Chasing Dreamtime: A Sea-Going Hitchhikers Journey Through Memory and Myth

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After settling in Sydney, she soon became the Australian Women's Sailboarding Champion, a title she successfully defended for four consecutive years. She built a career as a writer and photojournalist, covering sailboarding events in Australia, Europe and the U. During this time she also created a magazine for sailors, Freesail Australia, which became Australia's top-selling sailboarding magazine. Returning to the U. She continues to write, edit and do photography for maritime publications.

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Neva Sullaway. Publisher: Brookview Press , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Around , when offers started coming for the land surrounding the former factories of the Ghirardelli chocolate company, a potential buyer proposed a design for a sleek high-rise complex. Roth, was persuaded to buy the plot instead. Rather than simply hiring an architect, Roth solicited ideas from real-estate brokers, landscape architects, and preservationists.

He commissioned one architecture firm to draw up a plan for Ghirardelli Square, and then, like a movie producer polishing a screenplay, called in others to do subsequent drafts of buildings. Meanwhile, a generation of architects, including my grandfather, worked to shape the habits of a new tribe.

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In the postwar West Coast metropolis, you assembled a personal world from diverse local sources and brought it home, to your private grounds. Domestic space emerged as an extension of the public sphere. Pat and Steve, moving across the Golden Gate Bridge, bought a hilltop plot that looked onto the marshes and the saturnine eastern face of Mt. My grandfather designed a house that reflected the modernist sensibilities of his time: glass-and-cinder-block exterior, stained-wood walls, and a fireplace mosaic depicting the developmental life cycle of the honeybee.

In time, my grandparents raised three boys, grew marijuana on their roof, and went to see the Mamas and the Papas sing in Monterey. Their house became a hub for people who, a generation earlier, might not have mixed. Some were from the old labor circle or a new Unitarian Universalist one, for whom my grandfather had designed a church.

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Antiquarian book dealers came by, and musicians in Zen-style robes, and the younger Oppenheimer brother. My grandparents developed a Nick-and-Nora act to account for this curious traffic. The floor was heated, which meant that, when the womb chairs and the couches filled, guests sat or knelt or lay on pillows on the carpet. The house faced backward, with the front door hard to find, so visitors drifted unannounced from the back lawn, and left the same way. Or maybe they had gone outside to read—or to shimmy down a deer path, through the fallen oak leaves and the bay trees on the cliff below.

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They could be anywhere. That was, perhaps, the point. In California, the norm was to spend hours wandering in and out of doors, in and out of social spaces, in and out of conversations, in and out of paradigms of thought. A tribe, to hold its place, needs private history, turf, and a vision of the outside world. What came down to me as family habit started with a tie-dyed generation lounging on those heated floors.

This crowd preached love and—in defiance of the old ways—unconstrained togetherness. If Ghirardelli Square epitomized collaborative and participatory urban planning, the Sea Ranch, a hundred miles up the coast, helped presage its demise. The site was fifty-two hundred surf-sprayed coastal acres. While the challenge in San Francisco had been to weave a modernist plaza into an old waterfront, the task at the Sea Ranch was to blend a modernist community into the moody bluffs: another place touted as being for the public benefit but actually conceived through private development.

She created the Sea Ranch logo—two waves curling upward, like horns—and improvised the geometric, Pop-influenced murals that are its most distinctive feature. But Stauffacher came to hate the Sea Ranch. Individual properties sold for up to forty thousand dollars per acre. The Sea Ranch tracks a quiet shift in the postwar Bay Area dream. A decade earlier, the local social project had been to break out of a shell of hardened class and power and, buoyed by private interests, to create a fluid space that was at once civic, commercial, and social: the Ghirardelli model.

By the late sixties, San Francisco and the nation had embraced an ideal of an open society, but hippies increasingly dealt with hippies, and Sea Ranchers believed so deeply in their new life that they put their savings behind it: a market was made. A Latino community was growing in the Mission.

Industrial business was leaving the city. Once, private developers like Bill Roth had worked in good faith to support bottom-up planning.


The private-ownership model now held as good faith started to seep out. In retirement, Pat and Steve joined a watercolor-painting group. Class one day was for landscapes, when the group drove to the coast to sketch.

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Another was for figures, when tremendously fat models came to the house to pose nude in feathered tiaras. Other members of the old circle, usually clothed, hung out through the week. Shy, stuttering, and unclever, I never had anything useful to offer these visitors, but, from the time I had to sit on both the San Francisco and the Marin County Yellow Pages to reach the dining table, I loved to listen to what had already turned into a kind of social theatre.

Pat, generous and self-doubting, hosted breezy evening parties and elaborate breakfasts when there were people over, then stole toward hungry solitude, reading two or three books at a clip, on days when there were not. Steve had a luxuriance of gray hair and an impish sense of humor that, like a live wire at the family gate, sometimes ran cruel. Their dinner table churned with conversation.

Possibly they were talking about Iran, where a female friend had spent years in the Peace Corps. Maybe Pat had put on her recording of the songs of humpback whales—a West Coast treat—and dinner was punctuated by their mating calls. Probably, they were talking about Ronald Reagan , whose long West Coast ascent my grandparents took as a kind of personal affront. Another California emerged when I visited my other grandparents, Menchu and Joe.

They lived in Redwood City, south of San Francisco. Army, and his regiment had been captured on the Bataan Peninsula. He and other prisoners were marched sixty-five miles to camps, and eventually loaded shoulder to shoulder into a ship called Oryoku Maru, whose sewage-drenched holds could reach a hundred and ten degrees.

Unwitting American bombers attacked and sank the boat near Subic Bay; my grandfather swam to shore with a wounded prisoner in tow, then returned twice to the wreckage to rescue others, including his captors.

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On his release from prison camp, where he spent years writing down poems from memory, he married my grandmother, whose family had been hiding in the hills and whose house had been torched. He secured U. It was the last time either of them ever saw the Philippines—the last time, in fact, that Joe ever travelled.

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Instead, he got an entry-level job at a brokerage firm in San Francisco.