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Dunbar grad publishes second book; losing a grad’s story


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GEVFD brick projects slated

We are happy to be the first to report that small team of retired gents and ladies of our local Glen Ellen Village Fire Department have banded together to resurrect the old brick works in Robertson Road Circle. Their brick kilns should be fired up and running soon.

They plan to use most of the newly manufactured bricks to re-construct the O’Donnell Lane bridge. The honey yellow color of the original bricks will be reproduced exactly, “The shade is a blend of the pale yellow of wild oats in August and the amber of a favorite pale ale we firefighters sell at the Glen Ellen Village Fair, a homebrew,” offered one of the brick yard workers*.

Once the old bridge is reconstructed, the team hopes to use the remaining bricks to pave Railroad Avenue “from stem to stern,” offered another brick building firefighter. “Henceforth Railroad Avenue will be known as the Yellow Brick Road,” smiled the chief.

One volunteer firefighter suggested that all of the firemen work at making enough bricks to reconstruct every wooden structure in town using bricks. “Then we wouldn’t need firefighters anymore,” moaned one of the team, while another offered, “We could become the earthquake readiness team.”

We will keep you informed on the progress on the new “old” brickyard.

* Names were withheld in this story because the firefighters have had enough ice cream this week.

Adjunct book branch off shelf

Remember that great appliance store in the center of Glen Ellen? Who in town didn’t buy their appliances on Carquinez Avenue? They had a great selection of fine products and the sales people were knowledgeable and helpful. Plus, their repair department was the best we’ve never hired, because nothing never broke, except for one really old Maytag. “Not your grandmother’s Maytag,” one of them opined, “It’s way older.”

We recently heard some very surprising – and good – news about that now abandoned property. Apparently the Dogpatch branch of the San Francisco Library is negotiating with the shareholders of the Gemini property on Carquinez Avenue to open an adjunct branch of their library.

Why Glen Ellen, one might ask? “Why not?” Was the reply of Bilbo Baggins, chief librarian of the Dogpatch branch. He went on to claim that Dogpatch is the newest hipster hangout in San Francisco, while Glen Ellen rates the same praise. “Hipstervillage,” was his term for our town.

Inquiring further about the new library, I asked, “Upstairs and down?” recalling that marvelous basement full of very cheap fabric, back in the day.

No rinky-dink rink

A nostalgic reverie: Over the years I fashioned many a Halloween costume of that fabric; it also provided the raw materials for a puppet stage which was the centerpiece of one of our boys’ birthday parties, not to mention lots of doll clothes and jammies. I loved trading stories of the good ole days with Frances Gemini, while perusing her material goods.

As for the current plans for the downstairs portion of that venerable old Glen Ellen institution where the fabric was abundant and where Mrs. Gemini reigned, that was another great surprise.  Turns out that librarian Bilbo’s wife, Queen Bathsheba (you know, I couldn’t make up these names) is a former roller derby queen. Now that she has “a trio of little young’uns” herself, she wants to establish a family roller rink in the appliance store’s old basement. Plans, including plenty of roller rink ceiling sound proofing, are nearing completion. We’ll be sure to keep you informed here. For now, I’m renewing my old San Francisco Library card and writing a recommendation to librarian Baggins that Clare O’Brien be immediately recruited as she is the best children’s librarian in the Valley.

Digging for dolphins

Meanwhile, new evidence has been discovered for the credibility of Dunbar School’s mascot. For years everyone has wondered what dolphins had to do with an inland school? Now it’s clear.

In working on the new flooring for the Haver Stage, weakened over the years by ever growing melodrama casting calls, deeper foundation piers had to be installed. As a team of parent volunteers were digging in the ground under the stage last week, they discovered fossilized remains of a dolphin pod. Thirteen dolphins, completely intact, were discovered in the deep mud 100 feet below the stage.

It has long been believed by geologic scholars that the Western Interior Seaway (also called the Cretaceous Seaway) formed in the Paleogene Epoch by the subducted Farallon Plate had no West Coast outlets.

Exactly the opposite of what we now know to be true, geologists say

Apparently all those scholarly geologists were mistaken. A tiny underground fish fissure running from what is now Western Montana, through Idaho, Nevada and California surfaced near the land that is now our Dunbar School campus. It is unknown how an entire pod of healthy dolphins made the trek from Montana, or why, and what caused their demise once arriving here. Possibly old age, given how long ago that was.

Several of the top students in Nora Alexander-Short’s classroom, are studying the dolphins now. Two students from Brandy Melendy’s fourth-grade class are initiating a cloning experiment using extracted dolphin DNA from a likely-looking rib bone. They hope to share the living dolphin pups at next year’s Dunbar Science Fair. I overheard one of the student scientists claim, “That oughta earn me a solid A.” We don’t doubt that our talented local students could achieve any goal they wish. Nonetheless, we wish them luck in this novel pursuit.

In any case, this amazing discovery sheds light on Dunbar School’s chosen mascot. “We appreciate the credence this discovery gives to our Dunbar Dolphins,” stated another of the student scientists. “In a quest for truth, such as the one in which we are now engaged,” she said, “veracity matters.”

And now the rest of the story

Well, yes, you guessed it: Happy April Fools’ Day! At what point did you question the veracity of my news? Early on? Or not until I said that Clare O’Brien might be changing libraries?

So, what is the real news today?

Let’s start first with a great story, and a true one, about one of Dunbar School’s graduates.

Congratulations to talented author Heather Watson. She has just published her second novel, “Transdimensional Superteam.” Heather’s first novel, “The Drowned,” was published in 2011.

Heather’s mother, Anne Watson, describes the new novel as “a science fiction book for youngish adults.” Anne says, “I am reading it electronically from Amazon, and her style reminds me of a cross between ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ and Isaac Asimov.”

Heather’s artwork and books can be found on lunaticstar.weebly.com.

Transdimensional Superteam

Here is the intriguing beginning of Heather’s new novel: “It all started out with a dead fish. That’s a stupid way to start a story, but it’s true. My name’s Jeremy Cutter, and I am … well was … a cop. Nowadays, I’m an agent for the Transdimensional Teams, and it’s my job to police crime all over the multiverse.”

“Yes, multiple universes exist, and yes, they are connected, in Spectra of one hundred-and-eight on the nose. Conceptually cool, I know. But ever since a world called Regalia opened pathways between the worlds, new and spectacular forms of crime have been springing up like daisies. Drug dealers that cross dimensions, impossible boxes with white energy, people with wings running cons, anything and everything to make the classic dishonest buck.

My team is a sassy cyborg, a little girl and her magical pony, a lady with wings, and a stoic one-eyed man in a pinstriped suit. I might be in over my head. I might also be losing my marbles, ever since a magic box exploded in my hands. But I’ve got a drug dealer to catch, a teammate to rescue, and a lot of people to punch.

Bear with me but … this is my story.”

Excels at campy cooking

As a Dunbar fifth grader, Heather performed in the same melodrama that is being produced this year, “Wrongful Doings at Woeful Ranch.” She played an Indian paddling a canoe across the stage. Following that, Heather attended Altimira, while her mother Anne Watson was the department chair of the Special Education Program at Adele Harris Middle School (remember that, because a link to Heather’s current life comes up soon). Heather’s father Charles Watson was an electrical engineer. Both parents are now retired, and still enjoying their Glen Ellen lives.

Heather graduated from Sonoma Valley High, continued on to UC Davis where she graduated with a major in Japanese. On her website, Heather proudly says, “I live in Sonoma, California. I’ve always been in love with writing, science fiction, noir, explosions …”

Besides being a talented writer, Heather enjoys cooking, which she perfected while living and working at the Valley of the Moon Camp. In addition to offering the campers excellent cuisine, Heather also designed the camp shirts. Alas, the Presbyterian Church sold the land and the camp no longer exits. However, Heather’s shirts may well become collectors’ items. Currently Heather works as an assistant in the Special Education preschool at Flowery.

Imagine the sound of shuffling papers

I’m including Heather’s story right now, just after I heard it. Moms and dads, along with grandmamas and grandpapas, are always good news sources for this column. Another proud mom sent me news way back last year and somehow it ended up lost in the shuffle of papers that cover my desk.

Desk? Well, to tell the truth, my desk is also known as the dining room table and when notable guests are expected, I clear the table into big paper bags with great misguided swoops. Sometimes the paper bags get lost. Sometimes they get buried in the back of my closet among opera gowns long since forgotten.

Either could well have been the case, when acclaimed poet Ada Limón’s story disappeared from my focus.

Stacia Brady, Ada’s mom, and I corresponded after Ada’s reading scheduled last September at Jack London State Historic Park was cancelled. I was so disappointed to miss her, especially because I couldn’t attend her Readers’ Books presentation.

Follow the links and you will hear

Nonetheless, Stacia led me to Ada’s blog and following links, I found a site with Ada reading her poetry. Stacia assured me it was very much like hearing Ada’s reading at Andy Weinberger’s bookstore. Yes, her readings are beautiful. I love listening to a home-grown Glen Ellen kid, who has now become a lovely women whose voice carries a slight and lovely melodic Kentucky lilt.

So, seemingly having forgotten Ada, I was thrilled to see education editor Lorna Sheridan’s story about Ada Limón in last Tuesday’s Index-Tribune. Lorna gives Ada all of the credit and honor she deserves. So, my apologies for misplacing a good story and my thanks to Lorna for writing a better story than I could. Yes, as the Bard told us, all is well that ends well. Because this is nearly the end of this week’s column, though not nearly the end of Ada’s deserved fame and accomplishments.

Voices in my head

Next week I’ll be sharing the good news of a great concert, a fund-raising event for the Sonoma Valley Woman’s Club, “Voices in My Head.” The show is Saturday evening, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Woman’s Club. Tickets can be reserved by calling 939-6933. I suggest you do that this week, and next week I’ll surprise you with a few unknown facts about some of the gents in the men’s a capella group performing this concert. I’ll be back again then.

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.