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2014 - "Become Ocean" by John Luther Adams (CalArts BFA 1973) named winner of 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Music [story]
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Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Oct 27, 2013
Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

I live in a campground, but you can’t call what I live in “camping.” Sure, I don’t have a bathtub, but I have everything else. Full kitchen including a microwave and convection oven, a bathroom with a large shower, and lots of storage space and a bedroom with a queen size bed, dual zone air conditioning, and heat pumps or forced air gas for heating.

The refrigerator is a double-wide with freezers and ice maker. The water heater is fast recovery, so I can take a long shower and not get cold. I enjoy a pretty good entertainment system including satellite radio and TV. I can play DVDs, CDs, MP3 stuff and even some old records.

Yep … I live a camping life. Oh, I’ve got a living room outside where I can cook and have friends over to visit. It is really roughing it. In case of hot sun or rain, the awning comes out and provides shelter.

If I don’t like my neighbors, I can wait for them to move or I can move. Takes about 30 minutes to prepare this place to get underway. Ah, life on the road.

I spend a lot of time on the Internet. Facebook is always a stop. Just the other day I was texting with an old high school friend (Hart High, the only real school in the SCV), and she asked what I like to write about. Seeing as I didn’t have yard work to do and the dishes had been washed, I dashed off a rather flippant answer. But she wanted to know my favorite subjects.

So here is my list of my favorite subjects to write about. I’m just going to name 10 because it is really endless.

1. Mentryville and the SCV – including downtown Newhall, of course.

2. Submarines.

3. Sex.

4. Animals and other critters including Sasquatch.

5. Warm tropical islands with long, sandy beaches.

6. Traveling by RV or anything else such as cruise ships.

7. History of any kind and place. Some of it even true.

8. Friends.

9. Politics and politicians.

10. Grandkids. I have four. Want to see pictures?

There you have it. My list. For today. Yes, today only, at one low price. She dared me to post my list, so here it is.

To think, some people have eaten off of the tables where Darryl slept as a kid in the 1960s. Makes you shudder.

To think, some people have eaten off of the tables in Johnson Park where Darryl slept as a kid in the 1960s. Makes you shudder.

I’d really love to park my RV for a day or two in Mentryville and listen to the sounds of the night up there. Maybe they would let me take it up to Johnson Park. What a neat thought. I’ve camped there before. Air mattress on a table in a sleeping bag (in case low-crawling critters wanted to visit). It was quiet. Dark and a little bit spooky. I was alone, except for my horse.

The sounds of that night were those of something walking slowly over the fallen and dried oak leaves. Something slowly padding toward me. And then it ran away. It sounded big. I finally drifted off to sleep thinking it was a mountain lion. I saw the tracks in the morning. So happy I didn’t investigate the noise. Can we all say, “skunk?”

That wasn’t really camping, either. I could have packed up and headed back to the house anytime.

Once in a while, I think of the original American RV lifestyle. Those hardy pioneers in Conestoga wagons filled with all they owned, heading West to that land of promise, California. Most days they made 15 to 20 miles. Those were good days. They, too, got to sit outside with friends and talk into the night. They had breakdowns and hardships I can only imagine. They had to depend on the wind to blow, to cool them at night. It was rough.

This past summer I went east. Three of the grandkids stayed almost a week with me in my big wagon. A little crowded but it was fun. Nothing at all like those old Conestoga wagons. My grandson, Nolan, asked me what that was like in those old wagons. I told him it was so long ago I couldn’t remember. He looked at me and said, “That happens when you get so old like you, grandpa.” Had it not been for the impish grin that followed, I would have done something rash, if I could have caught him. He runs a lot faster.

I didn’t get to all my favorite subjects in today’s entry. There was nothing said about sex or submarines. I also left out politicians. Don’t want that in this column with my grandkids. This is a family article. Got to work on the long, white, sandy beaches on a tropical island … with Sasquatch. That isn’t going to be easy. Sasquatch likes privacy. I’ll ask him if it is OK first.

 

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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