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 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.

Episode 12: John Schaeffer

Jan 31, 2019
John Schaeffer

Jan 31, 2019 — Today we’ll hear from John Shaeffer, owner and founder of Real Goods, now in Hopland. John is the epitome of the old-fashioned entrepreneur, with an eye for innovation. As a communard who worked on computers for the county during the mid-seventies, he was in the unique position of straddling the old and the new: embracing primitivism while using cutting-edge technology.

Episode 11: John Mayfield

Jan 24, 2019
Leah (Mayfield) Ford

January 24, 2019 — Today we’ll hear from John Mayfield, Jr. whose entire family relocated from Oklahoma to the “Orr Springs country” right after WWII to help build and run Mendo Mill and Lumber Company.  John describes his adolescence at the one-room schoolhouse near Comptche and his redoubtable teacher, Ruth Mannix, who made sure he had a superlative education. John recalls Ukiah in the 50s and 60s, his emergence as a conservative business and political leader, and his perspective on the 1970s “in-migration” of “hippies” who felt that the rules didn’t apply to them.

Promise of Paradise - Episode 10: Lisa Grant

Jan 17, 2019
Lisa Grant

January 17, 2019 -- Today, Lisa Grant of Greenfield Ranch will take us on a tour of her sixteen-sided "sculpture house," which her former partner John Stevens built in the late 1970's. We'll peer at the carving of a lizard in a support beam, look through pictures of Grant and her family, and hear tales about a vicious pony, wild goats, and her mixed-race family's experiences with racism.

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