Friday, February 15, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers (Especially Farmers)

Doug Hatano, standing in his family's field in the PV Peninsula, the last farm left there

As my book deadline looms, I have found myself suddenly enveloped by a strange and wonderful calmness. It's completely unexpected and unusual for me. Those who know LA Farm Girl know that "calm" is not usually an adjective that can best describe me.

So, what's with the calmness? Its due to the help and support I have gotten from so many people in my community, especially those who had family farms here or knew farmers here.

It's incredible, they get me names and phone numbers, they tell me wonderful stories and they open up their homes to me, letting me scan their photos, sometimes more than once since I am technologically impaired. They give me their cell numbers in case I forgot anything and they ask me to keep them informed as to when the book is coming out because they want to come to my book signing (now, I just have to get one of those).

Richard Hudson, of Hudson Dairy, even gave me some original milk bottles and bottle caps to give to the Torrance Historic Society. I was so nervous having these precious items in my car that I went straight from his house to the Historic Society so I wouldn't break the bottles!

I have been so moved by their generosity and so convinced that telling these stories is my duty and I believe one of the most important tasks I have ever done.

I have been thinking of how I could possibly thank them for their help and then it struck me, I believe the best way that I can thank them is by telling their stories in the most honest and respectful way possible. So, that's what I am trying to do both through this small, photographic history book, but in a more in depth way as well.

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