The Cactus Patch
Volume 13       July 2010      Number 07

Journey to the Center & the Past
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

On the 14th of May, Polly and Anne began a Marathon tour of Quilt Shops. This was an organized event with dozens of people participating. They started in Maricopa and then visited three shops in Bakersfield. (I skipped this as I had been to all four.) They then picked me up and we went to the set up for the BCSS yard sale.

On Saturday we drove to Hanford and then to Visalia. While in Visalia we had lunch at the Depot, still a quality bargain. We then drove up to Reedley for a shop run by Mennonites. It was delightful as it had much more than quilts. It is an outlet for Village projects in other countries producing wall hangings, carvings etc. The most interesting to me were the “vegetable ivory” figures. These are carved from palm fruits, but they are different South American palms and not the ones known by the same name in Africa.

We then drove up to Old Town Clovis (a shop I had been to before) and the FCSS Show and Sale at the nearby Sierra Vista Mall. The Show had the usual small number and great quality specimens as in previous years. Again, the sale plants predominated. From there we went to a last quilt shop in Fresno and stayed with Polly’s sister Nancy.

On Sunday we started early and reached Oakhurst (halfway to Yosemite) by 9. The quilt shop did not open till 10, so we had breakfast at the Old Kettle Restaurant, another great quality bargain. When the shop opened Polly found cloth for a Wizard of Oz quilt she is making for Nancy. They also had Poly Down pillows with Raggedy Ann & Andy on the bags so I had Polly and Anne pose for a picture.

We then decided to visit the geographic center of California which is “nearby”. We took a wrong turn and ended up at Bass Lake. Turning back to the right road we reached North Fork and then South Fork and eventually the Center which has stairs up to a marker in the ground. Around the marker there are shrubs of Yerba Santa with beautiful purple flowers. There were also Rocky Mountain Irises, Harlequin Lupines, Fremontias and many other wildflowers which made the side trip worthwhile.

Returning to Oakhurst, we then hurried back to the Valley and reached a quilt shop at Hilmar by 2:05. From there we went north to Turlock and then Ceres, reaching the last quilt shop at 3:16. (The shops closed at four!) We then had a late lunch/early supper at Alfonso’s Mexican Restaurant (another good choice). Fortunately all the quilt shops gave out snacks, so I survived. From there we went straight down 99 to home, arriving at 9:02.

By the 21st I had recovered sufficiently to make it to the Elk’s Lodge for the start of my 50th High School Reunion. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long since I graduated from BHS, but most of the people there looked the part. One of the more youthful looking was Ed Udell who arrived dressed as a Buffalo Soldier. (Hey, we were told we could dress informally!) He had a good excuse -- he is head fundraiser for the National Buffalo Soldiers Museum in Dallas, Texas. We had a great time sharing experience with our respective museums. At the end of the evening it was suggested that we should dress a little less informally for the following evening.

Next evening more of us gathered for a more formal banquet at the Stockdale Country Club. They took formal pictures and interviewed us for a CD. I haven’t seen the results yet, but it should be interesting. I had a much better time and met more people I knew than at the 40th reunion. (Unfortunately some were dead or missing and it will only get worse in the future. We had even debated having a 45th reunion just in case.) It was strange to look at T shirts made for the occasion with Andre’s, Quickies, Dewars etc. and listen to music from the 50s. Times really have changed.

Speaking of changing times, on Sunday the 23rd Polly and I went to the Fox for a dynamite concert of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. They had no trouble celebrating Harvey Milk! There was even a small choir from Bakersfield. It was nowhere near as good, but it’s probably hard to attract such talent here.

On the 30th we went to the Hungry Hunter for my brother Robert’s birthday (actually on the 27th). The food was good, but a bit expensive (even with coupons). Between 13th May and 27th May our choir, the Goldeniers, sang 5 times for various groups (mostly elderly).

On the 3rd of June we went to Angela’s 8th grade graduation from Beardsley School. I was not surprised to see them all in gowns (which I think is pretentious), but at least they didn’t have mortar boards. (I never had a ceremony for 8th grade. I went to Stockton Hi in the 7th and they graduated in the 10th. I went to University Heights Jr Hi in Riverside in the 8th and they graduated in the 9th. I then started Bakersfield Hi in the 9th.) Joshua finished North High this year, but skipped the graduation in order to fly back to Kwajalein.

We then rushed to Fresno for the FCSS meeting. Keith Taylor from the Sacramento area spoke on “Fat Plants” (caudiciforms). I’m not sure I would recommend his method of whacking off tubers to make them fit in shallow “bonsai” pots. (He claims about a third of his plants survive!)

Next day we went to Fresno City College and heard the annual concert of the “New Wrinkles”. Despite their age, they still remain fresh. This year they took us on a tour across the USA (even seeing it in our “Chevrolet” while dancing with walkers!). They managed to balance politics. “Okie from Muskogee” was soon followed by “Blowin’ in the Wind”.

The 8th was, of course, the annual BCSS potluck at the garden at CSUB. It was obviously a good year and the garden was looking great. The food was also great.

Anne & Polly at Oakhurst

Bruce & Polly @ CA Center

Ed Udell & Bruce

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