Crafting With Gladness: Christmas Paper Chains

It’s Christmas Craft Day on Gazette665. We’re continuing with projects related to short stories in With Gladness: A Christmas Story Collection. The first craft of December 3, 2016, features decorations mentioned in the California Rancho story.Christmas Paper ChainFive-year-old Margarite laughed at Barbara’s distracted attempts to finish the long paper chains to hang around the windows. (From “A Light In The Window” in With Gladness, page 41) Continue reading

With Gladness: California Ranchos


California is my native state. I was born, raised, and still live here. It’s sort of ironic that the focus of my history studies are on places, events, and people thousands of miles away…especially when I have such wonderful history “in my own backyard.” What can I say?

Truly, I appreciate and enjoy California history, so when I was planning the short stories to write and feature in With Gladness, I knew I wanted one of the stories to be set on a California Rancho. The “classic era” of the California Ranchos was during the 1820’s and 1830’s, but I set the story in 1848. Why? It was a time of conflict and change.

Today’s blog post explores more of the history behind the short story “A Light In The Window.” Continue reading

CA History ‘Round The Town: Butterfield Stage

Last year a friend and I were talking about California History, communication, and stage coaches. We got curious and started looking for the old stagecoach routes here in California, and then, being a little obsessed with history, we started figuring out if the old stagecoach route could be traced and “recreated” on modern roads. And indeed I could pretty much drive the Butterfield stage route between our homes (and someday I might do that and document my adventure!) The Butterfield Stage line really did come right through my home town – so I’ve really got a nice piece of history in “my backyard.”

And, of course, a street named after it…

Butterfield Stage Road Continue reading

California History ‘Round The Town: General Kearny

I’m a little ashamed to say that the first thing I usually think of when I drive down General Kearney Street is “Yeah, he was the general who lost the Battle of San Pasqual.” While that is true, I’ve enjoyed learning more about this American military man and his role in the Mexican-American War and the settlement of the Southwest. So…now I’ll have some more positive thing to review as I’m driving on this “country” road.

General Kearney Stree

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CA History ‘Round The Town: Jedidiah Smith

Recently, we’ve discussed two Spanish explorers who discovered routes into California. Today we’ll jump forward a few decades on the timeline to find an American who crossed into California from the east…and created a quandary for Mexican government ruling California at the time.

And, of course, there’s a street named for this American in early California History. Jedidiah Smith Road.Jedidiah Smith Road Continue reading

CA History ‘Round The Town: De Anza

Continuing with the discovery of California History while driving around town and noticing street signs, today we find the next major explorer after De Portola.

There’s a road in my town that runs north/south through the Southern California countryside, passing wineries, mansions, and equestrian ranches. It’s called Anza…and there’s the real Senor de Anza traversed the general region where the modern road is today.Anza Road

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