Article from the 8/19/2016 Catalina Islander

Since I became "Catalina's Official Greeter", March 10, 2014, when the Chamber Of Commerce assigned me to greet the cruise ships and cross channel carriers, I have answered 53,748 questions.
If you would like for me to share with your some more recent interesting/unusual questions/comments, or to communicate with me directly, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.m
Probably won't be ending this column until October, to be replaced by "CATALINA TIME CAPSULE", sharing what was happening each month, 100,.75, 50. 25, 10 years ago.
If you want to view any of my past submissions to "ONLY ON CATALINA", www.catalinaislandman.com
The three-hour PBS documentary, "WEST OF THE WEST", covering the 8 channel islands, with a very good segment on Catalina, is only available in Avalon at the "Steamer Trunk" and the "DC-3" (Airport).  If you don't live on Catalina, send me a check for $23.00, P. O. Box 1533, Avalon, CA 90704 and I will send you a DVD.
To my anonymous benefactor who paid for my dinner on Monday at "Mr. Ning's", THANKS, "You made my day!"
 
"HAPPY 200TH, UNITED STATES"!
 
First, I need to explain WHY my absence from the newspaper last week  (I HOPE SOMEBODY NOTICED!).  I was on the mainland trying to get something "set in the right direction"!  After my last submission, August 5, "50 BOTTLES WITH NOTES IN THE SEA, 50 BOTTLES WITH NOTES", I was stopped by our Sheriff Capt. Doug Fetteroll, who I "thought" was my friend, while I was answering questions at the Mole and posed the disturbing observation, "I wonder what the Statute Of Limitation is on the littering of our ocean?"  As usual, I was trying to sort out so many other matters that I wasn't sure what he meant, until he mentioned "35 bottles, followed by 15 bottles!"  NOW I KNEW WHAT HE MEANT!  Was he serious? I realized that ocean "bottle throwing" was no longer legal, as it was in 1961.  What were his motives?  First, he has a VERY SMALL column in the paper, with LITTLE information, and, second, he was on page 11, while I was on my usual page 3.  I thought I had better get some legal advice, before I proceeding with this submission.  I was 14 at the time and my brother was 12.  That would have made up juveniles and so Dad would have been responsible.  Dad is dead, so end of that concern.  The two alledged crafts, "KAPU" and the "S. S. CATALINA" no longer exist. So I guess I am safe, but then concerned about the 201 bottles and their 201 "tossees" plus the boat from which the bottles were thrown, and the "City Of Avalon", that backed this event discussed in today's column. I was advised all of us "co-conspirators" are protected here also!  So why is Capt. Fetteroll hoping to make something of my 1961 "incident"!?!  Possibly to get more material for his column?  Possibly to kick me off the paper so he can move up (he did go from page 11-8, with me temporarily out of the picture.  Watch out John and Jim!!!). 
How much of this "tale" is true?  Yes, Doug IS my friend.  Yes, he did pose that concern about littering, but it was obviously done in jest.  Yes, he doesn't have much in his column because he and his deputies are doing such a GREAT job of keeping Catalina as crime free as any town could possibly boast!  Yes, his column did jump from page 11 to 8!  Yes, I was on the mainland getting  things "in order" on other matter.  End of my conspiracy theory!
 
With our nation's 200th Anniversary coming on July 4, 1976, communities all over the U. S. A. were planning ways to mark this celebration in unique ways.  In 1975, Avalon put on its "thinking cap" and with the lead of Malcolm and Virginia Renton (these two, along with Jeanne Hill, seemed to spearhead EVERY Catalina activity). I was invited to the meeting and gray matter starting moving, with few results.  I raised my hand (you did that in those days) and when Mrs. Renton recognized me, I suggested re-inacting my 1961 bottle throw (see my column, August 5).  We would number 201 bottles, 1776-1976, have people sponsor them ($2.00/each.  Anyone who found the bottle in the U. S. would receive a bicentennial coin set and those outside our borders would get a commemorative $2 bill), each sponsor, on a first come first serve basis, was able to pick the date desired.  We enlisted English speaking and Spanish speaking children at the school to write notes to the  "world" explaining why/what we were doing in English and Spanish, the bottle #, sponsor name, and my P. O. Box # to respond with a filled out form.  The idea was IMMEDIATELY unanimously received (LUCKILY, NO OTHER IDEAS WERE PROPOSED). 
With the aid of four young students (Peter and Neal Salamunovich, and Dennis and Charles Holt.  YES, THEY WERE YOUNG THEN!), we went from bar to bar, liquor store to liquor store, until we found 201 colored bottles.  The bottles needed to be colored so as to protect the messages from fading from the direct sun exposure, but NOT too dark so as to allow people to recognize messages in them.  HAD TO BE PERFECT BOTTLES!  We then went into the Casino Ballroom kitchen to prepare them.  Each bottle was assigned a number, filled with the personalized message written by local students, a piece of absorbent paper towel, and sealed with sealing wax.  (SEALING WAX HURTS WHEN DRIPPED ON YOUR SKIN!  STILL HAVE BURN MARKS!). 
 
The first Sunday in April, 1976 was chosen. We had hoped to utilized the "S. S. CATALINA" from which to throw the bottles (HOW APPROPRIATE WOULD THAT HAVE BEEN), but she made her last voyage, alas, in September, 1975.  We contacted "Catalina Cruises" (now owned by "Catalina Classic Cruises") and they very generously offered us their largest cross channel boat, the "CATALINA KING".  We boarded her around 10AM at the MOLE.  Noon, half way between Catalina and San Clemente, approximately 7 miles S/E, I called out the numbers and, one by one, we threw in chronological order all 201 bottles.  NOW BEGAN THE WAITING PROCESS!  Next column.