Ramona Then, Ramona Now, part 4

North County native brings Helen Hunt Jackson to her hometown

Karoll Reed tombstone, Ramona cemetery. I’m overwhelmed, paralyzed.
  • Karoll Reed tombstone, Ramona cemetery. I’m overwhelmed, paralyzed.
  • Image by Robert Burroughs

Thursday, November 12, 1992

The Ramona Sentinel comes out on Thursdays. Larry Littlefield’s sports page is impressive, both in the quality of writing and the depth of the coverage, but I wonder, how can he get away with some of the things he says? He reports an open rebellion of the players on the return bus from Escondido last week, after losing to “a team Ramona had beaten five straight years.” He writes that the coach is “too nice a guy in handling the discipline end of his program.... He’s given too many chances for those players who have chosen not to follow the rules. ’My mother always told me there was no such thing as being too nice,’ ” he quotes coach Pinning as saying. This is the kind of factual-positional reporting that’s always gotten me in trouble.

Ramona Theater

Ramona Theater

Though it’s Littlefield’s traditional macho philosophy in sports that I’m writing a whole book against! I’ll go up against anybody regarding the mother-son stuff, against anyone opposing being “too nice” in athletics.

Lunch With Larry Littlefield at Don Corleone’s

He’s read my “Raquel" [Welch] story, brings me his personally autographed 9-by-12 black-and-white photo of her. She sloe-eyes us from her couch, Raquel now, her left breast draped from her bare shoulder. She’s Bolivian, that is, Shoshonean! “The bus driver told me that story. The coaches who were on the bus stayed afterwards to clean up the spit and thrown food.”

Ramona town hall

Ramona town hall

“Stop lights!” he suddenly exclaims, changing the subject. “I’ve only been here a year, but I’m offended by that fourth light that just went in, out by McWhorter’s.”

“Maybe I’m talking of you, but why is this town so conservative, though so — maverick and individualistic, too?”

“Ramona’s a throwback,” he says. Then quickly, “a good throwback. Country Estates, for instance, doesn’t like to be called Ramona. Even so, cattle rustlers are regularly busted in the canyon off the end of Country Estates, at the waterfall there.

“What’s unique about Ramona?” he goes on.

“Ramona has 12 video places. It has a video drive-in. Maybe the first in Southern California. It also has an X-rated video. They bring in porn stars, $10 to have your picture taken with her. For $20 she’ll take off her clothes.

“There’s six sports cards trading places in Ramona.

“In Escondido, if you ask people what they think of when they think of Ramona, they’ll say the Ramona Rodeo. Steve Tellum and his father with Casey Tibbs — that’s him on the walls at D’Carlo’s, two times all-around champion, eight times bronco champion.

“Bobby Riggs of Coronado beat Margaret Court from Australia at San Diego Country Estates, 1973. Ten million people saw that. It was an exhibition thing to promote the place. From it came the 'Battle of the Sexes.’ Billy Jean King was outraged, and so they matched in the Houston dome. And course. President Ford’s son hung out there, training his horses."

“And there was a 1984 Olympic woman runner who trained there, right? I saw her on TV in Port Townsend. What was her name?”

“Dunno.” He shakes his head. “Ramona has a sheriff's lieutenant, 11 officers. It’s called a sheriff s substation. For a lot of things, a car theft, for instance, you have to go to the deputies in Poway.”

Then he’s talking about amphetamine factories in the nooks and crannies, how the airport is wide open, it’s touch-and-go, the war on drugs.

He’s never been in the Turkey Inn! “I’ve always been told don’t go in there unless you want to fight.”

“The first concrete building in Ramona! The second oldest liquor license in San Diego County! The entire west wall is a painted map of the back country. The new owner’s name is Richard Pitchford, hardly a derelict. You ought to do a story on the place, it’s historic.”

Michael Ventura had said, “When I walked in, looking for you, no one looked up. I knew I was in a real joint.”

“I figure if i can figure out the Turkey Inn, I’ll understand everything.”

“Father Joe Carroll wants to establish the largest homeless shelter in the state of California here — out where the bad-girls’ school used to be. He’s done all the work with the homeless, so he may succeed. He has a lot of power. The planning group has turned it down. The thing is, they could be feeding an army of illegals because shelters can’t ask for I.D.

“Did you know Linda and Art Thomsen in high school? They run the ROCC, she runs the Miss Ramona Beauty Pageant.”

“She’s Annie in ’Raquel.’ ” Annie, last year’s Miss Angel, as she forfeits the crown, is bawling.

I hear in his voice admiration and genuine interest in her, identical to the kind she always garnered in high school.

“She was my role model in the ninth grade.”

I half agree to go to Friday night’s Ramona-vs.-Carlsbad football game with him.

Looking for Ramon

No one can visit their settlements, such as Agua Caliente. Saboba, Cahuella Valley, Santa Ysabel, without having a sentiment of respect and profound sympathy for men who, friendless, poor, without protection from the law, have still continued to work, planting, fencing, irrigating, building houses on lands from which long experience has taught them that the white man can drive them off any day he chooses.

In the village of Agua Caliente [Warner's], one of the most intelligent of the young men was so anxious to show us his fields that we went with him a little distance outside the village limits to see them. He had some eight acres in grain, vine, and fruit trees. Pointing first in one direction, then in another, he indicated the places where his ground joined other men’s ground. There was no line of demarcation whatever, except it chanced to be a difference of crops. We said to him, “Alessandro, how do you know which is your land and which is theirs?" He seemed perplexed, and replied, “This was my mother’s land. We have always had it.” [Helen Hunt Jackson, A Century of Dishonor]

To Santa Ysabel. A huge boulder used as a road divider at Camelot Estates. The Valley of the Sun all right — the sun’s brutal!

The silhouette of his head, and when you get up there, his painted face. Now, huge new houses. The white man builds houses as if he isn't going to die.

For no reason I stop at Camelot Campground, wander around the store, the woman proprietor and a little boy staring at me. Then back on the road, at the first curve, come around a weird sight: 15 to 20 women in fluorescent-orange hardhats and neck scarves and denim jeans marching in a single line up the right side of the narrow highway, hugging the bluff of the blind curve so as not to get hit. Chain gang, led by a male ranger.

Santa Ysabel: Pop. 436, Elevation 2984, Borrego Springs 56 Miles

The Santa Ysabel Indian Mission was founded in 1818, an “Asistencia of Mission San Diego.” The present chapel was built in 1924.

Inside, the same old creepy Catholicism. “It was too much power, Majella," as Alessandro explains to Ramona.

There was one at the San Gabriel Mission; he was an Indian. He had been set over the rest; and when a whole band of them ran away one time and went back into the mountains, he went after them; and he brought back a piece of each man’s ear, the pieces were strung on a string; and he laughed and said that was to know them again — by their clipped ears.... The Indians did not all want to come to the Missions; some of them preferred to stay in the woods and live as they always had lived. Majella...do you not think they had the right? [Helen Hunt lackson, Ramona]

Beneath the terrible, sadomasochistic, but most common reproduction of the crucifixion, the words: “I have come to bear witness to the Truth. ”

Gracias, Jesus.

Me too.

La Noche de las Velas

On November 2 every year they have the blessings of each Indian grave, to bless the path each is on through the universe. Pu-chi-pa! Now, November 12, looking for Ramon, it’s the most spectacularly alive cemetery—candles, ribbons, banners, flags, spirits flying the most colorful Mother of Mary!

Knock on Father Al Ryan’s door. He doesn’t remember Ramon, Ray Holt or Ray Rice or a Leon Rice either.

“Karoll Reed’s wife was here November 2.

Jerry, Karoll’s brother, comes up to work on Saturdays. Noreen, Karoll’s mother, cleans the church. Tim, Old Jerry, his pop, works here too. That Noreen,” he says, shaking his head, “a real character.”As I head down to the graveyard, its freak flags flying in the wind. I’m countering his little curse of Noreen with her Tenth and D oak tree blessing of me, “Sharon Lura Edens!”

The Reeds were the second to help Psyche in her search. A stylish young woman kneels weeping at the first grave, which is a lush garden of living plants and flowers. I don’t enter. Walk the other way.

After a while, she moves to the second grave, out of which rises a tall blooming red rose tree, so I go through the gate. Now under the rose tree and over the profusely decorated and flowered mound, she weeps again.

She’s a long time at grave number two, with me at number one: IN LOVING MEMORY OF KEITH F DELA CRUZ JULY 25, 1970-AUG 23, 1987. BAM! A 17-year-old boy three weeks before my 71-year-old father dies in Florence, Oregon; his photo, so awesome a boy. When she leaves, after I hear her car driving west, I move to the second grave.


His photo. Red T-shirt, golden-bronze skin, her tears down your beautiful face in its 40s, watering your rose tree forever. Oh, Love, though it’s been 33 years, I’d know you instantly in Heaven.

September 18, 1987: “Do I have news for you!” Clarke exclaims over the body of our dying father. He has taken, of all times, the hundred-mile dirt road over the Siskiyous and Klamaths to get here, a journey I will now be forever making. “Karoll Reed’s DEAD!”

That I could cry again, as that woman, as I did in Paris for you, Karoll Reed — is becoming my prayer.

I search for something of him. There’s so much here. As always with Karoll, I’m overwhelmed, paralyzed. I have no right, I must choose the best. I’m afraid of el padre seeing me. Finally, I yank a deep-blue artificial flower with white gold-tipped stamens, cheap, artificial, but what pulls me, which, only as I write this, blue in my lap, on my lips, do I think “morning glory!" and run inside to my mother’s large platter from his mom and aunt, “the Christmas Clarke was to graduate, yes, the same,” Mama says. “Poppy Trail, Made in California." Mama displaying it for the first time, after all these years.

Morning glory at my lips, I move to grave number three: NATHAN LEE REED PVT US MARINE CORPS JUNE 24, 1948-OCT 5, 1986.

This is an ancient cemetery for the West, 1818, but the Reed boys are here, in the prime spot, as if saved for them forever or claimed by the “workers,” those characters. “The Reeds are here every weekend, they know everything, they take care of the cemetery.”

I spend a long afternoon searching for Ramon, checking out every grave, sunken and raised, beneath the roses, windmills, shells, toy cars, planes, teddy bears, small bundles of sage wrapped in metallic rubber hairbands, locks of hair, funny painted flags, military metals from the fields of France, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, souvenirs from their bedrooms, the caretaking of wives, sisters, classmates, parents, just like always loving them, helpless love beyond words, beyond prayers of what's happened to our children, imagine, birthing an Indian in the 1920s. Thirties. Forties. Fifties. Into America. Imagine, the names beyond intermarriage, translation, the sun-filled days, the dark moonless nights, melted candle wax, big puppets, stuffed dolls, the cross tattooed between your thumb and finger, and on your chin, blessed baby girl, 1840, burning candle melting her all of you together forever.

The occasional car driving west on 79 brings me back, waxy and dirty from the melted velas.


Korea is not here. Ramon is not here.

I drive the four miles up to Julian to find Janet.

“That wasn’t Ray Rice, that was Ray Uphouse!” she says, strongly. “Ray Uphouse was a Santa Ysabel Indian, did you know that? It was a couple of years after 1966, the Santa Ysabel Barbecue. I’ll tell you why I remember the date. In 1966 Mrs. Price (our high school English teacher) and her husband were in a head-on collision at that intersection. Ray Uphouse was the driver in the other vehicle. I was in Palomar Hospital when she was brought in. Her husband was dead. Two or three years later, late ’60s, Ray Uphouse was in a phone booth at that intersection, during the Santa Ysabel Barbecue, and he was shot, a drive-by shooting. I remember because I was so struck by his killing Mr. Price, then being killed in the exact same spot later.”

And so once again, Ramon dead, comes back alive. As she’s telling me, I remember, vaguely, that this is not the first time someone’s confused Ray Uphouse with Ramon.

“Lincoln’s on Mesa Grande, cocky as ever. He’s, a cousin of Pug’s, did you know that? Everyone’s related to everyone else up there. His parents are Pug’s mother’s cousins; they’re from San Ysidro and Scissors Crossing — that’s where their cemetery is. You never see him. Never had a family. Had a serious drinking problem. Took him a long time to come back from that. Now Pug says it’s amazing, he’s not drinking anymore.”

Pug calls then and while she talks I think again that a lifetime marriage is mystical in a way I don’t think anyone has written of. It is mystical that that boy from 35 years ago is on the phone to that girl from then, here and now in the Julian Post Office.

Summer between the seventh and eighth grades: slumber party down in her Highland Valley Road ranch house, Janet teaching us to bop on the ancient coldsucking Spanish tiles to Louis Armstrong’s “Rue Morgue Avenue" and swearing in her big basement bed, “I don’t care what anyone says, when I’m married, sleeping with my husband, I’m not going to wear the bottoms of my baby-dolls.... ” Descending around a sharp turn, steep 78, Karoll’s blue morning glory datura in my lap, the sun is setting into a giant bowl of liquid gold, clumps of black-green mistletoe hanging off the oaks that hover above the snaky white cement. The hills turning pink, kiss me, then pinker all the way down, till all the sky is bleeding red, Venus setting behind Mercury and the sun, it must have been from here that Ramona was named The Valley of the Sun. Lincoln Hamilton bent over his sax at Bulldog Hall, dropping into the crimson-and-gold sea.

When Helen Hunt Jackson Was in Ramona

In April 1883 she and Abbott Kinney were caught in a severe snow storm after leaving Santa Ysabel. They took shelter in a deserted shack at the base of Volcan Mountain, where they were trapped for three days.

At last, after a very wretched night, we decided we couldn't stand the shack any longer, so horses were harnessed and right in the teeth of the gale we started to drive down to the Santa Maria Valley below. In less than a hour we were in an entirely different climate, where everything was sunshiney and agreeable. [HHJ, quoted in Lulu O’Neal, The History of Ramona, California and Environs]

Helen would trace the beginning of her final illness to this storm.

The Silent Auction

I promised to meet Chuck LeMenager, who’s written three current history books on Ramona, at the Chamber of Commerce’s Winetasting and Silent Auction at seven. Larry said, “Oh, you’ll meet Ramona’s elite.”

Markay Holly’s mother, Mary Kay Pinkard, Miss Ramona 1937, and the last queen to wear the gown of turkey feathers, is at the door. Miss Ramona 1992, stands in the far north corner, her smiles all over us. Miss Ramona Rodeo is at the winetasting table. Vice principal Jan Page and the principal of Ramona High School are propped up in their gray suits against the door, drinking espresso. “We have a meeting to go to,” Jan winks, conspiratorially, "or we’d be tasting wine too.”

He seems so paranoid I become alarmed for his heart, oh, to think of being at this point in life still in Ramona High School! The principal, Mr. Motta, tells me he’s a Vietnam vet. “We came on as a team,” he says gesturing to my old classmate. “Now there’s 6300 students in the schools, 1500 in the high school.”

Watching this “team” from across the warm night patio as the new, first-ever local radio station is broadcasting live “soft hits and easy oldies,” I think, like Ronnie Rodolf, Ramona High School was most of all training for this kind of Chamber of Commerce event.

Sitting at the door, quiet, so still. Elaborately layered in English pinafores, ruffled skirts, like a doll, a girl, like something of most remote and richest heritage, she hands me her card — COOKIE AND ERNIE, CLOWNS 4 U.

Adrian and Otila Harrison. “It’s been very odd, being from a conventional Ramona family."

Adrian and Otila Harrison. “It’s been very odd, being from a conventional Ramona family."

Heavens to Betsy! It’s Otila Harrison!

Otila is the mother of kids my age, mother of the twins my sister was close to. She’ll be 80 in six weeks. Her brother is Guy Woodward, founder, curator of the Ramona history museum. These days she’s a...clown! And married to “Ernie,” a much younger man, a man close to my generation.

“Yes, you may interview me.”

She invites me to “English breakfast” tomorrow morning. Yes, the same adobe on Davis. Since 1951.

Wow, Ramona now and then!

Chuck takes me to dinner at El Nopal.

“When I first saw Rancho San Vicente in 1970 there were only three families living out there. And Ramona, less than 10,000. Now Ramona’s population is 40,000.”

He really wanted to be an Air Force flier, but that didn’t work out, so now he flies his own plane, and his son was on the first bombing run of the Gulf War.

I ask him about his next book, and he asks me what other areas would make a good one. “Palomar and Warner’s.”

“Yeah, if you don’t want to make a lot of money.” This stops me in my tracks.

“Would you like to see Ramona from the air?” he asks. “Early Saturday morning, when it’s real still? By 11 I have to be out at San Diego Estates to sign books.”

Cheers (Formerly the Round-Up)

When I walk in, sit down, a guy says, “How’s your story going?”

“Need to check out this place, right?” I laugh. Like lightning the stories spread!

He is disturbing, but hard to say why. Good-looking — beautiful, actually — his hair long, his eyes shine.

Then he’s in the corner browbeating a big young woman who’s playing pool. I hear him growl "the police officer outside my house,’’ and “if you don't want to go back to jail....” She is dark, pouty, withdrawn, taking it.

Then he is talking to me, philosophically, trying to impress me, but I recognize... jailbird talk. I even say it. I’m so pissed at his bullying the girl. “You talk like you’ve spent time in prison.” And get out of there.

Drive around the dark hills, the old roads for an hour, the moon coming up in Gemini so stark. Turning around at padlocked gates, lights across pink oleander, trying to think if I could go up in a plane over Ramona.

Ramona is the same, the same personality. People have been replaced by new people, but the personality of the place itself reigns. The karma.

By car light on a dirt road I look for a quote I thought I saw in the Mesa Grande library book.

So the legend goes on, “Pu-chi-pa" the “Creator” makes “the paths from east to west of all the stars," and the great “path from north to south, the backbone of the sky,” our milky way, which is “the pathway of departing spirits.” [Charles R. Quinn, Mesa Grande Country]

I read it over and over. I really can’t believe it. This is a description of the Linga Sharira, the 25,000-year-old Hindu-Tibetan myth of the structure of the universe I’ve written about in all my books. From South America Mi Hija:

The Linga Sharira is the ancient Hindu name for our galaxy, which we commonly call the Milky Way. The meaning of the ancient name embodies an understanding of the structure of the galaxy; the Long Body of the Dream, the Long Body of the Tongue, the Long Body of God, the Godform on which the human body is molded, the Crossroads of Time and the Universe, the time when our solar system is at a right angle with galaxy, the crossroads of the ecliptic, when the Music of the Spheres can be heard, when the Gods call for us, when the Dead of the year can depart. The time is approximately between November 14 and 23 of each year.

The Tibetans say their knowledge came from a sunken civilization, records left in granite caves under the Asiatic mainland just before the cataclysm.

And, from Hard Country:

There are in Japan old documents, copied from older documents...which give a history of the world going back not thousands of years but tens of thousands of years. They describe epochs, periods, hundreds of dynasties, their rise and fall, the spread of the five colored races, the changing land masses, a planetary network stretched across the planet. Then...a great cataclysm struck, the moon was stuck in the sky...the waters rose....

Archaeologists say the American Indians came from Asia. The Buddhist discovery of America? The Lemurian? Wow. Ramona. Now and then.

Amazing Grace: HHJ’s Change in Attitude

John Newton was a sea captain sailing to America with his cargo of slaves, when in the middle of the Atlantic he was struck by the-vision that slave trading is wrong. He turned his ship around, returned the people to Africa, writing, “a wretch like me,” writing, “was blind, but now I see.” Writing “Amazing Grace.”

The critics ridicule or are mystified by Jackson’s sudden conversion to “the Indian cause,” pointing to her lifelong, oft-stated abhorrence of “women with a cause.” Helen Fiske Vinal Hunt Jackson’s classism, racism, and sexism were inherited attitudes, deeply assumptive and unexamined. Until age 49, she was against the suffrage movement.

Leaving Stockton in June 1872, during her first trip west, with Sarah Woolsey, Jackson, 41, wrote, “came upon a small Indian settlement...too loathsome to be looked at.” [Valerie Sherer Mathes, Helen Hunt Jackson and Her Indian Reform Legacy] After settling into their hotel in Yosemite, she saw an old, half-naked, dirty Indian woman with a child on her back walking along the road, and compared her “vicious-looking hair" to “fringed eaves” and noted, that “her soulless eyes dart...to right and left, in search of possible charity.” A few days later she and Sarah would become lost in the wilderness, and a decade later, Jackson would dedicate the rest of her life to helping the Mission Indians of Southern California.

What is it that causes the human to open, to change?

What prevents it?

“Instantaneous” is the commonly reported nature of conversions. But Helen’s, it would seem, evolved slowly from her experience with the West, so that the “psychological side effects of the Landscape” welled up upon encountering the Ponca Indians Standing Bear and Bright Eyes pleading their tribe’s cause to a group in Boston. “If the philosophers had lived among these mountains,” George Santayana said in his famous 1911 speech at Berkeley, “their systems would have been different from what they are.” Fear, he said, is at the core of the genteel: fear of experience, fear of the idea of America, fear of her diverse lineage, fear, indeed, of rivers, mountains, and ceaseless skies, fear of the continent itself. He said “American” should mean a massive liberation into experience, not the restriction of experience through warmed-over assumptions.

“It was one of my childish terrors...that Indians would come in the night and kill us.” [HHJ, quoted in Mathes]

What happened to Helen Hunt Jackson is that first she was blind, but then amazing grace, she opened, she saw, she grew. She saw so much she had the courage to expose to all the world and for all time this vulnerable change in herself. On her deathbed she asked John Muir for assistance in returning her to the mountains. “Religion is the effort to blend with one’s environment,” a friend of hers, William James, said.

Friday Morning, November 13, 1992 The Curse

“The United States Government will suffer for it!" [Father Gaspara Ubach| continued. “It is a Government of thieves and robbers! God will punish them. You will see; they will be visited with a curse — a curse in their borders; their sons and their daughters shall be desolate!” [HHJ, Ramona]

Waking to sirens. Showering, dressing, the sirens go on and on.

Police, ambulances and fire trucks heading toward Julian.

Ramona Now and Then: Amazing Grace, A Love Story

When we moved here, my sister became instant friends with the 12-year-old Harrison twins, Tena and Karen (pronounced Teena and Karn — as if the e between them was exchanged). The Harrisons lived on Davis Street, just down from Olive, on school bus Route 2, and so, daily, for over five years — except when I drove my own car, and often I drove the twins home — we were stopped outside their small rectangle, adobe brick house set back from the road, picking up or letting off the Harrisons, which also included Alan, a year ahead of me, and Dodi, the baby, a year younger than the twins in Donna’s class.

The twins were fascinating — hasn’t every child fantasized being one? Doesn’t every new pregnant woman thrill, at least initially, to the possibility? I could not tell them apart, though I tried, especially realizing the importance of this and, under my sister’s bristling scorn, that I couldn't. “They don’t look anything alike,” she would triumph. Tall, thin, dark and pretty, and, as I remember, dressed identically.

But in high school Tena and Karen’s differences began to emerge. Or their different experiences began to mark them. Tena started going with George Smith, in her older brother Alan’s class, which seemed to have wrought her in the high temperature of Pygmalion’s liquid bronze, leaving Karen like separated slag. By the end of high school, the twins no more resembled each other than Donna and I did — an astounding experience with the visual and kinesthetic perceptions. And the social, the environmental, the psychological, the “romantic.”

Daily...we were stopped outside...their house: the experience has remained part of my depression memory. I don’t know why. I had no reason to be depressed, looking at their house. That malaise. Later — maybe in the early ’60s, Mr. Harrison died of cirrhosis of the liver, “an alcoholic,” everyone said. BAM!

I was in my spiritual crisis period of trying to understand death as a Christian, I remember passing the house again and again, pondering what it’s like to die, pondering the immense loss of Mr. Harrison and the immense loss for this world of Mr. Harrison, of any human, the revelation that people don’t look close enough at death. It is important to say here that except that he was dying, I have no recollection of hearing gossip about Mr. Harrison, negative or otherwise. No story in regard to him. I remember a jolly, slightly pot-bellied old soul putting gas in my cars. “It may have been the gasoline,” my mother says now of his cirrhosis.

I turn in the same driveway of the same rectangle adobe brick house that Mr. Harrison built.

“I’ve lived here since 1951. It was built originally as a double garage, plus a tool room.

“I was born almost 80 years ago on January 9, 1913, in the house where Carrizosas live, near Third and Main. Our parents came here from Iowa in 1907. They were Quakers. Guy and I were the last of seven children.

“My son Nick was born in 1934, and Alan in 1939. Then the twins in March 1942, and Dodi in July 1943. The last four in four years, I had my hands full!”

Otila and Adrian met in 1984, at her older brother’s home — Art Woodward, the respected Californian historian — in Patagonia, Arizona. She was 71 years old, twice widowed. He was 49.

Together they are preparing and serving me, here in their nook, an English breakfast and telling me of their lives.

Adrian, now 57, “a Moon Child” — “Ernie” is his clown name — was born and raised in England, is one I would recognize anywhere on the planet as a flower child — that is, as my brother. They do parties, picnics, promotions; they work regularly at McDonald’s, at Seaport Village in San Diego, and travel yearly to international clown conventions.

“Baby boomers?” he says, in his English accent. “You mean bomber babies, don’t you? We’re the babies born of the Bomb.”

He tells of being a boy growing up in England during the German bombings. His Englishness — his dignity, his sense of special destiny, his freedom, his fuzzy gray-black hair, his acute aura of intelligence, integrity, his slight annoyance and suspicion of me — just another blown away by his inconceivable, utterly suspect love of a woman 22 years older than he, at an age when men go for, and obtain, 22-year-olds.

“It’s been very odd,” Otila says, “being from a conventional Ramona family. I always wanted to do something different. I looked at other widows — they’d play bridge, sit in Widows’ Row at church, the Women’s Club, the Widows’ Lodge. That never seemed my cup of tea. Though,” and she says this emphatically, “I have still a lot of small-town conventions. Convictions. I’m not a political person.

“My brother. Art Woodward, I remember him sketching as a kid. He went to the Art Institute in Chicago. He learned there that he was not a great artist. So he went to New York, worked for the Haye Foundation, the Museum of the American Indian. He worked at the history museum at Exposition Park in Los Angeles. He became the foremost historian of Western history. He wrote the first article on Kearny and Kit Carson and the Battle of San Pasqual. In 1937 he walked the whole trail from Missouri. Guy, as you know, was a motorcycle cop.

“I was raised in a matriarchy, well-disciplined. My mother was a very factual, down-to-earth person. Some of the kids didn’t like her, thought she was cold. But I was close to her, the baby.

“My father? A weak link. A gambler."

Breakfast over, Ernie is off to work at Seaport. In his costume. His blue eyebrows like dams on the San Diego River. Imagine driving 67 looking like that, past the boulders and cops of Mt. Woodson, past all the other maverick travelers.

He leans down to her at the table across from me. He kisses her, full, open, on the mouth. Fully sexual, no clowning. No pretending, that.

“Why is Ramona so conservative, Otila?"

Goddess! She's Ronald McDonald!

“Oh, that’s typical of your early Western settlements. They left or fled everything, they crossed the prairies, the mountains, then the desert. But they brought their political beliefs with them.

“Even if you were a yellow dog and a Republican, you voted for him, the one your church back East told you to. You only find this sort of thing in Western settlements.

“Goose Valley was Valley of Friends, Valle de Amigos, settled y the Friends, the Janeways, my father’s side.

“Amigos — you know, Ah-mi-goose. That’s how the Germans pronounced it. So it became Goose Valley.”

She tells me of the adult lives of each of her five children, showing me recent wedding photos of her grandchildren. Tena and George have been together since high school Karen married a man from the Midwest and until recently, when they rented Jim Hodges’ old place in Pamo, has lived there. One of Karen’s sons is an ordained minister. One of Tena’s daughters is a missionary—she went to missionary Allegheny College. She laughs about this in a way I can’t interpret.

George Smith is half Korean — his brother Richard was in my class, still an important friend, and his sister Donna owns Donna’s Hairstyling on Sixth Street, the house Danny was a baby in and I’ve been walking past every morning — so his daughters, in whom I see the teenage twins, are one-quarter Korean, which is evident across their faces like the sudden river in a storm.

George, a fireman in La Mesa, doesn’t speak to Otila, keeps Tena under his thumb.

“Very disapproving, very rigid.”

“Do you think it’s because of the racism he’s suffered?” I ask, remembering his classic Korean face, avoiding the obvious: his disapproval of her marriage.

“Yes,” she says, carefully. “He’s been passed over for promotion for years.”

Then out of the blue she says, “I don’t believe in most ideas of the afterlife. My theory is, you say something bad, that gets passed down into the next child you make.

“I don’t know if my grandfather was strict Quaker. He did first come to Whittier. My dad, two uncles owned all that land that was the Santa Maria River, both sides. That’s now the fairgrounds, the park, the rodeo, Ramona Irrigation.

“I could roam night and day anywhere. My playhouse was a big pile of rocks, behind my folks on Third Street. From there I could, barely, waddle to a ditch with clay. After Mom died, a couple of Italian brothers owned it. Carrizosa.

“I can remember the peon games the Indians played, next to the Turkey Inn. Remember? It was an empty lot for years. Sometimes a weeklong tent-in. Then a fellow came with a small tent, bought that lot. It was Chautauqua. The company would put on plays. The deal was, that lot was for circuses. That was the whole deal about that corner. Then they built on it! I don’t understand... they built that Circle K.

“My folks had a cafe on Main Street. And we had big dances at the Town Hall when I was little. I went to sleep there, on a little pallet there.

“The Indians played peon, a gambling game. I remember the fiestas at Santa Ysabel. They had three sticks. Put their hands under the blanket. The women would stand in back of them, in a high chant, and they’d make their choice under the blanket. Then the women would cross their arms and go humph-huuamph. HuuuAMPH-Phhh..ppph!...

“I remember the last cattle drive that went through Ramona, before trucks. I can remember the First World War. (I’m thinking, what is love? Entering a 22-year-old? Or one who can share with you what happened before you came?) Up on Third, in the eucalyptus grove, now full of houses, they had a Signal Corps up there (roots of my sister watching for the nuclear bomb). The guys would throw hardtack at my teenage sister with their addresses.

“Western towns are conservative because all different kinds of people came. To survive...there wasn’t even a doctor sometimes. If you saw a light on, you’d know there was trouble.

“Now, the Circle K is next to the Turkey Inn, can you believe that! It was supposed to be, it was set aside as” — and she says this, suddenly flaring with truth and mission and the law — “in perpetua. Chautauqua!”

(I feel inside her the long-forgotten experiences brought back by the clown driving now Mt. Woodson, it is hard to open, hard to trust you, but, now, in my marriage vows, in the smell of your flesh attending mine, I want to, I will try.)

“We became clowns together after we were married. We were looking for something to do, a life. We studied with Don Gonzalez — his clown name is DeeGee — through the recreation department at San Diego State. They gave credit for it, and clowns graduated along with the rest of the class. We went to Clown Camp. All-day classes, six days a week, three times a day.”

Who are we? What is life? My young English husband asking about the cowboys and Indians reawakens in my body, womb, genitals, head, heart, arms, legs, stomach, the experiences no one ever wanted from me before.

“Ernie’s makeup is more traditional. European. He continues to change once a year until he can find his costume and makeup. When Barnum & Bailey Circus comes to San Diego, they call him up. Did you know Lou Jacobs recently died? He was the only living clown on a stamp.”

I’m leaning against my rental, looking up Giant’s Grave.

“Don’t tell any of Adrian’s past. It’s not my part to tell.”

“Not even the part that he didn’t leave you for money, that he left money for you?”

“I had a good marriage with John.” She is speaking now of her second husband, the one in the ’60s, the ’70s, in the time I forgot her. “He was older — not well in the last years of our marriage. Was confined. But I didn’t mind.

“But now with Adrian.... When John traveled we had to have everything exactly down. With Adrian, it’s hither and thither. We save our clown money, all the money we make as clowns for our trips. We seek people out on the streets, interview them on how they live. I guess I’m doing the things I should have done when I was young. I just relax and enjoy life.”

I’m pulling out of the Harrison twins’ driveway, left onto Davis Street. I’m 16, in my two-tone baby-blue ’53 Font hardtop convertible that Richard Smith will later buy from me. I am not what anyone imagines. I look both ways. Twice. Pull out.

A car is there, right there, speeding down on me from the right. Screeching, swerving — inches!

He was hidden in the two-inch strip between my windshield and passenger window. A whole speeding car with human — hidden.

He screams by, horn blaring, giving me the finger, now and forever, my fault.

The feeling of betrayal is sickening. How could they, the brilliant engineers of America, make such a mistake?

My blind spot. Daddy always called it.

And your daddy, Otila, drew a lucky card.

The Blessing

"One day before Christmas, the Christmas Clarke graduated, the Reed-Carrizosa sisters drove up the hill together, presented me with this platter. I was so surprised. I can see them now walking up the steps around the pool. They came in the front way, very formal, rather than the back as we all did.”

Because of Clarke, my little brother who ran with their sons

Because of their sons, to die (Imagine birthing an Indian boy into 20th-century America)

Because of Weegie on the train track in Ohio

Because of Arnold BAM! spinning exploding shattering into eucalypti

Because of Nathan BAM! into Clevenger

Because of Karoll BAM! into the heart

Because of Jerry Senior and Jerry Junior, both still alive! (Because my father always praised, loved Jerry Senior)

Because of Gene, Eli, Dean, Coco, Nathan, Timothy, Colin, they brought it to the Mother

Because of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Seminole grandparents rivering through us And because — Ibegin to dare to think — they blessed me. They were blessing me, morning glory-jimson weed-datura! I was blessed, those light-burdened unforgettable times.

When Ramona Was a Reservation

The land set aside for the San Pasqual Indians...encompassed over 92,000 acres and included Ramona to the east. Mount Woodson to the south. Highland Valley on the west and Lake Wohlford to the north.... [Richard Carrico, Strangers in a Stolen Land]

Old Jim McWhorter gives me his tour.

In his Subaru station wagon we head out Highland Valley Road, he pointing out land he sold for $4000 an acre, “this dead avocado grove to be Japanese persimmons, kiwis.

“ ’Course they put this road in the wrong place — typical of Ramona.”

He represents Chevron and the old Cagney Trust, which is the Santa Maria Ranch — 900-plus acres and the thousand-acre ranch along Highland Valley. Rangeland Road and Highland Valley is Cagney, leased to William Tellam and Tulloch, “probably the biggest cattle people in the country.

“Part of the old Cagney Trust is now part of the airport to be extended a couple of thousand feet,” he says again, “making it a bigger field than Lindbergh. Bill Cagney’s niece is on the committee with the county.”

It’s been said for a long time that the Ramona airport could be the main San Diego airport. “They’ve been looking for an alternative, but at the present the mountains prevent adequate glide area.”

We pull into a grown-over two-wheel path, face a gate. “This is the beginning of the Eagle Ranch." Points out Mt. Palomar.

“On a clear day you can see the roads up it.” That eye looking way beyond this valley was freedom of mind to me. “That’s a fire-spotter plane,” he says of the loud engine overhead. “They’re on duty with this wind. He has to come in from the east with the Santa Ana. Normally, he’d come in the other way.”

His key works! He was worried. “The caretaker at the Montecito doesn’t like me coming out here, but Chevron told me to keep an eye on the place, gave me this set of keys.” We bump down the land, a barely visible trail, his telling of a client he brought out here, a Superior Court judge in a Blazer and how they got stuck. “Then the tow truck got stuck. He took it well. We’re riding now on the Eagle Ranch.”

“Who owns it?”

“Her name is Scripps-Davis. The hyphen’s important,” he yells, making a sharp turn. “I’m the overall looker of this place. I’ll probably be dead when they get 603 in. Caltrans abandoned it during the ’70s, the gas shortage. But the county’s still here!”

“What about Ramona Acres?” I ask, looking over to the old development near the center of the valley.

“Me or the county won’t touch Ramona Acres with a ten-foot pole. Jack Haley, the tin man in Wizard of Oz, and some others developed it in World War II. 'One-dollar-down, catch-me-when-you-can.’ It was an illegal subdivision. Much of the property was bought by servicemen so the county just kicked Haley out so as not to hurt these guys. Once years ago Margaret got involved with an acre. Turns out she sold the wrong piece. It’s just a mess.”

We come out at the airport. “At 1386 feet mean sea level, pilots can land by visual flight rules more days per year than any other county airport. This will be all industrial, all the way to Rangeland.”

This most beautiful land, the heart, the center of Ramona — industrial?

“See those guys in formation coming out of the barracks there?” A long line of them, Japanese flying school. They train Japanese here, yes, from Japan, to fly."

“Bernard Etcheverry, 1870s, hired 60 Yaqui Indians to do the sheep work. They had little hovels out at the airport. If he paid them, they’d leave, so he paid them in tin checks. Tin checks they couldn’t cash. The Sawdays family did the same. Never could find out what happened to the Yaquis." |Guy Woodward, personal communication!

Then off the main road again.

He tears across the land like my father, though he’s blind in one eye, an impatience and disgust with all that would stop him. Deep

ruts — a little unbelievable when he plunges down them — the buckwheat, chamise, sumac, sage over our heads as we plow through, the shavings flying into the window. The smell is...burning sage!

“I hope we don’t set fire to anything. You stop, your muffler’s hot. The brush under there catches on fire....

“From the top of that knoll, you can see ocean. You can see Catalina! Over there, on your road Olive, a spring.

“Bill Cagney lived right there. He seized the house. And the Lemurians, right there. It’s a big place. They come from all over the world to study, that’s where they live."

The big adobe is the oldest house in the valley. It is spoken of as the Montecito Ranch House, but no one seems to know who built it or when it was built.

Since 1954 I’ve looked down on it and pondered. Would drive out here to the gate, sometimes through it, midnight, but always I turned around, afraid.

As we approach it he’s telling me how small James Cagney was. “Barely over five feet. His place here was built to accommodate this fact. The average person couldn’t stand up inside.” I start to ask him where this place is but flash in time that he’s pulling my leg. “Jim was so generous. One Christmas he gave me a projector and screen!

“The Cagney Trust is really Jim’s brother, William J. Cagney, the better looking of the two. He had me put it together over a ten-year period. He was the producer of all Jim’s films. Jim had property for tax reasons. He ended up with Montecito and the Stokes place. He was going to bulldoze the houses but got stopped.

I sold it to Chevron two years ago.”

A guy comes out. Kirk Ballantyne has lived here for 17 years. Raised his kids here.

“Geologists and anthropologists from San Diego State, University of California come around wanting to dig, but I won’t let them. Orders from my landlord." We walk around the enormous veranda, smell of sage, soil, sky, the 19th Century.

He gives us the tour inside. Jim is visibly surprised. The three-foot adobe walls. One bedroom has a huge pile of dirty laundry.

As we’re leaving he shouts, “Sharon Edens?” Words like a sudden sweep of birds across the fields. “Where’s Clarke?”

I start to answer. “Took swimming lessons in your pool.” I look way across the land to the pool.

We drive away, farther down the trail. “The barn blew down — probably the 100-mile-per-hour wind in 1977. Cagney gave the wood to Woodward Museum.”

That archetypal barn beneath the grove of eucalyptus out my bedroom window is now Ramona’s Disneyland on Main Street. Bet it was really bulldozed.

“Nine hundred forty acres, 1846. A haunt here for sure.”

We’ve circled the house, can still see it, next to the Lemurians (and the Lilliputians?), and are coming through huge chopped uprooted white trunks. “This was a eucalyptus grove.” My sacred grove.

“Chevron’s having Kurt cut it down.”

For the freeway path, no doubt. It’s not a matter of keeping my mouth shut: I can’t speak.

“They’re non-natives, anyway. Eucalyptus was originally planted here because they thought they could make railroad ties of it.”

Abbot Kinney. Helen Hunt Jackson’s traveling and research companion for the Report [to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs], promoted the mass planting of eucalyptus in California.

[Mike Davis, City of Quartz]

“Forty thousand were planted in Ramona in 1909." [Guy Woodward, personal communication]

Finally I say the most inane thing. “I sure like the raw land more than the landscaped sidewalked acreage of the rich homes.”

This actually surprises me. As a girl I was stumped by the fact of this brush. It wasn't even sage or chaparral. It was brush. Four feet high, impenetrable, thorny, sticky, home of rattlers, tarantulas, coyotes, jack rabbits, and wetbacks. Tangle of impossible anger, curse. In summer the danger of spontaneous combustion. In winter a neon-orange parasite webs across it. Then 1966, Mark was in jail in Arizona. My mother took me to the top of the hill to see the new grinding holes she’d discovered. I picked the brush to rub the pungent oil on my letter to him, the loss of the outdoors his greatest suffering. “It opened/ and I saw the dirt women grinding acorn ” and nothing has ever been the same since.

“Since ’51 the Forest Service has been conducting fuel control — that is, replacing the natural brush with grass — defoliants, 2,4,5,-T, all that good stuff."

Then, paternally, “It’s all inevitable. But I agree with you. I just hope Chevron does a good job of it — not like in Poway, Mira Mesa."

“Seems like Chevron owns the world."

“They own a good chunk of it,” he says, whipping up another ridge. “And the defoliant companies too. But most of the people I’ve dealt with are good people.”

You bet. They went to the finest schools, the beautiful churches. They have money, manners, homes, they have baths, their crimes smell so good they too believe themselves good, that is, superior. As they rob us blind.

We turn off Rangeland onto Hawkeye Downs Way, pull toward the edge of a high cliff. A white cement round spaceship of a house is the only visible presence of “man.” “Probably a nut lives there," he says.

When we stop, the smell is fantastic, the muffler burning freshest sage incense.

“Highland Valley Estates overlooks Highway 78, that’s San Pasqual, Orozco Ridge, it’s flat up there. I suggested an airfield. The Guejito. That’s Boden Canyon, Pamo, Mesa Grande. We had two FBI stations up there, but with satellites they pulled out.”

Slowly I realize that we are on the precipice overlooking Clevenger Canyon, we’re in that deepest wilderness of my psyche. “Paltho would go alone to a high cliff in Bandy Canyon known as Eagle Cliff. He would sing songs to the spirits and then turn into an eagle. ” [ Mary Reiser, The Spirit of San Pasqual]

“The Guejito, up Boden Canyon there, is the only remaining Spanish grant still intact — 18,000 acres. It abuts Valley Center, Escondido, and Ramona. WAY-ah-tow, an Indian word, not Spanish. I did the original deed research, it was fascinating. So many paces to a tree stump, so many paces to an Indian spring. And, then, get this: any existing Spanish land grant up Pamo Road is owned by the City of San Diego. If the environmentalists knew....

“I’m one of the few white persons who’s ever been allowed up in there. Twenty years ago I sold it to Liberian Shipping Incorporated, a steam company out of New York for $20,000.

It’s leased now to Tellum, runs cattle on it.” (In my research I will later learn that Liberia is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chevron. When I offer him this information, he will declare, "No connection!” This man who believes Chevron is good, who is their faithful agent, and who sold this last Spanish land grant to Liberia, didn’t know they were one and the same.)

“This will be all developed, no doubt.”

The spirits demanded that Poltho’s transformation be unseen by human eyes. One day two hunters followed Paltho to Eagle Cliff. They watched the magical transformation. So Paltho disappeared. [Keiser]

No doubt if I were a ’90s teenager here. I’d be necking on this precipice, hawkeyed and ranging. Back on the trail.

“Over the hill outta sight are several million-dollar homes one year old, unoccupied. I had a buyer, offered over $10 million cash. The owner couldn’t afford to accept it because of taxes. The economy is so bad, your dad would die all over again.”

“Why is the economy bad?”

“They cut back on the defense plants. This whole county was built on defense. Now, there’s no defense.”

He points out Starvation Mountain, a typical hazy gray-green peak above the sea of the rest. “Lake Ramona, brand-new, at the foot of Starvation on the west side. Supposed to be drinking water for Ramona, but so far it’s untreated, being used for the avocado groves. It was voted in, very controversial, supposed to be a public lake, but the neighbors have fenced it off, not even the water people can get in there. A lawsuit going on now. The water district didn’t think — typical — about getting a right of way.”

“Is that where Kit Carson and the Americans held out several days, starving...?”

“No, they got up Mule Hill, near Pomerado, ate their mules.”

He points out a mansion belonging to “the big political family in San Diego. One of the boys is an ambassador to South America. He shut off this road. I went down to the board, complained, they said, ‘Oh, did Mr. Teisher do that?’"


“Tissure.Teeshirt. It’s French. I don’t know how to spell it. It’s not in the book, and he’ll sue you and me both if you mention his name. A big-time contractor in San Diego. He built the La Ronda-Lay, don’t know how to spell that either, that round building on Shelter Island.”

We’re racing back over the land behind Olive, and he’s telling me for the second time about a dead baby in someone’s wall. Somebody’s father was hired to remodel a house out on Old Julian Highway. He found a petrified baby wrapped in newspaper, put it back in the wall.

“The law is, leave everything. All the trees, foliage, babies. The people living there now have no idea there’s a dead baby in their bedroom wall.

“There’s Palomar Mountain, another view of the Guejito.” Early radicalization: seeing Saturn in her rings. “That’s the back of your hill. Cedar Street. I always thought your family had the most beautiful property in Ramona."

We’ve made a sharp left, are headed down inclining range land. “I want to be cremated. Then I want some of the ashes put in the sea, some in the air, and the remainder I want in the garden behind the house. Of course, this is all illegal in the State of California” — his tone could not be more ironic — “but one of my daughters has agreed to do this.”

We come out at Alice and Ash, then 78, now head back into town. Phew, these old Ramonans! I’m exhausted! Assume the tour is over, but no! We are off to Pamo!

“How do you say it, Pamo?” This word has always been confusing to me. It should be spelled Pamoo. Outside of the area people often assume Pauma is Pamo. Sometimes they even confuse it with Pala and Poway.

“PAH-mo — I call it that because the Indians do. Not Pa-MOO.”

Whites reverse everything; it’s why we suffer dyslexia.

The present Pamo Valley is northwest, about ten miles out Magnolia Street, another long narrow valley, through which runs the Santa Ysabel Creek before dropping into San Pasqual. It is higher and lusher than the much larger rounder valley of Ramona, which is still labeled “Valle de Pamo” on the U.S. geological map he gave me yesterday. It’s colored green, supposedly meaning it’s part of the Cleveland National Forest.

That the name Pamo is still used for both places, but which for contemporaries means only the smaller, hidden, still sparsely populated place, continues the obfuscation, the continuing erasure of the main valley itself, no longer Pamo. (That I was taught they were just passing through. That every town I've ever lived in has maintained this...erasure.) When we read of Pamo in the scholars’ slight history, of which place are they referring? Just exactly where did Carrillo’s “conquest” take place?

“Pamo is all owned now by the City of San Diego. City’s owned it at least 20 years now. The old CC camp was down here, back in the ’30s. Ray Foster sold out for a zillion dollars to the city, then leased it. Then became a friend of the environmentalists. All the trouble is Foster’s doing. Fred doesn’t know what he’s missing— Indian rights, environmentalists, polliwogs. I’m the one who did the deeds here, saw that from the very beginning most sold their water rights for 50 cents’ worth of gold. Mineral rights mean you don’t own the land, but you have the right to go in there and mine.”

“Is Ray Foster related to Joe Foster?” “Dunno. Never thought of that before.” How interesting if there’s a connection between Foster that became San Vicente Dam and the Foster Ranch that’s to become Pamo dam. Joe Foster was a San Diego County 3rd (now the 2nd) District supervisor for almost 30 years, from 1906, was married to Martha Swycaffer, daughter of the Ballena pioneer, was “overseer of the road district,” operated the stage and mail service, San Diego to Julian, then the San Diego Cuyamaca & Eastern Railroad terminal, “Foster,” located on his ranch, now beneath the waters. He is also credited with developing Highway 78 up Clevenger Canyon (Ray Foster’s address). Fred Frary, a mayor of San Diego, was his partner for ten years.

We come to the end of the pavement, turn around.

“The creek comes from the Sutherland.” We are crossing it again. “Ramona uses this water, owned by the City of San Diego. We exchange water rights with the County Water Authority. Our water is local and blended with the Colorado.”

I look down to the old swimming hole — the way they talked of it in the seventh grade, when we got here, in awe, like it was holy, the place of huge boulders, the water cascading off and around, the series of deep pools where my brother and I are always drowning, that first summer. Where there’s a sycamore with Ramon’s and my initials inside a heart carved into it. “You can’t swim here anymore. Foster turns everyone in.

“Wouldn’t it make a beautiful lake?” he says, as we pull out. My breath is stolen as I look back into Their valley, the place I’m always going down in, now the place itself, Pamo, to be drowned.

“Back in the ’70s, Arizona sued the Metropolitan Water District for taking unfair share of the Colorado. Arizona won. San Diego’s been trying to recoup its water ever since.”

The CWA wants to build a reservoir to provide sufficient emergency storage capacity so the county can endure a six-month interruption in its imported water supply without having to reduce water use by more than 20 percent. Pamo Valley has a capacity of 132,000 acre feet. An acre foot is 325,872 gallons, enough water to meet the average household needs of two families for one year. Recent studies indicate that the count is 40,000 acre-feet short of the emergency water storage capacity. The review process will cost approximately $10 million. [Ramona Sentinel, 12/31/92]

(Two years later, the dam is a dead issue. Now it’s going to be part of San Dieguito Park, which will go from Del Mar to San Felipe. And Ray Foster tells me, “My father and Joe Foster were good friends, but they were not related.") “What about the underground river?” “There is that theory, a canyon that empties into the ocean at Scripps Institute, La Jolla. You read about it from time to time, in out-of-town newspapers, ‘The Theory of the Underground River.’ The theory is it’s from the Rocky Mountains. In the ’50s, the deepest well in the valley was 936 feet and it was almost artesian. Today that well is dry. Leo Nevelle — remember him? Ooh, I remember his son in the eighth grade! A wildcat well digger from Wyoming hit a gusher on Lilac, sold water for years. Now it’s gone dry too. Too many people flushing their toilets.”

At the top I see that the Corps owns at least a half-moon rim of the Valley of the Sun. Somewhere right here was the main village. He’s pointing into a deep green grove. The Stokeses’. They killed them, then moved on the site to make sure they never returned.

“That road takes you to Black Canyon. But government closed it, couple of murders at the campground.”

“Is that really the reason?"

He harrumphs.

“This is more of the Cagney Trust, 210 acres on Magnolia. I sold it in 1965 for the original heirs, the Stokes. The spring still running. The house out there beneath the trees, it’s Chevron. They won’t let the universities go in there and excavate. No telling what they’d find, could stop everything.

“No doubt a massacre.” Leo Carrillo and a million leather-coated soldiers. Sickening how historians are so proud of such infamy. “And here we have the valley’s second oldest house.... ” “When wc came here that property had all sorts of springs, springs all through here. An old Indian used to be back in there, kept a garden for free.”

Who was he?

Last caretaker. His people’s graves. His people’s history.

When we came here there could have been some still alive from the exodus out of San PasquaL Indefatigable! He turns east out of town, out Old Julian Highway. The heat, the wind, the dust, the slant of the sun have zapped me. But how cool it is in shade. The coolness of granite boulder, you want to lay your face against it. Ramona: such extremes.

Approaching the “new” high school. “The electric company owns that 40 acres. In the early ’60s, $700 an acre. Did you know I sold the land for the school? Forty acres for $40,000 and 60 acres to the Cagneys. Now, the 40 acres next to the high school is for sale. Third-time offer, biggest offer on it: three million, eight hundred cash. But the environmentalists — it’s actually zoned, checked out, and approved for 500 units. But. It has a so-called vernal pool, which is a depression in the ground with a clay base that holds two, three inches of water. For two, three months a year, tadpoles make their home there. You seen the new Kmart? They paid $1 million for a vernal pool on that land. Hell of a nasty fight.”

We’re passing...Munger’s Grove! The thick eucalyptus patch hasn’t changed!

“You’ve been there, right? Ha-ha! The old make-out place! In 1926, that 40 acres sold for $300. Now, no one can find out who they are, but they won’t sell.

“I used to hide with George Doubiago in there in the ’50s.

“So tired of fighting county government,” he says as we come out at Dye Road, stop at the six-week-old light.

“Three accidents already since the new light. We have foggy mornings! This 400 acres sold to a developer.

“The eucalyptus used to go all the way to Mussey Grade. Over there’s the old FBI place, then the girls’ reform school. Now they’re trying to put the homeless in there.”

We pull into Florene’s.

Leaving, her peacocks don’t look at me, don’t spread their tails, don’t scream. Turkeys reincarnated.

That night I walked all night across Ramona Acres from the slumber party. Anything, to get away.

Is the sycamore still in Pamo with RH + SE inside the heart?


Olegario of Temecula

The fear that still more land was to be taken from the Indians became a harsh reality on September 9, 1875, when Sheriff Nicholas Hunsaker served a writ of eviction against Olegario and the Temecula Indians.... Olegario was given until September 20 to prepare the tribe for removal.... [Carrico]

As early as 1853 and through the ’60s and ’70s, Cave Couts, San Diego County’s first Indian subagent, repeatedly “appointed” Manuel Cota chief of the Luisenos, over their wishes. Cota was well-liked by whites, including officials of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the church.

As Manuel Cota abused his people...important Indian clan leaders acted. In late May 1870 leaders of numerous San Diego County villages...replaced him with Olegario [Carrico].

Olegario was a traditional net or clan leader, “a powerful personality who would not be intimidated.”

The San Diego Union, as it had done before, and white officials and agents of Cota spread false rumors of an Indian uprising in an attempt to disparage Olegario and undermine the Indians’ efforts at liberty and self-determination. “When Sheriff Hunsaker returned |to Temecula] on [September] 20th the Indians refused to leave....” [Carrico]

Here is Jackson’s report on what happened:

[T]hey refused to lift hand to the moving. They sat down, men and women, on the ground, and looked on, some wailing and weeping, some dogged and silent, while the sheriff and his men took out of the neat little adobe houses their small stores of furniture, clothes, and food and piled them on wagons to be carried — where?... It took three days.... Procession after procession, with cries and tears, walked slowly behind the wagons carrying their household goods. [HHJ, Glimpses of California and the Missions]

In the novel, the chief (Alessandro’s father) is ejected from his house by force and soon dies of heartbreak.

In November Olegario traveled to Washington for an interview with President Grant. The president promised temporary relief to the ejected Temecula Indians and said he would “recommend Congress to provide a permanent home for them."

[O]n December 27, 1875, he issued an executive order that set aside lands in San Diego County for the exclusive use of native Americans. Included in this executive order were the reservations of Santa Ysabel, Pala, Aqua Caliente, Sequan, Inaja, Cosmit, Potrero, Cahuilla, and Capitan Grande. In total, the Indians secured 52,400 acres, or slightly more than three quarters of the 69,000 acres granted in 1870 and revoked in 1871. The government set aside another 300 acres for Southern California Indians in May 1876. [Carrico]

In July 1877, tension was renewed between whites and Luisenos regarding Olegario’s efforts on behalf of the Cuca band eviction from Potrero.

Captain Jack and the Modoc leaders of Northern California have been executed. The Great Plains are about to erupt into the Indian Wars.

On July 31, 1877, “Olegario, the Luiseftos’ leader, died mysteriously in his sleep.” [Carrico]

His people said he was poisoned. They requested an autopsy. Justice Couts performed the examination, reportedly finding no evidence of foul play. “To this day local Luisenos dispute the findings of the coroner and judge.” [Carrico] Helen Hunt Jackson arrived four years later, intent on telling the Temecula story.

None of HHJ’s critics, historians, scholars, or gossips that I have found, mention or tell of Olegario Sali, whose life and death was so central and dramatic to that story.

Nor, inexplicably, does she, not even in her “Report to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs” on Temecula.

When I write a true story, say of a famous actress dead after sexual trysts with a president of the United States and his brother, my readers are fairly safe in making assumptions about who she is. Some folks are so famous you are best off, from the facts to the “art,” not naming them.

And my family and all my friends and publishers urge me to lie. Daily I am lectured that the truth is...immoral. At least, litigious. Daily I make promises not to tell.

The writer’s burden regarding “suspicions” and therefore her power to damn people is enormous, especially troubling for one whose sense of justice, and “taste" and “propriety,” were as developed as HHJ’s. One does not want to become like the ones one’s writing about.

In this light I try to understand Helen’s Olegario failure. At the very least she was honoring her main “source.” “In 1871 Father Ubach signed a petition that voiced ‘disapproval of Olegario and...preference for Cota.’ ” [Carrico] At the very most she knew Olegario as a media event — everyone knew. No one (but the Luiserios) could have imagined he would disappear with hardly a trace.

Manuel Cota “upon the death in 1855 of Chief Pablo Apis and with Couts’s backing, assumed control...." [Carrico] Whatever the reason for HHJ’s silent treatment, Olegario is clearly the prototype for both Alessandro and his father, Pablo Assisi, chief of the Temecula.


Everybody knew that Juan Diego was “locoed."... The expression “locoed” comes from the effect a weed of that name has upon horses, making them wild and unmanageable. [HHJ, “The Cahuilla Reservation” report]

Five p.m., I call Chuck, beg out of going flying with him. I know I ought to. I could actually see what Ramona looks like, geographically, how the mountains and canyons and valleys — "from the desert to the sea ”— work together as a whole. The bioregion. I tell him I’m afraid, which is true. I’m just not sure of what.

“Sometimes I go to Borrego,” he says, sadly. “Sometimes I go to Fallbrook, sometimes to Oceanside. I just try to go up twice a week, 8:00 a.m. It’s real still. Thanks for being honest. I understand.”

I sit on the bed awhile, spaced out, seeing Camp Pendleton paratroopers falling out of the sky, the bleeding one Donna came upon in Clevenger Canyon in her pickup, five guys hanging from the trees by their thumbs. Making her drive him to the airport as part of his escape training.

The Pioneers of San Pasqual. The Indian Village, Ahmukatlatl

White settlement began in 1872 when John Clevenger moved to San Pasqual.... In 1875 John Clevenger helped form the San Pasqual School District. The Clevengers moved to Santa Maria (Ramona) in 1880.... [Keiser]

Early in 1894, a few of the valley’s more progressive citizens...formed the Ramona High School District. [On] the first board of trustees: John Clevenger. [Charles LeMenager, Ramona and Round About]

In 1878, the Indians were evicted from San Pasqual and their houses destroyed. [San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park Visitor Center display]

Coming on the Red Road, 5:30-ish

I’m standing at the light at Seventh and Main.

The woman in all red comes up behind me.

Not acknowledging each other. We wait for the light. Then she laughs, talking to herself. I have the huge desire to touch her. Bob Seres comes out of his bookstore with my book South America Mi Hija in his hand, sits down and begins reading. She strides past me. Makes it down the street like a burning tumbleweed in the wind.

She’s coming from the other way as I sit down next to Bob in the very center of the circle of pale-blue crystal-burning mountains. I see that woman jumping from her plane over Ramona. Self-immolating monks, backwards and forwards through time. She is talking to herself because she has no one else to talk to. I know this like a scream inside. “This fuckin’ lie of a place!" I snarl. “Why is she such a threat?” Then I sigh, “If you don’t hold babies, they die. Adults too. It’s a basic human fact, we have to be connected to each other.” Then I blurt out from my newest revelation, “She’s part of the curse on Ramona."

“Curse?” he asks, genuinely alarmed. Gesturing to his great bookstore, a little miracle on Ramona’s Main Street, I assure him. “You’re on the side of the curser.”

“Well, I just keep going with it all.”

He points inside to his 11-year-old daughter Jaqueline, visiting him for the weekend.

“I am from an extended dysfunctional family, and I realize I have the opportunity to end the dysfunctionalism.”

“Not only are you on the side of the curser, but blessings on you, too.”

We Blame the Missions. Why Not the Seventh-Day Adventists?

[T]he Indians...she felt had been dispossessed of their land not by Catholic Spain but by Protestant America. [Mathes]

The Judson family was the second white family to settle in San Pasqual. The Judsons have influenced the Valley for over 100 years.

Patriarch John B. ludson bought the Peter Abel ranch at the east end of the valley in March 1875...which consisted of a five-room adobe house and 1000 acres. He was ordained a Seventh-Day Adventist minister in Indiana before he moved to San Pasqual so that he could officially represent and promote Adventism in Southern California.... Soon other Adventist families moved to San Pasqual. They established what was possibly the first Adventist church in San Diego County....

The San Pasqual Elementary eventually grew to be the San Pasqual Academy in 1949. The San Pasqual Academy is the oldest Adventist Church school in continuous operation in California....

His son, Frank Herbert, born in 1877, was the first white child born in San Pasqual. [Keiser]

Seventh-Pay Adventists! The “converters” of the Lacadons of Mensabak, Chiapas, the destroyers, along with other evangelists (gospel!), of Central American native cultures and the rain forest.

Between 1979 and 1985, with two Christian fundamentalist Presidents, nearly 60,000 Guatemalans were murdered, while thousands of others “disappeared"; over a million Mayas became internal refugees, and another quarter million fled to Mexico and the United States. [Victor Perera, The Guatemalan Tragedy]

The Worst Years of My Life: Ramona High School

When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school/ It's a wonder that I can think at all [“Kodachrome,” Paul Simon]

Homecoming! Ramona vs. Carlsbad, Friday the 13th, 8:00p.m. My first Ramona football game in 32 years. Last time, my brother was the quarterback and I was in labor; Danny was born early the next morning.

Weeks later I will learn that at 7:30 p.m.. Crystal Bullitt, 22, one of my most gifted poet-students, in protest to the skinhead murder of a good friend in August, immolated herself in a Eugene, Oregon, motel. That I was walking onto my old high school football field at the very moment this betrayed child of America was killing her beautiful self will seem forever...well, at the least, synchronistic.

Larry picks me up in his small pickup. “Did you hear those sirens this morning?”

“They woke me, went on all morning.”

“A conservation honor camp crew truck hit an oak by Camelot on 78. When I got there 17 bodies were strewn all over the highway, moaning and crying. One fatal. Took pictures, wrote the story.”

Camelot! That’s where I stopped yesterday, that weird sight of the female honor crew walking up the road behind their male boss.

“The vice principal, Jan Page, called me, told me I can’t go down on the field because of my coverage of last week’s game with Escondido. 'Fine, I said. I’ll sit in the stands like a regular fan.’ Fine, I thought, and take Sharon Edens with me.”

“Well, I wasn’t sure I’d do this,” I’m saying as we pull up to the stomping grounds, festive as ever.

“Afraid I might start having flashbacks.”

“Really? I had a great time in high school.” Even at Mission Bay High School, in a journalism class with Frank Zappa, he knew he wanted to be a sports writer. So we’re walking onto the field together, the old Ramona High outlaw and the new one. You can reenter the story any time!

He introduces me to his daughter, Leah, before the game starts, sitting on the same spot, same cement step I’m sitting on 35 years ago in the Ano. We already know we share the same birthday.

“For 18 of the 29 players on the roster, Friday's game will be their last for Ramona High. ”

The cheerleaders are wearing red, white, and blue. Ramona’s colors are blue and white.

“Red’s supposed to be their tertiary color,” Larry says, sarcastically. “Darrell Beck and some of the right-wingers did that.” I hear the strands of my old school song: “...the students of Ramona/ To the blue and white are true....”

Four minutes into the game, Carlsbad has the ball, Ramona makes a touchdown! The ambulance blinks its lights.

I watch the crowd, the kids sauntering back and forth. Some things never change. The exact same hanging-out. They don’t care if we’re winning or losing. It’s lights, it’s electricity, it’s Friday night, it’s — oooh! oooh-oooh-OOOH! First sex.

But how different the cheerleading is, so much tighter, regimented, military. Trying to get it right, every motion, gesture, shout, trying for the A.

Junior. Mrs. Iris Cleland, the P.E. teacher gives me a C, first quarter. (Same quarter Daddy and Sam watched us.) No one ever deserved an A more. I’ve created, organized, choreographed every Friday night football half-time performance, led my 12 majorettes onto the field in costumes I’ve designed and, many of which, made. Led them to San Diego, Julian, El Cajon, L.A. to the parades. Majorettes are my creation, from tenth grade, not pan of the curriculum. I figure out the baton, the routines, throw myself into the dazzling spin, the glittering extravaganza of performance. C!

In the steamy dressing room of showering, naked ninth- and tenth-grade girls, I demand to know why. “Your attitude," she says. “Well, then, mark me down under 'Attitude,' that’s what that category is for!” Something she says then, the deepest hypocrisy, lie, precipitates the deepest snap.

I can still feel the force in my fist hitting her soft round stomach.

She changed the C to an A.

This remains the one truly holy, redemptive gesture by an adult in charge of my education.

I don’t know what happened within her, it was never discussed, she was new and probably instructed to take over the majorette thing, and she was not there the next year, but I’ve always believed it was Justice, and Truth, and the largess of her 24-year-old soul — open enough to realize that she had made a mistake. Second quarter: 7-7.

Suddenly, behind us, Jan Page is tapping on Larry’s shoulder. “The principal wants to talk to you.” Tone of voice to a naughty first grader.

“No thanks,” Larry says, never looking back at Jan. “I might say something he wouldn't like."

The cheerleaders stomp away in the dirt, the same dirt — is it the same dirt? Or is it our young bodies from then, alchemy of sweat and urine, menstrual blood and semen, broken bones and cheers and tears ground down to the sea, back up as clouds and oh, back down again as wind and rain and flesh.

I jump up — how soulful our thrown backs, our spread-leg leaps, to these digital-military jump-ups — YEAH RAMONA! and a wad of chewed gum lands in my open mouth. The shock and humiliation of not knowing where it came from out of the huge mocking crowd was like the first day of seventh grade at Paramount, as I inch down the crowded hall. Ramon? We hardly acknowledged each other now.

At half-time I want to throw myself somewhere in protest of the drill team. Well, whatever did I think the words drill and team mean? “At West Point,” today’s news boasted, “the drills haven’t changed in over one hundred years. It’s about leadership, it’s about obedience,” it’s about sadomasochism, toes on point, as you salute, as the band awful as ever fades and your girl quivering voices float out over the night field paying homage to the “the bombs bursting in air.’’ The daughters of Job, the chain gang marching up the highway behind him. Then. Your body strewn everywhere.

I’m down on the track moving through the teenage throng. “Lura!” A boy’s voice calling my middle name. I glance up, third row, Indian, then to the girl moving past me.


Coming back with coffee, I stop at VP Jan Page leaning on the 30-yard-line post. Jan’s grandfather was the well-remembered “Prof” Wilson, RHS teacher, coach, principal, and district superintendent from 1917 to 1947. Jan’s intelligent, hip, knows how to “handle” me, knows pretty well to whom he is speaking. The boys are galloping back and forth “terribly against each other's bodies” [James Wright, Collected Poems] as we talk.

“Skahan’s still on the school board! He was here a while ago, standing at the entrance.”

Sophomore American History class, I stay up all night studying for a test, under my covers with No-doz and a flashlight, only to fail the single question. WHAT IS THE COLOR OF THE COVER OF OUR TEXT? This is the perfect metaphor for “History" at RHS, though I appreciated, even then, Skahan’s joke on us. And yes. I'm amazed such a trickster character could have lasted here.

I do not mean this old classmate, this bulldog, any harm, in fact I mean him only love, but when I think of the power he has, of the probable harm he does, mindlessly no doubt, to countless kids coming through him, I want to say to him “only the truth is kind, Mr. Vice Principal.”

I want to ask him. Do you teach yet what happened to the people here? Do you teach who they are, now, surrounding you still? Their history, their languages, their rights and traditions? Do you teach Helen Hunt Jackson yet? Cullamach? Aaran? Garra? Olegario? Panto? Do you still dismiss Jackson’s work as “fiction,” as “trash”? Do you know the true story, Ramona, for which Ramona High School will always be on the map, is about the destruction of San Pasqual beginning with “the first white man who came into the valley"? Do you know that “the first white man into San Pasqual” was John Clevenger, who was on the original Ramona School Board? That he founded the San Pasqual School District? Do you teach the Seventh-Day Adventist history of the area yet? These folks, in large part responsible for not only the wipeout of our local people but, this very moment, of the destruction of Chiapas, Mexico, and Central America. Dear Jan Page, do you think it’s possible to censor this history and educate at the same time? Do you not know the schizophrenia induced in Ramona students who are not allowed to know what the name means?

Or is it that education is not your job?

I want to say into his exceedingly public face, “Education at Ramona High School, like most high schools, is training in hypocrisy, retardation, lies. I want to cheer 'Bulldog sadomasochism!' ”

My father drilled me in honesty, in telling the truth, in calling a spade a spade. My mother drilled me in having the courage of my convictions, of the evil in “just following the norm,” of the danger in losing the Self. Jesus and the Bible drilled me in Love. Then we moved to Ramona where conformity is the highest goal in life, where my education was denials, censorship, manipulated facts, and outright lies. Lying is getting ahead, hypocrisy is socially correct; thought-control is morals, parental guidance, A+s. How to be successful, how to succeed in this life: forget your flesh and blood. Forget your mind. Forget your soul. Forget the victims you leave in your dust. Or-r-r: the prince-ah-pole will see you.


Larry doesn’t want to dance at the Teepee. Over and over he brings up karma. And today there were the 17 bodies strewn on Highway 78.

I ask him about the woman all in red. “Brown Betty? She appears every few months, been here this time two months, lives in an abandoned house behind Circle K. And you know, there’s another woman, dressed all in white....” I watch his eyes suddenly register my all-black “who gives you a card when she wants to go somewhere, telling you where to take her.”

I space out.

“Brown Betty. That’s racist, isn’t it?"


“We were so lucky,” he says after a moment of silence, “to have been of the ’50s, not the ’60s.” I went berserk the first time an RHS reunion letter came about how we were of the happy years, before the ’60s hit. My class was not happy, nor was it “innocent,” without its huge vices, rebellions, insanities, tragedies, and broken codes of “morality.”

I am a child of the ’60s. I don’t say this out loud. I was saved by the collective vision, Love, that came forth then and attempted to manifest into the world. I am forever grateful.

When he’s in the restroom, I write my daily haiku on the napkin:

Lincoln, drunk, you are land, air, water

laps you. What could be

greater sin?

We are programmed from Day One to follow orders. Obedience is Redemption, The New Order. This is why teenagers are “crazy.” They see what they have to do to become adults. This is why schizophrenia sets in at 22. This is why we live in Hell on this beautiful planet.

The bathroom was blown apart. The heat was so intense that the porcelain just exploded.

And the fire burned through the floor. Crystal Bullitt was burned over 100 percent of her body. And yet she managed to live...for 23 hours.

“She looked like a mummy,” recalled a friend who came to the hospital. “The only thing I could see was a bit of her forehead and the curve of her eyelid. There were no eyebrows or lashes. I just kept asking myself why. What were you thinking, Crystal? [Tom Hallman, Jr., The Sunday Oregonian, 3/14/93]

I’ve never forgotten Lincoln Hamilton of Mesa Grande, but I always forget the element fire.

“That’s because, dear, ” friends and enemies always sigh, “they burned you at the stake last time.”

The crystal matrix keeps reproducing itself exactly, forever and ever. You can’t “break” a crystal except into smaller crystals.

Like karma. The original sin of the place, like the sins of the fathers, is visited upon the children.

The Ways “Ramona” Fails

The ways in which Ramona does fail — in which Jackson betrays her soul and the Indian cause to which she devoted the last six years of her life — are ways she simply did not have time to evolve, to apply her new consciousness to old unexamined assumptions, to be fully radicalized. It takes time and a lot of psychic work to apprehend, then reprogram one’s earliest, cellular training.

Ramona is guilty of the same sin as her evil stepmother, the Senora Moreno, when she realizes that her servant girl, Margarita, with whom she has been raised and whom she “loves,” is also smitten by Alessandro. She “pulls rank” — she betrays the friendship for her own end, in the name of her authority over her. In her manipulation of Margarita (the name of the river south of Temecula), who suddenly seems “bad” to us in her Mexican-servant status, Ramona’s behavior is identical to the senora’s with her — and finally of the same psyche as the Americans with the Mexicans and Indians — which we as readers are made to hate, in the two instances, but to thrill to in the third (a classic — cliche — female “cat fight”).

Abused children grow up to abuse!

The end of the novel is deplorable.

In this the critics are right. As one historian put it, “Jackson erred by having the faithful cousin Felipe rescue the heroine after the death of her husband.... Ramona, instead, should have been forced to live in misery and squalor. This happy ending ruined Jackson’s effect of portraying a wronged people.” [Mathes]

But far more damning: once Ramona was back in “civilization’s arms” and restored to health, she should have then, by the story’s dictates, returned with her father’s treasure to the starving Soboba Indians.

She should have sought, as Felipe sought her, her lost and no doubt suffering Gabrieleno family. She should have become, with her daughter, her acquired Native knowledge and her treasure, a leader of her people. That ancient treasure should not have been saved for the new Ramona being raised in aristocratic Mexico City. That is obscene.

As is the money ending of the writer’s life. Helen Maria Vinal Fiske Hunt Jackson’s estate should have gone to the Indian cause for which she gave her life. But on her deathbed, incredibly, bequeathed her money to her sister’s daughter and then urged her wealthy banker/miner/railroad husband to marry her, in order to consolidate the family fortunes! In the final letter to her husband, it is clear that this is from her guilt as a woman writer, her gesture of remorse to him for having neglected her wifely duties!

More obscenity.

But given the course Jackson was on, a change in money consciousness eventually would have been unavoidable. “To get money, they will commit any crime, even murder,” Ramona says to Alessandro of the whites. “Mexicans kill each other for hate, Alessandro — for hate, or in anger; never for gold.” [HHJ, Ramona]

Helen was on her way to unredeemable radicalization: the root of evil is money — in the Anglo world, anyway. (In imperialist European fairy tales, like Iron John, the goal is to end up in a castle, married to royalty, with servants at your command.) Instead, our beloved heroine is destined to grow old in the inevitable mold of the evil Senora Moreno.

One’s art will fail in exactly the ways one fails in life.

She was exhausted, ill. In the final writing she fell back into the oldest programing. She simply did not live long enough to grow all new cells; perhaps her unresolved conflicts allowed the cancer to take over. Perhaps HHJ chose death — nine months after the publication of the controversial Ramona — over the dangerous birthing of her vision.

And, after all, she was just “reporting” the facts.

In most variants...the young woman was later happily married off to a worthy member of her own race and class and fulfilled her manifest destiny of providing him with numerous progeny. [Ruth Odell, Helen Hunt Jackson]

Probably HHJ fooled herself into thinking she was being radical in Ramona’s quitting this country, choosing Mexico, an unheard-of notion to us So Cal natives.

“Ask Your Sister About Perry Morris” (Principal of Ramona High School, 1947-60)

[Donna Edens] “We had our annual slumber party in the gym. Janice Stansbury and some others jumped on me, undressed me. They left on my bra and panties. Threw me in the shower. Someone took my picture.

“On Monday, Mr. Morris called me into his office. He had the photograph, said I would have to be expelled for this. Said he was calling an emergency board meeting to do this.

"I walked into the board meeting, told them what happened. I don’t know all that happened, but Perry Morris was fired — for distributing the photo. People thought he was on sick leave, the last months of that year, but he was fired. ” [Donna Edens, personal communication]

[Jim McWhorter] “Yes, Donna was one of the reasons. Morris was fired mainly for financial ineptness, but what happened to your sister was definitely part of it. I was the one who demanded his resignation."

Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 5

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