I would imagine most people are aware of trainspotting, and I'm not referring to the 1996 film based on the writing of Irvine Welsh. I'm talking about the people who love trains and data so much they travel around waiting for trains to pass and then record what is considered to be the pertinent data about the train sighting. The first time I ever heard of this hobby was on a series that ran on PBS by Michael Palin of Monty Python. I loved the show and anxiously awaited each episode to find out exactly how serious he was about this whole train hobby.

Now, I love seeing trains, especially old trains, but I could care less about the data I might collect. So actually I don't think this hobby would suit me. Now, trainwaving, a nonexistent word, I can get behind. And yes, spellcheck gave me a really tough time getting that nonexistent word into this post.

As a kid traveling across country many times I can remember seeing a train traveling parallel to the highway out in some boring flat state filled with nothingness. That train and that engineer became my focus. I would start waving madly hoping to get their attention. Once they waved back I'd give the international sign of "blow the whistle" pumping my arm up and down. Sure enough, most of the time they'd blow the whistle and often that would be the highlight of that day of boring travel.

I miss trains. I don't have any trains that run near me. I used to love running along the tracks in the Sierra's waiting for the trains to pass with their hundreds and hundreds of cars attached. Good times.

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Sandcastles at the CLIFF HOUSE

This is a repost from several years ago because gosh darn the photo of the tourist car fits the Sepia Saturday theme…several weeks ago. And I have a nice new photo to share of the old Cliff House if you scroll towards the bottom.

If you've seen past posts about the Kallman family you will probably recognize Alfred, patriarch of the family. This photo is from the George Kallman estate.

This is Alfred aboard a touring car in San Francisco, probably around 1919. He was on his way to see the Cliff House restaurant and Sutro Baths. The Cliff House still exists, the Sutro Baths not so much. And when I say the Cliff House still exists, it's not the Cliff House Alfred would have seen.

Click on image to see it larger.

The Cliff House has burned down several times. The photo below shows it at its most gorgeous, but it too burned down over 100 years ago.

I'll let good old Wikipedia fill-in some details about this San Francisco landmark.
The Cliff House is a restaurant perched on the headlands on the cliffs just north of Ocean Beach on the western side of San Francisco, California. It overlooks the site of the former Sutro Baths and a room-sized camera obscura and is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, operated by the National Park Service.

Cliff House has had five major incarnations since its beginnings in 1858. That year, Samuel Brannan, a prosperous ex-Mormon elder from Maine, bought for $1,500 the lumber salvaged from a ship that foundered on the basalt cliffs below. With this material he built the first Cliff House. The second Cliff house was built for Captain Junius G. Foster, but it was a long trek from the city and hosted mostly horseback riders, small game hunters or picnickers on day outings. With the opening of the Point Lobos toll road a year later, the Cliff House became successful with the Carriage trade for Sunday travel. The builders of the toll road constructed a two mile speedway beside it where well-to-do San Franciscans raced their horses along the way. On weekends, there was little room at the Cliff House hitching racks for tethering the horses for the thousands of rigs. Soon, omnibus railways and streetcar lines made it to near Lone Mountain where passengers transferred to stagecoach lines to the beach. The growth of Golden Gate Park attracted beach travelers in search of meals and a look at the Sea Lions sunning themselves on Seal Rocks, just off the cliffs to visit the area.

In 1877, the toll road, now Geary Boulevard, was purchased by the City for around $25,000. In 1883, after a few years of downturn, the Cliff House was bought by Adolph Sutro who had solved the problems of ventilating and draining the mines of the Comstock Lode and become a multimillionaire. After a few years of quiet management by J.M. Wilkens, the Cliff House was severely damaged by a dynamite explosion when the schooner, Parallel, ran aground. The blast was heard a hundred miles away and demolished the entire north wing of the tavern. The building was repaired, but was later completely destroyed on Christmas night 1894 due to a defective flue. Wilkens was unable to save the guest register, which included the signatures of three Presidents and dozens of illustrious world-famous visitors.

In 1896, Adolph Sutro built a new Cliff House, a seven story Victorian Chateau, called by some "the Gingerbread Palace", below his estate on the bluffs of Sutro Heights. This was the same year work began on the famous Sutro Baths, which included six of the largest indoor swimming pools north of the Restaurant that included a museum, skating rink and other pleasure grounds. Great throngs of San Franciscans arrived on steam trains, bicycles, carts and horse wagons on Sunday excursions.

The Cliff House and Sutro Baths survived the 1906 earthquake with little damage but burned to the ground on the evening of September 7, 1907. Dr. Emma Merritt, Sutro's daughter, commissioned a rebuilding of the restaurant in a neo-classical style that was completed within two years and is the basis of the structure seen today. In 1937, George and Leo Whitney purchased the Cliff House, complementing their Playland-at-the-Beach attraction nearby and extensively remodeling it into an American roadhouse. The building was acquired by the National Park Service in 1977 and became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Many of Whitney's additions were removed and the building was restored to its 1909 appearance. In 2003, an extensive further renovation added a new two-story wing overlooking the Sutro Bath ruins.

The site overlooks Seal Rocks and the former site of the Sutro Baths. More than thirty ships have been pounded to pieces on the southern shore of the Golden Gate below the Cliff House.

The area immediately around Cliff House is part of the setting of Jack London's novel The Scarlet Plague (1912). (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
To get a nice overall feeling about the Cliff House through the years click here to go to the official site and stay for the opening historical slideshow, including the Sutro Baths.

To see more images of these tour cars, including this very same No. 20, click here to enter the Cliff House project. And spend a bit more time clicking around the site to see other wonderful images.

The current Cliff House from the outside is not lovely at all. But oh my can you get an excellent meal there. I went there for my birthday a few years ago. The food was perfect, as was the view.

The following delightful snapshot is from the Betty Schnabel estate sale, specifically her mother's album. It is one of my favorite shots from my collection.

And just to make sure I have something for this weeks Sepia Saturday theme…another repeat from a few years ago.

Do a dogs ears lay flat against its head if a woman cackles in the background? You be the judge.

Until next week when I might just post something for a Sepia Saturday theme from years ago. It's been one of those weeks.



I think the title about sums it up.

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Saturday is LAUNDRY DAY

Saturday is almost always laundry day. These days with the drought I try to do one FULL load. I really push the stuff in hoping to not do a second load. Everything gets washed together. I don't sort different colors, unless there's a red item in the bunch. Just throw it in, wash it, get it out on the line.

Here in California we're being told to expect an El NiƱo this winter. I'll believe it when I see it. It has been stated that the rains will probably hit Southern California leaving the north still dry. If that's the case, and weather stays similar to what it's been the past few years, I'll still be hanging laundry out in January when the new norm is 70+ degrees.

All of these photos have been posted before, just not grouped together. This is my Sepia Saturday submission this week. Laundry and the lovely sun and wind that dries it. Perhaps even encouraging a bit of a dance. So if I don't get around to visiting other blogs until Sunday or later blame it on my laundry. Lots of sheets and towels to do this weekend, and maybe a little dance.

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MEET THE POINTERS: Myrtle, Irvin and Stan

A prosecuting attorneys worst nightmare.

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Myrtle: "Yes, I saw everything. He did it."

Irvin: "No, he did it."

Stan: "No, SHE did it."

Defense attorney: "I rest my case."


CLEAR LAKE with Clear Skies

About an hour away from me there is a raging fire that has consumed over 67,000 acres since Saturday. It is called the Valley Fire located south of Clear Lake. The fire has been devastating and because of the drought in California there is fuel in all directions. The fire has already jumped to my county. I tell myself there's no way it could make it to where I am, but I know that's not true. Areas burned in 15 minutes that were expected to take 24 hours. There may be some light rain tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed. So many have lost everything and are now living in shelters, not knowing if they have anything to go back to. Clear Lake is not a wealthy area, so many of these folks may never recover.

I thought I'd repost two Clear Lake posts from the past showing how beautiful Lake County can be.

Clear Lake is in Northern California, the county just north of Napa County. This vintage snapshot dates from 1909 when apparently there was a ferry running on the lake. I don't know of any ferries running there now.

Click on any image to see it larger.
Clear Lake is a natural freshwater lake in Lake County, California and is fed by runoff flowing into many streams as well as springs in Soda Bay. Its sole outlet is Cache Creek.
Clear Lake is believed to be one of the oldest lakes in North America, due to a geological fluke. The lake sits on a huge block of stone which slowly tilts in the northern direction at the same rate as the lake fills in with sediment, thus keeping the water at roughly the same depth. Core samples of the lake's sediments, taken by U.S. Geological Survey geologists in 1973 and 1980, indicate that the lake is at least 480,000 years old. Some experts feel that Mono Lake, to the east of the Sierra Nevada in California, is older than Clear Lake. However, the sedimentary history of Clear Lake is unbroken, while Mono Lake's sediments have been disturbed by past eruptions of the Long Valley Caldera and associated volcanoes.
The geology of Clear Lake is chaotic, with numerous small faults being present in the south end of the lake as well as many old volcanoes, the largest being Mount Konocti, sitting at the middle of the lake's south shore. 
Area: 69.5 sq miles (180 km²)
Surface elevation: 1,329' (405 m)
Length: 19.01 miles (30.6 km)
Fish: Largemouth bass, Channel catfish, Brown bullhead, Lavinia exilicauda, Ictalurus catus
Islands: Rattlesnake Island, Weekend Island, Fruit Island, Garner Island, Tule Island, Slater Island, Indian Island, Anderson Island
Cities: Lakeport, Clearlake, Lower Lake, Lucerne, Nice (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
When I think of Clear Lake I think of hot summer days. Very hot summer days.

To read about a tragedy against the Pomo people that occurred at Clear Lake on May 15, 1850 click here.


Again we view slides from the Betty Schnabel estate. I'm guessing these were also taken by her father, Donald G. Schnabel, though I can't be sure.

These first two are of Clear Lake in Northern California. Sunrise or sunset? I don't know the lake well enough to judge from which side these were taken, but they fit nicely with the third photo.

Click on images to see them larger.

Written on this third slide is "Mother Clear Lake" and it is in the box of slides taken in Sweden in 1959. Clearly she is in the sunset of her life. I believe she was Betty's paternal grandmother, but again, it's just a guess.

Click on image to see it larger.

UPDATE: Intense Guy has kindly supplied me with the following about Donald's mother:
Donald's mother, Mary G Schnabel nee Maguire was born 20 Feb 1877 in Lima, Ohio. She married George E. Schnabel in 1897. George was born about 1876 in Ohio. If the photo was taken in 1959, she would have been about 82 years old. She died in 5 Dec 1964. She and George had about 10 children.


A LITTLE SIP Ought to Be Enough

With this weeks theme for Sepia Saturday being about wine I had to add my two cents since I live in the middle of one of California's premier appellations. There was once a booming apple industry here.

The truth is I live here, but I don't drink the stuff. In fact, I've had it with vineyards and wineries. At times I feel like I'm living in a part of Disneyland with all the tourists flocking here to Winoland. They clutter the roads, my local fruit stand, and my favorite restaurants. And then there are certain vintners who carve up the land destroying the eco systems. Sadly the county lets them get away with it, though there have been a few success stories where neighborhoods have fought having a new winery built in their midst.

Each time I see an orchard being bulldozed I sneer and wonder which corporation or one percenter is going to plant another vineyard. The area is leaning towards becoming a monoculture unless more is done to stop it. The people I know do not want our area to become like Napa. There is hope that as hard apple cider grows in popularity orchards will again be planted. We do still have truck farms that provide produce to stores and restaurants, but they'll never match the miles and miles of vineyards.

Right now the crush is on which means the rush of tourists is also on. With wineries on both sides of me I hear the crashing and banging all day and night. I look forward to fall when the leaves turn golden and red and begin to fall to the ground. Then the tourists will go home leaving the locals once again able to drive into town on a Saturday morning without being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Of course then the ugliness of the vineyards appears. Mile after mile of organized rows and rows of dormant vines strung on wires with their drip tubes hanging down. And more and more vineyards are being fenced in because of theft. A winter vineyard is not a pretty sight.

I love this area and have lived here for a long time, but I hate seeing what's happening to it. It's a beautiful area with wonderful weather, soil, and scenery. But corporations and wealthy individuals see nothing but dollar signs. They swoop in, tear something down, and build something that services the one percenters.

During the nearly 40 years I've lived here I've seen dramatic changes and I admit I worry that it will become unlivable with the constant influx of city folk wanting a house in the country…as long as they can have the dirt road paved.

And if you do come as a tourist and plan to visit wineries here's one tip for the ladies: you're not in the city, don't wear high heels. Dirt roads and gravel will not be kind to you. If you really must wear high heels stay over in Napa where you'll find a lot of pavement.

I doubt the fellas below are having sips of wine. I'm betting they were downing something naughty during prohibition. An empty bottle with no label means they had a wink wink way of finding their favorite beverage.

I know this sounds like an unkind rant, and to a certain extent it is. But for anyone who lives in an area where tourists swarm, I think you'll understand that when a community caters to outsiders a bit of the soul of the community disappears.

I'm happy to say I live in an organic apple orchard with some very old trees. I'll let the next caretakers of the land decide if they want to follow the sheep and rip it all out for another vineyard or let it remain an historical orchard where Luther Burbank used to come to visit.



A few months ago I was contacted by a person who works behind the scenes for the tv show American Pickers. She was interested in using an image I'd posted on my ephemera site, Tattered and Lost Ephemera. I decided to repost the original post here even though I don't own an actual photo, just a magazine image.

I got an email yesterday that the show would be on tonight with the image I'd sent them. Sure enough, there it was along with a credit at the end of the show. Made me smile.

The clowns I've featured in photos have been nameless, except for Felix Adler. The reason Adler is named in the Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus Magazine and Daily Review is because he was the head clown at the circus.

Click on image to see it larger.
(SOURCE: Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus Magazine and Daily Review, 1940)

First Clown to Appear on Television
Felix Adler entertained millions in his role as head clown for Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. In the hierarchy of clowns, he ranked at the top as a whiteface clown.

He performed with such famous clowns as Lou Jacobs and Emmett Kelly.

All three circus greats lived and practiced their routines in Sarasota.

Adler's costume took up a lot of space because he buttressed his posterior with a couple of basketballs hitched in place with a custom sling similar to a brassiere. He wore traditional whiteface clown makeup adding a big rhinestone on the tip of his nose.

Often the clown topped his garb with a big jello mold for a hat. Remember, the early days of television and product sponsorship? Adler had ties to Jell-O!

Piglets played integral roles in Adler's clowning. He named each one Amelia after his wife and as the piglets became full fledged pigs, he traded them in for a new piglet whom he promptly named Amelia.

The first clown to appear on television, Adler earned his title "The White House Clown" by performing for three presidents (Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Franklin D. Roosevelt). He and his wife were the first American husband and wife clown team. (SOURCE: Squidoo/Felix Adler)
Felix Adler died on February 1, 1960. The following is his obituary from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on February 2nd.

(SOURCE: Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

Notice the handwork of the staff artist on the photo of Adler. Apparently the image was less than satisfactory for reproduction so the artist did a bit of doodling. Sort of surprised that the newspaper from the town where the circus was headquartered did not have a decent photo of the most important clown.

Available at Amazon:
Tattered and Lost: Cakes, Picnics, and Watermelon


On a SUMMER DAY…A Picnic Outside Grandma's Trailer Might Be Nice

Yesterday, Labor Day, I held my annual BBQ for family and friends. It takes days to prepare the yard and the food. In the end it's always good fun. Today I've spent recovering.

I imagine these two boys were visiting the trailer their grandparents lived in. Were grandma and grandpa just visiting, soon to again hit the open two lane road? Or had they taken the wheels off and planted themselves in this location? I know that awning had to be a challenge to get up and down and you wouldn't want to do it night after night.

Can you guess where the photographer sat?

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Available at Amazon:
Tattered and Lost: Cakes, Picnics, and Watermelon


On a SUMMER DAY…It Might Be Nice to Eat Watermelon Standing Up

Stop mowing the lawn and eat some cool refreshing sweet watermelon. The grass will still be there when you're done and it won't have grown much. Take the time to enjoy a few moments with family and friends. Sometimes work can wait.

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You can see in this shot that we have two seed pickers on the left. The other three either don't care about the seeds and simply swallow them or are faster pickers.

Of course, here in California my lawn is a thing of the past. It is dead and parched. Some of it will grow back if we get rain this winter, but if not it's not something I'm going to need to mow. So it's full on watermelon time!

Available at Amazon:
Tattered and Lost: Cakes, Picnics, and Watermelon


On a SUMMER DAY…You Might Cross from One Season to Another

For those of us in the US this weekend we celebrate Labor Day. The first Monday of every September is a national holiday. Sadly we've strayed from the initial intent. Instead of celebrating the hard workers who built this country we now celebrate ostentatious wealth and the handful of people who now pull all the strings.

Shouldn't businesses be closed on such a holiday allowing workers to actually spend some time with family? Apparently not since the newspapers are filled with advertising for Labor Day sales.

So here's to the folks who must work next Monday, many at minimum wage. I'm sure they'd rather spend the day with family and friends having a picnic in the shade of a big tree along a gently flowing river.

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Labor Day is also an unofficial bridge between summer and fall. Though technically summer doesn't end until later in September, the Labor Day holiday is always the last hurrah. Kids are back to school, workers are remembering their summer vacations, and Christmas decorations start showing up in stores. Wait, I think Christmas decorations started a few months ago.

This is my submission for this weeks Sepia Saturday theme, bridges.

Available at Amazon:
Tattered and Lost: Cakes, Picnics, and Watermelon


On a SUMMER DAY…You Might Find a Fossil in a Campground

While camping in the backwoods of the Eastern Sierra Nevada, Rachel Hodgkiss spent time hunting for fossils. Hoping for a great discovery she was quite surprised by what she did find. This happened in 1967 and until now the family has kept the finding private.

Rachel slept on the floor of the tent and each night complained about something sticking her in the back. Each night her parents, used to Rachel's vivid imagination, would tell her to "Shut up and go to sleep!"

By the fourth morning Rachel, exhausted from no sleep for three nights, convinced her dad that there really was something sticking her in the back. So her dad moved the tent and Rachel began digging with a small wooden spoon that had come with some Neapolitan ice cream she'd bought at the camp store. It took her about an hour-and-a-half to uncover this amazing discovery.

You can imagine how surprised they were when SNL did a skit about the Coneheads in 1977.

Rachel Hodgkiss holding Conehead fossil outside family tent, August 1967.