Stompin’ Santa Barbara

Stompin’ Santa Barbara

A Story by barleygirl
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more true stories . . .

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Throughout four years of high school, I rode a yellow bus for three hours every day since I lived way out in the country. Mine was the last bus stop. My older brother Gordon and I rode those last five miles on the bus alone together. So it was culture shock for me when I went off to college at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) at the oblivious age of eighteen.

Since my childhood home was so far from everything, we didn’t get any television reception at all. Not one single channel could be tuned in on our black and white TV set. There was no widespread cable TV service, nor were satellite dishes prevalent among households. Much of the United States had been getting a firsthand glimpse of war, with Vietnam film clips the first to ever be televised, but I was clueless about violent protests sweeping the nation.

When I moved to Isla Vista, a student community bordering the UCSB campus, it was a memorable experience for this country bumpkin in September 1974. People regularly pointed out the Bank of America building like it was a tourist attraction. Recently rebuilt and secured like a treasury vault, this bank had been vandalized and set on fire twice in 1970. Allegedly involved in financing Vietnam, students took out their wrath on this bank as a symbol of the much-hated war.

Another notable aspect of living in Santa Barbara in the 1970’s: a tar-covered coastline. After dreaming of white sandy beaches there, it was disappointing to find it impossible to take one single step along any beach without widespread globs of crude oil sticking to one’s feet and sandals. Forget about spreading a beach towel in the sand. Every student apartment in Isla Vista had shabby shag carpeting (lime green or burnt orange) dotted with clumps of brownish-black tar. Thousands of birds, fish, and marine mammals had been coated with crude oil and assigned a slow agonizing death.

Three million gallons of heavy crude spilled from an oil rig blow-out, creating an oil slick thirty-five miles long, located six miles off the California coast in 1969. It is the third worst oil spill in US history, behind (#1) the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, which gushed into the Gulf of Mexico for three months in 2010 and (#2) the Exxon Valdez oil tanker which spilled off the coast of Alaska in 1989. The Santa Barbara oil spill ignited anger toward President Nixon for his anti-environmental stance and launched the ongoing environmentalist stance of “no new drilling” along the Pacific coastline. Tar balls blemished the beaches for a decade after the spill.

With such historic tidbits simmering in my memory, it pains me to watch as the current US administration zealously undoes our environmental protections and greedily unleashes widespread mineral exploration upon the most scenic and delicate ecosystems across the west. The largely-deregulated fossil fuel industry will now be policing itself and I expect results to correlate with history.

Then there’s climate change with all related topics now shunned and off-limits. For the first time in memory, there are new rules banning which words can be used in government discourse and reporting! Despite government websites being scrubbed of all scientific information and research, steadfast friends invited our climate scientists to come on over to France and continue their good works!

After living through a six-year drought in California, in the summer of 2016, the raging Soberanes wildfire consumed 132,000 acres of wilderness a few ridges over from where I live. This three-month blaze seemed significant before we got hammered by the current fire season, still torching California as late as mid-December. No rain in sight, halfway through our 2017-18 rainy season!

The Thomas fire now rages between Ventura and Santa Barbara, with more than 260,000 acres of the coastal range blackened in a mere ten days. Recent ferocious fires are torching twice as much land in a fraction of the time, compared to past fires. Current blazes have destroyed approximately ten thousand structures in October (Napa/Sonoma) and December (Santa Barbara/Los Angeles).

Five recent blazes are high on a list of the twenty most destructive California wildfires ever . . . four in Napa/Sonoma (October) and now this current Thomas fire (#1).

Looking at recent droughts, fires, and extreme weather, we can’t forget the unprecedented hurricane season of 2017, which devastated Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands. It’s impossible for me to consider these extreme weather trends to be part of the natural cycles of our planetary climate.

But for me, I’m thinking back on a song by the band “America” . . . we often listened to “Ventura Highway” when we were going to college in Santa Barbara and cruising down to Los Angeles for some weekend fun. I remember eating family-style dinners with friends at the Big Yellow House in Montecito, an affluent mountain enclave where the Thomas fire is now screaming dangerously close by. And I’ll never forget skinny-dipping in Lake Cachuma of the Santa Ynez Mountains not far from where Michael Jackson would later build his Neverland Ranch.




© 2017 barleygirl



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Featured Review

Barleygirl,
Since we are in the same age range, I can identify with all aspects of your story. We are responsible for the way nature is rebelling.
I hate to see Trump undo all the positive work towards climate control.We are behind the clock already. I am glad you are safe.
We have talked before and the water situation will end up dictating world power in the future. Hopefully our better halves will lead our country to sane decisions on the enviorment.
Being a new grandpa, I want my granddaughter to enjoy all the beauty wonders life has to offer.
We have to defeat greed. We were wrong about drugs in the 60's but we nailed it on taking care of Mother Earth. "We have to get back to the garden."
Love and Blessings,
Richie b.

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

3 Months Ago

I love this. I really love it. What a gift you've given me this morning! (((HUGS))) . . . Now I have.. read more
richieb

3 Months Ago

Margie,
Waiting to read your new poem! Hope to have a new story soon.read more
barleygirl

3 Months Ago

I checked out your page just now to see if anything new . . . eagerly awaiting!



Reviews

Barleygirl,
Since we are in the same age range, I can identify with all aspects of your story. We are responsible for the way nature is rebelling.
I hate to see Trump undo all the positive work towards climate control.We are behind the clock already. I am glad you are safe.
We have talked before and the water situation will end up dictating world power in the future. Hopefully our better halves will lead our country to sane decisions on the enviorment.
Being a new grandpa, I want my granddaughter to enjoy all the beauty wonders life has to offer.
We have to defeat greed. We were wrong about drugs in the 60's but we nailed it on taking care of Mother Earth. "We have to get back to the garden."
Love and Blessings,
Richie b.

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

3 Months Ago

I love this. I really love it. What a gift you've given me this morning! (((HUGS))) . . . Now I have.. read more
richieb

3 Months Ago

Margie,
Waiting to read your new poem! Hope to have a new story soon.read more
barleygirl

3 Months Ago

I checked out your page just now to see if anything new . . . eagerly awaiting!
well written no wonder you write so well you were not bombarded by inane tv shows all the time.. so much destruction in your area but you did have youthful joy skinny dipping fun eatting places and a lively youth despite the long bus rides.. you did go to a fine college too... my son is visiting Santa Barbara for his first time and he expects beauty there despite the fires hmmmmmm anyway your sentences and knowledge are remarkable... you definitely are not a superficial lady

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

3 Months Ago

WOW! I'm feeling very happy after reading your encouraging review! (((HUGS))) . . . Here's hoping yo.. read more
marilyn 1225

3 Months Ago

lol we shall see did not know it is the Year of the Dog!!! lol thanks Happy NEW Ye.. read more
Life is so fragile... we were all affected by the Vietnam war... and do we ever learn. My friend Caroline and I after high school flew to Napa Valley in Angwin, California to attend college at Pacific Union College. Her father was a Minister in our church and my parents wanted me to experience the beauty of the West coast. During that year we ate steamed artichokes in the Cafeteria for lunch and dinner every day, along with other delicious food. We visited the Winery once and went snowskiing at Sqaw Valley. A friend invited us to her home in Glendale, California where we saw the 🌹 Rose Bowl Parade. It has been a terrible shock to see the fires destroying so many homes and trees. Margie, it was heart-warming to read about your life. Your silver pen is dipped in a world of events and aftermath. We are living in unpredictable times. Thank you for sharing. truly, Pat

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

3 Months Ago

Thank you so much for the awesome gift of sharing your own experiences, especially in Napa Valley, w.. read more
I liked the places and the journey of living described. Easy to forget. Once we lived and we were wild and free for a time. A wonderful tale described my dear friend.
Coyote

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

3 Months Ago

One of these days, I'll get all these memories unburied! *smile* Thanks for urging me along with you.. read more
Coyote Poetry

3 Months Ago

I liked this one and you are welcome dear friend.
This is a proper ramble. I am in awe.

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

3 Months Ago

Ranting the days can be tricky. I think it's best to say "this is how it feels to me" rather than go.. read more
Nothing suffered like the marine life due to these ecological disasters, their sufferings seemed to have made no lasting imprint on the climate change deniers!

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

3 Months Ago

Thank you for appreciating the creatures that cannot defend themselves! (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie
Fortunately not all of us old, white men are slaves to the establishment. Over the years I've written numerous letters to my representatives in local, state and national governments. While teaching about our Constitution I encouraged my students to do the same.

It's long, hard and frustrating. I've driven to California with my family several times and we have discussed the terrible devastation it is experiencing and unfortunately we believe it will continue to experience as a result of this "leaders'" lack of understanding or caring.

We must depend on the younger generation to follow through. To elect or better yet unseat those selfish politicians that are not governing in the best interest on the people.

I'm sorry if I sound like I'm ranting, but I am!

Take care - Dave

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

4 Months Ago

I haven't watched that . . . must be HBO or something I can't afford! *smile*
Dave

4 Months Ago

I'm not sure which one, but it's on one of the major networks, CBS, NBC or ABC.

I'm.. read more
barleygirl

4 Months Ago

OK, sweet friend . . . if you want to talk about wishful thinking, I'll tell you my daily fantasy. I.. read more
Good one, Bgirl. If you think back to the 'good old days' The young then (us) were going to change the world for the better, as the young are want to do, but then real life moved in and we ended up with Watts, Kent State, Detroit and a thousand other protests that did little but challenge the establishment we all hated so much. Now, here we are, a half century beyond the 'Summer of Love", and not much has changed. There are new players to be sure, but the bureaucrats remain, therein lies the rub. By the way, there are a lot of 'old white men' who are not the problem. Colour has nothing to do with good or bad, integrity does.

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

4 Months Ago

Thank you for sharing your astute observations & interesting point of view. Of course there are many.. read more
Ted Kniffen

4 Months Ago

Agreed. Perhaps a meritocracy is what is required. To paraphrase Martin Luther King 'one day I hope .. read more
Ventura highway is just awesome.
It does seem strange the BP spill' I think they got fined ten billion pounds for this. They seemed to try and recoup this fine in Britain, by charging more at the pumps. They still charge more today. Probably why the Brits boycott them. California sure has had tough times. But the folks must be quite a resilient bunch. Do you still have your black and white telly.

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

4 Months Ago

I think you folks pay about 4 times as much as we do for petrol (thank you for subsidizing the massi.. read more
Paul Bell

4 Months Ago

That'll be your new year resolution.
barleygirl

4 Months Ago

Exactly! I've got a good pile started out by the shed already!
For many years I wanted to move to California. I was under the impression it was a great place to live and be happy. TV shows had a lot to do with that.

Now, unfortunately, reality has reared its ugly head. I saw the droughts, and now I'm seeing the fires, (the latest I believe had something to do with the homeless). I'm seeing the homeless in San Francisco. I'm familiar with the oil spills you speak of here. I'm seeing the environmental protections being stripped away. And as far as science, Some of it is being manipulated and falsely reported.

And yet, I occasionally look at streetviews online and see the beautiful neighborhoods, beaches, and streets, so I know it's not all that bad.

I like this short history you've given. I think people can learn a lot from it.

Well done. :)

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

4 Months Ago

Most people are fixated on the more populous & popular features of California, but I've always been .. read more

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Added on December 16, 2017
Last Updated on December 16, 2017

Author

barleygirl
barleygirl

Central Coast, CA



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Just loving life & sharing my blessings. more..

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