The Valley of the Flowers – Part One


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Dear Readers,

You may describe the “picture postcard” memories of your childhood — but just try to compete with mine:

I spent my idyllic childhood [1958-1962] in  “The Valley of the Flowers,”   Lompoc [LAHM-poke], California.  This small town and valley boasted the title of “The Flower Seed Capital of the World.”

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The air was pure and fresh because of the ocean wind, the small population, and the absence of industrial commerce:  At that time, the region was mostly agricultural.

In addition to flowers, the region now boasts of  vineyards, which flourish in this lush, fertile, golden valley.

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After the Spanish conquered California for God and King, the Spanish Friars established 21 missions, along the coast of California.  Lompoc was the site of Mission La Purisima Concepcion, providing the source of the name of the region:  “Point Conception.”

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Mission La Purisima Concepcion

“Point Conception”  jutted out into the Pacific Ocean.  [See the red star, below].  Strong winds from the ocean were invigorating and bracing.  A protective blanket of dense fog rolled in every night and dissipated every morning.

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The cool, Mediterranean climate of the region did not offer regular seasons and the weather was unvarying.   The annual average temperature range was between 50 degrees and 70 degrees and the average rainfall was 16.11 inches.  Of course,  there was never frozen precipitation.

I remember frequently wearing a “car coat”  but that was the warmest piece of over-clothing that I owned.   Our homes did not have air conditioning because the temperature rarely rose above 70 degrees.   There was one hot spell per year, however, when the “Santa Ana Winds” rolled in from the desert.  This was our one chance to wear shorts and sleeveless tops and retrieve our window fans from storage.


 

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I live in North West Florida now.  Every summer, I grow homesick for the climate of my childhood:  I yearn, once more, to wear a car-coat in July;  to walk on the crunchy, brown sand of the beach;  to hear the crashing, booming waves of the ocean and the plaintive cry of the sea gulls;  to wade in the cold ocean water [where no one would dare to swim without a wet-suit];  to smell the scent of sea air, sea weed and kelp;  to feel the wind and sea mist on my face and in my hair; and to look up and see the protective dome of the overcast sky, which protected us from the sun.

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Surf Beach, Point Conception, CA

I long to play all day at the beach, with no sunscreen, and to return home without even the barest hint of a sunburn.


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The sweet fragrance and vibrant color of those flowers represented my ideal childhood.  I lived in a landscape filled with softly undulating hills of beauty, in orderly rows of contrasting color, as far as the eye could see.

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The tranquil beauty of the valley’s contours  provided the memories and dreams of my childhood.

The intrusive nature and shape of the events which invaded my ideal childhood is what this series of blog entries must tell.

Coram Deo,

Margot

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Filed under California, Childhood Memories

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