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, StoryCenter, and Grace Hudson Museum.


Promise of Paradise - Episode 7: Meca Wawona

Dec 27, 2018
Meca Wawona

In this episode, we'll hear from Meca Wawona, a tireless environmental activist and homesteader who was instrumental in founding the California Conservation Corps on the philosophy of humanity working in concert with nature, rather than in the "Man versus Nature" mode she saw at the time. Wawona homesteaded on McNab Ranch, then at Greenfield, where she inculcated the next generation with the values that were so precious to her.

Laura Fogg

Dec 20, 2018 -- In this episode, we'll hear from quilting artist Laura Fogg, who lived into a multi-generation home in Redwood Valley, and writer and musician Mary Buckley, who came to Ukiah as a single mother in 1981 and made her home at the headwaters of Robinson Creek. Both storytellers recall raising their children on the land, working in the gardens and on their homes, and the role that art played in their lives.

Episode 5: Tom Liden and Marylyn Motherbear Scott

Dec 13, 2018
Marylyn Motherbear Scott

In this episode of Promise of Paradise, we'll hear Kate Magruder's interviews with Tom Liden, a photographer who came to Mendocino County and built a his dream home; and Marylyn Motherbear Scott, who raised a large family at Greenfield and wove her psychedelic insights into a reverence for the land.

We've got short pieces with both, the full episode, and long, lightly edited interviews with each guest.

Episode 4: J. Holden

Dec 8, 2018
J. Holden

J. Holden is a local poet and clinical psychologist who showed up in Mendocino County  just as legal LSD and the State Hospital in Talmage were winding down. He shares his memories of how back to the landers changed the way that life and death were done -- while finding their way back to traditional practices.

We'll hear about the wisdom of a rattlesnake, how water flows downhill, and what Holden learned about building homes and marriages.

Episode 3: David Raitt

Dec 3, 2018
Contributed by David Raitt

November 29, 2018 -- In our third episode of Promise of Paradise back to the land oral histories of Mendocino County, we'll hear from David Raitt, of Udder Truth Dairy and Lumber Company, the Yurt People, and, of course, Hansen and Raitt. He shares stories of building yurts, demolishing an old high school in Ukiah, and the math teacher who inspired him. We'll also hear some of the highlights from his performing career, which include singing "Who is Your Guru" for a crowd of drunk realtors and standing on his head in front of a crowd from sheer delight.