JS Cain & Company, Bodie California, July 18, 1906

Bodie California is a ghost town located in California about 75 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe. At one time in the past a man named JS Cain purchased the complete town by buying it up piece by piece over time. In 1859 gold was discovered there and by 1879 Bodie had an estimated population of between 5000-7000 inhabitants. It was a usual California mining town but the thing that made Bodie different from other boom towns was its’ distance from actual civilization. Bodie was what the old-timers used to call “out there.”

JS Cain came to Bodie in the 1920’s and began buying up property in the dying town and eked out a living working over the old mines again to get what little gold that was still left in them. By the 1940’s the population had dropped to only about 120 residents, and the site was a constant target for vandals. Cain had to hire guards to live on-site to protect the buildings and their history. I believe that sometime in the late 1950’s the Cain Family donated the land to the State of California and in 1962 it became Bodie State Historic Park. It is in a state of arrested decay, which means they try to keep stuff from falling apart, with as little intervention as possible.

The other thing about Bodie is that it is haunted. I personally don’t really believe in curses, ghosts, spells, and superstitions, but if you go to the Ranger station and speak with them for a while they will show you a room filled with hundreds of objects. Many have letters and notes attached stating that they have had nothing but bad, extremely bad, luck since they visited Bodie and decided to pocket a nail/rock/wood chip/or whatever, and take it back home with them as souvenir. So the room is filled with stuff that people have sent back to Bodie, because of the curse. The Rangers can’t put it back in the park because they don’t know exactly where they belong, thus the need for the room.

It could be mass hysteria, people overreacting, coincidence, sensitivity or just bad luck at an inopportune time. But it still is what it is.  There is a room there in Bodie that is filed with rocks, nails, and stuff you don’t know what it is. What’s great about these items is they were collected a man who spent a lot of time in Carson City and knew about the alleged curse on the stuff. A woman, who is not given to lights of fancy told me this and it scared me a little. I usually sell these on eBay for between $20.00 and $30.00 because they came from Bodie are are curse free. This one is initialed by David Victor Cain, who was a son of JS Cain and was also basically running the Bank, when it went under.

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“Old Spanish Days,” August 28, 29, 30, 1947

“Old Spanish Days,” is a celebration/festival/carnival that is held every year in Santa Barbara California. It is meant to commemorate the founding of the city and its deep roots in Spain. However, when it was first started in 1924, it was a straight chamber of commerce ploy to try to draw tourists into what is now known as “Oprah’s Backyard,” and the Spanish roots thing was sort of pushed aside a bit. The reason?

Some have said that the coming of the Spanish and the takeover of California by soldiers and religious people changed the lay of the landscape forever. The mission system reduced the Native American Indians to slaves who toiled for the soldiers and the priests, and often faced death if they did not comply. The usual diseases, alcohol, rape, and other dilutions did to the local Chumash, what was done to other tribes all across the country. So “Old Spanish Days,” is a little bit celebration and remembrance. It draws a ton of people to spend money in a town where money does not go too far and you need a lot of it to fit in. It is very nice, once you get past that wiping out the indigenous people thing.

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Street Map, Hollywood California

This is a very nice little street map of Hollywood and Los Angeles from a long time back. You can tell because there are open spaces on the map. There is no more open space in Los Angeles. Every place is taken and there are three people waiting to take that place. The other thing is this map was given out by “Security First National Bank,” which turned into “Security Pacific,” and is now just a memory, so that could lead someone smarter than I to the answer about the date.

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Class Photograph, Oxnard High School, Class of 1976, Oxnard, California

This is the class photo for the graduating class of Oxnard High School in Oxnard California, for the year of 1976. As you can see from these pictures there were a few style changes along the line from 1976 to now. Oxnard California was named for the Oxnard Brothers who were sugar beet farmers and created an empire and a city from sugar beets.

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Wooden Postcards, Grison’s, San Francisco, California

“Grison’s Steak and Chop House” in San Francisco was started back in 1936 on the corner of Van Ness and Pacific. My mother and father went there when they were dating or sometimes they went to “Grison’s Chicken House,” which was located on the opposite corner from the chop-house. What I love about these wooden postcards are the prices for the meals and “Grison’s Chicken House” slogan was “Glorifying The American Chicken.” How could you not love a place that loved chickens so much? I don’t know what is at this location now, probably liquor stores and office buildings, if I had to guess. Probably no more chickens either.

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Coalinga California Poultry Show, December 28, 1917

Chickens are both endangered these days and are also making a comeback as backyard pets, that can’t get the bird flu, because they are not around other birds who might be infected. In Ventura County California, chickens are being used as a “catcher” system for the “West Nile Virus.” They keep the chickens outdoors and then test their blood for infection. So far it’s worked pretty well, and in the more rural areas, chickens are coming up everywhere, as pets and for disease free eggs. Love the chicken!

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Lamb With Two Faces and Four Legs

I first saw this lamb when I was a child. I recently toured the historical museum in my hometown, and was allowed to go into the basement, where I encountered my little friend here, who has not been displayed at the museum for a number of years now. It was stillborn on a local ranch, was collected and preserved, and ended up at the museum. I could not resist snapping a few pictures. It has two legs in front, and four legs in back, along with 2 tails. A really amazing local piece.