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I Love You California!

The Spirit of Tehachap


Picture provided by Pat Gracey

Mary Garden with the "I Love You California" sheet music.

When one of my grandsons was in the Fourth Grade at Golden Hills Elementary - about 1998 - he was studying the history of California as all fourth graders do. It was then that I, a Native Californian, found out that our state song was "I Love You California." In all of my years in the Golden State I thought it was "California Here I Come!"

Well, I went online, found it and listened to it for the first time. If you have enough time, it has a pleasant lilt but it does run on and on. One day as I worked at the Museum I found the sheet music to it. It was written in 1913 by F.B. Silverwood and A.F. Frankenstein. Yes, Frankenstein! The opera singer of that day was Mary Garden, who took time from her Grand Opera tour to promote the song. No doubt, Frankenstein and Silverwood were friends of hers. The original key was written for her operatic voice and has a twelve note range that extends to a high G. It also has a chorus and three long verses.

Still, if that was our state song I decided to learn it; which I did. It kind of grows on you, but it'll never take the place of "California Here I Come."

Then, one day while enduring a commercial on TV, I noticed the JEEP advertisement had a pleasant tenor voice singing none other but good old Silverwood and Frankenstein's song. The tenor only sang the verse and left out the chorus which is two pages long. I have always enjoy testing my memory though. so I memorized the song.

If I get bored driving on trips, I sing it. It'll get you a good ten miles down the road before it's finished!

It praises the sunsets, the ocean, the mountains, especially the Sierra Nevada. It mentions Yosemite and Sequoia National parks, the flowers, the wine, the Golden Gate Bridge, the sunshine and the rain. That's not nearly all, but one can grasp the idea. I had a heck of a time memorizing the song. It has a chorus and three verses.

Then I found it was not adopted as the State Song until 1951. Only 101 years after California became a state. That's about the time they finally added "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance. All of those years (not the whole 101 years, of course), I kept singing "California Here I Come," so did a lot of people.

Also, thanks to the teacher at Golden Hills Elementary, who had mentioned the song, I further read and found out we also have a state rock. Yes, rock. It is Serpentine; a greenish rock with black streaks running through it; not unlike a serpent. Now, I would have thought it would have been gold ore since California seems to have had a plethora of the metal. Serpentine! Guess it looks a bit snake-like . Hmm, snakes. That's one thing the song did not praise! Not a Mojave Green mentioned. We have a state bird, the quail; state flower, the poppy; state tree, the Redwood; state animal, Grizzly Bear; state fish, a trout; state reptile, a desert tortoise (a tortoise is in the reptile family as is a snake); insect, a butterfly and State colors; blue and gold. There is a state Marine mammal – which is a Great Whale – and a state mineral – gold (there's the gold).

Still and all, I am a Californian and – in spite of a few problems, here and there – I love you, California.


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