Dan’s California Memory – Anaheim 1970 for the Los Angeles Times (Part 1 of 2)

Dan’s California Memory – Anaheim 1970

The Los Angeles Times has a daily online newsletter, Essential California, that deals with the news of the day pertinent to the Golden State.  Thank you, Scott Mercer, for giving me that heads-up. The newsletter concludes with a memory from a reader that is no more than 100 words.  Here’s the California memory I submitted to Los Angeles Times on May 28, 2021.

As a Jersey boy and 1970 graduate in education at Arizona State University, I interviewed for teaching jobs in California.  At my interview for the Anaheim City Schools, innocently I asked the administrator if there was smog in Anaheim.  Looking me straight in the eye, he said, No. 

Wanting to move to southern California, I took the job.  Once there, I had nothing but low-lying smog day after day for the first six weeks until the first Santa Ana winds blew through.  When I saw the same administrator later, he smiled and said, I never thought you’d really believe me.

Words – exactly 100

I will publish Part 2 of 2 when I get word that the LA Times published my 100 word memory.

Dan and Hannah Hike Locally at the Little Harbor Trail in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

A week ago in mid-April, Hannah and I biked to the main beach in Ogunquit in tee-shirts and shorts on a 70F day.  This morning we woke to this scene out our front door.

Let me say, you have got to be committed to hike in Maine in April.  You may think April is springtime and tulips in New England. Often not. As T. S. Eliot wrote in The Waste Land, April is the cruelest month. Amen to that!

With the temperature near freezing, we are not going to be imprisoned in our home.  (Whoa sparky, that seems like a little self-pitying, tad inflammatory verb!) Dressed in winter coats, winter gloves, and a winter ski cap with umbrellas at the ready, we drive ten miles from home to Portsmouth, NH.

Parking at the far end of the historical South Street cemetery with gravestones from the 18th and 19th centuries, we walk a paved road for a half of mile to the trailhead of the 1.5 mile Little Harbor Loop Trail.  The Creek Farm Reservation of coastal woodlands and freshwater wetlands of 35 acres welcomes us down a rain-soaked driveway to where the trail begins at Sagamore Creek.

Parking by the South Street Cemetery in Portsmouth, NH
The trail begins on a paved driveway towards the Sagamore Creek

Pools of rain on the trail do not deter us as we soon head out to the sand bar at low tide.  We see parents with preschoolers who are damned sure that they are not spending one more day inside, no matter the weather.

Barely 32 degree Fahrenheit

The historical Wentworth Mansion in the distance with people on the sand bar mid-distance

Extending our hike/walk down to the shoreline at the Wentworth House, we look out to the tidal Piscataqua River thankful we never bought a boat of any kind.  Neither of us is a sailor or a mariner of any sort.  In early 17th century, we would have been ones who stayed in England and wished the Puritans bon voyage.

The Wentworth House
That must have been a helluva ship that needed that anchor.

And don’t get me started on fishing?  I have never found the love of the sea that my dad had; he would cast in the surf at Montauk on Long Island for stripers and blues or sit in a boat forever at my brother Richard’s Arnold Lake hoping to hook some small mouth bass.  You see, I like catching fish, I just don’t like sitting in a boat holding a fishing pole for hours on end.

The trail from the Wentworth House back to the trailhead begins here.

The trail continues through the woods of pines and hardwood oaks.  The trail to the view turns out to be muddier than we wish to negotiate.  We make a 180 and turn back towards the trailhead.

It was as messy as it looks this April morning.

With side trail and sand bar distractions, our hike takes just over an hour.  After a long winter, April hikes are joys no matter the weather or the conditions.  And there are no mosquitos or ticks.  Win/win/win.

Dan’s Wednesday Quote of the Week – #27

Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you’re alive, it isn’t.

Richard Bach, b. 1936

When our friend Mary Ross sent me this quote, I was taken back to 2002 at the memorial service for Hannah’s brother Doug. On that Saturday in early February I was one of eleven who spoke from the pulpit of the Park Presbyterian Church in Newark, New York. I quoted this very line from Richard Bach to celebrate Doug’s life well-lived.

You and I, our missions are not done.

After Mary reminded me of this quote, I reread Illusions (it’s short, an easy read). Two other quotes struck me.

There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.

You seek problems because you need their gifts.