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Historical Society meets, farmers market gone, Dunbar talent


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The more it changes . . .

First up: good news from Jim Shere, executive director of the Glen Ellen Historical Society. He wants you all to know about the next public meeting of the society, Saturday afternoon, Feb. 22, at 2 p.m. “Not Losing the Real Glen Ellen.” Board president Charles Mikulik, a graduate student in the cultural resource management program at Sonoma State University, plans to talk about impending changes in our Valley. Among other subjects, Charles will discuss stewardship, and how we can affect our history by identifying, documenting and managing our resources. Charles’ insights into the academic and political forces that influence our community will help us to understand what goes into the decision about who we’ve been and who we will become.

This event takes place at Mayflower Hall, 5311 O’Donnell Lane in Glen Ellen this Saturday afternoon. It is free, though donations are appreciated and membership in the Glen Ellen Historical Society is encouraged.

Died and gone to Kenwood

Good neighbor and friend Jim Berkland was the first, but not the only, person to let me know that I’d made an error in a recent column. I appreciate Jim’s calls. Jim shares more news than I can ever use, we laugh and reminisce about good old days. Some of which are happening right now.

Jim’s correction was about the Glen Ellen Farmers Market. Apparently, it is no longer. Last summer, the market played its swan song and I didn’t even know. But then, I think lots of folks didn’t.

In previous summers, I enjoyed trotting down the regional park trail to pick up my week’s supply of fresh veggies for bountiful salads, fruits to sweeten my life and a few other goodies here and there. Oh yes, like those specially roasted almonds from a central valley family farm. Though not precisely Sonoma Valley, the family drove their truck over to our farmers market every Sunday and sold the most delicious almonds I’ve ever tasted.

After perusing the market and on a Sunday, talking to friends, I’d get revitalized for the hike home by indulging in a steaming bowl of dhal at Yeti. (It’s true; I love hot soup on a summer day, just like the folks who created that soup.) Then I’d stop by for a few Wine Country Chocolates to fortify my homeward stroll through the regional park.

My only hope was that someday a connecting bridge would be built from the (regional) park to the park(ing) lot. Alas, the farmers market has moved and that matters less now, though I still recommend it.

Next spring and summer, our local farmers market will be in Kenwood on that little town’s center green. It’s a fitting place for the market and I’m sure it will do well there. I’ll just miss the opportunity for dhal, chocolate and that weekly walk.

Yoga for me is a stretch

I’ve been to Kenwood a number of times lately. My buddy (and former college roommate) Judy Laursen talked me into attending Misty Green’s Yoga Stretch and Sound Meditation at the new Lion Heart Yoga studio.

At first, I was reluctant to join Judy at a yoga class. She’s an adept and experienced horse-rider, having completed several Tevis rides (100 mile, one day endurance rides), and she’s active daily in her teaching at Sonoma Development Center.

Me? Getting up and down on a yoga mat with these already-aging titanium parts can be a challenge. But Judy’s enthusiasm can carry me just about anywhere. And I’m glad it did. What a profoundly relaxing experience Misty’s class is.

That first Tuesday night it was just me, Jude, and our fellow Bouverie docent and friend Bonnie Alexander. While the class numbers expand and shrink on various Tuesday evenings, Misty’s class remains a transporting, divinely inspired relaxation hour.

Art of Eating

Bonnie Alexander will be featured more in this column in the weeks to come. She’s working hard right now, joined by other local friends, including Julie Atwood and Kathleen Hill, planning ACR’s big spring benefit, “The Art of Eating.” The funds raised by ACR (Audubon Canyon Ranch, Bouverie’s parent organization) ensure a continuing free nature program for local kids.

Bonnie will also make the news in GE because of the wonderful story of her late father, which she shared with me.

Bringing tennis to the table

Meanwhile, young students star in this column. First up is our Carmel Road neighbor Sanford J. Horowitz, who’s not a kid at all, but a papa to one. Around town, Sanford’s simply known as Sandy.

Apparently some weeks ago, I wrote about Sandy and his son, Caleb, playing a table tennis match. I wasn’t sure who was winning, as it looked pretty competitive to me. Sandy wrote me with the match results of that day, and I’m still not sure who won. Let’s just say it will always be Caleb in my column. Youth before age almost always trumps in sports. Besides, I hear that Caleb is a super table tennis player, a two-time champ at Camp Winnarainbow. 

Dunbar discovers talent

Other young folks in the news today are the talented crew of kids at Dunbar School. On a recent foggy day, where the sun hardly appeared by afternoon, I nonetheless felt the warmth and brightness of our local elementary school kids. It was talent show day.

Back in the long ago times, when our two boys were students at Dunbar and we were members of the enthusiastic parent audience, the talent show took place in the evening. It was easier for parents to attend then. One show I remember with great surprise was when Diana Rhoten was the talent show organizer, working with Dunbar’s afterschool classes. One of the final performances in that show was a version of “Splish, Splash, I was taking a bath,” a 1950s hit song by Bobby Darin. Bobby Darin was long gone by the time these Dunbar kids were singing his hit in the 1980s, but the song has remained popular.

My surprise: the bather was none other than our elder son, Schuyler, wearing only a towel (or so it appeared from the audience). Our generally shy son pranced around the stage surrounded by a gaggle of beautiful sixth-grade girls. What a riot. Leave it to clever Diana Rhoten to come up with such a hoot.

That was only surpassed some years later when our second son, Gabriel, surprised us at Andrews Hall in a St. Francis School production of “South Pacific” wearing a grass skirt and two coconut shells. That was the madcap creation of Julia Maffei, another clever choreographer who likes to surprise parents.

Surefire lift to spirits

But back to last week’s Dunbar Show. Talent shows have a surefire way of lifting my spirits.  

I arrived at Dunbar early enough to grab a seat, which I find is essential now for these events. That gave me time to sit and contemplate the backdrop for the talent show. The wall behind the performers was covered with a U.S. map and Cat in the Hat decorations, as the students of the school prepare for their Read Across America event.

Left of the stage on the back wall of the auditorium is Dunbar’s beautiful quilt, made many years ago by a talented volunteer team of quilters including Mary Ann Carr, Margie Foster and others. The quilt depicts two children, a brown-haired boy and a blond girl, who sit reading in the golden California grass, beneath a towering oak whose branches spread to the borders, while the treetop reaches the blazing blue sky of the quilt. Each part of the quilt, from ground to tree to sky, children included, is formed of tiny squares, each scrap of fabric contributed by Dunbar families. And so, the quilt carries thousands of memories from many different folks, representing a multitude of good times, at a school still beloved by many.

Remembering Nicole, Jake and Corey

As I look at the quilt, awaiting the talent show’s beginning, I remember Nicole Burns, Jake Atkinson and Corey Dern, just a few of the former students of Dunbar. I recall good memories of times long past. Nicole was always the bright-eyed, beautiful shy girl, while Jake was a class leader, thoughtful and friendly to all. Corey, a member of my Cub Scout troop, could make the whole gang of boys chuckle with his tricks. I miss them all, but have learned, with effort, to look at the quilt and concentrate on the good times of Dunbar in the past, and the good times of Dunbar today.

Clever as ever

I experienced joy in full measure last week attending the talent show. As the kids file into the auditorium I’m struck how bright and talented they look, and clever as ever. It’s a good school.

Among the audience members was my Vox Populi friend, Robbie Leed and his partner Sean Elizabeth Lemurt. Robbie made sure that I would notice his beloved guitar playing mentee, David. Robbie was clearly very proud of him.

Then, Tom Elster, sitting next to me, pointed out his son’s name on the program. Mason Elster would be singing a song. Tom shared that Mason had been practicing for weeks. I was alert to watching for both of these two kids performances.

David played a beautiful, mellow and melodic version of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.” It was perfect and stunningly moving. Robbie, who has always loved music, has a right to be proud.

Mason’s personal rendition of “Boogie Train” was spot on. His costume was outstanding. A pink and black-stripped suit with a snazzy hat gracing his long blond hair. He was just too cute. And talented, too.

But truly, I have to admit that my favorite performer of the day was lovely Luna Michelis, playing a beautiful Mozart piece that had her hands racing around the keyboard. It was fast, and she was entirely adept, performing with grace and style. Of course, I have to credit Luna with great talent, but she’s also benefitted from having a top piano teacher, beautiful Deirdre Egan.

Dance, magic and a breaking of boards

Other kids in the Dunbar talent show included Riley, a kindergartener who sang a sweet and moving version of our national anthem. Magic tricks were shared throughout the show. Kindergartener Jaidyn, brother and sister team Luis and Fiona, and Justin Crook all shared their prestidigitation skills. (Presti-what? Look it up, kids.)

You may notice, by the way, that I cite only first names here unless I have parent permission to cite last names, too. But kids reading this will know who they are. (And kids: you do read the Index-Tribune twice a week, don’t you?)

Silly jokes that made parents and kids alike chuckle included comic teams Riley and Jaidyn, Diego and Escarly, and a solo comic routine by Gabe. Gabe Gissel came up to me after the show and thanked me for mentioning him in the paper last year. A polite and charming fellow.

Dance routines were performed by hula hooping trio of Abby, Emily and Ana, and later, by the team of Shelby and Sarah. Esteban and Carlos also danced, while Chloe performed a cheerleading dance that featured her awesome gymnastic talents. Another trio, made up of Emma, Lily and Lailie danced also. Two sisters, Victoria and Isabella and their mum (Dunbar teacher Renea Magnani) did a stunning choreographed tap dance that was just too cute. The mum’s optical illusion dress swirled and moved with each tap. I suggest for next year’s show, they all wear such a fancy dress. It truly highlighted the moves.  

Talented karate and taekwondo performances were offered by Dolce, Antonia and Valerie, who appeared with her karate instructor. She efficiently and gracefully broke two boards.

Poetry and song

My favorite recitation was by Carlie and Daphne who did Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream,” followed by a comic poem, “Midterm Science Test.”

There were many singers, including Sofia’s sweet version of “The Princess” song. An entire group, including Jessy, Faith, Jose, Brayden, Luis, Sean, Miguel, Kathy and Jacy performed the “Seasons Rap,” with a grand array of props, including a lovely antique sleigh.

Abby sang in a lovely sparkly, black costume, Alondra sang, too as did Sara and Michaela, who sang Sara’s beautiful, original song, “Dunbar Dolphins.” Ariel shared “Be Okay.” My favorite song was undoubtedly a plaintive and beautiful song by Renad sung in Arabic.

Finally, we enjoyed the skits by Raul and Max, Sophie, Mason and Esteban.

Remembering Kathy Krempley

At the end of the show, as the students were filing out, many saw Dennis Krempely, husband of the late and beloved Dunbar teacher Kathy Krempely. They ran up and hugged him with enthusiasm. It was touching to see them interacting, each sharing Kathy’s love with one another. As I talked with Dennis, he shared how healing it is to visit the school and to talk with students who still remember his wife.

Want to see your own name in the news? Share your stories with friends and neighbors in Glen Ellen. Call or write me at 996-5995 or P.O. Box 518, GE 95442. Or email me at Creekbottom@earthlink.net. Glen Ellen chatter rarely requires timeliness; however, if your news does, please be sure to contact me at least two weeks before your desired publication date.