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1882 - Author Helen Hunt Jackson arrives at Rancho Camulos; inspiration for "Ramona" novel [story]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Oct 20, 2013
Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

In my humble opinion, I find the people of our little valley to be among the most talented, creative and happy of any I’ve had the chance to meet anywhere. I’ve lived in cities large and small in at least six states and have been in other countries, too. If any place outside of England could lay claim to being most like Camelot, this would be it.

Maybe it is our weather (or lack thereof) that makes us so. We have parks and recreation for just about everyone. Hike in the wilderness or in the comfort of our paseos. We have bike paths and even horseback riding. They did put all of those hitching rails in downtown Newhall for some reason. I know the ones in Acton are used.

There is live theater and music and dance. Painting, photography and other art abound. As a community we have so much. And we seem to get more all the time.

If I follow the blogs and such, I find an immense collection of those talented with the pen. I can hardly be counted among those with prose so much better than what I write. But that does not stop me from trying.

Recently I had a chance to read the completed book of a local author, Jayne Ann Saporito. She had previously written two others with distinct ties to the SCV. This one does not. She lives here, and I hope to say this when her stories become a source for TV and film: “I knew her when…”

silentdarkhistoryAfter two murder mystery tomes set here in the SCV, “Crying Hill” and “God’s Sparrow,” Saporito has penned a wonderfully crafted story of love – on a submarine. This one is called, “A Silent, Dark History.”

OK, I know it is the era of women on submarines and same-sex stuff. but that isn’t what she writes about. Rather, it is about a young woman who is rescued by a nuclear-powered submarine off the coast of Oregon. She ends up having to stay aboard for a long time. Long enough for love to grow and bloom in the confines of the boat.

It takes place in the early 1970s. The Cold War rages on and on.

Having served on and around submarines for a better part of my 36 years in the Navy, I couldn’t figure how she could get the story told and be something we could believe. It is a very believable story. Set in the era of the Cold War when our submarines routinely watched the actions of those subs of the Soviet Union.

On a submarine there isn’t anyplace, normally, that two people can be alone. It is said the only time and place a submarine sailor is alone on a boat is between his (and now her) ears. Jayne shows us how two people could have been alone and found love with nearly 140 other folks around.

I found it a welcome addition to submarine lore. Gee, a book about submarines written by a girl. And she did a great job.

She used a great way to have some of the “Cold warriors” remembered. She used the names of real people as the names of characters in the book. There is Torpedoman’s Mate Second Class Dave Harmon, Master Chief Leo Yavorosky and others who otherwise would never see any kind of memorial for what they did.

Those of you who thought submarines had little to do during that era, especially “fast attack” boats, will find out some of the real history of the boats, even if this is fiction. They call it the Silent Service for a reason. It isn’t talked about. If they told you, they would have to … you know.

She told me she came up with the idea for the book while she was touring the World War II submarine on display at Pearl Harbor, USS Bowfin. The cramped spaces and confines of the boat started her thoughts of life at sea on a submarine. Then she threw in a woman rescued from a burning yacht. Idea planted and grown and now in bloom as a love story and techno-thriller that even the least technically inclined will find fascinating.

You’ve got to read it. You can find the page on Facebook, A Silent Dark History. I highly recommend you get it and read it and share it and give it as gifts. This is all another example of our creative folks in our SCV.

As an additional treat, be sure and watch the “SCV Today” show on SCVTV Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 8 a.m., for an interview with Jayne. I’ll have to set my alarm for three hours earlier.

Be good, folks.

 

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com and his commentaries, published on Tuesdays and Sundays, are archived at DManzer.com. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

 

 

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