The news from Watson

(And if anyone can tell me how to make an accent mark on this text, I’d be grateful–the above is supposed to have one over the o, so it’s en espanol. And that could use a tilde, as well. Alas, I really should return to the stylus and clay tablet. Anyway…)

I love local newspapers. The weekend edition of the Register Pajaronian (I kid not, that’s the name) has as its central piece an article about a blind horse rescued from a ravine, whence it was pulled when the redwood it was standing next to fell during the rains you may have heard that we’ve been having here in California. Photos of a vet examining a poor, white-eyed and very muddy horse just choke you right up.

But the chief chest-sweller is the next article over: “Sun-fueled apartment complex is completed; Solar-powered housing is largest in the nation”. That’s right, folks, little old hick town, strawberry-and-apple growing Watsonville has quietly plunked down the biggest solar powered electrical system of any apartment complex in the country. And to top it off, a lot of the apartments are low-income housing designed for larger families (which around here means Hispanic).

I first saw this area when I was eighteen, driving out for the day with my boyfriend in his already ancient Rambler. I was a hippie, complete with gold-rimmed glasses, long dress, unbound hair, and sandals. We went through Freedom, surrounded by pickups with guns in their racks (this was 1970, and it was still legal) and prayed vehemently that the old car didn’t break down until we got back to civilization. We all knew what These People did to hippies.

But in 1982, I became one of These People, when we moved from Santa Cruz to Watsonville, where we could afford a bit of land to raise kids and some apples of our own.

And you know what I found? A conservative farming community with eighty-five percent of its school children Spanish-surnamed, isn’t at all a bad place to raise kids. So long as you avoid certain topics during the Home and School Club meetings.

And the local papers are most entertaining.

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  1. CaraSusanetta on March 3, 2005 at 3:12 pm

    I’m glad you’re making the blog your own. You’d have a lovely additional creative outlet as a columnist if you ever felt so inclined. I devour your books, and now I have the pleasure of your company online as well. Can’t get much better than that. Gave Mom The Book of Mary for Christmas and now she’s equally addicted. Hee hee!

  2. Writergirlrants on March 3, 2005 at 4:13 pm

    I have to say that I’m delighted as well that you now have a blog! I guess the excitement of Locked Doors coming out has put Mary back in my mind, because in my American Lit class last night (I’m getting my Masters after 10 years out of school – they call it the real world, but is it?) – we were discussing Margaret Fuller’s Woman in the Nineteenth Century and I brought up Margery Child and The Monstrous Regiment of Women – and made quite an impression … they started asking me about Mary and Sherlock! I’m so glad that my LRK book obsession is being passed along!
    My presentation next week is on Hawthorne’s Blithedale Romance – so we’re on to Xenobia.

  3. caroline on March 3, 2005 at 9:34 pm

    I just love that you live in Watsonville. About the time you bought your place there, I was looking at relocating from Philadelphia (where i had been in university & ended up spending too many years lingering…)to Santa Cruz. I picked SC because of the ocean and the climate, which is most like Key West, FL in temp and sunny days. Anyway, I quickly discovered I couldn’t afford anything there. Since I also have no problem living in an Hispanic community (I’m a native of Miami) and my then husband and I kept horses, we figured Watsonville was IT. We never did move but your posting sent a little zing up my spine and a wonderment for what might my life have been like if I really had moved there. Anyway, it’s a fun synchronicity of sorts to find the same thought process in others separated by time, space, and life path.
    all the best!

  4. Cornelia on March 3, 2005 at 9:37 pm

    Accents? Try this:

    ó for the “‘c3’b3”
    õ (or any other vowel with a tilde)

    Hope that it works!

  5. Cornelia on March 3, 2005 at 9:42 pm


    Á –> ‘c3’81
    á –> ‘c3’a1
    É –> ‘c3’89
    é –> ‘c3’a9

    À –> ‘c3’80
    à –> ‘c3’a0

    Â –> ‘c3’82
    â –> ‘c3’a2

    Ã –> ‘c3’83
    ã –> ‘c3’83

    Å –> ‘c3’85
    å –> ‘c3’a5

  6. Erin on March 3, 2005 at 9:54 pm

    I love hearing about the technologial advances that are being made in the energy industry. There are so many possibilites that we are still just playing around with that have the potential to save a lot of resources and help the economy.

    In regards to your question about posting with accents: I don’t post on blogger so I could be mistaken, but I believe that including accents in your text has more to do with your operating system (ie. Mac or Windows) than the blogging system so you should be able to type in accented letters and such using the same technique you would if you were typing them in a word processing program. For Windows it can be done with ALT key codes, but I’m not exactly sure how that is done on Mac. I’ve found the following link to be very helpful:

    Hope that is of some help and not something you already knew.

  7. enyo on March 4, 2005 at 4:23 pm

    I’m a big fan of your work; my paperback copy of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice is nearly worn out because I’ve read it so many times.

    I’ll put in my two cents about the accents: this page has a list of coded characters; the different letters with accents are at the bottom.

    I don’t know about blogger, but I’ve found that on livejournal the shortcuts used in Word don’t work; I always have to use the coded character set.

    I’m quite happy to see that you have a blog, and even more excited for Locked Rooms.

  8. Enyo on March 4, 2005 at 9:06 pm

    To add to what I said earlier:

    Neither Internet Explorer for Mac nor Safari are fully supported by blogger–basically, blogger will not work as well on those programs as it will on others. If those are the two browsers that you’re using (I know you mentioned Safari) then you might want to download Mozilla Firefox instead. You can do that here.

    It’s free, and just as easy to use as IE. And you’ll probably have fewer blog problems: blogger claims that you’ll be able to create links, etc. this way. Netscape 7.2 for Mac is also fully supported.

    Or, you can just wait–blogger also says that full support for Safari is coming–“eventually.”

    Hope this is useful to you and not too technobabble-y.

  9. Chrissan on March 6, 2005 at 11:10 am

    Finally, a new Martinelli coming! I have been waiting for her since ‘With Child’ and might as well wait another year, as long as I know she’ll be back!

  10. Bob Greene on March 16, 2005 at 2:11 am

    I spent a lot of time on Larkin Valley Rd as my favorite cousins lived there. Thier mail address was Watsonville, but were close to Freedom.

    I like protagonists who have a few human failings, but fewer than me (grin). Mary has a combination of logical and lateral thinking that I wish I had. I really enjoy reading about her. I always felt cheated by the original Holmes books as he would deduce an important fact based on something like a cigarette butt when it was never shown the reader. The Mary & Holmes books don’t do that to me.

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