Saturday, October 22, 2016

Santa Paula News, June 9, 1942

This was the Santa Paula News on 6-9-1942. Riots, dresses, downtown, and roller skating. Adjusted the flatbed scanner and I think it's working fairly well now.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ashtrays and Matchbooks

Remember ashtrays and matches? Unless you were born in the 1950's it is doubtful.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Beginning

I started out very young. Near Ventura California. It was nice it was paradise.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Harry Lechler

This was me and one old man. I write in many ways. But only to believers. Harry was a true man. I think I wrote this. Cannot recall. All say I am lying, except those who know me and my silly face from 2000. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Ventura Has Actual Music Under the Stars!

I have been on KVTA AM1590, a few times in the last week or so. Tom and I talked about Neil Young, Stevie Nicks, and today we spoke about the dangers of the Zika virus, just today, as a matter of fact. 

Tom Spence @KVTANewsAM1590, spoke about music under the stars in Ventura, California, at the Olivas Adobe. I have seen Tom there 7 times. Ask him how many times he has seen me there. Never. Why?

Tom is usually busy. So these are for him. The first night is gone but you could go. If you had my tickets. For those without tickets. 

"Music Under The Stars" Dated Ventura, California, ephemera. Except, the first program, of course. No date on that one! All the rest? Dated!

Please visit @museumofventuracounty. Thank you Tom Spence, who is having a birthday on 7-15-2016. Watch what myself and Bernard Shakey do then? Yes, we will probably be arrested, with guitars, yes.
An Opening Collage could go here but no.

This one has no date?

Possibly from the early turn of the century?

Later that decade this happened. I know. Trust Tom Spence!

Many of these look the same but with different year dates.

These people dance on the paper a lot!

Tom Spence said they came, they danced, they left.

And then is was 2011 and remember nothing after that right Tom Spence.

Friday, July 1, 2016

What is Ventura History?

This year, San BuenaVentura,(my spelling, so there!) turned 150 years old. I also collect stuff like this poster for "Sexy Death Soda," and other, Ventura County, and, Ventura City related materials. 

I have things. Just things. Music things mostly. About music. In Ventura, California. Most of what I suffer from now can be represented by letters. Almost the whole literal alphabet, in various transmutations.

Many things can be derived from this poster. Just by looking folks. Actually, scratch that; you will need to be able to actually see things, not just look, to understand the "alphabet" mindset. Look at it. 

Do you see these things? In an instant? a literal moment? Let's go through OCD, and eidetic memory, once with full, five part harmony, and feeling:

The hills behind the City Hall in Ventura are aflame. The cross is off in the left corner. Flames are going to burn down the old jail, right off the bat. Also, the "Father Serra Statute," seems to be aflame. 

If you have come this far into an OCD mind, you are a true warrior. Means you were probably born in the County of Ventura, California. Possibly in Santa Paula, Fillmore, or San BuenaVentura. That's where I was born. They named me Steven Ray, by accident.


Again Father Serra appears to be aflame and while that is distressing in the extreme, the psychotic nut farmer, who drew this, and I wish I knew who it was. They then, actually attempted to recreate the gargoyles on the front of the Ventura City Hall building. All those smiley faces?


This is sicker than I have ever been in my life, but again, I digress.

Poli Street is between Ventura City Hall, and a teeny tiny, for a better term,"traffic island." This is where Father Serra, is aflame atop some sort of podium or proscenium that is inscribed, "Sexy Death Soda." Don't ask me why, don't ask me who. I have no idea. My niece found it yesterday, while checking files. I thought it was interesting because, it is a rendering of Ventura City Hall.

Sorry building shelves. (see John Irving)

Anyway, off to Father Serra's left, but your right, faithful reader, are two dogs fornicating. If you cannot see the two dogs engaging in canine carnal knowledge then look to your "Military Right." Which is total opposite of the way you are looking, right now. Looking left? "Look to your military right." SSgt. Willie E Bedgood. Me: "Oh that way? Over there sarge? Near those guys with the guns?"

In the Army we all bet a lot of money on a swear jar bet. A lot of money. 1000 dollars. $250.00 each. CQ duty. 1800 hours until 0600. Eat, drink, watch insanity. Stay awake all night, go to bed. Fun. You have not lived until someone asks you who put the "intercoursing" boot marks by the CQ desk? I cursed at this, and went to eat at the mess hall. 

Shall I continue?

All aboard for the OCD express!

Steve, why did you mention the two dogs? You did not need to do that. People would see that on their own! Are you going to use the pen and paper to smash a watermelon next? This is beyond the pale! Explain yourself young man! This instant!

Next on the agenda is where we discover that this is being presented by "Sleek Pup" Productions.(hence the 2 dogs scenario; "deductive reasoning?" See Perry Mason) In laypersons terms, this person is the "concert promoter." 

They are in charge of the important things. Mostly jail, paternity suits, riots, fires, and emergency wards. Oh and overselling the venue, etc. Getting the hookers and blow. 1970's SOP. People you are going to need to look this stuff up because I am not a guide. 

And the money. Almost forgot the geedus.($$$ see Cub Koda)

So a lot of times, especially when you have a 5 band show and the headliner is "Sexy Death Soda," you go a bit too far. Especially, when you own a promotional company who are putting all their eggs into one giant "Sexy Death Soda."

In a very literal sense.

I cannot type; I am snickering a bit right now. 

Hello OCD?

OK, now we are back. "Oh hello, hyper-ironic OCD; Pull Up a chair. What say you?"

"Yes, the bands were, "Da Da Munchamonkey. All of the names? OK, they opened. Next were: "Clamshoe," "Enok," "Brazil 2001," and "Sexy Death Soda?" They closed. I do not remember much of this really. I think I went in and ripped this off the wall of "Art City," and then ran out. It may have been in 2001. How many what? People? 3 people. It was sad. Please stop. This is mean."

"One of the three of them said, to take it, and did I have a dollar for bus fare? Now that was a true bargain! Now I am a docent for @museumofventuracounty in both Ventura and Santa Paula and I am at "Art City," every once in a while. Hi K! I have little ability to predict the future but "Sexy Death Soda?" 


"That was mean!"

"Did you notice what was next to where is says the words "Sleek Pup?" "I am you, so you know I saw it. Really do we need to go to this level of being mean. The fact that this is semi-fictional, except for the vintage handbill, notwithstanding? You suck subconscious mind!"

"Yes, I will write the words, under protest, it says: "Do ya wanna' rock?" Yes, that is quite ironic after all. I don't know if the Marshall stack with 6 twelves makes it funnier. Rorsacht Blot, I think. it might be a face. It could be. Happy? And yes, three people could rock! Ask Nancy Austin. She was in a band with me for exactly one noche." 

"Don't believe me. Ask her. You know NEWBA don't you all. And yes, there is a high probability that it did not rock but again, this is a history lesson. Not the "Don Rickles Roast."

"I need to go Staples and buy an eraser for my mind. It's starting to hurt. Not now Don Rickles! Please. OK?, my literal mind is now free. Freestyling? What is that?"

"OK, I think I remember this: Clamshoe actually had clam shoes. Not kidding here. Dudeman refused to share, and ate all the corn. "Art City" is either the right next to or right past what was "Johnny's Burritos." "The map is a trap." Special guest?"

This guy.

OCD-101? Class dismissed! Again no names have been changed because only Nancy Austin is innocent. Truth!

Tabarez. Out. Listen to the Staple Singers this weekend, and dance if you are able. Other than Roebuck (Pops Staples) white folks are playing this one. Ready the car for Muscle Shoals. The one off the Jackson Highway. You know where. Love and mercy. Be true!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

What Is Going to Happen?

Thanks for all the fan mail, from all you flounders out there. To everyone who has asked me what is going to happen, I say this: If I knew what was going to occur in the future, I would predict the lottery numbers, and the last time U would see me would be at LAX heading for an underground bunker in Switzerland.
All Quiet on the Western Front

Since that cannot happen, this is what I will be doing. I will be leading children, through a museum, and teaching children how food gets from the field to their personal front door. I will play a talking orange, juggle lemons, and roll on the floor.

Agriculture Museum, Santa Paula, California

Every talk I give I end with telling the kids. "Lemons, oranges, strawberries and avocados are very important. But the most important thing is to listen to your mother, father, and teachers. I did that and that is why I am here today."
Docent Badge, Museum of  Ventura County

My heart is at my museum, and my future is each of the faces I see. I will protect them. I will not let them down, and nothing, nothing, will ever change that. I love U Ruth and miss you terribly. Everything for U and the children. 
Santa Paula, California

I have to be there now, to teach, and protect, because we are supposed to be teaching and protecting. Right? What else can I do?

"If you want to change the world; change yourself" 
Ruth Decker-Tabarez 5-10-1958/11-26-2013

Island Fox, Museum of  Ventura County

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What Is History?

Is history truly in the eye of the beholder? Is the person that survived and wrote it down always correct? Or is history everything? Everything you like and everything someone else might like? Could those both be history? I wish I knew. The only thing I know for sure is time is passing, and so are we.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cabrillo's Map

If you want to make sure your map is authentic, buy the copper plates too. Also, maps are notoriously inaccurate, so keep them to yourself at all times.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My Favorite Museum

Today is International Museum Day, and I am a docent for the Museum of Ventura County. This is my identification badge, and a thumbs up from a dear friend, who really supported my becoming a docent.
Docent Name Tag, Museum of Ventura County

I've been lucky in my life. When I was 7 years old I met a man who lived in Piru, California, who owned a private museum. When I was in the Army, I was stationed right outside of Washington, D.C. at Ft Lee in Virginia. I visited a museum in D.C. every weekend or day off from school.
Lechler Museum, Piru, California

After leaving Ft Lee, I was sent to Europe. Instead of coming back to the good old USA, I decided to take leave in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Turkey, Germany, and Tunis, which my German girlfriend at the time forgot to mention is in North Africa. But I survived, and I visited museums.
Lechler Museum Ephemera

In short, I've been to a lot of museums. Then I married a woman I was with for 23 years who loved museums more than life itself. She could have been a tour guide at a bunch of museums but she grew to love my friends' private museum in Piru, California, as much as I did.
Lechler Museum, Outbuildings

Indeed, Lechler's Museum, run my my late pal, Harry H. Lechler, was just so very unique, for so many reasons. This guy was just a card, he knew everything, had seen everything, and remembered most of it pretty well. He was a gatherer, and collector, and his wife was a saint. Harry and Peggy are both gone now and the collection was spread far and wide but I can still remember it so well.
Lechler Museum, Courtyard

My favorite thing ever was the albino deer, which was just slightly ahead of the albino gopher. Harry was personal friends with a taxidermist from Fillmore, California, and when he died at the end of the 1940's his wife called Harry. 
Albino Deer, Lechler Museum

She said he did not come and get those "nasty stuffed things," then she was going to make a bonfire of them. He had both a bald eagle, and a golden eagle in his collection, both collected well before any laws prohibiting ownership of these items. He also had bobcat, lynx, roadrunner, fox, beaver, and other animals in his collection.
Postcard, Lechler Museum

He had a crank candlestick telephone that worked. My son spoke to him on it when he was 8 years old. He's 28 now and still remembers the moment. When people left Piru, which probably never saw more than 3000 residents at anytime in its history, they would come and give Harry their stuff. 
Money Display, Lechler Museum

In 1969, he built a 1000 square foot building on his property to house the main portion of the collection, but he had other outbuildings on his property that he used for presentation. Nothing was stored he would say, he wanted everyone to see everything.
Main Building, Lechler Museum

So I was lucky to meet him when I was 7 years old. He gave me this card. It was the hotel that his father owned in the city, and where Harry's job was to empty the "slop jars" in the morning. He had the actress Mary Pickford's signature in the hotel register, along with D.W. Griffith. Pickford stayed in the hotel while making the movie Ramona in nearby Rancho Camulos.
Business Card, Mountain View Hotel, Piru, CA, 1905

I've had this card for 50 years now, and I still get a thrill, when I show it to people. There is not another one anywhere. It's allegedly the first picture ever taken of the hotel, but who knows?

What I know and remember on this day that we remember museums, is that this man let hundreds of people into his personal home, and history, and did it for 50 years. He never asked for payment and actually paid you for coming. He gave you a wooden nickel, just like this one.
Wooden Nickel, Lechler Museum

A few days before the auction company came to catalog and remove everything for the sale he called me to his home and asked me what I would like. It took me a minute but then I realized he was asking me what I wanted from the assembled thousands of things that made up the collection. I wanted to tell him I loved him and that what I wanted was for him to always be there. But that could never happen.
Lechler Museum, Interior w/ghost

He was old, and tired, and his wife was old and tired, and he loved her true. They were both pushing middle 80's and they were winding down. I knew they would go away one day but I never wanted to see that day come. So I took nothing that day, but just before he left town for good, he shoved a box of treasures on me.
Interior, Lechler Museum

Personal histories, books, papers, and objects specific to Ventura County and its history. I never wanted them but I guess he knew I would make sure they got into the right hands when the time came. I don't know. I miss that cranky old man because now I am a cranky old man, who knows too much, and can't help but be excited by everything and nothing.
Name Tag, AMNH

I've seen the Mona Lisa at the Lourve. Been to the Tate, MoMa, Rembrandt Museum in Amsterdam, and everything in between. You could lock me in a museum and as long as there was water I could survive. I know I could. But on this day I just wanted to remember an old man who taught me to listen, remember, and love.

Please visit the @museumofventuracounty, and support museums wherever they are and wherever you are. God bless you Harry. Hope you are well on this special day.
Apricots Drying, Piru California, 1903