Some Lesser Known Pics of SLV Fires

Circa 1956 and a few years finding the shots that show a different angle not always shared…


Obviously the IOOF side of Boulder Creek circa 1950s.

What I absolutely love about this shot is the other 500 pictures of this day face the infamous Burl Theater fire of 1956…yet this is the only one I know of that shows the crowd and main intersection of town that day…I have written chapters about this year in SLV fire history…someday to post.

And the only one I know of that captures Felton’s most famous fire until the Community Hall fire in the 1990s…of which I have a video but need to find ways to screen capture and share…

This pic shows Boulder Creek’s main engine showing up to help attack the Castella’s fire in Felton…the exact date is argued but I will just say it happened shortly after WWII.


Two Decades in the Life of Downtown Boulder Creek (north end)

Some decent representations of the changes downtown went through in less than 15 years. I know only a couple of the pics as being taken by Leo Kuhnlein…unknown credit on the others. Leo was the fire department photographer prior to me taking on most of those duties from somewhere in 1990/1991…

A pancake breakfast line in the old days…(still in my lifetime though I believe)


Between these two pics you can see the buildings on the Liberty Bank side, then the empty lot that became the BCFD tree sale location for years…

Pep Rocca’s green/white pickup parked on the street there..

Facing south. The Chevron/Standard station (long since torn down).


And finally a pic from 1961 showing what the rec district yard and building used to look like.


And finally the new construction can be seen for what would become Liberty Bank…


More Pics from my Flyover 27 Years Ago

Had a few requests to add more pics from my flight and history post earlier… so these are picscan quality, and maybe someday when I am feeling frisky I will hi-res scan the negatives and see what I can get out of them.


Some tidbits for historians:
– The Hudson Rockery barn still standing behind Johnnies.
– The Olympic gas station and residence next to it (Bertetta’s property)
– Peach Cottage still standing (before the last big fire – another prior history post on the blog here)
– Easier to see the addition to Johnnie’s where the other gas station used to be…(will post those pics later)
– Post Office had not been built yet…(empty lot by Johnnies)


Tidbit for my fire department friends:
– Todd’s beautiful 1969 Camaro parked in front of the firehouse.
– That yellow blazer was Mike Lord’s rig. He was the one that got BCFD into computers before any of the other fire department’s in the county…
– Ricky Gehrmann’s rig in front of the FD (an awesome Captain from back-in-the-day)
– You can see the old 2151 being stripped and the new one being fitted in back of the station


More Quotes Tonight from Two Feminine Forces..

Neither of which I had intended to see this last Friday – but I was much better off at night’s end – as can always be with the healing power of the feminine.

After having spent a brief evening at work which had been followed from seeing my daughter excel at her middle school track and field finals – I was allowed a few blessed moments with my beloved friend to talk. Our openness in being able to be who we are in our mutual company is beautiful – but can make for my own suffering unlike what I have described, even here. She is falling into a love from which we may not see her return (to parallel a famous similar quote most have heard a few dozen times), and she has asked for space of which I will abide…but in these weeks I am sure it will be obvious to those that look upon my face if not hidden behind my camera.

To start this night of quotes, she finally summarized why we are where we are with “We are a match, just not the right match”. I believe that to have finally helped me understand through all of this loss, with me never wavering on wanting to be with her these last five years and just never quite getting that sense into my head. I also thrive in the trust we have in knowing neither of us would do anything to endanger her finding a new beloved. And as has been the norm for me, even just being in her presence for a few moments calms all of my senses and I can be serene for a bit.

Setting upon my night with that ominous feeling of quietness and not being able to see the three souls who are my emotional world – made me think to stop at Joe’s just for the background noise. Here is how the new streetlights look from there..

I always look from outside to see if the sweltering dysfunction of booze, bad smells and music is worth the effort, but I did spy a situation befalling a recent widower whom I have known for years as some random dude was working his “magic”. I have only talked with her once since the recent loss of her beloved but I sat down right next to her as to help lessen the blow of rejection for this guy attempting his 5th or 6th line on her – which leads me to remember how quick-witted and self-sustaining this lady is.

Him: Do you smoke? Her: I am trying to quit. Him: Do you want to come outside and have a smoke with me? Her: No. Him: But I don’t want to go smoke by myself. Her (without skipping a breath): Then you should probably quit smoking.

I vehemently do not support nor believe in the comparison ideology that some have imparted upon me of late (ie: it could be worse, at least you’re not going thru that, etc..) – I believe each person’s suffering has the meaning and strength that it does for their own reasons, so please try not to sell those words upon someone you might be consoling with whatever grieves them. Why I bring it up is that when she and I talk, we have both lost our beloveds but in a much more drastic variation…though it does help with perspective in seeing her strength. Her advice to me was quite simple this evening: “…one foot in front of the other, because you don’t have a fucking choice…” Right then I looked upon this omen glaring back at me..

That did help in a way I had not thought of prior, and maybe it will enlighten one or two of those readers experiencing their own sadness. I realized I have already been doing that very action every day, I just was not acknowledging it to myself. I knew her husband as we are all roughly the same age and he was one amazing extroverted personality that had frequented my store. I miss seeing that guy…

I had my big lens on the camera but still took a few close-quarter shots to share and the facebook followers appeared to appreciate them. Her other sharing that evening helped me feel stronger about my self-loathe themes and recovery modes, but the contrast of seeing my beloved friend followed by someone who will never see hers again – gave me the continued will to make sure I tell whomever has my heart, how much they make the world’s fire more kindled and ferocious with their very presence and life force. Look up from your screen right now if you can and tell that partner/beloved/friend/family person that their soul is the light we seek in ourselves…if that makes any sense.

Maybe this bucket sitting near my feet was trying to tell me how much wealth was right in front of me and that I needed to just open my eyes…thank you ladies for another inspiring night.

Redwood Sandwich in Scotts Valley (SLV Residents though)

This new sandwich shop in a town where several chains already dot the landscape has found their latest loyal customer…and in the simplest of fashions: by serving great food at affordable prices and by doing the grunt work themselves. Ben and family have set up digs in the Camp Evers complex facing Scotts Valley Drive and Mt Hermon Road.
The menu has the basics covering the spectrum of healthy and fan favorites with just-right-sized sides and kids offerings.
The decor is uncomplicated with a natural wood motiv, flat screen and canvas hangings and lights.
The wood burning fireplace/oven adds just the right feel for those wanting some authentic flavor on some of their meats.
Ben and his wife used to operate a bagel shop in San Francisco for years, but decided to venture out on their own; buying a home in the SLV and starting from scratch a business in Scotts Valley going against the most recognized names in the business. Terrifying I am sure, as I remember my days starting the movie store, but those years were some of the best I will ever have helping the crowds share my passion, and I see that look on their faces here of being right they want to be…

I have tried several sandwiches and salads and am very satisfied with portions, flavors, ideas and hospitality. I could gush further about this place but if you see my truck in that lot, you will know why.

A Valley History of One Dude That I Think More Should Know About…

There is this dude I have been acquainted with since 1986, and since this dude has become well-known these last 30 years in the SLV – I figured it was time someone account for some backstory about him (and undeservedly me)…and since history seems to be a thing with me and my writings here and elsewhere – here goes. “Dude” works for this story because that is what we called each other, plus – it was the 80s and Sean Penn’s Spicoli had made the word mainstream long before Jeff Bridges did.

I was this lowly scrawny freshman trying to survive his obligatory semester of weight training at SLV. And in this same class was this tough, outspoken, obligatory lift-this-weight-NOW-or-regret-it strong sophomore that could pass for a senior. For some reason this dude took me on as a personal project to try and help me on my path of looking more like a muscular man instead of the twig that was walking through the weight room door. In retrospect though, I think Coach Hansen – yes the SLV legend – assigned him to fix this glowing example of missing masculinity. Now two things could strike anyone watching from the proverbial spectator seats of this months-long spectacle; 1. I looked like the wind could break me in half and, 2. Being a freshman in the 80s was truly encapsulated in every John Hughes masterpiece, and I was undoubtedly the geek character. SLV still had a smoking and chewing section that was undisputedly the grossest place on Earth – sufficed to say I was not welcome in that cool kid area. But the weight room was where everyone was allowed to be together…figures.

Over the course of those months and finally into the home stretch of wishing June had arrived 3,400 pounds of weights earlier, this older soul found numerous ways to motivate me. He did it without ever forwarding condescension or being mean though, so much so that even with my changing young brain I could see something special in how this person interacted with others, and how easy it appeared for him to lead someone down the right path. I actually looked and felt better about myself, and I can imagine a great deal of you can understand how difficult that was to achieve in high school. You can probably guess which one I am here….



Fast-forward some years past high school and college; into my now burgeoning career within the fire service for Boulder Creek. I made it a path of mine to attend every possible incident and to become quite comfortable with patient care on medicals. One particular evening a call came out at the golf course of a lady in need of emergency care, and I was the primary patient person that evening. Little did I know this particular lady was also a medical professional that knew more than I ever would about patient care. Also unbeknownst to me was that she was a beloved relative of this dude I have been writing about. Very rarely do emergency care providers in the field get feedback regarding their skills afterwards, but this dude tracked me down some time later and relayed some things that needed to be said about my care of her. To this day and through my 20 years of service, I don’t think anyone has summarized a more professional breakdown of how well and proper my care was of her. It felt like one of those moments in a mob movie when the made guy tells our protagonist that he gets a free pass whenever he needs it – no questions. But in this case, one dude was telling another dude thank you with such sincerity and depth that only those two living it – can actually understand.

Fast forward a few more years and this dude becomes a manager at a local non-profit center, fulfilling a work ethic and leadership style that had manifested long before. Seventeen years later, his tough exterior carried an undoubtedly trying career of proving his worth, both personally and professionally into what would become. As our kids grew up attending Boulder Creek Elementary together we would sometimes sit by those big redwoods and talk of life and such; all while waiting for the next generation to run up to us after the bell and remind us that we are “old”.

This year he then tackled one more hurdle of vying for the big position in the company as to help guide and direct one of the most well-known community organizations into the next decade for the SLV – and he got it! All the while, when I would visit his center to drop off recycling, we would talk as if the years had never passed and that even though we both had families and those years of life between us – he still treated me like a real friend. I even tried to take some quality pics of him playing music various times in the SLV, but he married into a family that has a much better photographer than me – so he is covered there. And even in my suffering of late to such depths, he still shakes my hand and says we can talk about whatever it is and make it better. Even though I will never bother him with my stuff, he has proven to me, from that first day of walking through the weight room door to this most recent moment of walking into his center – the SLV has one hell of a good man running things…just thought you should know.

Matt Harris is that dude, the Valley Women’s Club is who he works for, and for 30 years he has fought the good fight and deserves all of the rewards that will continue his way…thanks Matt.



Added Some Rose Updates on fb

Loved how some of the pics turned out so shared the story over there on the SLV Steve feed…

Roses of Intimacy

A frequent disbursement of my garden occurs during the flowering seasons – but without boring the masses of my thrills in paying it forward and being responsible for creating smiles upon the feminine divine with my simple actions, let me just say: I hand out roses to provide a genuine moment of intimacy between people that is defined outside the physical/biological realm; Just genuine platonic caring and happiness through a brief shared moment. This sign adorns my garden summing up the situation…


This particular rose found its way to a lady who I saw as having difficult times personally – so I took it to her place of work and gently gave it to her. She cried quietly and shared that no man had given her a rose in over four years. What is wrong with this world??? Simple acts of genuine sharing could make even one person’s life brighter for a brief time…but add those times up and suddenly you could have a whole life being filled with love.


Then I got a little crazy and shared several roses from work (on my dinner break) with the beautiful staff at Mint Cafe in Scotts Valley. Michelle and the staff there are such amazing and vibrant ladies (and yes; there is the owner Ed – not beautiful in the feminine sense but he has kept me in check through my years of continued loyalty to his establishment and offers direct yet sage advice when needed). Watching all of the lady staff light up in a restaurant definitely makes the food taste better by the way.




I refer some to this blog in hopes of convincing them that my motives are genuine – and they are. Please accept these gifts I share in hopes that your day and maybe even week goes just slightly better than planned because a fellow man offered a rose of intimacy merely so the whole world could be brighter for a brief second….thank you for listening.

The end of my Love Story ..and on to the lifelong love of a friend

My inspiration tonight once again fell upon the staff of the Cremer House and Felton New Leaf – and unequivocally that group always provides. Our Hannah Rose from the prior feminine inspiration post received a genuine written summary of herself as I saw fit to share (along those lines of the roses; with intent to please only, no ulterior motives). And then I even let her read my thoughts upon this latest version of events in my life of love and she liked it. So here goes…

This capacity of roles I fill with the feminine can be daunting to say the least, but at its best the trust earned is a reward indescribable to the plethora of men who can’t or won’t live it like I do. She moves into her next relationship with a lust for passion and fulfillment – that incautious bliss where rose-colored lenses swim upon ones eyes; flooding the biological libido into a staminous blurring flow of sex and pleasure.

How does one convey to the unknowing masses my individual losses regarding this intimate of mine? Those losses themselves are supposedly appeased through sharing and therapy, but they still cut deeply when even grazed upon by triggers later on in unexpected and even planned moments. Those words run sentiment in me with Richard Dreyfuss’ narration towards the end of Stand By Me (regarding the friends you have when 12 are unmatched your entire life) – I wish I could jump into that film to warn all of the newly apprised adolescents of that perceived truth and scream “Just Wait!!!”

Surf’N Sarah at New Leaf then gets saddled with my morose feel as I purchase some organic wine to help me think as I write this. Without fail, she makes me laugh every time I talk with her – one of those spirits you wish frequented your inner circles during those twenty-something years of finding yourself. First she says: “The love of wine will never fuck you over.” Well put. As I walked out the door she then quipped “Have fun with your new friend.” Thank you Sarah.

As an addendum and way too short of a summary (even for me) of this love story of mine – her and I have stayed very close this last year. Even today she attended my dad’s memorial along with countless hours of shared moments even just this season…but I digress…I walked out of the store knowing her plans for the night fighting the demons of sorrow and self loathe yet blissfully appreciative of the happiness filling her soul from another…

In the parking lot I spied this license plate…is there really any other way to interpret this besides regarding one’s endowment?

A night of gratitude, feminine inspiration and reflection..

Understanding these three months of absence may lean one towards a fill-in-the-blanks post, I instead swayed towards the fun of this evening and to share the rawness of me in this turmoil of sadness, self-doubt and personal hatred. I want this as a posting of gratitude for the feminine strength in so many things and for a small listing of phrases I captured.

My loathe never inhibits my wish to still give smiles…and with regards to finally writing again I have actually written two really good pieces on SLV history and social happenings in the SLV since dad died, but I did not push them through to here yet. In the published world though, my editor printed several of my pieces including (to my surprise) an unedited placement on the front newspaper page about the BC Brewery fire (with how I wrote the article I thought sure it would get lambasted by the exclusion process that writer’s lament in journalism)…I hope readers got something from it.


Tonight was about finding inspiration through souls known and unknown to hopefully help me get out of this funk that has enveloped me since January. The Cremer House once again proved to the Valley and to me how packed and fun a social center can be on a Saturday night, without the dive feel or career inebriates. One of the bartenders, who we will call Hannah Rose for this piece, came right out with this phrase that helped spurn all of my writing after I told her I was looking for ideas: “I like listening, I just can’t hear.” Obviously the context was meant in that moment – but then I thought how perfectly that sums up so many miscommunications in daily life – whether in relationships or friendships or even at work. Before she would tell me her name – her now seeing I was a writing – she said to just call her “the really cute girl”. I loved that she said it in such a way that you knew she was not being egotistical or vain – she was just saying something nice about herself but in a believable way. I thought how amazing that would be if we could all find something nice to say about ourselves to strangers when asked. Yet with how much loathe I have felt about myself lately with the recent loss of things both in family and in heart – I am not sure that I could be as generous to me. But the repeated words of the two feminine healers in my life that I respect so deeply in this realm (Hannah and Charmian), ring in my head again and again about self-worth and how amazing I reportedly am, or could be anyway.

As a wonderful friend wandered into the Cremer for her first time, she found the only empty bar stool was right next to me. Julie writes also and I gained her acquaintance through Charmian; they both being talented fire dancers these five years prior. Be sure to check her great drinking adventures at The Happy Hour Blog . Something I have always loved is telling people about something they are unfamiliar with in the SLV; whether it be fun adventures, great food or in this case – drinking possibilities. I only imbibe upon the Kombuchas when writing here but I found ways to parlay some fun ideas her way, myself having tried the nitro tapped items on the menu months before. Her humor has always made me smile – and after she had tried several brews the next quote happened for me from her: “It all tastes good now.” She made me aware without even trying that possibly, just maybe – after having enough hard lessons about love and loss in life, it all seems good now.


The topic of age arrived as I shared with her my years of writing bits about the dating and social scene in the SLV, where immediately our next phrase of interest arrived (of which I also hope to read about on her blog): “The double nickel equals a perfect 10”. If I could trademark that phrase for all the ladies turning 55, I bet you I could make a few cents…or sense to a few. Speaking of age in the opposite direction – I watched Taylor Rae perform last week – and she is one of those talents you just know will be on the Billboard charts someday…her voice is like nothing I have heard from our little Valley…and she works at the Cremer House. I pointed her out to Julie and said there is another feminine powerhouse to reckon the world with. This is a pic I took of her while she sang a beautifully sad song at Casa Nostra last week.


I had already picked a few gorgeous roses from my garden in the hopes of imparting some joy upon a lucky few tonight. Hannah, Julie and her partner-in-blog were recipients of those beauties that bring a smile to many a lady every day. Some ladies who don’t know me have looked suspiciously upon their gift in past pay-it-forward-givings – but I always clear the air immediately as being a non-threat…and in this case it was simple as I let Hannah Rose know I am way too old for that “really cute girl”, and that a rose is just a rose for a Rose. This pic is of Hannah entertaining the crowd…


Thank you ladies for a fun evening, and especially to Julie for listening to my learning curve stories of choosing my closest friend in this world to be that who was my beloved; Charmian.

I stopped at Masood’s to say hello to that property baron and storyteller, he always manages to get a smile out of me with his dry humor and latest events at Burger 9. I ran into a former fire department intern of mine there, with whom I spent numerous hours teaching skillsets and values a decade previous and he shared with me his feelings about those days. The internship was something I held and still value so deeply for what it gives to the SLV in terms of young men and women becoming amazing and enduring public servants. Most people will never know the depths of how much that one program (these last twenty years) has done for the quality of life here in our little area. Thank you Mr. Hill – your words inspired me to feel good about myself in those days again. My reward to you – a pic you probably didn’t even know existed of your training a decade ago at Redwood Elementary…with all sincerity: you are welcome.


Finishing the night at Joe’s where I say my usual quick hellos and to usually skip the beer – always yearning for a glimmer of meaningful conversation amongst the masses that may recognize me though. Karin Ann has done an amazing job running and owning that bar with her hubby and I see strength in her I will never have. She has been so amazing to my mom and to me through this time we have known her. I stop usually just to say hi to her and extend my hope for a new and different beer that never arrives– which though lo and behold she surprised me this week and had a new brand – I was ecstatic. The live music plays too loud for me so I typically wait outside until there is a break – which can be challenging as either the smoking groups make me ill or one of the town’s undesirables who also loathes me will be loitering there…like tonight in both cases.


At the break I bolted in to say hi to Shawna and her friend L’Anja (beautiful name to which I had not heard in my 40+ years until now). Have always appreciated your honesty in our talks Shawna; your post-Hawaii glow was obvious – please return there many times!

I did smile quite a bit tonight, still feeling the long-term lingering affects of the palsy and sadness…but I hope to be writing more and sharing what I learn about this social scene in the SLV, both in the dating realms and elsewhere.