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Articles written by Pat Gracey


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  • Remembering the day

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Jul 20, 2024

    Few would elect to be in a major disaster, but if you've experienced one, there is a kinship with those who also shared the catastrophe that creates a lasting camaraderie. People sometimes ask, "What were you doing when Kennedy was shot?" The same question about Sept. 11, 2001. Many just call it 9/11. We all remember events such as those but as time passes, and the people who were there also pass, the event itself dims. Franklin Roosevelt said that the attack on Pearl Harbor is a date that...

  • Heroes through the years

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Jul 6, 2024

    When I was 10 years old and attending the fifth grade in Tehachapi Grammar School, we gathered in our classroom and before class began, recited the Pledge of Allegiance and then sang the patriotic hymn, "My Country 'tis of Thee." It was a nice song and we liked it. Written by Samuel Francis Smith, this would have been in 1938. One morning our teacher, Mrs. Webb said, "Our national anthem is 'The Star Spangled Banner' and has been since 1931 when it was officially declared the anthem of this...

  • Banducci: a grand old name

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Jun 8, 2024

    I never try to improvise or add facts just to make the story better. My brother, Everett, and a young girl named Dorothy Banducci, went to first grade together in Tehachapi. They were both six years of age. That's nothing to write home about but there are facts surrounding the Banducci name that are interesting. So, I will transport the story to the Stallion Springs area, long before anyone ever thought of doing any residential communities there. First, though, to set the scene: In the early...

  • Enter the wind/exit the lights

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|May 28, 2024

    My earliest memories, as a child, involves lying in bed listening to the Mojave wind hitting the house with a strong whistling sound. It seems that the dust and sand can find its way into the house and sometimes in the morning we would find very fine dirt on the floor; enough for my brother to make roads for his toy cars My father, Chauncey Davis, once had a gas station on the highway that, in the past came through Mojave. Many travelers would stop for gas and ask, "Does the wind blow like this...

  • Call the doctor

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Apr 27, 2024

    When I was a child and we became ill, my mother took over with a few home remedies. If that didn’t work we didn’t exactly call the doctor for in the mid-’30s in Mojave, we had no phone ... not many people did. My brother would be told to run two blocks up the street to Doctor Warner’s office/residence. Dr. Warner would come by in his old two-door Model A Ford sedan. It was officially called the Model A Ford Tudor Sedan. A very handsome automobile, but not the one owned by Dr. Warner. His was...

  • Anselmo – a vaquero

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Apr 13, 2024

    In the early 1800s, the entire San Joaquin Valley of Central California was populated by the Native Americans of that region. The larger portion of the population were Yokut, but there were a significant number of alternate tribes in the area. The Gold Rush and the influx of settlers and miners were to inevitably displace the natural residents of the area. It was not to the Native Americans' advantage as there was bloodshed and broken treaties. The resistance continued for decades with...

  • The C-130

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Mar 30, 2024

    Once again I will include a little episode from my husband's Marine Corps. 30-year career; a little glimpse of life in the "old Corps." The C-130 by CWO-4 Doyle D. Gracey, Jr. USMC I was a member of the Marine Corps. Base Rifle Team at Camp Pendleton on our way to compete at the First Hawaii Invitational Rifle Matches at Palua Point. Probably sometime in the early 1960s. Our means to get there was a C-130 out of El Toro, California. There were eight of us and we boarded the big multi-engine air...

  • It takes a heap o' livin'

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Mar 2, 2024

    In 1933, during one of the worst periods of the great depression, my parents found themselves lacking money to continue paying rent on a small house on K Street in Mojave. In the attitude of “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” they decided to build a house. It was easier in those days before building permits, regulations and inspections were required. My father, Chauncey Davis, traded local businessman Cy Townsend a piece of mining property for a vacant lot in town – just across the s...

  • Fred and the 'Duke'

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Feb 17, 2024

    Sometimes when reliving memories of years past I think of something that is just too good to keep to myself. My husband and his friend, Sergeant Major Frederick W. Filkins, were what you would call "brothers in the Corps." Both served in World War II, both with the China Marines, veterans of Korea and Vietnam. They often found themselves in the same duty station during the 30 years they spent in the Corps. One day, many years back, when Fred was telling one of his experiences, I turned on a...

  • A 'Nob Hill' home

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Feb 3, 2024

    Even though the pictured home was destroyed by the 1952 earthquake, at one time in the 1890s, it was the first home travelers would see as they traveled up the narrow, winding road from Bakersfield and parts north into the town of Tehachapi. Years later, driving in on old Highway 466, the road made a sharp turn to the left and for a quarter of mile, on Curry Street, one traveled down a lane of orchards; pears on the right and cherries to the left. Then immediately to the left one viewed a...

  • Kathryn Chwaz greets 106th birthday

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Jan 20, 2024

    On Jan. 15, 1918, a cold, winter day in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Kathryn Pointek (Chwaz) first opened her eyes to view the world to which she had been born. The year 1918 found Woodrow Wilson as President of the United States. Not only that, the U.S. was in the midst of World War I, which was called, "The war to end all wars." This happy little girl was the daughter of Catherine and Jacob Pointek, both having arrived to this country from Austria. She and her siblings grew up in a loving,...

  • 'Do gooders' are everywhere

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Dec 23, 2023

    Sitting around with family a few months ago, we began sharing stories, as families do, laughing at inside jokes which are funny only to those related, and just generally having a good time. By the way, at that family gathering we discovered we had, at present, four generations of Tehachapi High School graduates; incorporating years, 1937 to present time. Not bad! Speaking of "do-gooders," I recall one afternoon taking place at McDonald's twin drive-in lines. I decided I needed a cup of coffee...

  • Christmas in Korea

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Dec 9, 2023

    I had been married to my Marine a whopping 17 months when he received orders in 1951 that he would be sent to Korea for a year. This was during the "Korean Conflict" which is what they called the war they had going over there. I found it difficult to imagine a whole year without him. My baby son, 8 months old, and myself had no choice but to come home to Tehachapi. Uncle Sam's allotment did not cover the expense of maintaining an apartment for the two of us. My parents were happy to have us....

  • I miss Popeye

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Nov 25, 2023

    When I was a child of 5 or so, our family had to drive from Mojave to Lancaster to see a movie. Mojave had no theater at that time. The 25 miles on the old Sierra Highway was accomplished in my father's Model T Ford Truck. Since I was the youngest I sat in front with my mother and father. My two older brothers and sister sat in the back or bed of the truck. That's the way it was and no one said anything about it. The sides of the highway in certain parts of the year had underground aquifer...

  • Ghosts of Thanksgivings past

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Nov 18, 2023

    "Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go. The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through white and drifted snow." A charming children's song. A bit dated, also. No horse, no sleigh and if there were drifts of snow the roads would have been closed. Still, we would come to Grandmother's house and would enjoy not only a fine meal but seeing family and enjoying ourselves. Of course, the horsepower was in whatever car we were driving. I remember back when I still lived...

  • A joke always helps

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Oct 28, 2023

    Some years ago I was asked by The Friends of the Depot to speak at one of their meetings about my experiences in riding the passenger trains that came through our city regularly. I can scarcely believe how long it has been. Some 50 or so years. I mentioned to one of my sons what I was going to do and he said when beginning a speech I should start with a joke to lighten the mood. The audience was made of friends and they were kind and cooperative. The evening went well and they laughed in all of...

  • As time goes by

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Sep 30, 2023

    I remember one Dec. 31, 2016, New Year's Eve. Father Time, old 2016, made an effort to throw the weather book at us and surely did. Starting with sunshine, then dense fog, then rain and finally snow, he went out in a fit of madness. Guess he didn't want to leave. It gets one to thinking about days gone by, sometimes decades. Our brain is a wonderful filing cabinet for episodes from our lives that can be called up at will. We see kids today completely engrossed in their smart phones that can take...

  • Recalling the date – California, the Golden State

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Sep 16, 2023

    We are happy to celebrate our country's birthday and we do a fine job on July 4th in saluting the flag as it goes by and singing the "National Anthem." Yes, we do well. The 247 year old Uncle Sam should be proud of us. Sometimes things just slip by us and we in California sort of let California's Admission Day slip by. California was admitted to the United States as the 31st state of the Union on Sept. 9, 1850. The area of California was never designated as a territory which was a prerequisite...

  • Remembering the day

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Aug 19, 2023

    Few would elect to be in a major disaster, but if you've experienced one, there is a kinship with those who also shared the catastrophe that creates a lasting camaraderie. People sometimes ask, "What were you doing when Kennedy was shot?" The same question about Sept. 11, 2001. Many just call it 9/11. We all remember events such as those but as time passes, and the people who were there also pass, the event itself dims. Franklin Roosevelt said that the attack on Pearl Harbor is a date that...

  • Gold fever

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Aug 5, 2023

    Mt. Soledad, a mauve colored sentinel, whose pock marked sides show the effects of many years of gold mining, stands regally observing the great Mojave Desert; the site of gold discoveries encompassing the 19th and 20th centuries. The 4,190 foot purple giant stands southwest of the small community of Mojave. The discovery of millions of dollars of precious metal ore in the Mojave Desert area was due to the efforts of the persevering hard rock miner, the chronic prospector, the ambitious fortune...

  • The Stradivarius

    Pat Gracey|Jul 22, 2023

    People tell me that they like to hear some of my husband’s old Marine Corps tales. I always enjoyed this one. My husband’s MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) was LVTs. Those letters stand for Landing Vehicle Tracked. I always wondered why they didn’t term it Tracked Landing Vehicle but ours is not to correct Uncle Sam in the naming of his machines of war. There are several models of the 30 ton monsters. This story refers to the LVTH-6 and LVTP-5. It is interesting how the word “Stra...

  • The rest of the story

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Jun 24, 2023

    There used to be a radio program whose host gave news as it was supposed to have happened. After telling the tale, he would then say, "...and now, for the rest of the story." He would then give some interesting facts that completed the tale. His name was Paul Harvey. I'm no Paul Harvey but it seems that when I hear someone telling a story about an experience of a local or long past happening, I often remember a little tidbit that was left out of the tale and I want to add it. Usually, I try to...

  • St. Malachy's welcomes Fr. Gregory Beaumont

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|May 27, 2023

    Arriving in Tehachapi in mid-December for his duties as pastor of Saint Malachy Catholic Church, Father Gregory Beaumont was greeted by snow and frigid temperatures from winter weather but with a "warm" welcome from parishioners. Father Beaumont comes to Tehachapi from Holy Family Church in Kingsburg, California where he served its members for 17 years as their pastor. A true Californian (having come to the "Golden State" as a babe in arms), he grew up in the beautiful San Fernando Valley with...

  • She knew Pancho Villa

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|May 13, 2023

    Isabel Cortez Cervantes was a well known and respected citizen of this community until her death in 1991 at age 87. In 1914 when she was only 11 her father, Odilon Cortez, immigrated his family from the small Mexican village of Cosio in Aguascalientes, to Tehachapi. Much lumber was being taken from the Cummings Mountain area and sent to Los Angeles and the work was good. Another vital reason for the move was the regular raids on villages in their area by the notorious bandit, Pancho Villa; a...

  • Hear that whistle blow

    Pat Gracey, contributing writer|Apr 29, 2023

    A trip down hill from the Tehachapi Mountains, in the early days by wagon or buggy, was something to be thought out carefully for it meant camping out overnight. Grandma Lucinda "Callie" Brite once told my mother that they camped overnight at Three Peaks, near Keene, when they went to Bakersfield. In 1875, P.D. Greene founded a community, Greenwich, in a sheltered, wooded grove full of ancient oak trees, near water and located a few miles northwest of the present city of Tehachapi. There was a...

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