles wide and full of human and animal remains, mangled metal, splintered wood, sewage, asbestos products, insecticides, solvents, oil and gasoline, and much, much more.

1928--38   St Francis Dam - map by Ventura, Calif Star -- I think

Early estimates of the deaths from the flood were widely inaccurate. Over time the best guesses were that somewhere between 400 and 600 people died. That truth was hard to come by since there were a number of undocumented farm workers who died in the flood. There were people who went missing and whose bodies were never recovered. There were scores of relief agencies, such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, and military groups recovering bodies along the 54 mile path of destruction. There were scores of funeral homes assisting in trying to identify and document a large number of badly damaged bodies. And bodies from the flood were found as far south as the coast of northern Mexico. Making the number of deaths even more fluid is the fact that periodically additional victims were  found in the ruble, not just for years but for decades. The last flood victim discovered was in 1994, buried in the sand and mud along the Santa Clara River.

However, a graduate student named Ann Stansell in 2014 concluded her investigation and documentation of the known flood victims. The student at California State University (Northridge) wrote her master’s thesis on the subject and spent nearly three years searching death certificates, newspapers, funeral home records, family documents, etc., to catalog those who died.

Ms. Stansell’s investigation concluded that the authorities actually recovered 306 bodies, but only 240 of them were ever identified. There were another 125 people who went missing and were never found. Of those 125 missing people, family members made death claims on only 79 of those. So the proven dead (306) and the still missing (125) totals up to 431 people.

In addition, Ms. Stansell tabulated in a spreadsheet format the available date on 306 victims. That includes their name, age, town of residence, location at the time of the flood, nearest relative, and which funeral home handled each body. In many cases, she also provides a photo of the victim (often with other members of the family). All of this, of course, helps to make these large death numbers more real and manageable.

Some of her may be found online at the web site for the Santa Clarita (Calif.) Historical Society at:  http://www.scvhistory.com/scvhistory/ – annstansell_damvictims022214.htm .

The loss of life was horrific and heart-wrenching. But don’t forget the physical damages. Train tracks and train bridges, highway bridges and paved roads were destroyed. Powerline poles, transformer boxes and transmission lines were knocked down. Irrigation and farm equipment were completely ruined. Whole dairies and small businesses and hundreds upon hundreds of individual homes were washed away or mangled beyond recognition.  Horses, cattle, pets of all descriptions were killed or injured. Cars and school buses and commercial trucks were buried in muck. Large parts of groves of walnut trees, orange trees and lemon trees simply vanished. Church buildings, retail stores, mom and pop restaurants, warehouses, bars and barbershops either smashed to small pieces, swept off their foundations or so badly water-logged they were not only immediately unusable but ultimately unfixable. It was a 54 mile long crisis of an unbelievable magnitude of misery. The figure for property damages, even in 1928 dollars, must have been in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  

Let’s see how that played out for one company, the huge Newhall Land & Farming Company based in Newhall (now Santa Clarita), Calif. This is just a summary of the various farm lands that the flood ruined. The flood destroyed 1,000 acres of alfalfa. It destroyed 600 acres of dry land farming. It ruined 400 acres where an orange orchard once grew. It destroyed 80 acres where a pecan tree orchard was located. That totals a whopping 2,080 acres of farm land taken out of production, much of it permanently.

1928--35   St Francis Dam - Wm Mulholland and Van Norman inspect failure

Several investigations took place right after the flood, as there was great public concern about whether the construction of the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River—a project hundreds of times larger than the St. Francis—was another dangerous thing. In the end, even after modern studies, the main culprit seems to have been Mulholland’s misjudgment about the location of the dam and the stability of the earth beneath and adjacent to the dam. The official coroner’s inquiry was a judgement not only against William Mulholland but against the system itself as they concluded: “The construction of a municipal dam should never be left to the sole judgment of one man, no matter how eminent.”

Some people were so angry they posted signs in their yards which read, “Kill Mulholland.” To his credit, William Mulholland accepted the blame for the disaster. Part of his testimony was this: “Don’t blame anyone else, you just fasten it on me. If there was an error in human judgment, I was the human, and I won’t try to fasten it on anyone else. On an occasion like this, I envy the dead.”

Although Mulholland was demonized by the public in general, his career was not over. He did lose his job with the city of Los Angeles, where his right-hand man, Harvey Van Norman became the Chief Engineer. Mulholland  kept a fairly low profile, but he was able to work as a consultant on many other engineering projects—including the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River.

In 1995, an geological engineering professor at the University of Missouri (at Rolla) wrote his analysis of what went wrong with the St. Francis Dam.

First of all, Dr. J. David Rogers concluded that, yes indeed, Mulholland chose the wrong spot for a dam. Dr. Rogers said that the problem, contrary to the earliest investigations, was with the eastern abutment (mountain) where the concrete dam was anchored rather than the western abutment. The problem with that eastern anchor is that it was made up of a rock formation called “Pelona schist.” It was an unstable and somewhat porous , spongy material. So as the dam was filled, that rock actually absorbed water and weakened, much like some composite flooring commonly found in manufactured homes will upon contact with water become a mushy sawdust with little or no strength to support anything.  

Second, Dr. Rogers said that Mulholland also made a fatal mistake when he arbitrarily raised the height of the dam by 10 feet without modifying the base of the dam from the original blueprints. That put way too much pressure on the abutment and on the dam itself.

Third, Mulholland did not include in the blueprints for the St. Francis Dam any sufficient provisions to counteract the factor called “hydraulic uplift.” This phenomenon, commonly known by professional engineers of the 1910s and later, actually results in the force of the water behind a dam “lifting” it slightly and tilting it forward (or downstream). The only place Mulholland did that was in the very center of the dam where he installed ten uplift relief walls at the base. That one section was the only part of the dam left standing, standing like a gravestone or a monument to human arrogance and/or ignorance.

So Dr. Rogers concluded that those three mistakes, together, made a failure of the structure almost inevitable.  And in 2004, a study by Donald C. Jackson (an Associate Professor of History at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania) and by Norris Hundley Jr. (Professor of American History at the University of California at Los Angeles) pointed to Mulholland’s lack of appreciation for the devastating effect of hydraulic uplift. They concluded, “William Mulholland understood the great privilege that had been afforded him to build the St. Francis Dam where and how he chose. Because of this privilege—and the decisions that he made—William Mulholland bears responsibility for the St. Francis Dam disaster.”

1928--40   St Francis Dam - Newhall, Ruiz Cemetery -- Wm S Hart

The failure of the St. Francis Dam still stands as the 2nd most deadly disaster in the entire history of California, only outranked by the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. There is one big distinction, however. The 1928 dam break is still number one in terms of a man-made disaster. And that event eventually resulted in revising and tightening laws related to building dams, and it resulted in establishing strict educational requirements and certifications for those who want to hold themselves out to the public as engineers.

 

Resources

 

Blasotti, Tony. “St. Francis Dam disaster: a receipe for failure, tragedy and heroism.“ Article found on the online version of the Ventura County Star newspaper, dated March , 2006. Found at:

 http://www.vcstar.com/news/2008/mar/12/the-st-francis-dam-disaster-80th-anniversary-a/

 

B-Westerns.Com

Has a nice bio of police officer Thornton Edwards and a couple of photos from his work in the movies.  http://www.b-westerns.com/villan71.htm

 

Dam Disaster.Com

http://www.sespe.com/damdisaster/shop.html

 

Evans, Diane (an engineer). “Deadly Flooding in the San Francisquito”.

http://civil-engineering.suite101.com/article.cfm/deadly_flooding_in_the_san_francisquito_canyon

 

Master, Shannon. “St. Francis Dam disaster: Mulholland’s Tragic Mistake.” March 22, 2009. The Signal (newspaper), Santa Clarita, Calif.     http://www.the-signal.com/news/archive/10939/

 

Newhall, A.M and George A. Newhall, Jr. “Report on St. Francis Dam Flood For The Newhall Land & Farming Company.”  March 24, 1928.

http://www.scvhistory.com/scvhistory/nlf-stfrancis.htm

Nichols, John. Images of America: St. Francis Dam Disaster. Chicago, IL: Arcadia Publishing, 2002.  [He is a resident of Santa Paula, Ca]

 

Norris, Michele. “The St. Francis Dam Disaster, The Second-worst Disaster in California History.” NPR Radio Broadcast on March 12, 2003. She interviews the daughter of the dam’s  Chief Engineer (Wm. Mulholland) and a woman who was 13 when her parents and  brother were lost in the flood and she was swept 9 miles downstream before being rescued. About 10 minutes long.    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1190341

Rock, Frank. Video interview with a resident of the area who has studied the flood for many years. This is a very well done video. About 30 minutes long.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7744662880949006284#

 

Rogers, J. David. “Lessons Learned from the St. Francis Dam Disaster.” Geo-Strata. March/April, 2006. [Found online at:    http://web.mst.edu/~rogersda/st_francis_dam/lessons_learned_from_the_st_francis_dam_failure(geostrata_mar-apr_2006).pdf

 

Rogers, J. David and Kevin James. “Mapping the St. Francis Dam Outburst Flood With GIS.” PowerPoint presentation with 29 slides.  [ Found online at: http://web.mst.edu/~rogersda/st_francis_dam/ ]

 

“St. Francis Dam.”  Wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Francis_Dam

 

St. Francis Dam Disaster (YouTube)

 

Ventura County Star. This newspaper which serves the entire county has produced a fantastic video experience of the flood. Be sure to watch this video at :   http://web.vcstar.com/video/08/damflyover0308/damflyover0308.html

 

Wilkman, Jon. “The St. Francis Dam Disaster” 

[ Found online at: http://www.wilkman.com/SFD/SFD%204.htm  ]

 

 

The St. Francis Dam Disaster Blues

aka  Sweetie Pie Blues

     

                               by Stan Paregien Sr

 

Copyrighted Jan. 27, 2010 by Stan Paregien Sr. All rights reserved. Play similar to “Blues Stay Away From Me” ( Recorded by The Delmore Brothers. Words and music by Alton Delmore, Rabon Delmore, Henry Glover & Wayne Raney.) Watch and listen to Stan singing his song at www.youtube.com/watch?v=q65NBvP7hmg ]

 1953--048   Sweetie Pie -- Fillmore, CA

 [D]   We called him Sweetie Pie just as long as I recall.

[G]   Yes, we called him Sweetie Pie as long as I re-  [D]  call.

Never heard nobody   [A7]  say Sweetie Pie’s real name.

It was plain ol’ Sweetie Pie, that’s   [D]  all.

 

Now as a kid I was told Sweetie Pie’s sad tale.

[G]   Yes, most everybody knew ’bout his sad  [D] tale.

His parents were killed   [A7]  in that flood of 1928,

When the St. Francis Dam did   [D]   fail.

 

Mr. Mulholland built a dam across a big canyon,

[G]   Some five miles northeast of Saugus   [D]  town.

He built it to send water   [A7]  to Los Angeles,

But on March 12th that dam crashed on   [D]  down.

 

CHORUS:

         Oh, Mr. Mulholland, you done Sweetie Pie wrong.

         [G]  Yes, Mr. Mulholland, you done every body   [D] wrong.

         You killed 431 people and   [A7] that’s why we grieve

         Through the words of this little ol’   [D]  song.

 

Oh Mr. Mulholland, you were the engineering man.

[G]  Yes, Mr. Mulholland, you were the engineering  [D] man.

But you chose the   [A7]  wrong danged location;

That’s when the St. Francis Dam disaster be-  [D]  gan.

 

 

That 12-story wall of water swept everything away.

[G] Yes, that giant wall of water swept everything a- [D] way.

The raging current buried hundreds   [A7]  there in the mud,

And others were washed  into the Pacific that   [D]  day.

 

 REPEAT CHORUS

 

Well, Sweetie Pie searched for his parents so dear.

[G]  Yes, searched from Piru to Fillmore for those so    [D]  dear.

He lived in that riverbed    [A7]  and looked and looked,

Never findin’ a trace of ’em year after   [D]   year.

 

I once saw ol’ Sweetie Pie near the river so still.

[G]   Yes, along that Santa Clara River so small and  [D]  still.

I was kinda scared of the  [A7]  strange actin’ old man,

But he just ignored me and walked up the   [D]  hill.

 

REPEAT CHORUS

 

Hey, Sweetie Pie, listen up wherever you may be.

[G]  Hundreds of other families still share your  [D] pain.

And we think about those  [A7]  500 innocent victims

Of the St. Francis flood each time we hear it  [D]  rain.

 

 

Now there’s just one more thing before I say goodbye,

[G]   Yes, there’s just one more thing before I up and [D]   scram.

Don’t ever buy yourself a house    [A7]  that is downstream

From any ol’ damned government    [D]  dam.

 

[Close the song by whistling the chorus.]

 

Song written and copyrighted at Edmond, Oklahoma on Jan. 27, 2010.

All rights are reserved.

 

 

END.

This entire manuscript, from the essay to the song above, is copyrighted by Stan Paregien Sr. All rights are reserved. However, permission to perform or recite the song is hereby given for personal or non-profit use. Any commercial use of the song or the essay requires the express written permission of the author. Contact him at paregien@gmail.com 

________________________________________________

 

 

 

Issue 307 – Marco Rubio — Part 1 of His Life

Issue 307 –   Oct. 10, 2015    –   The Paregien Journal    –    Stan Paregien Sr., Editor

One of the ascending stars in the Republican Party is Marco Rubio. He is currently the junior U.S. Senator from my adopted home state of Florida. And he is one of several people campaigning to win the Republican nomination to become their candidate for the 2016 presidential race.

What follows is a profile of Senator Rubio which I gleaned from his book titled An American Son: A Memoir (New York City: Sentinel, 2012).

Part I of this profile examines Senator Rubio’s rather modest family roots. While not born in a log cabin like Abe Lincoln, he does come from a line of folks who as Cubans had personal goals, dreams and ambitions only to wind up losing those and even losing their beloved country to Castro’s communism. It also shows how new generations of immigrants often become successful because of the examples of their parents and grandparents who taught them by example not to give up when faced with adversity, poverty and overwhelming odds. It is a story well worth a few minutes of your time.

*   *  *  *  *

Marco Rubio, AN AMERICAN SON -- book cover, front

Marco Rubio, AN AMERICAN SON -- book cover, back

Part 1

Rubio’s ancestors were hard working men and women in Cuba. His great-grandparents – Carlos Pérez and Ramona García —  had emigrated from Spain to Cuba, where they bought land and began farming near the village of Jicotea. Carlos did quite well as a farmer but, unlike many of his neighbors, he refused to sell his land at fire-sale prices to wealthy businessmen who operated with the blessing of the American military.

Ramona was the matriarch of the family, and it was a large one. She had three children by a previous relationship and an additional fourteen children by this last relationship, but only married Mr. Pérez when he was on his death bed.

His maternal grandfather, Mr. Pedro Victor García was born on January 31, 1899 in the dirt-poor province of Villa Clara. That was the year that the Spanish occupation forces left the country for good, only to be replaced by American military leaders.

In 1900, the political leaders in the United States decided to annex Cuba. However, the Cubans were allowed to vote on the issue. And, against the prospect of American-generated prosperity for the island, Cubans voted against annexation and in favor of independence.

Marco Rubio’s father, Pedro Victor García, came down with polio as a child. The disease left him with a crippled leg which ruled out most farm work. It was a blessing, though, in that his parents kept him in school. He would be the only one of the 17 children to get a decent education and to have any real hope of getting a fairly good job.

Mr. Garcia loved to read and to learn everything he could about his world. He became a great believer in the future of the republic of Cuba. And he was a firm advocate of intellectual freedom and self-reliance. So much so that when his father died, he declined to change his last name (his mother’s name) to that of his father even though it meant he would not receive any of the man’s estate. Late in his life he would pass those high virtues on to his grandson, Marco Rubio.

Pedro Victor García was plucky enough to apply for a job with the railroad and lucky enough to get a job as a telegraph operator. Then he began working his way up the career ladder.

Along the way, he traveled on business to the town of Cabaiguán. There he met, fell in love with and married Dominga Rodríguez. She had grown up in an environment of grinding poverty and she had only finished the 6th grade. Still, they were married in 1920 when he was 21 and she was almost 17. They had children and made a nice living that afforded a large house staffed with servants and nannies.

However, late in 1924, their world was turned upside down. Pedro Victor García suffered not only humiliation about a significant financial loss when he was demoted at work (in favor of a man with better political connections) and, ultimately, was fired. Their situation put them into a crisis mode as he, with his severe physical disability, simply could not find a good job. So he walked all over the city to accept part-time, occasional work doing menial jobs. That in itself was a challenge, since he could not walk without a cane and often became unbalanced and fell and hurt himself.

By 1930, Pedro Victor García and his family had been forced out of their fine home. They settled into a one-room house in a poor section of town. Still, their family dignity kept them from acting like victims and from looking like their often dirty and dejected neighbors. And somehow, Mr. García scraped together enough money to keep his large family fed and clothed.

Then one day he was hired to work in a tobacco mill. No, it was not a manufacturing job. He simply read interesting and inspiring articles and stories to the scores of workers who worked at tables hand-rolling cigars and cigarettes. The company’s idea was that such exposure would lessen the drudgery of such tedious work, thus resulting in a lower turnover of employees. The work was easy for Pedro and he enjoyed learning the material and making it as entertaining as possible, but it did not pay much at all.

Slowly, though, his own dreams for his career and for the members of his family began to fade in the face of stark reality. His children had to find jobs of their own at very young ages. That included Marco Rubio’s own mother. The entire family, hoping for better job opportunities, left Cabaiguán in 1940 and moved to the capital city of Havana.

There in Havana, Pedro Victor García and his family moved into a small apartment in a low-income government housing project. Each building had several apartments, but they were so austere they had to share a bathroom in the common areas.

Mario Rubio’s mother, Oriales García, went to work as a cashier at a small retail store. She gave every cent she made to her own mother who handled the family’s money and paid their bills.

PATERNAL GRANDPARENTS

Meanwhile, Marco Rubio’s paternal grandparents were having their own struggles. Antonio Rubio’s parents both died when he was only 14. He lived with relatives for a time, then ran away to Havana where he would tackle life on its unforgiving terms. Eventually, he met and married Eloisa Reina there in Havana. They, then, were the paternal grandparents of Marco Rubio.

Antonio and Eloisa (Reina) Rubio had their first child in 1920 when he was about 35 and she was about 28 years of age. That child died at birth, but they had seven other children including Marco’s father, Mario Rubio (born Oct. 29, 1926). Antonio and Eloisa ran a small catering business, even though she suffered from bouts of tuberculosis many periods of her life. She would cook breakfast and lunch meals for workers at a big cigar factory and Antonio would deliver the meals to them.

Their successful enterprise enabled them to live in a large, comfortable house. But their own world turned upside down then that cigar factory closed. Antonio Rubio and his family had no choice but to give up their business and home and to move in with relatives. From that day forward, Antonio’s ambitions and dreams were tempered with the cold reality that he would have to become a lowly-paid street vendor. He didn’t like it but he had to feed his family, so that is what he did.

Marco’s father, only eight years old at the time, had to quit school and go to work. He had not yet learned to read and write, but he was bright and learned those skills entirely on his own.

Then in 1935, Antonio Rubio’s beloved wife died of pneumonia (years before the invention of life-saving penicillin). She was only 42, and son Mario was only nine. That left Marco’s paternal grandfather with the sole responsibility for seven children between the ages of 16 and 4. He began to put more time into his work selling on the streets and largely leaving his children to care for themselves. It was not unusual at all for the entire family to go to bed with hunger gnawing at their stomachs. Eventually, Antonio Rubio moved in with another woman and, though they never married, they had one child together.

Young Mario went to work as a security guard in a nearby cafeteria and would continue to support himself for the next 70 years. At age 14 he began living out on his own. And at age 19, his father Antonio died from pneumonia, so he learned to be a survivor.  He was allowed to sleep on wooden crates in a storage area at the cafeteria, as did a few other young men.

One day Mario Rubio struck up a conversion with a co-worker, cashier Oriales García. They began dating and she told friends he was really handsome, that he looked like the American actor Tyrone Power. They married on April 28, 1949 and lived in a small apartment. Mario was 22 and Oriales was 18. Their first child, Mario Victor Rubio, was born in 1950.

Mario dreamed of starting his own radio and TV repair shop or of even becoming a singer and entertainer. Oriales had a dream of becoming an actress. Those dreams—like the dreams held for a time by their respective parents and grandparents—faded rapidly as the economic realities of raising a family began to dominate their lives. Plus, Mario injured a leg by stepping into a hole during a baseball game. The damage was so bad that he would forever walk with a distinct limp.

1957: FROM CUBA TO MIAMI

One of Oriales (García) Rubio’s sisters emigrated to the United States. That woman saw opportunity everywhere and began urging them to move there, too. So on May 27, 1956, Mario and Oriales (García) Rubio and son Mario Victor Rubio—along with Oriales’ parents — Pedro V.  and Dominga (Rodríguez) — García arrived in New York City. The harsh winter there proved too much, and the next year they all moved to Miami, Florida.

In Miami, the elder Mario and his wife Oriales both went to work in a factory where aluminum lawn chairs were assembled. Soon he was also training on the side to work as a bar boy (a bartender’s assistant). Then he was hired by the Roney Plaza Hotel in beautiful Miami Beach. But he was still dreaming of opening his own small business. In fact, he opened several such ventures on the side and they all failed.

By 1959, Mario Rubio had become a bar tender and was making a decent wage. But he regularly worked from early evening until about 2 a.m. or so. And that year he and Oriales had their second child, a daughter they named Barbara Rubio. And the patriarch of the relocated clan, Pedro V. García, returned  to the old country by himself. In March of 1961, with Fidel Castro ruling Cuba and moving steadily toward Communism, Oriales Rubio returned to Cuba and convinced her ailing father to return to Miami with her. And he did so. But he would never again see his native country nor would he ever again see his brothers and sisters.

In April of 1961, some Cubans-in-exile — urged on and supported by the Central Intelligence Committee of the United States — attacked Castro’s forces at the Bay of Pigs. They were soundly defeated and it was an embarrassment for the John F. Kennedy administration.

In 1962, the United States levied an all-out economic embargo against Cuba. It was in October of 1962 that the leaders of Russia and the United States were engaged in a “stare down” called “the Cuban missile crisis.” Russia blinked and took their missiles back home.

1964 was the year that Mario Rubio took his young family out to Los Angeles, where he thought he and his wife might be able to do better, financially. This was in the middle of America’s cultural revolution and racial rioting. So they returned to Miami and in 1966 bought their very first house. Oriales’ parents, Pedro and Dominga García took up residence in a nearby apartment. That very next year, Dominga had a heart attack and died.

It was on May 28, 1971 that Mario and Oriales welcomed a completely unplanned blessing to their home: a baby boy they named Marco _____ Rubio. And, lo and behold, in 1972 they added a baby girl, Veronica Rubio. Another celebration came when, in 1975, Mario and Oriales Rubio proudly became citizens of these United States of America.

The Catholic Church was destined to become an important factor in the life of young Marco Rubio. As a child, his mother and he attended Mass each Saturday evening just down the street at St. Raymond Catholic Church.

Marco was nearing his 5th birthday when the manager of the hotel where his father worked up and offered him a job managing an apartment complex near the airport. His boss said he would get a free apartment, the same wages, and would also be able to earn extra money by working at the hotel as a bar tender on the weekends. Mario Rubio jumped at the chance, and the family moved to the apartment.

And then disaster hit, again. The owners of the apartment complex sold it and Mario was without a job and the family was without a home. Soon his father found another job as an apartment manager, this  time in Hialeah. The family moved into a house nearby. Marco started school at Kensington Park Elementary.

A few months later, a large management company took over the apartments in Hialeah and, again, the elder Mario Rubio was without a job. Dispirited and desperate, again, he began working with a relative who painted houses. The hotels were not hiring. Tourism in Miami was in a downward spiral, partly because of the widespread media coverage of the area’s increase in crime – particularly murders and drug usage and sales.

1979:  VIVA LAS VEGAS

So one day early in May of 1979, Mario and Oriales Rubio loaded up their two youngest children and their meager belongings and moved to the bright lights of Las Vegas. That’s when Mario, now 52 years old, ran into the twin evils of iron-clad unionism and age discrimination. The hotels were booming and hiring, but only at entry level positions and wages. The union bosses made sure outsiders were at the bottom of the lists and that the better jobs were filled by younger union members moving up. Mario had been a head bartender for over 20 years, but now he had to settle for a job at a casino hotel as a bartender’s assistant at much less than he had been making.

They lived in a working class neighborhood at 3104 East Lava Avenue on the north side of Las Vegas. Their first friends were a family who were Mormons and who invited them to their church’s social activities and worship services. Soon the traditionally Catholic Rubio family, minus the skeptical Mario, were regulars at the Mormon Church. And soon Marco, his sister Veronica and his mother Oriales were official baptized members of the Mormon Church.

Marco wrote of those days, “All in all, the Mormon Church provided the sound moral structure my mother had wanted for us, and a circle of friends from stable, God-fearing families. When we left the church a few years later, mostly at my instigation, we did so with gratitude for its considerable contribution to our happiness in those years” (p. 40).

Marco and his younger sister Veronica attended C.C. Ronnow Elementary School near their house. The racial makeup of the school was much more diverse than they had experienced back in Miami. Instead of mostly Cuban-Americans, here the students were white, a few Hispanics and many black students (bused from a neighborhood several miles from there).

During his Las Vegas days, Marco took advantage of many opportunities to interact with and to learn from his grandfather, Pedro Victor García (whom they called Papá). The old man spent many hours a day sitting on their small front porch, particular after meals, when he would light up a Cuban cigar and read a newspaper or a book. And he was free with his praise of the United States and of such men as Harry Truman and Franklin D. Roosevelt. And he graciously invited Marco to ask him questions on any topic.

In his 2012 book, An American Son: A Memoir, Marco wrote lovingly about how his maternal grandfather, Pedro Victor García, had such a great influence on his own life:

“Papá seemed to know something about almost everything, or everything that interested me anyway. He was a gifted storyteller, the talent he had learned as a cigar factory lector [back in Cuba – sp]. His accounts were exciting and forceful, rich in imagery and telling anecdotes. They held me spellbound.

“My interest in politics began around the time we moved to Vegas, and by 1980 politics was a preoccupation second only to football. Two events had captured my attention that year: Senator Edward Kennedy’s challenge to President Carter for the Democratic presidential nomination and the Iran hostage crisis. I was a Kennedy supporter. With rapt attention I watched the Democratic convention in New York, and was crushed by the outcome of what seemed an excruciatingly slow delegate count that gave the nomination to President Carter. I was inspired by Senator Kennedy’s concession speech.

“My grandfather didn’t admire either of them. Ronald Reagan was his man. He despised President Carter because of the Iran hostage crisis, a humiliation Papá seemed to feel personally. America must be a strong country, he constantly preached, or the world would succumb to darkness, and a strong country requires a strong leader. He thought the  world didn’t respect or fear Carter. He was weak, he said, and other countries preyed on his weakness. That’s why the Soviets had invaded Afghanistan and the Iranians had seized our embassy. He blamed the failed attempt to rescue the hostages on cuts to defense spending Carter had made. Ronald Reagan would restore our strength, he assured me. He would confront communism. Our allies would follow him and our enemies would respect him.

“When Reagan was elected and Iran released our hostages on his inauguration,  Papá made certain to point out to me that it confirmed everything he had been telling me. Reagan had barely been sworn into office, and our enemies were already capitulating to him. Reagan’s election and my grandfather’s allegiance to him were defining influences on me politically. I’ve been a Republican ever since. More than just help me develop a political identity, my grandfather instilled in me the importance of strong leadership and conviction. He urged me to study and learn but, more important, to do something useful with the knowledge I acquired.

“I wrote a paper in the fifth grade praising President Reagan for restoring the U.S. military after it had been demoralized and allowed to decay in the years before his presidency. I recently found it in a red suitcase that had belonged to my grandfather, and still contains some of his possessions.

“Papá was an unwavering supporter of President Reagan for the remainder of his life. He loved Reagan’s anti-Soviet and prodemocracy rhetoric, and he staunchly defended the more controversial Reagan policies. I particularly remember his outspoken support for Reagan’s development of the MX missile, and support for the Contras in Nicaragua and the government of El Salvador.

“My grandfather’s talks weren’t always about history or current events. Neither were they scrupulously objective. He wasn’t an admirer of our new church [The Mormon Church – sp]. He was never a religious man, although I know he believed in God, and openly acknowledged Him. But I never saw him attend any religious service except on the single occasion when he agreed to accompany us to Sunday services at the Mormon Church. After we can home and ate lunch, he went to smoke his cigar on the porch and I followed him. I asked him what he had thought of the services, and he told me he would never go back because he hadn’t seen a single African American in attendance. He wasn’t entirely accurate. There was a biracial family in the congregation at the time. But the argument didn’t impress my grandfather, and true to his word, he kept his distance from our church.

“He could be quite sharp in his criticism of people, even people close to him, of whose behavior he disapproved. He frequently found fault with some of my Miami cousins who he believed lacked direction and ambition. When the Culinary Workers Union staged a strike at my father’s place of employment, which my father, as a member of the union, was obliged to join, he told my father he hoped Reagan would fire them all as he did the striking air traffic controllers.

“For reasons he never shared with me, Papá didn’t like my friends, the Thiriots. When they called the house and asked for me, he would hang up the phone. When they came to the door, he would tell them I wasn’t at home. Some of my behavior frustrated him. He couldn’t abide my passion for football and resented my refusal to play baseball. He loved Tommy Lasorda and the LA Dodgers and was hurt when I wouldn’t agree to watch their games with him.

“He had odd quirks. He liked to call my sister by an invented nickname that scrambled the letters of her name, ‘Canirove’ [for Veronica – sp]. He constantly drummed his knuckles on a table or the arm of a chair in a specific and unvarying rhythmic pattern, a tick I now possess. He claimed to be part Chinese, which he was not. He boasted he was directly related to José Martí [a Cuban intellectual who championed independence from Spain – sp], whom he slightly resembled, but who is not, according to any known records, one of our ancestors. In his last years, he insisted he was born an American citizen around the turn of the century in Tampa, Florida, where Martí had lived in exile for a time. We kept an old Universal weight-lifting machine that I used to train for football in the rec room in our house that also served as his bedroom. He frequently complained that the contraption wasted electricity. When I explained that it didn’t use electricity, he ignored me.

“My father [ Mario Rubio – sp ] like to tease my grandfather about little things, his quirks and some of his opinions. Most of it was good-natured kidding, and it didn’t anger my grandfather. It might have annoyed him a little at times, but he never showed it. ‘Okay, Mario. Whatever you say, Mario,’ was usually the only response he would give. My mother, on the other hand, would get angry at my father. She thought his teasing was disrespectful, and would scold him for it.

“My father probably shared my grandfather’s political views, but he rarely discussed politics with my grandfather or with me when I was young, or with anyone as far as I know. He was consumed by the business of making a living and raising his children, and showed little interest in much else. He shared the family’s antipathy to communism and visceral dislike for talk about redistributing wealth. Like my grandfather, he believed such schemes led only to entrenching the power of the regime at the expense of the powerless, who lost jobs and opportunities because their employers had fled the [Cuban – sp] regime that had confiscated their property.

“My father and grandfather were different in many respects. They had different personalities, and neither was given to effusive expressions of affection. But they loved each other. My grandfather admired how committed my father was to our family, how hard he worked to give us a decent home, now carefully he protected us. To my father, the young refugee from an unhappy home, my grandfather and grandmother were his first experience with two loving parents since his mother had died.

“My grandfather was my mentor and my closest boyhood friend. I learned at his feet, relied on his counsel and craved his respect. I still do.” He constantly urged me to study hard and go to college. He wanted Veronica and me to live accomplished lives when we grew up. He wanted us to have not jobs, but distinguished careers that would give our lives purpose and the social status he had always wanted for himself. He would scold me for performing poorly in school, but he never let me believe I was incapable of being successful. He knew I could be, and he helped me prepare for it. His dreams for us were his legacy.

“He taught me many things, but none more important than the conviction that I must not waste the opportunities my parents had sacrificed to give us and our country made available to us. I’ve always believed, even when I was an inattentive and undisciplined student, that the time would arrive for me to become serious and do something important with my life, and I would be ready for it. I believe it because Papá taught me to believe it. And that, more than the wealth of knowledge he shared with me, more than the epics of history he evoked so powerfully for me, more than his opinions and his eccentricities, has made all the difference in the world to me.”

[ The long quote, above, was taken from Marco Rubio’s book An American Son: A Memoir (New York City: Sentinel, 2012), pp. 44-47. This copyrighted material is used here under the “Fair Use” clause which permits use for non-commercial purposes not likely to have an adverse financial effect on the copyright owner. ]

A - Bar -- The Paregien Journal -- brite blue, white and maroon -- created by Stan Paregien 2015--06--20

Muslim Logic -- posted on the internet in 2015

2015--09--16 '60s Folk Music Show at Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa

Aging -- generations -- Cartoon, THE FAMILY CIRCUS by Bil Keane - 2015-09-27

Aging -- music -- Denis the Menace cartoon - your frisbees play music

Aging -- perfect hearing aide for men - 2015

Aging -- women -- crazy old lady in my mirror

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Me and My Red Ryder BB Gun

1952--005--B--StanParegien-BBgun--FillmoreCA

Red Ryder BB gun by Daisy

Ah, yes, those were the days. I sure do wish I had my trusty Daisy BB gun back, again. It was a “Red Ryder” model, named in honor of the fictional cowboy character who first appeared in comic books, then on radio (with little Bobby Blake, later known as off-beat actor Robert Blake, playing “Little Beaver”), and finally on the Silver Screen (i.e., black and white movies). And BB gun had a genuine wood stock, not one of those hollow plastic things. I can hear right now the soft, rattling sound those brass-looking, small BBs as I tipped their round carton up and poured them in the storage tube running right beneath the barrel.  

1941 -- Red Ryder comic book with Little Beaver -- April, 1941

Red-Ryder -- artist Fred Harman

The Red Ryder character was the creation of two men:  Stephen Slesinger (a publisher) and Fred Harman (a talented artist and illustrator). The comic strip began late in 1938, reached a maximum syndication exposure of 750 newspapers, and then quietly died in 1964. It was also a radio program for several years.

In the some 35 Red Ryder movies, the hero was played by a variety of actors. In 1940, it was diminutive Don Barry who played in a 12-episode serial called “The Adventures of Red Ryder” (Tommy Cook played his sidekick, Little Beaver). After that series, Don Barry was nicknamed Don “Red” Barry and it stuck.

Red Ryder -- Don Barry as RR and Bobby Blake as LB

Then came the memorable films made by Bill “Wild Bill” Elliott and handsome Allen “Rocky” Lane, with Bobby Blake playing Little Beaver in all those films. The final four Red Ryder films were done in color and starred actor Jim Bannon with Don Kay Reynolds as his young friend Little Beaver. Two different TV pilots were filmed, one starring Jim Bannon and the other starring Allen Lane, but no one optioned them.

Now, . . . you do know what will happen . . . for sure . . . , if you give a kid a BB gun, don’t you? You certainly know if you have watched any of the annual showings of “A Christmas Story” (1983). He will shoot himself in the eye, that’s what will happen. That sorta wierd film has a sold cult-like core of fans who could never get enough of adult actor Darren McGaven (“the father”), Melinda Dillon (“the mother”) and  child actor Peter Billingsley (“Ralphie, the son with the BB gun”).  

1983  --  A Christmas Story

Well, it is time for an overdue confession. And it has to do with me pulling the trigger on my trusty Red Ryder BB gun and, . . . sure ’nuff, shooting my cousin in the eye (or at least the edge of it). Sad, but true.

That dastardly deed took place in about 1950. My parents (Harold and Evelyn Paregien) and my sister, Roberta, and I lived in an old farm house right on the south side of Highway 126 (about 3 miles west of Santa Paula, Calif.). My dad was a farm hand on the Todd Estate. He irrigated the orange trees, pruned them, fertilized them and lit “smudge pots” around them in the winter to try to keep them from freezing.

So it was that we lived next to 75 or more acres of Valencia orange trees and right next to a “barranca” (or very small creek; there was a highway bridge over it less than a hundred yards from our house). And that orchard and the barranca were wonderful places for kids to play. And to get into trouble.

“The kids,” in this case would be my sister and myself and assorted (or maybe a sordid) bunch of friends and cousins. The cousin who lived closest to us, and who even today is more like a brother to me, was Jerry Russell Paregien. Neither Jerry nor I ever heard our middle names used unless we were in some kind of trouble with an adult.

Now, . . . we kids had this little game we would play. Well, one of many games we played. This one involved throwing oranges at one another. The only rule was that you were supposed to be at least 15 feet away and you couldn’t hit the other person above the waist. This game obviously ignored the orchard owner’s number one rule: don’t pick my oranges. Let’s just say we thinned the crop so the remaining ones would get more nourishment. And, given the fact that all parties involved were running and jumping and squatting down to keep from getting hurt, sometimes there were . . . uh . . . accidents. Nothing too serious and the bruises usually where the sun does not usually shine.

Game #2 was, well . . . a bit more dangerous. So my sister and others of our young friends and cousins were not allowed to play “big guy stuff.” That usually meant that Jerry and I would square off in cold and calculated duels in the sun. Sometimes in the frequent coastal morning fog. It was just Jerry and his rusty, . . . er, I mean trusty BB gun and me and my superior weaponry, my cherished Red Ryder BB gun. 

The rule was similar to that of Game #1, except that here we understood we needed a greater distance between us. Still no shooting above the waist. It was a great bloodless sport, chasing and dodging one another in and among the orange trees. Sometimes we even yelled words which we had heard our fathers use on occasion. In those days we wore denim jeans (mine were of the Levi denomination). So, when by luck or by accidental skill, one of us actually shot the other guy there was only a sharp sting that lasted a couple of minutes. I don’t remember anything more permanent, like a bruise or such. 

Usually.

Usually did not apply to the day I pert near kilt my cousin Jerry. That’s how future generations would tell the awful story. This is my own acount of the incident (easy for me to say) and I’m sticking with it. 

I guess Jerry had spent the night with us there on the Todd Estate. My mother probably served us a bowl of The Breakfast of Champions, then out the door we ran with our legally purchased firearms. We usually carried at least two extra rolls of BBs. One cannot afford to be caught with one’s Roy Rogers underwear around one’s ankles in the middle of a firefight. 

Usually (that word, again), we would run deeply into the orange orchard for our diehard duels of destiny. Not this time. Instead, we went a couple of hundred yards south of our house, along the barranca. That was prime hunting territory for sparrows, bluejays and red-winged blackbirds. Sometimes for big game, like ground squirrels or one of Bugs Bunny’s little cousins. But today, . . . today we were after much bigger and much more dangerous game: each other.

Jerry lost the coin toss and made his way across the barranca to the other bank, near the edge of another orange orchard owned by some other farmer. There we stood, glaring at each other like tribal gladiators. I yelled out something like, “Let the games b-e-g-i-n !” And that got the battle into high gear. Seems like that’s kinda how John Wayne did it, too.

My merciless, mercinary cousin lifted his cannon, . . . er, I mean, . . . BB gun and fired a round in my direction. It zipped past me into a bush at my side. I responded with a quick cock of my gun’s lever and shot at him from the hip — just like Palladin or Steve McQueen would have done. Only they always hit something, even with the first shot. Neither Jerry nor I had that kind of professional skill, but we were working on it.

You see, dear reader, a sophisticated BB gun shooter will expect to fire a few rounds without hitting the target. One has to adjust for windage and for the fact that the arch of the BB would rapidly descend after 35 yards or so. Then there was the fact that, in this particular case, the target in question absolutely refused to stand still and play fair. Of course, that applied to both of us.

Right there in the middle of this blazing battle, I put my left index finger up in the air to test for windage. And, there being no windage, I lifted my BB gun a smidge higher than usual (yikes, that word, again). And I stood tall and brave as I carefully sighted in my adversary. Then, with my steady right index finger, I squeezed off a shot. I could see it easily traverse the barranca and head like a meteor toward cousin Jerry. As usual, I figured to hit him on or about his front pants pocket or on his skinny thigh. This, however, was not one of those “usual” days.

Instead, that sorry sucker of a BB followed an elongated trajectory that caused it to smack right into the corner of Jerry’s left eye. He dropped his own weapon and yelled like he had been shot. Well, duh. He had. And he didn’t stop there. He hadn’t lost his mind entirely, because he did pick up his own BB gun. And then he lit out for our house like a dog scalded with turpentine. And he was yelling and crying, then crying and yelling. Maybe even using some of those few choice adult words we knew.

Meanwhile, I had little time to savor my extraordinary victory. Fact is, I took off running like crazy, too. I was hoping I could catch him at the bridge, tackle him and shut him up. Maybe threaten him or, as a last resort, bribe him. Anything that would keep my tail from an agitated momma whoopin’. Alas, neighbors, that was not to be. That little varmit, . . . er, I mean . . . my dear cousin had put his hiney in overdrive. He crossed that bridge like he was competing at a track meet and easily beat me to the house.

By the time I emerged from our orange orchard and approached the house, I could hear Jerry’s wailing account of this little incident as something akin to attempt manslaughter. I knew that could not be true. Heck, he wasn’t even a man yet. Or me, either. 

When I had to stand before the Judge (my mother), I wept and wailed and pleaded my case. She was not impressed. So I threw myself on the mercy of the court. The Judge was fresh out of mercy on that day. First, she made me apologize to my own goofy, hairy-legged cousin for what was clearly an accident or–what else do lawyers say?–an act of God. Second, she gave me a lickin’ to remember and I did not just go on tickin’.

That was the very last time we ever played that doggone game.

To tell you the awful truth, though, I recently thought about challenging ol’ Jerry to a rematch. We would each have to go out and buy one of those gol-darned plastic BB guns. But I betcha I could raise blisters on his bony behind, this time.

Oh, hey, hold the cellphone. I forgot a couple of things.

Jerry Russell Paregien spent twenty-five years as an officer with the California Highway Patrol. That means each and every one of those 25 years he had to re-qualify on both his pistol and his rifle. And, how the heck could I forget this: he actually taught marksmanship at the headquarters of the CHP in Sacramento. In recent years, he even wrote two eBooks–available on Amazon.com– on certain pistols. And right now my eyesight–thanks to cataracts–is just not like it never was. 

Okay, that’s it. Negatory on that BB gun rematch idea.

I wonder though. Does anyone know whether Jerry is any good at checkers?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Stan’s writings on this web/blog site are all copyrighted. They may shared with your friends, but any commercial use is specifically excluded without Stan’s written permission.

END.

Issue 256 — Our Trip to Miami . . . Oklahoma, That Is

Issue 256    —    The Paregien Journal    —    April 18, 2012

Our Trip to Miami . . . , Oklahoma, That Is

by Stan Paregien Sr.

We left OKC about 8:00 am, with our ultimate destination being the annual meeting of the Oklahoma Historical Society, being held this year at the Coleman Theater in Miami, Oklahoma. Of course, we don’t pronounce the town name the same way that little village in Florida is pronounced. Oklahoma’s Miami is a name taken from the Miami Indian tribe here and is pronounced “my-am-muh”.

We arrived in Miami, Oklahoma about 12:30 pm. Miami is the hometown of such folks as Steve Owens (star full-back at the University of Oklahoma, Heisman Trophy winner, and player for the Detroit Lions), Charles Banks Wilson (painter), and Carol Littleton (Hollywood film editor and Emmy award-winner).

We stopped and had lunch at the famous Route 66 hamburger joint, “The Ku-Ku,” which features a giant ku-ku bird on the top of the building. The food was okay, but didn’t live up to the hype we had been given.

About 1:30 pm we went to the Coleman Theater at 103 N. Main Street and registered for the Oklahoma History Society meeting which starts at 7:30 pm this evening.

Coleman

Then we went to a couple of antique stores and drove just a few miles north to Commerce, Oklahoma—where there were no signs to direct us to the location of the hometown hero, Mickey Mantle, the all-star player for the New York Yankees several decades ago. We stopped two different people for directions, with one saying he had no idea where it was and the other giving us directions and adding that infamous postscript, “You can’t miss it.” But we did.

Anyway, we did stop and take photos out on the highway of a very nice statue of Mickey Mantle.

We hit a few more antique and thrift stores, then went to the Holiday Inn Express and checked in. We had a big lunch, so we settled for granola bars for supper.

We drove back to the Coleman Theater for the 7:30 pm program. Wow, the inside of the Coleman—built in 1929 and in the 1950s declining to a state of disrepair—was beautifully restored as a community effort in 2004. It is impressive.

The program this evening was moderated by Roger Harris, an old friend of ours who for many years was the director of the oral history department of the Oklahoma Historical Society in Oklahoma City. He is back with the OHS, though in a different capacity, and is the current president of the Oklahoma Folklife Society.

The program was called, “Okie Folkie Coffeehouse Concert.” It featured a bunch of entertainers who got their start performing at coffeehouses in Oklahoma City and Tulsa during the 1950s and 1960s. Those performers included Mason Williams (Grammy for his song, “Classical Gas”; Emmy for writing comedy for the Smothers Brothers TV show; founding member of the Oklahoma-based “Wayfarers Trio” with Baxter Taylor and Billy Cheatwood), Baxter Taylor (founding member of the Oklahoma-based “Wayfarers Trio”; wrote with Shel Silverstein “Marie Laveau,” a smash hit for Bobby Bare), Billy Cheatwood (founding member of the Oklahoma-based “Wayfarers Trio”; banjo and guitar; former constable of Jemez Springs, NM, where he still lives), and Steve Brainard (banjo).

Also, Mike Settle (Born March 20, 1941 in Tulsa, OK; a Creek Indian whose grandfather, Pleasant Porter, was a chief of the tribe; member of the “Kenny Rogers & the First Edition” band; member of the New Christy Minstrel Singers; wrote “But You Know I Love You,” a cross-over hit for Dolly Parton in 1969; currently a journalist and music critic living in Brentwood, Tenn.).

Also, Mike Flynn, Ed (singer & guitarist) & Karen (singer) Petitt, Art Eskridge (blues singer, guitarist), plus additional instrumentalists Richard Sharp (bass), Amber Vallee (concertino), Shanda McDonald (fiddle), and Dr. Kahty Dagg, M.D. (mandolin).

I was able to get nice video clips of Mason Williams playing “Classical Gas,” of Baxter Taylor singing “Marie Laveau,” and one of Art Eskridge singing and playing a blues number. I have posted them on my YouTube page, where my ID is “CowboyStan”.

On Thursday morning, April 19th, we ate a continental breakfast at the Holiday Inn. Then we boarded a bus to take us back to the Coleman Theater. On the bus we met and visited with Brigadier General Revere A. Young (retired) and his wife Mary. They live near Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City. The last few years of his career he was commander of the Oklahoma Air National Guard.

I attended the 8:30 am session in Room A of the Ballroom. The moderator was Dr. Deena K. Fisher, a history professor in Woodward and a member of the executive committee of the OHS. The first speaker was Dr. Michael Hightower on “Bad PR: Oklahoma and the Media, 1889-1923.” He is a consultant on the OHS’s project on a history of banking in Oklahoma. The second speaker was John Wooley, former entertainment editor for the Tulsa World newspaper, and the author of 22 books. His topic was, “Early Cinema in Oklahoma.”

Wooley

Stan Paregien Sr. with John Wooley

At 10:15 am I attended a session moderated by Roger Harris and titled, “The Coffeehouse Era in Oklahoma”. Musicians who participated included “The Wayfarer Trio” members Mason Williams and Baxter Taylor and Billy Cheatwood, plus Mike Settle, Art Eskridge, Mike Flynn, Carol Saunders Young, and Steve Brainard.

Meanwhile, Peggy attended a 10:15 session featuring Dr. Guy Logsdon (folklorist and subject of my latest e-book on Amazon.com) as the moderator. The first speaker was Bobby Weaver, retired archivist from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, speaking on: “Who Are Those Oilfield Hands and Why Do They Act Like That?” The second speaker Joe Specht of the Grady McWhiney Research Foundation in Abilene, Texas, on the topic of “Boomers and Boomtowns: Oil Patch Songs from Oklahoma.”

Then we were bused from the Coleman Theater to the Student Union banquet hall on the campus of North Eastern Oklahoma University. Mason Williams was the speaker for the luncheon.

After the luncheon, Peggy and I rode the bus over to The Gordon House and toured it. Then the bus took us to the Dobson House & Museum, where we also had refreshments. And then we returned to the motel. We again had granola bars for supper.

We drove to the Coleman Theater for the 7:30 pm. It was a video detailing the restoration of the Coleman Theater. Then we were treated to a tour backstage.

Peggy

Peggy & Stan Paregien Sr inside the Coleman Theater

Friday, April 20
A thunderstorm rolled in during the night and left at least a half-inch of rain. The temperature dropped significantly and the wind came up to about 30 mph. So it was pretty chilly all day.

We drove to the Coleman Theater for the 8:30 am session. I picked up a Miami newspaper and, lo and behold, there was an article about the OHS meeting . . . and they quoted me on page 3, as well as General Revere Young.

The moderator of the session was Emmy Scott Stidham of Checotah, current president of the OHS. George Nigh, former two-time Governor of Oklahoma, gave an entertaining speech on “Oklahomans Who Have Impacted the Popular Culture.”

Nigh

Stan Paregien Sr. (right) with former two-term Oklahoma Governor George Nigh

The second speaker was Miami-native Carol Littleton, Emmy-award winning Hollywood film editor. She spoke on, “From Miami to Hollywood.”

At 10:14 am Peggy and I attended a session moderated by Marty Pennington of Ada, a member of the board of directors of the OHS. The first speakers—Cindy Wallis, Gwen Walker and Traci Walker—presented and narrated a slide show of “48 Hours at Atoka,” dealing with the huge (35,000 to 50,000 attendees) country music show in a pasture near Atoka, Oklahoma. It was Oklahoma’s equivalent of “Woodstock,” with similar craziness.

The second speaker in that session was Jana Jae of Grove, billed as “The First Lady of Country Fiddle”. She spoke on “Roots Music in Green Country: The Grand Lake Festivals.” She brought alone her regular fiddle, plus the miniature fiddle she used as a child (made in about 1780) and the signature blue-colored fiddle she used on the Hee Haw TV show.

Jana Jae

Jana Jae and Stan Paregien Sr

Jana Jae was born August 30, 1942. She started playing when she was two and a half years old. Both of her parents were violin students at the Juilliard School in New York, and her maternal grandfather was a country fiddler. In her youth, Jae won scholarships to Interlochen and the International String Congress. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in music and studied abroad at the Vienna Academy of Music.

Jana Jae won the Ladies’ Division National Fiddling Championship. However, she earned a living by teaching some 200 violin students per week. She began to feel as though she might “burn out” doing that, so she inquired around about her chances of playing in a bluegrass or a country band. She interviewed with Buck Owens and was hired to be part of his band, “The Buckeroos”.

Jana Jae gained national fame by appearing on the nationally broadcast “Hee Haw” television show as part of Buck Owens’s band in the 1970s. She married her employer, Buck Owens, in 1977, becoming his fourth wife. In just a few days she had her fill of Mr. Owens and filed for a divorce.

Since the late 70’s, Jae has continued performing internationally, both as the leader of her own band, and with orchestra. Additionally, she has appeared with such country music artists as Chet Atkins, Roy Clark, Ray Stevens, The Oakridge Boys, Mel Tillis, Ricky Skaggs and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Today she organizes an annual fiddle camp and fiddle festival in Grove, Oklahoma, where she has lived for several years.

I got a couple of nice video clips of Jana Jae talking and playing her fiddle, and I have posted them on my YouTube page under my ID of “CowboyStan”.

At noon we left the OHS meeting. We ate a block or so away at a Mexican food restaurant. Then we drove back to Edmond, arriving home about 5 pm. It had been a fun-filled, informative three days and one of the best conferences we have attended in years. Dr. Paul Lambert of OHS was the primary organizer of the event, and he just did a bang-up job. And those local folks up in Miami, Oklahoma really made us feel welcomed.