Tag Archives: Lompoc California

The Valley of the Flowers — Part Two

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Dear Readers,

Read this post first:

“The Valley of the Flowers” Part 1

. . . . And as if this childhood setting was not quaint enough, we also had the good fortune to live near the village of Solvang, California: “The Danish Capitol of the World.”  Danish settlers named the town “Solvang,” meaning “Sunny Fields,” when they migrated to California in 1911, to escape the harsh midwestern winters.  And, really — who could blame them?

Entering the village of Solvang was like entering one of the “countries” of Epcot — except that this village was authentic!  For special occasions, Dad & Mom drove us [my three siblings and me] over and through the undulating hills of The Valley of the Flowers, to Solvang, where we dined  at a Danish restaurant named, “Paul and Margaret’s.”

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We also lived near Buellton, CA, the home of Andersen’s Split Pea Soup Restaurant:
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The South may know a thing or two about BBQ — but I was raised near the Santa Maria Valley, “The BBQ Capital of the World” and home of the “Tri-Tip Beef BBQ:”
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Our Valley of the Flowers was famous for “Pinquitos”  [“Little Pinks”], which we ate with our BBQ.  The Portugeuse farmers brought “Pinquitos” from the Old Country, when they first settled in the Valley of the Flowers:
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Way before salsa became “hip” and replaced ketchup  — way before you could buy salsa in a grocery store, we dined at the Far Western Tavern in nearby Guadalupe and enjoyed freshly-made salsa with our BBQ and pinquitos:
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At this point, I am getting a little ahead of my story — but I cannot resist posting these last two photos of Los Olivos, CA, home to “Mattei’s Tavern,” an Old Stage Coach Inn, circa 1886.
This historic site included a restaurant that was so quaint  and romantic that I fell in love with it — and with my future husband — when he took me there to dine, in 1970.
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. . . These are the snapshots – the postcards — of my idyllic life in “The Valley of the Flowers,” circa 1958 – 1962.  The events that interrupted that life will be the subject of the next post, Part Three of this series.
Coram Deo,
Margot

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Filed under California, Childhood Memories

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