Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Lassie House is Newest Pomona Historic Landmark

8 Jul

image2 (1)

Several hundred people braved the heat in Pomona last Sunday for a ceremony dedicating the historic “Lassie House” as the city’s newest landmark. The Lassie House was home to child star Jon Provost, who played Timmy Martin from 1957 to 1964 on the Lassie television series. Provost lived in the home with his mom and dad, sister Fran and brother William from 1954 to 1959.
“The last time I was in that house I was nine years old,” he told the crowd during the dedication ceremony. “Walking through that house just brought back so many memories.”
Provost recounted one of his less happy memories, the Christmas he and his siblings snuck downstairs and caught their parents putting presents under the Christmas tree. “This is where I found out there was no real Santa Claus,” he said, recalling how his older brother and sister were so amused by his many tears.
When the Provost family moved to the eight bedroom, eight bathroom home in 1954, the Pomona Valley’s citrus industry was still thriving. “This house was surrounded by 20 acres of orange groves,” said Provost. The family had a menagerie of animals, including goats, chickens, kittens and a Lassie puppy that Provost received for his eighth birthday.
“It’s just amazing, what they’ve done,” he said, referring to the home’s new owners, Ray and Michelle Adamyk and their company, Spectra Historic Construction Company, which restores and renovates historic buildings across the west coast. “It’s so important that we keep our history,” added the California native.
The Adamyks and their children moved from Claremont to the large Pomona home last September. “My wife and I really felt a calling to come and serve the city of Pomona,” Ray Adamyk told onlookers, many donning Spectra provided parasols to stave off the hot, summer sun. The company also served guests with a complimentary taco bar, ice water and tea.
Last year the couple bought the old, brick Pomona YMCA building, which Spectra is restoring to serve “the youth of Pomona,” according to Adamyk. Renovation is due for completion in 2020. Four years ago they considered buying the former Provost home and converting it to a sober living home, as they have done to other properties in La Verne and Ontario. But instead they decided to make Pomona their city of residence and purchased the home last year for $660,000. Restoration is ongoing and noisy, but the family plans to put around $700,000 into the renovation, slightly more than their buying price.
At the dedication ceremony, Adamyk described his new home as “Craftorian,” explaining that the original owners had conflicting tastes in design when they had the home built in 1900. The rugged man of the house liked rough woodwork and stone columns, while his dainty wife preferred the Victorian style. After a weekend get-away to Long Beach, the homeowner came up with a way to satisfy both his wife and himself. He decided to make the downstairs a Craftsman house and the upstairs Victorian, with touches of Nouveau and Midcentury Modern.
Adamyk said his new home was purchased not just for his family, but also for the greater community and will be available for community events and use by nonprofits. With the removal of a large fence and hedge that surrounded the property, and a towering tree, the community outreach has already begun.
City of Pomona District 4 Council Woman Elizabeth Ontiveras-Cole spoke briefly, proudly declaring it “International Lassie Day.” She said that she was so grateful to the Adamyks and Spectra for the renovation underway. “It’s not an easy job,” she said. Afterwards, Ontiveras-Cole told me how happy she is with the progress already made on the property and the open view to passersby. “Growing up, we couldn’t see anything,” she said.
Mayor Tim Sandoval is also pleased with the progress and future plans. “This place was always covered by ivy,” he said. “Thank you to Ray and Michelle. This is special.” Sandoval sees knocking down the old perimeter wall as symbolic of the new openness of the historic house and even the city. “It’s symbolic of where our city is from to where it’s going,” he said. “We are an open city.”
With that said, Mayor Sandoval began dedicating the historic home, which was approved as a Historic Landmark by The Pomona City Council. “On this July 1st, I proudly dedicate the Lassie House as a Historic Landmark in the City of Pomona,” he declared to cheering onlookers, who promptly began lining up to tour the inside of the home.
Before the dedication ceremony, several guests, including my husband and myself, got a chance to stroll through the house, which Adamyk says is about 80% complete on the inside and 50% complete on the outside. As we stepped in the front door, a guide told us that a team of mules moved the house from its original location on Holt Boulevard in Pomona to its current address at 1195 Washington Avenue in 1927. The home was originally 3,000 square feet, although expansion over the years, and currently, will bring the total square footage to 7,000, making it the largest residence in Pomona. When the Provost family first moved in, there were backyard wells supplied with water that ran down from Mt. Baldy. A small building in the backyard, called the Carriage House, was also moved to the property sometime in the early 1900’s.
In one of the first rooms we entered, we were pleasantly surprised to meet John Provost and his wife, Laurie Jacobson, who co-authored Provost’s autobiography, “Timmy’s in the Well: The Jon Provost Story.” We were also excited to see Maxx, a gorgeous Champion Rough Collie, owned by Jessica and Cheryl Baldwin. I opted for a photo shoot with the gracious couple and Maxx who seemed to take to me (perhaps detecting the scent of my own pets) and promptly gave me a kiss on the cheek. Maxx’s younger brother, Timmy, now four months old, recently joined the Adamyk family.
After the thrill of meeting the grown up Timmy, Laurie and Maxx, we continued our tour with a view of the back yard. Patti Skulavik, a docent from the Pomona Historical Society, told us the detached guest house and garage were built in the 1950’s. “We love the historical house and everything,” she said enthusiastically. “It’s so cool, just to think that they moved it with mules. I can’t wait ‘til it’s all done, especially the backyard.” By looking out the back windows, we were able to see large boulders, common to the riverbed area, which will be used to landscape a swimming pond, game room, BBQ pits and bath houses.
Other highlights of our home tour included a huge chandelier hung over the long, wooden table in the dining room. According to the docent in that room, it was acquired in the 1950’s from a Masonic Lodge in Glendale. Upstairs, we viewed the old bedroom of Jon Provost, also known as “The Duke’s Room” and his former play area out in the broad hallway, complete with toys. Staff member Vickie Scott pointed out the unique hinges that are used throughout the house adding, “The details were not spared.”
Yes, good things are happening to the old Lassie House and other places in Pomona, thanks, in part, to the Adamyk family and their company, Spectra, where Ray Adamyk serves as president. Spectra, the West Coast’s largest historic contractor, is based in Pomona and is responsible for the preservation of the Hearst Castle, the Pantages Theater in Hollywood, LA’s Biltmore Hotel and several other historic structures.
The Adamyks view their investment in Pomona not just as a calling, but also as a blessing for which they are very excited. During the presentation, Ray suddenly burst out; “Thank you to my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ,” as if he couldn’t contain himself any longer. And when I spoke to his wife, Michelle, later, complimenting her on the wonderful work they are doing, she exclaimed, “To God be the glory!” It’s obvious to me that the Adamyks see their company as more than just a business and their work as something spiritual. And their excitement was catching as so many people were thrilled to be in attendance and to witness the historical building dedication.
On a personal note, I am also excited, as a former Pomona resident, with roots to the city, dating back to the early 1900’s, at least. My husband and I moved from Orange County to Pomona in 1985 to buy our first home and we still go to church in the city. My father was born in Pomona in 1917 and moved around the city quite a bit, as my great-grandfather (who lived with the family), built and remodeled Pomona homes. I have one picture of my father, at age 5 in 1922, standing in front of his home on Columbia Avenue, coincidentally the street my husband and I moved to, not very far from the Lassie House. My grandfather, Victor Young, Sr., was a citrus rancher, Manager of the San Antonio Fruit Exchange, church choir director at the Methodist Church and Presbyterian Church (which burned down) and other churches, and also the lead in local theater productions. (I learned this last fact from newspaper clippings given to me by a woman living in the home my grandparents bought in the Claremont Village.)
Anyway, I first became aware of the Lassie House when my two older girls attended Kingsley Elementary School, directly across the street, in the early 1990’s. Since then, I’ve always loved the house and I was concerned for its future. I don’t think I could have imagined any future so wonderful as Spectra and the Adamyks are providing for the old home and the community. Kudos to you, Ray and Michelle, and thank you for moving to Pomona and restoring its historic buildings!

27 Jun

3151A41D-7EC8-43B1-96CE-44A1B888AFEEIt’s amazing how timeless and more meaningful the Bible becomes as time goes on. Today, I was reading Proverbs 27 and I realized that verse 2 is more relevant today than ever in history. In urging humility, King Solomon writes:
“Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger and not your own lips.”
When, in the history of the world, has it ever been more likely that a stranger will praise the average person than now? Through social media and the Internet, any one of us can now receive praise from someone who agrees with us or likes what we have communicated. On the flip side, never before have we been so open to criticism from strangers. But, in the context of this Bible verse is the lesson that God values humility, as His son modeled, and He wants us to be humble.
Yesterday I read: “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 26:12. Solomon knew that his great wisdom was bestowed upon him by God because he asked God for wisdom and knowledge in order that he could be a good judge over God’s people. Solomon’s request was so pleasing to God that He also threw in “riches, wealth and honor,” such as none of the kings before or after Solomon experienced. 2 Chronicles 1:8-12
On the converse, God is very clear throughout scripture that He hates pride.
“Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.”
Proverbs 16:5
And we can’t forget Proverbs 21:4:
“A haughty look, a proud heart, And the plowing of the wicked are sin,” or that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6
These Bible verses remind me that there is no reason for pride because anything that we have, whether possessions, gifts or talents, is bestowed upon us by God (James 1:17) and He wants us to use what He has given us for His glory.”
According to scripture, the bottom line is, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:31

Gallery

BEACH BOY AL JARDINE AT THE CAVE, JUNE 15, 2018

20 Jun

veronicajamesblog

508104B5-591C-4EBA-AA53-B26C0FCE03F5

Last night for my birthday, my husband, Tim, took me to this tiny concert venue called The Cave in Big Bear to see founding Beach Boy member Al Jardine. It was unbelievable!

We sat in “General Admission” and I kept thinking the reserved seats in front of us would start filling up once the concert started, then after the opening act, Shay & Co. They never did fill up. There were, at most, just 150 people there! I was shocked.

Once the concert started, the MC invited anyone to come down front to the “mosh pit” to enjoy the concert and get as close to the stage as we wanted, as long as we didn’t touch any of the performers.

So guess where I went? We were also encouraged to ask questions and I did. I asked Al Jardine how he got into folk music. He answered me, saying that…

View original post 832 more words

Gallery

US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SOLVES THE PROBLEM OF WORLD HUNGER!

20 Jun

veronicajamesblog

BREAKING NEWS STORIES

U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SOLVES THE PROBLEM OF WORLD HUNGER!
However, his critics say, “Too little, too late” and one reporter said he thought he saw a piece of lettuce in the teeth of the American President.
U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SECURES PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST!
However, this colossal news story was preempted on American TV by the breaking news that a former Hollywood starlet, Hasbeen Medioker, recently came forward with the shocking realization that she now believes Trump was actually making a pass at her when he leaned forward to pet her beloved (but now deceased) Lhasa Apso, Tena-Dubi, (who was a gorgeous shade of light cream with charcoal blue markings and who enjoyed running in the park and sardine treats, according to the late dog’s obituary) at a coffee shop nearly 30 years ago!
“I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner,”…

View original post 192 more words

BEACH BOY AL JARDINE AT THE CAVE, JUNE 15, 2018

17 Jun

508104B5-591C-4EBA-AA53-B26C0FCE03F5

Last night for my birthday, my husband, Tim, took me to this tiny concert venue called The Cave in Big Bear to see founding Beach Boy member Al Jardine. It was unbelievable!

We sat in “General Admission” and I kept thinking the reserved seats in front of us would start filling up once the concert started, then after the opening act, Shay & Co. They never did fill up. There were, at most, just 150 people there! I was shocked.

Once the concert started, the MC invited anyone to come down front to the “mosh pit” to enjoy the concert and get as close to the stage as we wanted, as long as we didn’t touch any of the performers.

So guess where I went? We were also encouraged to ask questions and I did. I asked Al Jardine how he got into folk music. He answered me, saying that The Beach Boys were recording in the same studio as the folk group, The Kingston Trio, and it had a great echo chamber. He was so impressed with the sounds the Kingston Trio came up with using that echo chamber that he was inspired to do his first folk rock song with The Beach Boys.

Jardine explained the history of the old tune, probably from the Bahamas, and demonstrated how it was originally sung, along with his band mates, including his son Matt, who sings falsetto with Mike Love’s current Beach Boys touring group. Then they launched into The Beach Boys rendition of “Sloop John B,” a 1966 hit single off the historic Pet Sounds album. It was awesome!

Jardine introduced another Pet Sounds favorite, “God Only Knows,” written by Brian Wilson, as his pick and Paul McCartney’s pick, for the best song ever written. 

Throughout the concert, old footage of The Beach Boys played on a large screen behind the band. Sometimes the footage was interrupted by an interview with someone that Jardine wanted us to watch or a picture that he wanted to discuss. I learned so much!

The concert opened with The Beach Boys’ first recording, “Surfin’,” which hit the air waves in November of 1961. According to Jardine, the newly formed band had a song that leader Brian Wilson wanted to record but they had no instruments. Jardine came up with an idea for the group to “audition for my mom” to get money for instruments. The group sang two songs, including an a cappella number by the Four Freshman, a quartet whose harmonies greatly influenced The Beach Boys, particularly Brian Wilson. It worked. They bought their instruments and the rest is history.

Jardine also shared the story of Brian Wilson receiving an “F” for his composition of “Surfin’” in a music class at Hawthorne High School. Other versions of the story say that Brian actually received the “F” for “Surfin’” in a music class at El Camino College. Either way, it was a great story.

The concert continued with “Surfin’ Safari,” a set of car songs, which included “I Get Around,” The Beach Boys’ first #1 single (1964), and “Little Deuce Coupe.” Other Beach Boy hits included “Good Vibrations,” “California Girls” and “Surfer Girl.”

Jardine said that he felt the late Annette Funicello was the first real surfer girl, I suppose because she played the part in seven “Beach Party” films, beginning in 1963. Then a clip was shown of The Beach Boys playing and singing backup behind Funicello on the title song of the Disney film, “The Monkey’s Uncle,” released in 1965.

Jardine introduced The Beach Boys hit “Don’t Worry Baby” by discussing the group’s admiration for the work of former record producer Phil Spector. He said, “‘Don’t Worry Baby’ was the Beach Boys’ answer to ‘Be My Baby,’” a hit for the Ronnettes, which was produced by Phil Spector.

The audience also viewed photos of the Beatles while Jardine explained to us how John Lennon and George Harrison knocked on his hotel door one day and invited him and the rest of The Beach Boys to meet the Maharishi, who taught all of them Transcendental Meditation.

There was also an interview shown recounting the bizarre making of the song Vegetables in 1967.

California Saga was written after the group spent a frustrating month in Holland working on the Holland album, according to Jardine. He said the band members were all homesick for California when Brian Wilson walked into the room and spontaneously started singing, “On my way to sunny California,” in anticipation of going home. Those words then became the first line of the song, which was released on the Holland album in 1973.

Jardine and his band also played a few songs from his solo CD, A Postcard From California.

Encore songs included Surfing USA, Help Me Rhonda and Barbara Ann.

After the concert, fans were allowed to get up close and personal with Jardine, who signed posters and CD’s.

Compared to many concert sites, The Cave is just a hole in the wall, nestled in the San Bernardino mountains and perhaps the best kept secret of Big Bear. Despite the need for a long drive up a windy, mountain road to get there, The Cave is just 90 minutes from the Inland Empire and two hours from LA and Orange Counties.

Our general admissions seats were extremely close to the stage and cost only $30 apiece with a discount my husband found online. Armed security guards were present, also.

One thing I’ve noticed over the years about the members of The Beach Boys is that these days they all put on a great show. Whether it’s Brian Wilson and band, The Beach Boys, featuring lead vocalist and veteran front man Mike Love or Al Jardine and band, it’s a wonderful bit of nostalgia and fun that you don’t want to miss, if at all possible. So thanks, Tim, for the PERFECT birthday present!

US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SOLVES THE PROBLEM OF WORLD HUNGER!

14 Jun

BREAKING NEWS STORIES

U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SOLVES THE PROBLEM OF WORLD HUNGER!
However, his critics say, “Too little, too late” and one reporter said he thought he saw a piece of lettuce in the teeth of the American President.
U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SECURES PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST!
However, this colossal news story was preempted on American TV by the breaking news that a former Hollywood starlet, Hasbeen Medioker, recently came forward with the shocking realization that she now believes Trump was actually making a pass at her when he leaned forward to pet her beloved (but now deceased) Lhasa Apso, Tena-Dubi, (who was a gorgeous shade of light cream with charcoal blue markings and who enjoyed running in the park and sardine treats, according to the late dog’s obituary) at a coffee shop nearly 30 years ago!
“I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner,” she told CNN reporter Frankie Newt-Sham. “Now it all makes sense!” she screeched. “Tena-Dubi growled at The Donald because she knew that The Donald was actually trying to make a pass at me! It’s all so clear now. Or maybe Tena-Dubi thought he was trying to steal her sardine? Whoops! Oh, well!”
The ACLU is representing the now bankrupt, one-time actress in a civil lawsuit for monetary damages, a public apology and a demand that he step down from the office of President of the Untied States because, due to these shocking and newly reported revelations, he is obviously deemed unfit to stay in office.
Meanwhile, President Trump has solved the problems of World Smog, Climate Change (including the occurrence of earthquakes and tornadoes), U.S. Crime and Homelessness, the Extinction of any Species of Animal, and he has discovered Cures for ALS, AIDS and all forms of Cancer. However, these breaking news stories have been preempted on American TV by the earth shattering news that comedian Howie Mandel, of America’s Got Talent, is now able to shake the hand of a stranger without soaking his hand in bleach for an hour afterwards!

Californians, Vote June 5th!

3 Jun

I finally made up my mind about Governor. Although I was somewhat tempted to go toward Cox because a lot of people think he has a better chance of winning in the general election, plus President Trump endorsed him, I decided to vote for Travis Allen.
Travis Allen is the type of person I would like to see as Governor of California. I think he is what our state needs to do a turnaround.
I think it’s a mistake to vote for Cox just because he might be able to beat a Democrat in the general election. Californians of all political parties are really fed up with what is going on in our state right now. If this disgust with our current State leadership translates to a “grass roots” movement, that means that a lot of people from all parties will vote for someone who represents change as Allen does.
Travis Allen is a native Californian and he knows what our state used to be like and he wants to get us back on course. I have no idea what Cox’s vision is for our state, and I have a lot of reservations about him. Being from Chicago doesn’t help, either.
Those of us who were born and raised in California (several decades ago) have seen the deterioration of our state over the years and the middle class flight to other states. But, we’ve stuck it out in hopes that things will get better and turn around. We want someone who can really bring about positive change. I believe Travis Allen can do that.9C36CF8F-B781-4AE8-A090-B42BC3DF25FF

California Residents

3 Jun

I’ve been thinking a lot about the homeless problem recently and I think it’s time we stop beating each other up over it, unify and demand that our state government begin to address this massive humanitarian crisis affecting so many California communities.
Our governor keeps on bragging that California has the 5th largest economy in the world. But what has he done about this immense problem that is affecting so many Californians? If anyone can tell me one thing that he’s done about it, I would be interested in hearing it.
I haven’t seen any concern about this monumental problem expressed by state leaders and I haven’t seen one dime of our state tax dollars go toward fixing this problem (and I mean “fixing,” not a band aid here and there). Yet, we are spending billions of dollars on a train that no one needs or wants and state leaders have made California a sanctuary for illegal immigrants without allowing us to vote on the issue.
Think about it for a minute: thousands of our legal residents are living on our streets in filth and squalor, some suffering from addiction and mental illness. Others are veterans who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and some of them are just down and out, and our state leaders are doing nothing to help any of them. Meanwhile, Governor Brown and these same state leaders are inviting the poor, ragged – and oppressed of the WORLD to come here illegally and be welcomed with opened arms. If we can’t even take care of our own legal citizens, how are we going to care for the poor and downtrodden of the WORLD?
Perhaps Governor Brown and our state legislators are living so high off the hog in their private communities and limousines (on our hard earned tax dollars) that they are not affected by the burgeoning homeless population as the rest of us are. Obviously, they are not concerned about the homeless people, but they also do not seem to be living the same California REALITY that the rest of us experience on a daily basis. In short, they are out of touch and unconcerned.
If I were Governor Jerry Brown or any California state leader, I would not be bragging about the size of our economy or anything else about our state. I would be ashamed to be in leadership of a state that has done basically nothing to help the neediest of its own people. To have American citizens living like this and being neglected by state leaders as they are is an embarrassment to me as a second generation Californian and as an American. It’s a disgrace! And it’s especially shameful when you consider that California state spending is at an all time high and Governor Jerry Brown is leaving his successor with more than $283.3 billion in existing budget debt, according to the California State Department of Finance. (John Myers, political columnist, latimes.com)
The homeless problem is too big for our cities and even our counties to handle. Look at Orange County. No OC city wants to take on the burden of the homeless riverbed population. The hands of our Police and city leaders are tied by our outdated state laws that need to change so that people are required to get the treatment they need when they are unable to adequately care for themselves, whether they want it or not.
Instead of spending billions of dollars on a useless train, we need to invest in our own legal citizens; our homeless young people, veterans and others. They need mental health care, rehab, job training and transitional housing.
Instead of spending millions of dollars on free education for illegal immigrants at our University of California campuses (thanks a lot, Janet Napolitano), we need to lower college fees for our legal, California residents.
Our state also needs sound policies that will provide better paying jobs and more affordable housing. Plus, we need to bring our middle class back to California and stop the descent into a welfare state where only the rich and the poor reside. That is not acceptable and it’s un-American!
It boggles my mind to watch the TV commercials of those running for California State Governor and other leadership positions. Do these people even live in California? They are so out of touch. All they talk about is gun control and a bunch of mushy stuff that I can’t even remember, but I know that it’s not important to me as a state resident and as a voter.
In addition to the homeless problem, we state voters are concerned about excessive taxation (skyrocketing gas taxes and vehicle registration fees, to name just two examples), soaring crime, the high cost of housing and the high cost of living, not enough well-paying jobs and excessive bureaucratic red tape and other burdens on our small businesses.
Thanks to current state leaders, scores of prisoners are being let out of our jails too early and without proper preparation, job training and rehabilitation to give them a successful, crime free life after release.
As our standard of living continues to decrease, good businesses and legal, law abiding citizens (including many of our young people) have moved out of California in droves and they continue to leave.
Where are our hard earned tax dollars going? Despite having the world’s fifth largest economy, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation at 20.4%. (DailyBulletin.com editorial by Sal Rodriguez) We need more state audits and more accountability.
All of us need to educate ourselves and vote in the upcoming elections in June and November. We need to study the candidates and the issues and vote in wise people who care about our concerns and who will properly use our tax dollars and the strength of our economy to increase the standard of living for all legal, California residents. I hope to see you at the polls!

SAMPLE ARTICLES

4 Jun

Scan_Doc0008  The Business Express, Montclair Chamber of Commerce: “Educating the Technology…”

Scan_Doc0007  The Business Express, Montclair Chamber of Commerce: “Johnny Macias…”

Scan_Doc0018  The Los Angeles Times, Inland Valley section: “Kid Are Special Regardless…”

Scan_Doc0009 The Los Angeles Times, Inland Valley section: “Family Night Traditions…”

Scan_Doc0015  The Los Angeles Times, Inland Valley section: “International Adoptions…”

Scan_Doc0011  The Los Angeles Times, Inland Valley section: “Pomona Resident Recalls…”

Scan_Doc0012  The Los Angeles Times, Inland Valley section: “Children Offer Views…”

Scan_Doc0017  The Los Angeles Times, Inland Valley section: “Childless Couples Face…”

Scan_Doc0021  Ontario, The Gem of the Foothills, “Superior Engineered Products”

Scan_Doc0022  Ontario, The Gem of the Foothills, “Bishamon Industries”

Scan_Doc0023  Ontario, The Gem of the Foothills, “Bishamon Industries” (continued)

Scan_Doc0025  Ontario, The Gem of the Foothills, Writing Credits

Scan_Doc0019  Herald Tribune, “Family Ties…”

Scan_Doc0020  Herald Tribune, “Family Ties…” (continued)

Scan_Doc0016   The Daily Bulletin, “Long Beach has…”

Scan_Doc0026  The Daily Bulletin, “Making Copies…”

Scan_Doc0010   The Daily Bulletin, “Recycling Efforts…”

 

In Memory of Randy Ziegler

6 Jul

Logo_5_cm_KopieBLOG-hawaii-wave-surf-picture71OneWay bibleI wrote the following article about Randy Ziegler approximately 35 years ago while attending UC Irvine. A sorority sister had invited me to a contemporary Christian rock music concert (something I had never heard of) at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, California. At the end of the concert, a guy with wavy, bleached-out, blond hair and surfer lingo began preaching the gospel to the crowd of about 2,000 young people. His style was what I would term as “hang loose” because of his creative use of the English language, which often included making up his own words. But he was captivating, with comments like, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonalds makes you a hamburger.”

Pretty soon I was attending the concerts regularly with friends in addition to Randy’s Tuesday night Bible studies. During these times, we heard some pretty far-out tales about Randy’s life, and as a writer, I was intrigued. So, I asked Randy if I could interview him for a magazine article about his life and how he wound up as a preacher. He complied, and the following article is the result. With Randy’s blessing, I sent the article out to several potential publishers, but all of the magazines turned it down. Perhaps Randy’s testimony was a little too long or a little too wild for the periodicals of the day. Anyway, over the years I forgot all about Randy’s story until learning that he passed away on June 26 of this year. After mentioning the article at Randy’s memorial service, several people expressed interest in reading it, so here it is, in remembrance of Randy. Rest in Peace, Randy.

How I Found Peace, Joy and Freedom

By Randy Ziegler

As told to Veronica Young

     “Haole, we’re gonna get you, we’re gonna kill you Goldilocks!” These words haunted me my first night in a high security prison cell seven years ago in Hawaii.

Just two weeks earlier I was sitting in pre-med classes at a university in California. I had come to Hawaii to do some surfing and visit one of my sisters. But, six days after my arrival I was caught with drugs, arrested and sent to jail. Eventually, I wound up in Halawa High Security Facility, where most of the inmates were serving life sentences for murder.

I was the only white prisoner at Halawa, and gangs would sing each night about who they were going to kill next. My first night in, they sang about me. I was so scared that I couldn’t sleep.

I didn’t make a very good impression on my judge, partly because I had long hair and a beard, and partly because I had smuggled over 100 pounds of dope into the state. At my arraignment he told me that he was going to make an example of me, and he did.

My family tried everything they knew to get me out. My parents didn’t live in Hawaii so my sister rounded up some bail money, but even that didn’t help. I was told that I would never get out.

At Halawa many prisoners were insane and some were psychologically and genetically malformed, with scarred faces and eyes that couldn’t focus. The guards would lower them into a pit where they tried to break from their chains, screaming like madmen. I used to sit there watching them and think, “Wow, one day it’s gonna be me.”

I finally got released from Halawa by forfeiting my bail money as a bribe. Yet, the witness of murders and the memories of unsanitary, crowded jail cells stayed with me long after my release.

I split for California as fast as I could. But, when I got there I was paranoid. I was afraid that I might get extradited across state lines and wind up back in jail. So to avoid being traced, I dropped out of college even though I had a four-year scholarship and just a couple of quarters to go. I moved to Dana Point, California to live with a sister I hadn’t seen in three years.

My sister was really different. She had a strange peace about her that I wasn’t used to. And she was always smiling and happy. I didn’t know it when I moved in, but she had become a Christian since I had last seen her.

Although my sister didn’t approve of my lifestyle, she never got down on me for getting drunk and loaded or doing terrible things. Instead she was always loving and kind to me.

By day I shaped and glassed surfboards while getting loaded, and at night my buddies and I got more loaded, smoked hash and got drunk on top of that. I used to get so loaded on hash that I’d just pass out on the kitchen floor and sleep there all night while the dog lay on top of me to keep me warm.

My fears of getting arrested mounted as old girlfriends began calling me. Every old girlfriend I knew started calling, wanting to get back together with me. Then, people started calling from back east whom I didn’t know, wanting to do drug deals. I thought for sure the police were trying to set me up to send me back to Hawaii. I couldn’t sleep at night and I didn’t know what to do or where to turn.

Then, one day I agreed to pick my sister up from church only because her car wasn’t working. As I reluctantly stepped inside the church to get her, everybody sat down and a young guy got up and started reading from the Bible. I wanted to leave, but couldn’t because people were blocking the doorway and telling me to sit down. As I did, I noticed that the guy I sat next to was Brad McCall, United States Surfing Champion of the year! A film had just been made about him and his picture was plastered throughout every surfing magazine. I stared in awe as he sat there with a Bible in his lap. Then I looked around and saw Corky Carroll and several other famous surfers. As I wondered what was going on I heard the preacher blabbing about the resurrection and Jesus dying, “for you!” I felt very uncomfortable and was unable to listen. Finally, out of curiosity, I looked up and recognized the guy speaking. In high school he had been such a vegetable from doing LSD that he used to sit on the beach cliffs and drool for hours at a time. He couldn’t even talk and had to drop out of high school as a sophomore. As I sat and watched him I couldn’t believe my eyes. He had short hair, a nice white shirt, and he was talking in a collective and intelligent way. “There was an empty tomb and Jesus rose for your sins.” That’s all I could remember him saying. As his talk ended I was so disturbed that beads of sweat were dripping down my face.

Several people recognized me and came over to talk, including the speaker. They told me about various successes and how they had become Christians. The most unbelievable story came from the preacher, who was working on his Ph.D. after going back to high school and then on to college, completing both with straight A’s. When I asked them what had made the difference in their lives, they said two words, “Jesus Christ.” I was shocked. “That’s baloney!” I screamed. “I don’t want to hear it. That’s garbage.” And I stormed off.

From then on my life got more wretched and my paranoia grew. I couldn’t sleep and began thinking a lot. I thought about my sister and how she had changed into a loving, gentle person. I thought about the successes of old acquaintances. And I thought about death.

I had come close to death several times from car wrecks and illness. I had seen others die. I even witnessed a girl I knew commit suicide. For all practical reasons I should have been dead, too. But, I wasn’t. Why?

I thought back to 1970. My mother was crying her eyes out, the doctors were shaking their heads and a priest was putting ashes on my forehead. I had contracted hepatitis, paratyphoid and a water leech from drinking water on a surfing trip to Mazatlán. As I lay in intensive care after surgery, a series of tubes ran throughout my entire body keeping me alive. The doctors felt that the operations had been unsuccessful and that I would soon die, so they sent for a priest to give me last rites. As the priest leaned over to smear ashes on my forehead, I opened my eyes and was struck by the sight of a cross dangling from his neck. I knew at that moment that I was going to die and that I wasn’t going to heaven. Then I slipped into a coma as a terrible sense of evil gripped me. My skin turned icy cold and I couldn’t move. I felt sicker than ever before as I lay there day after day until eventually I woke up and slowly recovered.

Why did God allow me to live? I was a physical and emotional wreck. Most of my large intestine and much of my stomach muscle had been cut away. I was weak, I couldn’t surf – I couldn’t even sit up! I finally became so depressed that I fell into despair where I didn’t even care if I hurt anymore.

As these memories came back to me in 1974, a bizarre incident came to mind. I was on my way to Del Mar on a beautiful, sunny day when I noticed some thin, wispy clouds far off on the horizon. As I stopped my car to talk to a girl, I saw that they were drawing closer and closer together until they formed a thick layer over our heads. Suddenly, the sky darkened all around us and a sheet of hailstones hammered down on us. The girl ran inside and I stood there watching the sky grow darker and darker until a huge black cloud stormed around me in a circular motion. I felt death in the air, as if somebody had just died. It was the sickest feeling. I ran to my car and quickly drove to a friend’s house, nearby. As I drove, huge hailstones pounded my car and wind swirled above me like a tornado.

I felt sick to my stomach as I ran into my friend’s house. When I sat down, I noticed a clock which read five minutes after three. I didn’t move until a quarter after, when the storm suddenly stopped and the sky cleared instantly. I thought, “Wow! I’ve just had my first flashback from drugs – unreal!”

I decided to go surfing where I met another friend who lived up on the hill above Del Mar. He asked me if I’d seen the mini-tornado down in the valley by the racetrack. I told him that I had been in the middle of it but he still had trouble believing what he’d seen.

As we started down the cliffs to the beach he said, “You know what? Today’s Good Friday.” I mumbled, “So what? What does that mean?” He answered, “That’s the day Christ died.” As we started to go in the water he said, “The Bible says he died at three o’clock and darkness covered the whole land.”

My knees started to shake. I felt like God had re-enacted the death of Christ from two thousand years ago to show me what He had felt and how He had to give up His life for our sins. And I felt like it was for my sins.

Then my friend said, “I’m goin’ home,” and he left. I paddled out and the waves went flat. As I sat out in the ocean I thought and thought about what had happened.

Maybe God really was trying to tell me something. I remembered another strange experience, this time at the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach. An old teammate from high school approached me saying, “How are you? God bless you!” Then he threw his arms around me in a bear hug and said, “I really love you.” I freaked out.

During high school this guy was probably the person I hated most in my life. He was about a foot taller than me and eighty pounds heavier and he got his kicks by beating people up – smashing them in the showers, stuffing them into trash cans. I was glad when he started taking drugs because he couldn’t do that anymore. He became so drugged out that he couldn’t even talk. Eventually, he moved to the North Shore of Hawaii, where he lived in a tree fort off a steady diet of LSD.

And there he was in front of me sharing how he’d become a Christian in a kind, intelligent way. I was conscious of people staring, so I tried to get away but he kept hugging me and wouldn’t let me go. Finally, I was so embarrassed that I shouted, “Get out of here; I don’t want to talk to you!”

What was making the changes in these people’s lives? I focused on my own life. I was 23-years-old, depressed, fearing the law and unable to sleep. Finally in desperation, one night in August 1974, I went into my sister’s bedroom, got down on my knees and prayed, “God, if you’re real, be real to me. And if you’re not, I don’t ever want to hear about Christianity again. I’m gonna slap every Christian’s face that I see.” And right then I felt Jesus literally step into the room, and reach right through my body into my heart. I started crying and crying. I felt like all my sins were lifted off me and I felt free. I couldn’t lift my face to look, but there was a glow in the room all around me and I felt like Christ was literally standing in the room. Then, I felt Him leave and I understood for the first time that Jesus was really God and a soothing peace fell upon me. I went to bed and slept like a baby for the first time in years.

From that moment on my life changed dramatically. I could sleep at night. I had peace and joy in my heart and my entire internal character had changed. I felt like I knew God and I wanted to please Him. Instantly, I stopped drinking, cussing and doing drugs. Instead of being bitter, wrathful and vindictive, I became more forgiving, loving and accepting.

My desires changed completely. I wanted to be a Christian and follow Christ. I wanted to go to Bible studies. I started going to my sister’s church on Wednesday nights, then Mondays, then Thursdays, then Sundays and pretty soon every night of the week. People were on fire for the Lord and lots of people were getting saved. Many hot surfers and people my age went there and I really felt at home. Shortly afterward, I moved into a house with six other Christian guys.

Today, I organize and host contemporary Christian rock concerts at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, California. I also lead several Bible studies throughout the week in between counseling and speaking engagements. Now the most important thing in my life is serving Christ. If it’s at Jack-in-the-Box, scrubbing floors, then that’s where I’ll be.

After all those wasted years I finally discovered what God had been trying to tell me all along and why He had allowed me to live when everyone else thought I would die. He loved me and sent His son to die for me so that I could know Him and spend eternity in heaven with Him. I only wish I had listened sooner.

God really loves you too and He wants to know you in a personal way. But you have to get right with God by praying and asking Jesus to come into your life and make you a new person. If you’re sincere, you’ll spend eternity with God in heaven. It’s a free gift, but you have to make the decision to accept it.

%d bloggers like this: