Smokey, the Bear.

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Some overheard conversations are better than others in my household.  They’re made just a little more delicious when my daughter is home from college, her boyfriend stops by to help to cook dinner and they’re left to entertain my son who has autism — and what the doctors have labeled a language processing disorder (where he actually puts words in a better order than they were originally intended, in my opinion).

Smokey the Bear

Smokey the Bear

Allow me to share what was served up this evening:

My son, who was quietly humming to himself over in the window seat, was questioned by my girl –

GIRL

Hey, buddy.  What are you humming over there?

BOY

The jingle for Smokey the Hibernating Bear.  I remember hearing it on the radio when I was a kid.   **  [Note: For the record – he’s still a kid.  In fact, to me, they all are.]

BOYFRIEND

Wha…? No-no.  I’m pretty sure you heard that incorrectly.  You see, Smokey is a fire-fighting bear, not a hibernating bear.

BOY

Uhm, no.  I remember what they sang.  It was, “Smokey… the Hibernating Bear.”

GIRL

Hahaha! That is NOT what they sang.  Smokey the Bear is a working bear and his whole thing is that he’s a bear who helps fights fires.

BOY

That’s true.  That’s his job, fighting fires.

GIRL

But then again, think about it.  He is telling people, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires.”  Maybe he’s depending on other people to do the work.

BOYFRIEND

You know, that would actually be pretty lame if Smokey was telling people, “Uhm, only YOU can prevent forest fires, because I’m going to be over there sleeping.”

GIRL

What if he films his public service announcements in the autumn, telling people that they can prevent fires, right before he settles down for his long-winter nap.

BOY

Ha-ha. Ha. Ha. Ha! < Said quite dryly and very clearly not amused > All I know is what I heard on the radio and I know I heard “Smokey… the Hibernating Bear.”

It is so hard to fight that kind of logic.

I have to tell you, that sometimes, it is good to be me.  Dinner and a show, nightly – brought to you by the colorful filter of autism.

xo – t.

Smokey the Bear was created in 1947 created by the Advertising Council.  He is 70 years old.  According to the Ad Council, Smokey and his message are recognized by 95% of adults and 77% of children.

Little Girl Lost

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Little Girl LostHer mother did not abandon her as an infant, despite the story she has told people for years.  She was not left alone, ever, come to think of it. She hasn’t really been alone since she was born, having spent time in the company of her grandmother, aunts, truckloads of friends and acquaintances and eventually her husband (despite his occasional drifting) of five decades.  Despite all of those people, she still feels utterly and completely alone and adrift.  Never mind that her two younger siblings spoke extremely fondly of their relatives for decades and decades.  She had very little to do with them over the course of their lives and little to no involvement with their immediate family members. She has nothing but disdain for their mother, and has spent a lifetime lionizing their pretty much absent father.

Little Girl Lost has what is known as “abandonment issues” and while her personal pain is palpable, she also manages to spray emotional Agent Orange wherever she goes because of it.  Psychology Today says that, “living with repeated abandonment experiences creates toxic shame.”  They also go on to describe how shame can lead a person to believe that their whole self is bad, flawed or subject to exclusion.  It also explains how people who live with that level of shame often leads people to “blame, denigrate (criticize unfairly), or make attributions about others” – in order to regain some sort of positive self-view or hide their own negative self perceptions.  Psychology Today goes so far as to say that shame can lead people to express contempt toward others.

Ahhh!  This explains so much.  I had the great misfortune to spend a number of my formative years in the company of a very formidable mentor who carried a rather large basket of abandonment issues around on a daily basis, which I did not begin to fully grasp until a considerable amount of damage had been done.  I was not abandoned – in fact, I was surrounded by amazing people everywhere I went: school; my neighborhoods; places of worship… it’s a long Contact List in my heart, of the kindness that surrounded me all the days of my life.  Still, Little Girl Lost was a towering figure who served as a maternal figure for me, too.  Sticky wicket, that.  Mother-Daughter relationships are convoluted enough.  Add in some toxic elements and everyone has to duck and cover on a regular basis.

Well then, what to do – what to do?  There is an awful lot of information out there for individuals suffering from abandonment issues, but not as much info. available to those involved with those suffering from abandonment issues.  But, what’s that they say? Half the battle is: knowing/showing up/acknowledging the problem, right?  Surely just understanding the emotions behind the problem will help:

Dr. John Grohol, PsychCentral.com founder, tells us that fear of abandonment leads adults to engage in “frantic attempts to avoid being alone.” Adults with abandonment issues may seem clingy and overreact to things that would not necessarily be scary or anxiety-provoking to others.  They may panic and assume someone wants to end a relationship if they are simply late for a social engagement, instead of having compassion for their explanation of why they were delayed.  They might issue a counter-strike, to avoid the abandonment.  Such as Little Girl Lost did, when she ended a 72 year friendship with a once beloved friend who lost track of time and did not show up for a scheduled holiday dinner.  At the time, it broke my heart when I realized what had transpired between these two women who had been pals since they were 12 years old – but I now understand the sheer terror that Little Girl Lost had experienced and how she saw what she did as completely rational and just a form of self-preservation.  Weird, though it was.

Experts agree that clear communication and healthy boundaries are vital to any healthy relationship but that they are absolutely key to having any kind of relationship if someone you love fears abandonment.  As a little girl who grew up in the shadow of Little Girl Lost, I have found myself desperately wanting to provide emotional GPS at every turn, so that we both might find common ground – but, I realize that as clear as my attempts to communicate were, she could not follow my lead… I might abandon her along the road.

What is left?  Boundaries.  I have had to set-up roadblocks to protect myself from jumping from my own posts and relationships.  I try to encourage other relationships and activities that will not include my involvement, because I finally realize that nothing I ever do will be enough to fill the Basket of Need.

It has taken me a very long time to fully realize that I cannot follow the lead of Little Girl Lost, or we will both end up on the side of an emotionally broken road.  What I can do, is continue to leave the door of communication open and if she ever finds her way there (maybe by accident), I will remind her that she always has a home here – and that she is always welcome.  [All the while, keeping a firm grip on my own address, knowing that I also hold the key to this place I call home.]

xo – t.

“Love is never lost.  If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.” – Washington Irving

Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R. R. Tolkein

If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future.” – Winston Churchill

Fallon Hotel – Information

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Having received some email requests about the Fallon Hotel, I thought I would share some factual information regarding this little jewel box in the California Gold Mining District.  Fallon Hotel Exterior

The Fallon Hotel Complex has a long and complicated history. It is really the history of four separate structures. The current hotel building, what is now the theatre, the theatre box office and finally the ice cream parlor – each have interesting and distinct histories.

From 1852 until Owen Fallon constructed a brick boarding house in 1859, there were a number of wooden structures on this property. In 1863 there was another brick structure just to the east of Fallon’s building. In that year Fallon cut a hole in his east wall and joined the buildings. He then turned the second floor into a ball room and began to use the name “Fallon Hotel.” In 1863 the rose garden was constructed and in 1871 the upstairs was turned into more rooms for the hotel.

In 1885 James G. Fallon inherited the hotel. James Fallon turned what is now the ice cream parlor into a bar in 1886 and then deeded the property to Rose Gallagher in 1887. Gallagher soon sold to Tom Conlin, who moved the Wells Fargo office into the hotel.

From 1890 until 1944 the hotel was owned by a number of people and was known by many names. Some of the names were, “Kress Hotel”, “Columbia Hotel and Opera House”, “Smith Hotel” and “Columbia Inn.”

In 1944 the structure was owned by Robert and Grace Burns. Robert Burns was the President of the University of Pacific. After the State Parks bought the property for one dollar in 1947, it was used as a residence for UOP drama students during the summer. UOP performed summer theatrical presentations in the theatre.

In 1986 the entire structure was restored and reopened as the Fallon Hotel. It is operated by the Columbia City Hotel Cooperation. (reprinted courtesy of www.ColumbiaCalifornia.com)

The Fallon Hotel is located at 11175 Washington Street in Columbia, California 95310.  Call (209) 532-1470 for reservations and more information.

The Fallon Hotel is one of my top favorite places to visit in California and it makes me happy to think that you might enjoy it, too.  If you do go – please let me know all about it!

xo – t.