Promise Of Paradise

3:30pm Thursdays
  • Hosted by Sarah Reith, Alice Woelfle, Kate Magruder

 

Welcome to Promise of Paradise, Back to the Land Oral Histories of Mendocino County.  We are working to document an experiment that began roughly fifty years ago all across the country. In the 60’s and 70’s, young people began to “tune in, turn on, and drop out.” Anything was possible. College-educated hippies began to stream away from the cities and into the country, to put a modern twist on ancient homesteading skills. We’ll hear about the sense of exhilaration, the resilience, and how these now aging hippies recall their rush towards freedom and responsibility.

We’ll also hear about how the lack of boundaries led to tragedy and disillusionment; the racial insensitivity; and how the back to the land experiment altered Mendocino County.

Who were these people, why did they come, and what mark did they make on this county’s history?

Promise of Paradise is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, California Humanities, the Arts Council of Mendocino County, the Judy Pruden Historical Preservation Fund of the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, the Mendocino Institute, and Grace Hudson Museum.

 

Promise of Paradise Episode 17: Diana Wiedemann

Mar 6, 2019
Diana Wiedemann

 

Today we’ll be hearing from Diana Wiedemann, an Albion architect and Fifth District Mendocino County Planning Commissioner. In the early 70s, Weed, as she’s known, helped found Trillium, an all-women’s commune in Albion.

 

As a girl in the 50s, Weed was forced to give up her dream of becoming a professional athlete. And as a college student in the late 60s, she saw how men, white men, came to dominate the anti-war movement. It was a time, Weed says, when the playing field for women was very narrow.

 

Promise of Paradise Episode 16: Renee Vinyard

Mar 4, 2019
Renee Vinyard

Midwifery was an important aspect of the back to the land movement. Expectant mothers wanted to deliver babies in their own homes, into the hands of people they trusted. Renee Vinyard was one of those trusted midwives, taking calls on a CB radio, traveling to handmade homes, catching babies as they came into a changing world.

Today we’ll hear her stories about planting trees, harvesting bullfrogs, and what to do when you’re delivering a baby and the entire fire department shows up.

 

Promise of Paradise Episode 15: River

Feb 20, 2019
"Dwelling" published by Freestone Publishing Company

River began her journey as Sally Shook, a 1950s Washington DC suburban housewife who had a longing for something much more.

She found it in Mendocino County in the late 60s in the feminist revolution that produced Country Women Magazine, she found it in the book she wrote, "Dwelling:  On Making Your Own," and on the Salmon Creek Farm commune in Albion, which she helped establish.  

Now 83, River lives in a Vermont retirement community.

Promise of Paradise Episode 14: George Montag

Feb 14, 2019
George and Donna Montag

February 14, 2019 -- Today's story comes from George Montag, who was born in Hungary, grew up in New York City, and came to California for the Summer of Love. In 1971, he arrived in Elk, with his young son and two cardboard boxes that contained everything they owned. He tells the story of how he found a job setting choke chain, fell in love with the woman who ran the nursery school, and helped found the Jewish community. We'll hear about Passover muffins, the hexagonal house, and if he thinks his generation managed to pass the back-to-the-land ethos on to the next generation.

Episode 13: Nancy Peregrine

Feb 7, 2019
Nancy Peregrine

February 7, 2019 — Nancy Peregrine, an herbalist and healthcare practitioner carved out a spot of wilderness for her homestead in Whale Gulch - located in the furthest northwest corner of Mendocino County.

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