Thursday, November 10, 2011

Visit to Palomar Mountain

I received a quilt job from the friend of a current customer. )I love it when a quilt makes my customer so happy that they refer me to their friends.) Jody is my customer's and Shirley is her friend and neighbor. Shirley is 83 yrs old; her quilt is a 94 x112 quilt for her grand-daughter. This was supposed to be my last quilt before my foot surgery tomorrow. Good so far. Then I measured it. The backing was too small by about 11 inches. Not so good.

I called her and had a nice chat with her. I found out that she had more of the backing fabric. She lives about 40 miles from me up in the mountains. It was a beautiful drive up to Palomar Mountain. It is a small community with a population of 3,200. Summer tourists swell that number filling lots of summer cabins.

We found Shirley's senior cabin nestled under a huge Redwood tree where the deck was still covered in snow. She invited us in for a visit. Right away I noticed a chalk drawing on the wall. It was a good likeness of Shirley but I was more interested in what Shirley was wearing in the drawing. It was a WAVES uniform. WAVES was a term used by the U.S. Navy describe Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service from the 40's to the 70's. Shirley served in the Navy starting in 1953, during the Korean War. I recognized the uniform because I wore a uniform just like it from 1968 to 1990. We swapped stories about duty stations, etc.

Shirley was assigned to be an Electronics Technician and was stationed at Coronado Island in San Diego. Shirley and a friend had a week off coming up and they decided to bicycle up to Palomar Mountain to visit the observatory. Clearly she did not have access to the internet or Shirley would have known that this was a 68 miles trip one-way. She laughs about how innocent they were setting out on that adventure. But it was the 50's and people were more trusting then. Shirley and her friend got rides from strangers part of the way. They made it to Palomar Mountain but they were too exhausted to bike the last 5 miles up to the observatory.

They checked in at a small snack bar on the side of the road. Shirley noticed a tall, dark and handsome young man working at the snack bar (now called Mom's Kitchen) and asked about finding a hotel room for the two girls. The young man directed them to his mother who rents out a room at her house. The rest is history. Shirley and the young man, Wayne, fell in love and got married. One of their sons, Mark, works at the observatory. Mark's best friend since grade school is named Lloyd. Lloyd is my customer Jody's husband and he also works at the observatory. It's like we are all connected.

We had a nice visit and decided to drive up to the observatory. My husband was there years ago with our son and a troop of Boy Scouts. It was all new and exciting to me.

The mirror used by the Hale telescope is 200 inches in diameter. We had the place to ourselves, no other tourists. I loved the history about building the South Grade road to get the huge telescope parts up the top of the mountain.

We were standing in the observation area and heard some motor running. It turned out to be the dome of the telescope was being rotated. See the movie below. You can see in the first photo that the doors on the dome are on the right side; then the photo later shows the doors have rotated around and are on the left side.

My life has changed in the last couple of years - some bumps, I retired from quilting, and then I moved to Texas. I'm anxious to see what new adventures await me in the next phase of my life.

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Ramona, California, United States
I started quilting when a quilt shop opened in our little town in January 2004. I have been hooked ever since.

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Books I"ve read lately

  • The Help (Kindle)
  • The Appeal by John Grisham
  • Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (again) by Harper Lee
  • Bleachers by John Grisham

This is called Fruit Cocktail

This is called Fruit Cocktail
It is all batiks