Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Something under the bed...Part 2

For your viewing pleasure, Pacific Ocean Park in its early, prosperous days. It did not look like this when I visited.

In Part 2, we leave the ocean and climb into the San Bernardino mountains. Once again, I am with my grandparents. My grandfather, whose driving I came to recognize as being from the "accelerator/brake, accelerator/brake" school, was happy to go anywhere, everywhere; the more people in the car the better. (Wherever we would go, my grandmother brought along the picnic hamper with thermoses of goulash, Cornish pasties, sweet mixed pickles that she always served with pasties, desserts, I can't recall everything, as there was food for days, even if we were on our way, ultimately, to a restaurant. Stopping for a picnic was part of the journey - no wonder I came to equate food with love. And she expressed surprise when, as we arrived at our destination, I was queasy and had no appetite. None of the grandchildren was ever able to tell her that Grandpa's jerky driving made us carsick.)

Even now the roads to Lake Arrowhead are prone to rock slides and other perils. In the early 1950s I can imagine them as narrow, steep and fairly slow going; I know we had a vapor lock on at least one drive. On what was probably my first visit with them to the lake, my grandmother chose to tell me undocumented and harrowing tales of our destination. She said (and I haven't googled this to check so please accept it at face value) that Arrowhead was a man-made lake, an existing canyon that had been filled with water to create a recreation - and realtor's dream - spot. She said that many people had drowned there having become caught in the tops of trees which still stood underwater, left behind when the canyon was flooded. In my mind, she described the trees as almost reaching up and grabbing the unwary, wrapping them in their piney branches where I supposed their skeletons - or corpses - remained. I never put so much as a toe in that water and can picture myself becoming hysterical if anyone offered a boat ride. Murderous, submerged forests were added to the list of terrors. Since then I have had the repulsion/attraction conflict about water that covers once-inhabited land. Watching documentaries on the building of the Three-Gorges Dam in China, as villages and, perhaps more importantly, their cemeteries were taken by the rising tide, my thoughts went to ghost-controlled rivers and centuries of a way of life, now gone. The closing line of A River Runs Through It affects me still: "I am haunted by waters."

To be continued further.


Erin in Morro Bay said...

We often took the trip up to Arrowhead, but often our destination was Santa's village. A couple of years ago Margot and I spent a long weekend in a cabin in the area and drove past Santa's - a few shabby buildings left - very hard to reconcile with the wonderland it seemed when I was 6 or 7.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Erin - it was still enough fun for my son when he was small...still some things to ride on, Santa-favorite treats (gingerbread, I think) but that, too, was a long time ago

Penny said...

This is making me shiver - where are we going, dare we peep out?

We have drowned villages and trees too, when water levels drop as they do in times of drought, the remains of trees and buildings can be seen and are mute testimony to other lives, other times.

Did you notice that in the video clip there were no overweight people, and very few seemed to be happy?

I've not read the book, but thought it was a moving film with fine performances.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Penny - Just something about things that don't belong under a fan of the book, A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, I was not at all disappointed by the movie; it is one I watch whenever it appears. I'll have to look at the POP video again...its more subtle aspects seem to have escaped me.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Thanks for the video of POP, that was cool. I remember it when it was in it's decline; my parents didn't want to go in for fear of being rolled. It looked semi-abandoned back in the 60's. I'm sure Disneyland was it's coup de grace.

Sultan said...

I love the author a River Runs Through it, Norman MacLean. A lot of his stories really have resonance.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Robert - I think your parents were was definitely seedy, though not as much as the Long Beach Pike. It was our Coney Island, not exactly wholesome family fun, but alluring in its edginess.

Laoch - A staff member at Dutton's (now closed) Books recommended Norman MacLean, based on things I'd been reading. "A River..." is one of my favorites.

Anonymous said...


Its about disturbing the lad, isnt it?

I feel the same way.

Stephen King knew what he was talking about.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Denise - If it isn't under the bed,it is under or behind something. I suspect its memory is even longer than its reach. xoxo

Marylinn Kelly said...

A reply I wrote on Monday night did not appear...let me try again.

Denise - There are somethings just hidden from our view; we sense their presence. Would love to write of them as Mr. King does but would probably frighten myself too much if I could.