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October 19
1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]


Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

I don’t know if I can write this without some fresh coffee. Still rather early in the evening, and I just want to put some words in print before it gets too late.

Have you ever heard someone from Dallas say, “I’m from Tex,” or a person from Seattle tell you, “I’m from Wash?” How about a Coos Bay resident telling you she is from “Or?”

I’m pretty sure Cali is a city in the country of Columbia. I’m not from Columbia. I am a native of California … not Cali.

I lived at one time in the little town of Castaic. Not “Cas-Tay-Ick” but “Cas-Steak.” We are in the Santa Clarita Valley, not the Santa Clara or Santa “Carita” Valley.

The road heading north of Saugus is BOO-Kay Canyon Road, not a bunch of flowers.

I’ve heard Pico pronounced “PIE-Co” and San Francisquito Canyon as San “Fransquito.” So many folks who come here just can’t pronounce a Spanish name. Like Camarillo. It sure isn’t Cam-a-rill-oh. Same guy always orders a Chili Rel-On-Oh. He has lived in the San Fernando Valley since 1956. Came from New York State.

Just had to get that off my chest. Maybe Leon Worden is right. We need to have pronunciation billboards placed around this little valley. And maybe we could get a list of the words and places in our valley most often mispronounced and send it to all of the other TV stations. Radio stations, too. Do you think the Santa Clarita City Council would sign the cover letter? Maybe Supervisor Antonovich?

+ + +

Cold and wet up here in Acton today. The hills to the south of town have a dusting of the stuff of which I do not speak. It is white and kind of pretty – as long as it stays up there on the hills. I don’t like to shovel the stuff.

My short drive into downtown Acton was interesting. People wrapped up in coats and scarves like it was really cold.

Come on, folks, this is Southern California. It doesn’t get cold enough to wear such stuff. (I said as I unwrapped my wool scarf from my neck). It is that cool.

And then there is the one thing that Acton never runs out of, and that is … wind. A wind that cuts through you like a – well, it certainly won’t be called “Mariah.” I have heard it called some other terms here. None is printable here.

Maybe we’ve had enough rain to end fire season outside. Just in time to worry about fire season inside. Not long before those Christmas trees are put up in homes all over.

Please. If you use a real tree, make sure you keep water in its stand.

I don’t care how pretty it looks near the fireplace. Keep it away. Our firefighters of the SCV need a break after the outdoor fire season. Let them spend time at home this season.

Oh, fake trees cause fires too. Be safe out there.

See, there is a new place to take family Christmas-card pictures. Standing in front of Pico Cottage. (Or if you must, the Big House). Hope they paid the parking fees. And a Christmas song is playing on my radio right now. “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” Well, only in my heart this year.

As I think of the past year, I wonder how I made it through. Moving into the RV. Travel to the East Coast and back. A week in the hospital to treat my left leg and start me on treatment for type-2 diabetes. (Lost almost 35 pounds so far.) Having to write this commentary each week. Not bad after all, but very rough.

The event I most wish wouldn’t have happened, has had the most profound effect on me and my whole family. It is tragic, but it has become an event of healing. The end point is known. The date isn’t.

Unknown to me last January, my former wife was diagnosed with cancer again. This time it was in her brain. She had an immediate operation, but it has not stopped the cancer. Chemo and radiation treatment followed, and more and more meds continue to this day.

She didn’t want to have anyone tell me until she could tell me herself. One of the reasons I spent so much time in Kentucky this past summer.

The divorce wasn’t easy. We were hardly speaking. This summer she asked me to visit. She told me all that is going on. I still cry, thinking that the woman I was married to is going to die in maybe less than a year. We mended a lot of feelings and emotions. We talked and laughed and cried and hugged.

We spent time with grandkids together. We just had some time to heal a relationship that can’t be the same as it was, but is as strong apart as it was together.

I’m so very grateful for that time with her and the family in Kentucky and Virginia, too. That is my Thanksgiving in a nutshell.

Thanks to my hospital bills, I can’t travel to Kentucky next week or even for Christmas. I got my holidays early this year, I guess. It has to be that way. I might never see Kathie alive again. But we talk and text and play Word with Friends every day.

I’m grateful for that healing. There is a God watching over us all. This today I know and believe.

God bless you and your families this week. Be safe and take care. Give an extra hug and kiss.

You never know when you can’t hold the ones you love any more.

 

 

 

 

 

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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