Promise Of Paradise

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

 

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, StoryCenter, and Grace Hudson Museum.

 

Promise of Paradise Episode 27: Lynn Meadows

May 16, 2019
Contributed by Lynn Meadows

Lynn Meadows moved to the intentional communty of Greenfield Ranch outside Ukiah, CA in 1972 with her husband, Bob Dress.  They have lived there ever since.  Lynn became part of the home birth movement that was sweeping the United States in the early 1970s.  She studied to be a lay midwife, and eventually participated in more than 600 births throughout the county.  She later became a Physician's Assistant and worked in the ER for twenty years.  Now her focus is on palliative care and helping folks in their last years of life.  

Promise of Paradise Episode 26: Dorothy Cong

May 14, 2019

Dorothy Cong was born in Ft. Bragg in 1946. She grew up on the Sandkulla ranch near Elk. Her family were among the first white settlers on the Mendocino coast and In many ways her childhood represented the life that back to the land hippies were seeking. They lived off the land raising their own food and building their own houses, but unlike the newcomers of the 1960s and 70s Dorothy’s family lived this way out of necessity.

Promise of Paradise Episode 25: Leon Springer

May 2, 2019
Leon Springer

Leon Springer moved to Potter Valley in 1974 to build yurts and live communally. Now a successful businessman, he remembers how he discovered what he could become through hard work, lots of fun, and friendships that last for decades. We’ll take a journey from an iconic concert experience in San Francisco to Mothers Day blintzes on the Eel River; double digging in the garden and feeding kids and bears.

 

Promise of Paradise Episode 24: Bill Heil and Zo Abell

Apr 25, 2019
Bill Heil

This is Laura Hamburg with Kate Magruder for Promise of Paradise, Back to the Land oral histories of Mendocino County. Today we’re bringing you the story of Table Mountain Ranch, a commune in Albion, which lasted for 20 years.  We’ll hear from two of the commune’s earliest settlers: Zo Abell and Bill Heil. Bill, who describes himself as an aging hippie, runs a saw mill business, and Zo is a life-long educator.  Zo grew up on the East Coast with her Yiddish-speaking grandmother; Bill was a bible student in a German household in deep south Alabama.

Promise of Paradise Episode 23: John Scharffenberger

Apr 18, 2019
John Scharffenberger

This is Kate Magruder with Promise of Paradise, Back to the Land oral histories of Mendocino County. Today we’ll be hearing from John Scharffenberger of Philo whose name has become synonymous with world-famous sparkling wine and fine chocolate.  But in the early 1970s, John was just one of hundreds of young people who were drawn to Mendocino County for the wide open opportunities it offered.  

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