Earl Crabb (esoft) Wed 27 Sep 00 00:00
To extend oz' question, do the Black Bear kids go back for reunions or visits as much as then (then) grownups?
Mary Mackey (mm) Wed 27 Sep 00 17:51
There were a lot of them at the 25th reunion (which we had on the 26th year because we couldn't quite get it together on the 25th).
Bud Burlison (bud) Wed 27 Sep 00 19:09
Got the book and enjoying the stories so far.
Ramon Sender Barayon (rabar) Wed 27 Sep 00 21:11
Can't help adding, what with the mention of Wheeler's, that our very own 'Home Free Home' book, a history of Morningstar and Wheeler's, has been up on the Digger website for some years: http://www.diggers.org/home_free.htm Black Bear always was thought of fondly and respectfully as the sort of place where one moved when one's part of the land bleshed into a tribe and took wing. Both M* and The Ridge seemed to function best as launching platforms, probably because of county heat and proximity to the city. Look forward to reading the FL/FL book! For MOST newsletter issues (by M* and Wheeler's grads) browse: www.ic.org/morningstar BADABA!
Earl Crabb (esoft) Wed 27 Sep 00 21:41
A new question: If you had it to do over, what would you change about how the ranch was organized? Was everything a learning experience, or were there some things you didn't really need to learn the hard way?
Don Monkerud (don-monkerud) Thu 28 Sep 00 21:23
To answer the question about how the kids feel about being raised at BB Not to presume too much, it would be best to ask them. I have asked a number of them, and unfortunately none of them are here to answer the question themselves. There are several stories in the book by the kids, Shasta, Natasha, Toz, Tasilia to begin with and most of them tell their stories fondly, even when they are painful. Like the adults, and everyone else in life, some had positive experiences and some had negative. A number of the kids (lets watch this term, I use it loosely; the "kids" are now adults, some of them with their own children -- Indira just had her third!) continue to return to BB, some never want to ever see the place again. From my perspective this depends to a large extent on the type of care they had. Yes we were communal, but communal can also mean that no one pays attention to a child and they are left to their own devices. Some mothers, and fathers, continued to care for their children in a communal setting. They were nurtured, loved, cared for, looked after, while given a great degree of freedom. Others were left to the commune to be cared for and didnt fare so well. They may have been better cared for in the communal setting than if they had been in a nuclear family and lets face it, that can be an absolutely terrible experience. Overall these kids blow me away. They always related to adults, possibly because adults related to them and respected them. The are outgoing, smart, have a wide range of experiences, are open minded, and are a joy to be around. They are real people. I found little of what I call suburban withdrawl where kids dont talk to or deal with adults (they appear to have damaged self concepts as if only other teenagers will understand them).
Earl Crabb (esoft) Thu 28 Sep 00 23:13
I met Bear about twelve years ago, still run into him every so often, and if he's any example, I'd say you did incredibly well with the kids. He still goes up to the ranch in the summers, I think. But, what of the kids that can't stand the place now? Is it the normal rebellion kids go through, or were some kids truly adversely affected by their experience? I ask because I remember one of the children lost hearing in one ear for awhile after being hit, but maybe that was after the writer and her mother left Black Bear and went to India?
Mary Mackey (mm) Fri 29 Sep 00 18:08
That was after she left Black Bear, Earl. I don't recall any child being hit when I was at the ranch, but of course I wasn't there too long. However, during the time I was there, I was very impressed by the way that even the smallest children met adults on an equal level in a positive, intelligent way. It was very impressive (so much so that I wrote a poem about it at the time)
Linda Castellani (castle) Fri 29 Sep 00 20:47
Has it been published, Mary? Can you share it with us?
Earl Crabb (esoft) Sat 30 Sep 00 22:05
What is the relationship now between the ranch and the nearby towns, especially with the law? Do you expect any fallout when the townspeople read the book and find out what was really going on out there?
Don Monkerud (don-monkerud) Sun 1 Oct 00 11:15
Things have changed tremendously in the past 30 years, obviously. And one thing that you would expect to change is the relationship with the local community. We made friends with local people, and despite my mentioning of how we scared the hell out of most straight people at the time, people who live in remote areas band together, whether they see eye-to-eye or not. They know you depend upon your neighbors in times of crisis. We made some very good friends over the years. Our kids wound up going to the Forks School. People from BB moved down to the River and integrated with the community. When these people read the book, they too look fondly back on those days ... after the U.S. Forest Service came in and drove people off mining claims and virtually destroyed the community, these people feel like they were in the same boat as we were. I visited about a year and a half ago and a road crew was working on the road into BB. The guy on the loader looked at me and said don't I know you -- after all these years. He was a ten-year-old kid back then and he and I recalled his father who passed away recently. This summer I was going over the Etna Summit on the way to BB and ran into a county dump truck driver who had stopped for the view. He recalled the friends he'd made with the people from BB and wanted to know how they were doing. Again he recalled them fondly.
Gail Williams (gail) Sun 1 Oct 00 12:33
Speaking of Etna Summit and that area, did Black Bear have any connection or interaction with Camp Unalayee, the wilderness backpacking kids camp centered near there?
Malcolm Terence (malcolmterence) Mon 2 Oct 00 17:49
I've heard that some of our children, Will Harling among them, worked lately at Camp Unalayee. Will and Toz Soto and a few of the other Black Bear second generation have been especial sources of pride because they grew up on the river, went to the University (Humboldt State) to become biologists and then returned to the river to influence policy. And Forest Management Policy is still highly polarized in this corner of the world. My own view of the issue is they logged everything easy and now the arguement is over the crumbs. Crumbs, of course, have great value, when they are all there is. That our children have entered the fray on a much more sophisticated level than we did is comforting. Do people reading the book have any feedback on the writing. As one of the editors, I spent two years getting manuscripts that moved me deeply. My personal favorites: Efrem Korngold's piece about shooting the bear and Tesilya Hannauer's piece about being deserted by her mother in India when she was still very young. Check them out.
Mary Mackey (mm) Mon 2 Oct 00 18:57
Linda, my poem "Sleeping Among The Children" is included in the book. I wrote it in '73. It has also been published in one of my out of print earlier poetry collections.
Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 2 Oct 00 19:41
Too bad I can't see either of those from here, Mary!
Earl Crabb (esoft) Tue 3 Oct 00 20:21
If anyone has questions for our authors, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post them here. (Unless you're a Well member, in which case you can post them here directly.)
Earl Crabb (esoft) Tue 3 Oct 00 21:39
How much pressure was there on the individual to conform to ranch mores? Was there encouragement for individuals to experiment in different ways? What would have happened (or what _did_ happen) when someone wanted to try, say, monogamy? or maybe, employment? or maybe, marriage?
Mary Mackey (mm) Wed 4 Oct 00 23:00
I know you're going to get some very interesting responses to that Earl. While we are waiting, I am going to post my poem--not hidden since as I understand it, people coming in through Enganged, can't see hidden posts. SLEEPING AMONG THE CHILDREN copyright Mary Mackey, 1973 all around me the children are sleeping their dreams curl into mine like threads of blue smoke Finn is dreaming of the star Altair where children have huge blue wings in his dream they fly up in a circle laughing and make a sun of phosphorescent butterflies Milagra is dreaming of changes of rocks that become music of rivers that taste like peppermint of a world where all the grown-ups have become children again Tirien is dreaming that she is a guide who leads the souls of soft animals behind her like a string of wool Aloka in her dreams gives birth to herself becoming first her mother then her father then a sliver of diamond breathing black velvet Tsilia watches me with open eyes. too wise to dream she moves through the labyrinth of the night weaving together the threads.
Earl Crabb (esoft) Wed 4 Oct 00 23:28
Ah, when I read that in the book, I saw vivid images of the kids. I was well into the story by Tesilya, following your poems, when I suddenly realized that Tesilya was probably the child Tsilia of your poem, and that all your images should be about 30 years older now! The Tsilia image fits the older Tesilya perfectly. Now I wonder about the other kids, Finn, Milara, Tirien, and Aloka, and what they would be like today.
Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 4 Oct 00 23:28
Just beautiful, Mary. Thank you so much for posting that.
Mary Mackey (mm) Fri 6 Oct 00 22:59
Linda Castellani (castle) Sat 7 Oct 00 10:24
I'd like to thank Earl and all of his guests for joining us and allowing us this too-brief glimpse inside Black Bear. You are welcome to hang around and post whenever inspiration strikes...
Earl Crabb (esoft) Sat 7 Oct 00 10:39
And I'd like to thank our guests, Don, Malcolm, Susan, Mary, for their contributions here and the book itself. I'll still be here, if anyone wants to ask or answer more questions!
blather storm (lolly) Sat 7 Oct 00 11:06
Thanks to all!
Don Monkerud (don-monkerud) Sun 8 Oct 00 20:25
Pressure to conform? Any group has accepted standards of behavior, for example, we had little tolerance for followers. Or for gurus, or self-professed leaders. Several people who came to BB seeking followers were saddly disappointed and soon left. At the same time, there was a great amount of tolerance for individual differences and perferances. We didn't not want to be clamped into a mold and respected other's rights of not wanting to be pressed into that mold. But there was pressure to. In the book I speak of Johathan putting his arm around me when I'd just responded to criticism that I went off to read and write in the afternoon and liked being my myself. "Don't worry," he reassured me. "You'll get over that." I didn't want to get over it and for me that was a scary moment. For the most part some people like some people and not others; there were enough people that you didn't have to love everyone equally, you might dislike someone and be able to avoid them due to the size of the group. While at the same time, you shared more with that person that you did with people outside. It's been informative. You've forced me to look at some issues and examine questions that I haven't thought much about. Thanks everyone!
Members: Enter the conference to participate