Gray to Tom: El Granada Hardware & the ShoreBird

Tom,My  name is Gray Gardner,I communicate with June ,Time to Time.I lived on the Coastside  1967 thru 1975,I was the first Occupant of  # 4,on top of The El Granada Hardware in 1970,and my friend Farris Wilson ,from Missouri also  ,lived in #3.Up to that we had Studios in Lewis Apts to theEast.Rex and Margaret Thomas were good friends of ours.My friend,Bill Ruth,Who lived in #3 &  later #4 still sees Rex’s Daughter in Chico.June,Bill was building the Sail Boat off the back of the Hardware Store,when you moved to El Granada

Tom,Dean & Dean,who built the Housing Development on the north side of El Granada,also built the Shore Bird,probably in 1972 or  early 1973.I’m thinking that Westinghouse bought the Housing  development and the  “Bird” in 1974.I remember,because ,Westinghouse was Firing the entire staff shortly after that ,and  we had a”Humungous” “ Meal-all the  “Locals showed up the last night,and the Staff kept bringing free  plates of Crab Legs  and Pitchers of Wine all night.We paid a small bill;and left a huge tip.

I’ll get in touch with

Farris,in  Hawaii,and see if he has any photos of the Shore Bird he can E- mail to you.


Gray Gardner

Excelsior Springs,Mo.

Story by Kathrine Gardner: Why I Play Music: Creativity and the Meaning of Life in Fiddling

[Image: Fiddler Kathrine Gardner, center, with red hair. Husband, Kit, watches over her, Dan Kluger, on Banjo and Banjo Uke, with Mark Kartman on guitar. The photo is from the cover of their CD called “KJammers Thanksgiving 2002”.]

Story by Kathrine Gardner

[This article originally appeared in the early 1990s in “Bay Area Country Dancer”.]

In the fall of 1982 I met someone at a party who dragged me to a San Francisco Folk Music Club outing. From our campsite I heard a far off fiddle tune that beckoned me—I went crashing through the fallen redwood twigs until I saw it: a half dozen people sitting in a circle with fiddles, mandolins and guitars, playing a tune over and over. I had played a lot of music before, but seeing and hearing and feeling that session, I knew THAT was what I had been designed to do. I didn’t know why. But I overwhelmingly desired to be part of it. I didn’t join in then–I had a terrible attack of shyness, and wasn’t even sure if it was O.K. to listen. It had a sacred quality.

Well, I went home to Davis and started taking fiddle lessons immediately (from Barry Shultz who lived there then.) I started to copy not only his music but his life: I bought a car and a tape recorder, quit my job, and started fiddling 4 and 5 hours hours a day. Music festivals and parties became the main reasons for being. I became subject to ecstatic highs and devastating lows. One of the early highs I can remember was actually being able to play along in an old-timey session at Charlie Fenton’s party, along about 1983.

So, to mercifully truncate a long story, here I am, a more or less starving but happy dance musician. Why did I do it? What would make a person forsake a normal life, eschew financial well-being, reject( anything that would take time away from the endless production of pleasing patterns of sound? Because it’s my vehicle for becoming my best self, maybe? I observe that EVERYONE I know who plays music and/or dances seems to grow more wonderful each year. How does this work? I found some good words on it in the Utne Reader (March/April 1992) that I want to share. This is Eric Utne talking about what learning “traditional” art forms does for you.

My dictionary defines creativity as transcending the traditional…to make something new. This strikes me as a distinctly modernist, Western view. Throughout the East, and in all tribal cultures, the act of embracing and preserving the traditional , especially through ceremony and ritual, is the most creative thing an individual can do. The Karuk Indians of California perform their “ira-hiti” ceremony each September “to fix the world,” that is, to bring the natural forces of the world back into balance. What could be more creative than that?

Instead of trying to create something new and different, something unique,…traditional people seek to harmonize with creation through obedience to natural laws and mastery of the traditional forms—the dance, the song, the painting. They seek not personal self-expression but annihilation of the self and a consequent transmission of a fuller, truer, more complete self…This kind of creativity does not say, “Look at me, look at me.” It says, “Thank you, Lord, thank you….” The end product…is not the point; the process of creating is the point. The act of creating transforms the creator. The creation comes through you, it is not of you.

The way it works is that the whole process of creating music—learning tunes and instruments and playing with people and learning to work with them and love them and make events of music and dance—creates me.

My current view of the creation process is that it has three stages: conceiving something in the mind, feeling the discord between your conception and what currently is, which can release huge amounts of energy, and using that energy to make the thing real. In the context of traditional music, “conceiving” is often just wanting to learn a tune, or an instrument, or a style of playing. It’s no miracle that people devote so much time and effort to learning these things—plenty of energy is generated from the “potential difference” between what you can now do and what you want to be able to do. It sounds as though I could be talking about electricity—a difference of potential causing current to flow. (Maybe it’s all the same thing!?) It’s a sort of energy of desire, like what one feels when one is in love, or (to get back to music) like the need to hear a chord resolve.

The trick is to be able to identify a desire when you have one, and to then let it focus your decisions and actions. Then you will accomplish incredible feats and experience your full human power to create joy. I’m convinced that this amazing, seemingly magical process is our birthright as humans, and is not hard to learn to use once you believe in it. It works for music, art, housework, career planning, entrepreneurship, social change, you name it.

So now that I’m in the midst of an exciting music career, I could also apply these principles to the task of getting less hard-up financially. Hmmm. The trouble is, it won’t work unless I can find a heartfelt desire to do something that would also produce money, in the quantities that seem to be needed to livein this dear Bay Area. So wish me luck. And I’ll see you out there dancing and fiddling.


Kathrine Gardner is a career fiddler who lives in El Granada.

Email Kathrine ([email protected])

Gray Gardner on Where to Watch a Good Coastside Storm

Email Gray Gardner: [email protected]

June-The best place for me was our old Beach House,on the beach below the Distillery,with the Waves breaking against the Reef and the”Pillar”,with the Lights of Distillery illuminating it all. The house was built  on the same lava formation as the Reef,and would shake with the wave hits .If  it was High Tide,the waves would fill the depression in front of the house………we would fire-up the  cast-  iron Fire Place, put Wagner on Bob’s Stereo  (Which was one of the best on the Coastside at that time).Turn the lights off and drink Hot  Spiced Rum until  Dawn!


June: Gray, who’s the “Bob” you mention?


Bob, Was Bob Garretson who I’m sure still has a few friends on the Coastside.We shared the Beach House from 1971 to 1975,

Bob later moved on to live on the North Fork of the Feather River Canyon at the Maple Leaf Inn,Steve Clark,who used to play Guitar  at the Distillery  lived there also. .For those who remember Steve,and his long hair, the last time I saw him in 1985 he had a crew cut.Bob later moved to Tucson,He was the one who saw the former owners of the “Ace of Cups”,I noted a while back.


Best Regards

Gray Gardner

Excelsio Springs,Mo.

Help me out here..Best Windows to Watch Coastside Storms From?

I wish I had been home to enjoy the weekend Coastside storm I heard so much about.

Strong winds, heavy, constant rain. Cold enough for a fireplace, perhaps, or a warm hat, coat and a wool blanket. And a window to watch it all from.

A “window” could be the glass kind we are all accustomed to–but a “window” could also be the view from a favorite sand dune.

Where’s the best place to watch a good Coastside storm?

(I was home on Monday when sheets of rain delighted all of my senses. I didn’t completely miss the first

“The Good Life”: What does it mean?

Apparently different things to different people.

Please click here

British Airways, for example,has a fabulous tv commercial

set to the warmly comforting 1962 song, ‘The Good Life,” —-and, in place of people passengers, we see the beautiful creatures of the sea ( striped and colored fish), and a pair of lovey dovey seals who almost nose-kiss——all, swim, without a care in the world,  through the ocean-filled terminal.

Gabriel Moulin: San Mateo County’s Premier Historical Photographer

(The San Mateo County & San Francisco) Town & Country Homes 1910-1930

Gabriel Moulin’s glamorous photos of the beautiful homes and people who lived “over the hill” [code for the Peninsula.] in “very interesting” times, as the Federal Reserve (they print our money) was organized in 1913 followed by WWI, and this country’s first Great Depression in 1929. I’m giving the book some context by using the significant events that define the era when the great Peninsula photographer was shooting pix.

You may enjoy more of Mr. Moulin’s work (and his book) at the San Mateo County Historical Museum in Redwood City.

The cover photo is of the pool at  “Uplands,” the Hillsborough estate of Charles Templeton Crocker (1917.)

PostModern Poetry…

Edited by gregory vincent st. thomasino

with poetry by David Appelbaum, Donald Wellman, Mary Ann Sullivan, Joseph F. Keppler, Patrick Lawler, James Stotts, David Annwn, David Rushmer, Melanie Brazzell, Jennifer Juneau, John M. Bennett, Geof Huth, John Mercuri Dooley, Mark Cunningham, Derek Owens, Gautam Verma, and Clark Lunberry

To enjoy the postmodern poet’s work with words and their individual views of life, please click here

or click on the yellow spines of the e-zine above.